History ofRomania

The prehistoric period offered us information about the inhabitants of this land only through archaeological diggings and researches which proved the existence of communities that lived there since immemorial times. Traces going back to the Paleolithic, approximately 2,000,000 years ago were discovered on the river valley inside and outside the Carpathian arch.

During the Mesolithic and the Neolithic the human settlements grew in number and the traces left by the inhabitants diversified. The archaeological researches as well as the accidental findings, prove that on the Romanian land remarkable civilizations flourished in those times. The copper and bronze metallurgy contributed during the following centuries to the progress of the local communities. It also encouraged the appearance of tribal unions which established economic relationships with the Greek culture.

The first piece of written information is given by the Greek historian and geographer Hecateus (the 6th century BC) and it refers to the existence of two Getic tribes in the south and east of Dobrogea. The note of the great historian Herodotus is of greater importance and refers to the Getae who, in 51 BC fought the huge army of the Persian king Darius. The latter attacked the Scythians who lived in the north of the Black Sea.

During the first millennium BC, the individualizing process of the Geto - Dacians tribes, with regard to the ethnic, linguistic and cultural groups, took place. The populations in the Carpathian - Danubian region were influenced during those millenniums by the Scythians, the Greeks and the Celts. They all enriched the spiritual culture of the natives. The only difference between the Getae and the Dacians was the region where each of them lived; the first ones lived outside the Carpathian arch, while the latter occupied the Transylvanian Plateau and Banat.

The Romanian people ancestors, the Dacians and the Getae were spread beyond the Danube, beyond the Tisa (in the north-west and west) and beyond the Dniester (in the east). The centre of this territory was the land surrounded by the Carpathians, where Burebista and later Decebal, the Dacian kings, ruled. That is the place where the capital of the pre-Roman Dacia was, where the principalities, and later the Romanian provinces formed. That is the place where the Romanian people achieved its unitary national state.

At that time, they had a well-structured cultural, ethnic and linguistic group which led to their unification in a powerful state. Burebista (82-44 BC) unified the political and military formations of the Geto - Dacians. In the fist century B.C. he put the bases of a powerful Dacian state which occupied the area between Bohemia and the Black Sea, its centre probably being in Argedava (on the Arges River). After Burebista's death (44 BC) the centralized Dacian state began decaying. Yet, in the second half of the first century A.D., the Dacians under the rule of Decebal (87-106) reorganized their political, military and religious centre in the Orastie Mountains, in Transylvania, at Sarmizegetusa. Threaten by the Romans invasion, the Dacians went on raids south of the Danube. Two wars followed (101 - 102 and 105 - 106) and the Roman army under the command of Traian finally defeated King Decebal's army. Traian later transformed a major part of Dacia in a Roman province. The massive and organized colonization, the use of the Latin language and the assimilation of the Roman civilization led to the Romanization of the local inhabitants. This fact resulted in the formation a Dacian-Roman population, which is an essential element in the Romanians' ethno-genesis process.

After the retreat of the Roman army (271 A.D.), the local population kept leaving in the same way, by practicing agriculture and shepherding. From political, economic and cultural point of view, it was still under the influence of the Roman Empire and, later on, under that of the Byzantine Empire. Dobrogea, the territory between the Danube and the Black Sea, remained under the political rule of these two empires during this period. Under these circumstances the Romanization process continued and at the same time the Christianism preached in the Latin language spread all over.

The migration of the Slavs at the end of the 6th century and the dislocation of he Carpathian-Balkanic compact bloc of Roman peoples isolated different populations, accelerating the process of language completion. Between the 7th and the 9th centuries the formation of the Romanian people and the Romanian language was completed. The Romanian language through origin, grammatical structure and essential words of the vocabulary, belongs to the Roman languages, being the only direct descendent of the Latin spoken in the Carpathian-Balkan province of the Roman Empire.

The waves of migratory peoples - the Goths, the Huns, the Slavs, the Bulgarians, the Cumans, and the Petchenegs which invaded the territories north and south of the Danube starting with the 3rd century did not fundamentally influence the Romanic population, and later the Romanian one.

During the 10th and the 11th centuries, as a consequence of the development of the feudal relationships, in the Carpathian area small political organizations appeared: dukedom or voievodates, the predecessors of the medieval Romanian states.

In the 13th century, the feudal Hungarians completed the conquest of Transylvania which started in the 10th century. At the same time they managed to control the other two Romanian principalities, Moldova and Walachia.

In 1330, Basarab defeated the Hungarian troops at Posada, winning the independence of the Walachia voivodate

East of the Carpathians, Bogdan I (1359-1365) established the great voievodate of Moldavia, also defeating the Hungarians. Both voievodes consolidated the independence of their states, after several victories against the Hungarian armies.

At the end of the 14th century the danger of an invasion from the Ottoman Empire raised.

Under these circumstances, the Three Romanian Principalities - Transylvania, Walachia and Moldavia - became the defending bastion of the Christian world facing the danger of the Islamic expansion. After a long period of strong resistance from the Romanian armies led by Stephan the Great in Moldavia or Vlad Tepes in Walachia, in the 16th century the Romanian countries were forced to accept the Ottoman suzerainty, nevertheless keeping their autonomy. The Prince of Walachia, Michael the Brave (1593-1601) won the independence of the country in 1595. He united all the Romanians in one single state, the first centralized Romanian state, in 1600. This union was temporary being broken up through the interference of the Ottoman Empire, the Polish Kingdom and the Hapsburg Empire. They were all worried about the existence of a powerful Romanian state in their confluence area. Later other Romanian rulers tried to achieve the unification, as well. The renowned scholar Dimitrie Cantemir (1693, 1710-1711) ruler of Moldavia and member of the Berlin Academy laid the bases of the ideological doctrine regarding the unity of the Romanian people. Influenced by the European enlightenment, in Transylvania (which became voievodat in 1661, under the suzerainty of the Hapsburg Empire), the bishop Inocentiu Micu and other Romanian scholars, crystallized the national ideology, which they sustained through historical, linguistic and philosophic reasons.

