History of Romania

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prehistory and the Romans[change | change source]

Some of the oldest human remains found in Europe were discovered in Romania.[1] They were about 42,000 years old. This may have been when the first Homo sapiens came to Europe.[2] The world's first and oldest writing comes from people who lived in today's Romania. Approximately 5300 years BC. According to archaeology it is not a matter of symbols, but the world's first writings. It belonged to the Vinča culture which inhabited all of today's Serbia with over 150 Vinča sites and minor parts of Western Romania, northwestern Bulgaria, eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina and Southeastern Hungary.

The Roman province of Dacia in red.

Herodotus in the fourth book of The Histories, written in about 440 BC/BCE. Herodotus wrote that the Getae were defeated by the Persian Emperor Darius the Great when he battled the Scythians.[3] The Getae were called the Dacians by the Romans. They were Thracians who were living in Dacia, which is where Romania, Moldova and the northern part of Bulgaria are now. The Dacians attacked the Roman province, the border of which was formed by the Danube, in 87 AD/CE. This was during Emperor Domitian's rule. The Dacians were defeated by the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan in two battles that lasted from 101 AD/CE until 106 AD/CE.[4] The Roman Empire made Dacia into the province of Roman Dacia.

A lot of ore, such as gold and silver, were found in Roman Dacia.[5] A lot of gold and silver were found in the Western Carpathians. Trajan went back to Rome with 165 tons (330,000 pounds) of gold and 330 tons (660,000 pounds) of silver after his conquest.

There were many Romans living in the province of Roman Dacia.[6] They spoke Vulgar Latin. They began to write the local languages using the Latin alphabet. Writing languages with the Latin alphabet is called romanization. This became the first version of Romanian.[7][8]

In the 3rd century, the province was attacked by groups of nomadic people like the Goths. They made the Roman Empire leave Dacia about 271 AD/CE. This became the Roman Empire's first abandoned province.[9][10]

The origin of modern Romanians is widely talked about by historians to this day. It is thought that the Romanians were formed from large ethnic groups that came from both the south and north parts of the Danube.[11]

Dark Ages and Middle Ages[change | change source]

From 271 to 275, the Goths took over the abandoned Roman province.[12] They lived in Dacia until the 4th century, when another group of wandering peoples, the Huns, came to Dacia.[13] The Gepids,[14][15] Avars, with the Slavic people,[16] were in control of Transylvania through the 8th century. In the 8th century, however, the country was taken over by the Hungarian Empire.[14] It was made part of the First Bulgarian Empire, which ended Romania's Dark Ages.

The Bulgarians held Transylvania until the 11th century. The Pechenegs,[17] the Cumans,[18] and the Uzes were a few of the people later noted in the history of Romania.

In 1310, now called the High Middle Ages, Basarab I started the Romanian principality of Wallachia.[19] Moldavia was begun by Dragoş around 1352.[20] During the Middle Ages, Romanians were living in three different areas: Wallachia (Romanian: Ţara Românească—"Romanian Land"), Moldavia (Romanian: Moldova), and Transylvania.

Transylvania belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary from around the 10th century until the 16th century,[21] when it turned into the Principality of Transylvania.[22] This lasted until 1711.[23] Wallachia had been on the border of the Ottoman Empire since the 14th century. As the Ottoman Empire's influence grew, it gradually fell under the suzerainty (control) of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.

The best known ruler of this period was Vlad III the Impaler, also known as Vlad Dracula, or Vlad Ţepeş, IPA: ['tsepeʃ], Prince of Wallachia, during the years of 1448, 1456–62, and 1476.[24][25] While he was the leader of his people, he had an agreement with the Ottoman Empire to stay independent. Many people in Romania during this time thought of him as a ruler with a great sense of justice[26] and defense for his country.

Moldavia was at its greatest when Stephen the Great was ruling between 1457 and 1504.[27] He was a great military leader, winning 47 battles and losing only 2.[28] After every battle he won, Stephen would build a church. Because he won 47 of the battles that he fought, he ended up building 48 churches.[29] After Stephen the Great's death, Moldavia came under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century.

Independence and monarchy[change | change source]

When Transylvania was the organic part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire controlled Wallachia and Moldavia, almost all Romanians had limited rights as a citizen.[30] They stayed this way even when they made up most of the people in those areas.[31][32]

The violent Revolution of 1848 failed, due to Russian intervention. Under an 1856 treaty between Russia and the Ottomans, popular assemblies in 1859 in Moldavia and Wallachia picked the same person – Alexandru Ioan Cuza – to be the prince in those areas.[33] He managed to unite the people and nationalism was seen as a useful method.

The Prince cautiously did not proclaiming independence immediately because he knew it would bring a new war. Instead, he let Moldavia and Wallachia merge in the United Principalities of the Ottoman Empire and increasing self-government. The new union eventually developed into today's Romania. Its ruler gradually freed himself from Ottoman control and Bucharest became the capital. The abolition of serfdom led to a coup d'état against the Prince staged by peasants who overthrew the regime.

Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen became the new leader, and was later called Prince Carol I of Romania. In the Russo-Turkish War, Romania battled on the Russian side.[34] When the Treaty of Berlin of 1878[35] was signed, the Great Powers made Romania an independent state.[36] In return, they had to give Russia three of their southern districts of Bessarabia. In 1881, the principality became a kingdom, with Prince Carol ruling as King Carol I.

The World Wars and the Great Leaders[change | change source]

World War I[change | change source]

When World War I started in August 1914, Romania said it was a neutral country. In 1916, the Allies promised to give Romania parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire where many Romanians lived, if Romania started a war against Austria-Hungary.[37]

Romanian Army officers in World War I.

The military campaign ended in disaster after Romania's forces were defeated in 1917 and Moldova was one of the few parts of Romania that was not captured. When the Allies eventually won the war, the Austria-Hungarian Empire was dissolved and an independent Hungarian republic was proclaimed. Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transylvania became part of the Kingdom of Romania in 1918 as had been promised. After the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, Hungary formally gave up any claims over Transylvania.[38] Romania and Bukovina were joined in 1919 as a result of the Treaty of Saint Germain.[39] Bessarabia joined with Romania in 1920 when the Treaty of Paris was signed.[40]

Greater Romania[change | change source]

After World War I was much bigger and more nationalist. The small Kingdom received ("major Transylvania"). The principalities Wallachia, Moldavia and Bessarabia (Moldova) together formed the "Greater Romania" 1918-1940. "Greater Romania" did not survive World War II.

Romanians called their country România Mare, meaning Great Romania or Greater Romania, in the time between World War I and World War II. They called it so because it controlled 300,000 square kilometres (115,831 sq mi)[41] of land.

The Great Depression meant social unrest, high unemployment, strikes and riots, especially a miners' strike in 1929 in Valea Jiului and a strike in Griviţas maintenance workshops. By the mid-1930s, with a recovering Romanian economy, industry grew, although about 80% of Romanians still were engaged in agriculture.

Iron Guard[change | change source]

In end of 1930s, Romania's liberal democracy was slowly being replaced by the fascist dictatorship. The Archangel Michael Legion, known as the Iron Guard organization, was led by Corneliu Codreanu Zelea. In 1937 elections the party supported Adolf Hitler and Nazism and got 15.5% of the votes and became the third biggest party. In 1938 king Carol II of Romania seized power over Romania. He dissolved all political parties and executed Corneliu Codreanu Zelea along with 12 other leaders.

World War II[change | change source]

Carol II of Romania declared the country as neutral when World War II broke out in 1939, but included since the Soviet Union occupied Bessarabia and northern Bukovina an alliance with Hitler's Germany. This occurred after field marshal Ion Antonescu forced the authoritarian Carol II of Romania to abdicate. Antonescu appointed himself "conducator", Romania's dictator, and signed at the November 23 of 1940 three-powers pact with Nazi Germany. Hitler's Germany was dependent on a continuous importation of fuel and crude oil from the Romanian oil fields of Ploesti. In 1940, yjr Kingdom of Hungary took over the legitimate domination in Northern Transylvania to the end of the World War II.

The country's troops fought together with the German Wehrmacht against the Soviet Union. In summer of 1941, Romania join Hitler's war against the Soviet Union in combination also Finland, Slovakia and Hungary join Hitlers war. Romania built concentration camps and began conducting a massive persecution of Jews, of which became very extreme in the city of Iasi.