In 1775, as a consequence of an agreement with the Ottoman Empire, the northern part of Moldavia, later named Bucovina was passed under the rule of the Hapsburg Empire.

The eastern half of Moldavia had been annexed to Russia in 1812.

Supported by the European powers, France and Prussia, Alexandru Ioan Cuza (1859-1866) achieved the union of Moldavia with Walachia on 24 January 1859. He unified the army and the administration, he secularized the church properties, and he promulgated reforming laws. The new state was internationally recognized under the name of Romania. In 1866, Cuza abdicated. Prince Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen royal family took his place. He was the ruling prince of the country between 1866 and 1881, when he was crowned as king. On 9 May 1877, the Romanian state proclaimed its independence, getting out of the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. The independence was gained in the Romanian-Russo-Turkish war of 1877- 1878. It was internationally recognized at the Peace Congress in Berlin (1878).

Through the agreement of 1867 between Budapest and Vienna, known as the "Austro-Hungarian dualism", the voievodate of Transylvania felt under the Hungary rule. After the union of 1859, after independence was won in 1877, the Hungarian Government intensified its political persecution and imposed the Magyarization of the Romanians living in Transylvania, the existence of Romanians as a nation not being recognized. The existence of these Romanian territories inhabited by a majority of Romanians at the beginning of the 20th century made the Government in Bucharest to embrace a political strategy meant to lead to the achievement of the national desideratum: the union of all Romanians in a unitary national state. The First World War was the opportunity they were waiting for. Romania entered the war on 15th of August 1916, against the central powers, with only one target: the accomplishment of the national unity. King Ferdinand I (1914-1927), the descendent of Carol I, was one of its promoters. The collapse of the two multinational empires (Austria- Hungary and Czarist) allowed the Romanians from Basarabia, Bucovina and Transylvania to choose freely their destiny and to decide their union with Romania.

The reunification of Romania was internationally sanctioned through the postwar peace treaties. In the unitary national state - called the Greater Romania - the democratic constitutional regime brought in force through the Constitution of 1923 facilitated the general economic, social, political and cultural progress of the nation.

However on 23 August 1939 Hitler's Germany and the Soviet Russia assigned the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. The secret additional protocol referred directly to the territorial dismemberment of Romania. In the summer of 1940, Soviet Russia, Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy forced Romania to cede Basarabia, northern Bucovina and Herta region to Russia, the north-western Transylvania to Hungary, and southern Dobrogea to Bulgaria. All these territories represented more than a quarter of Romania and of the population which was Romanian in majority.

Romania started fighting the Soviet Russia on the Germany side in June 1941. The Romanian armies fought on the east front until the summer of 1944. Following the coup d'etat of 23rd of August 1944, they joined the Allies and fought on the west front making their contribution to the liberation of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria. The Paris Peace Treaty (1947) brought back north-western Transylvania within the national boundaries, while Basarabia, northern Bucovina, Herta and southern Dobrogea remained outside the Romanian borders. The Romanians in the Soviet territories were brutally denationalized. The Soviet massacred, sent to concentration camps and deported to Siberia and Central Asia thousands of Romanians, modifying the demographic ratio.

The communist regime was installed in Romania with the aid of the Soviet occupant, after they forced King Michael to abdicate, at the end of 1947. Then a period of Sovietisation followed the repression against the intellectuals, and the Romanian spirituality beginning. Through sentences of long years of imprisonment, by sending people to forced labor camps, the opponents or the potential opponents were exterminated. The new leaders tried to introduce the Soviet model in economy, society and culture. They nationalized almost everything, imposed agricultural cooperatives, tried to falsify the national history and to make the Romanians give up their cultural and spiritual values, with no access to the world cultural and scientific ones.

In 1957 Romania turned to the west and made Khrushchov to withdraw the Soviet troops from Romania, in 1958. Beginning with 1960, the industrialization of the country began against the Soviet will. In 1967, the diplomatic relationships with the Federal Germany were resumed, while in 1968 Romania blamed the intervention of the Warsaw Pact troops in Czechoslovakia. Unfortunately, after 1975, the cult of Ceausescu personality, along with the communist regime of dictatorship led to a political crisis, to the violation of the fundamental human rights, to an economic crisis. There were social revolts among which the miners' revolt in the Jiu Valley in August 1977 and the revolt of the inhabitants of Brasov, in November 1987. People from different social classes asked for radical changes in political and economic structures.

Between 17 and 22 December 1989, in Timisoara there were anticommunist demonstrations with the intervention of the repression forces. On 21 December 1989 a powerful rebellion broke out in Bucharest. The official buildings were occupied. On 22 December 1989 the dictatorial couple was overthrown and 45 years of communist regime came to an end.

Democracy was installed, changes started to be made almost instantly. A new Constitution was voted in 1991, the land was given back to the owners or to the descendents, the private sector in economy developed and the people try to get over these long years of communism and to find a new way of living Romania is a member of the Council of Europe from 1994 and the European Union from 2007.