Holocaust in Romania[change | change source]

Romania participated in the Holocaust. The author of the book "The Destruction of the European Jews" Raul Hilberg writes follow: "There was / ... / moment when the Germans actually had to intervene and slow the speed with which the Romanian measures were taken." The hunt for Jews in eastern Romania (including Bessarabia, Bukovina, Transnistria and the city of Iasi) had more the character of pogroms than the German, well-organized camps and transport.

There were pogroms in the city of Iasi. The homes for the Jewish minority in Iasi were marked with crosses. On June 27, 1941, Ion Antonescu make a phone call with the city's mayor and Antonescu said into the phone: "clean the city Iasi from the Jews." The Holocaust in Romania began. Police officers and many civilians went to every Jewish home marked with a cross in the town and murdered thousands of Jews on the same day. Antonescu ordered the police in cooperation with the Romanian Army and the German SS troops to kill all Jews in east Romania within the next coming years. The Jews living on the countryside were killed right on the spot. The Jews in the cities were first collected in the ghettos and later deported away.

On October 22, 1941 the Soviet union with bombs blow up the Romanian military headquarters in Odesa, and killed 66 Romanian soldiers. As revenge Ion Antonescu decided that for every dead Romanian officer, 200 Soviet communists must be killed and for each dead soldier, 100 communists must be killed. All other Communists were imprisoned and Jewish families were taken hostage in the hope that the partisan movement would cease its operations.[42][43] The day after, in Bucharest, on October 23, 1941, around 5 000 people mostly Jews were arrested and later executed by hanging. In the Soviet village Dalnik, almost 20,000 Jews were burned alive in ocked buildings .[42][43]

After the massacre, many of the Jews who remained in Odesa were sent to concentration camps. On October 25, 1941, approximately 40,000 Jews, was gathering together on a special closed military secured area. The Jews had to stay outdoors for more than ten days without food or supply. Many died of cold and starvation. The survivors were murdered one month later.[42] [43]

Totally approximately 469,000 Jews were murdered by the military and police in Romania between 1941 and 1944, including the 325,000 murdered Jews in Bessarabia and Bukovina.

End of war[change | change source]

At the end of 1943, the Red Army liberated most of Soviet territory and started advancing westward from its borders to defeat Nazi Germany and its allies. If the Soviet Union could hit Romania, Nazi Germany's last hope is gone, said the military leadership of the Red Army. Russians deposited the entire 1.5 million soldiers in the attack against Romania. Romania's reserves were only 138 000 soldiers. During the summer of 1944 it began the attack on Bessarabia and the Romanian army fled the area. On 2 August, the whole area was captured by the Red Army. The Russians then went a long way in Romania and on 23 August they reached Bucharest. The public opinion turned in the country against Antonescu and of summer 1944 he was deposed and imprisoned. The new government signed a ceasefire and extradited itself to the Soviet Union. The Red Army killed the members from the old fascist regime (including Ion Antonescu) on June 1, 1946.

At the end of the war, Romania was allowed to keep the whole of Transylvania in west and Dobruja from south, but lost Bessarabia/Transnistria and Odesa Oblast in the east (with rich oil reserves) which became parts of the Soviet Union. Bukovina was split in half because in the north part the majority ethnic group was Ukrainian and in the south part Romanian.

The Soviet Union replaced the royal monarchy with a communist regime in 1947. The Soviet Union took the country's resources, which led to increased poverty in Romania.

Romania and communism[change | change source]

The coat of arms of the Communist party in Romania.

Michael I abdicated the throne and had to leave Romania in 1947 because of the Communists. Romania changed from a monarchy into a republic.[44][45] The USSR occupied Romania until the late 1950s, when Soviet troops left Romania. During this time, resources in Romania were taken by the Soviet Union due to agreements made by Communist leaders.

After the Soviet troops left Romania, Nicolae Ceauşescu wanted Romania to become more independent from Moscow. Romania started following slightly different foreign policies than Moscow. After the Six-Day War in 1967, Romania began talks with Israel and started relations with the Federal Republic of Germany.[46] Romania started to have their own relations with Arab countries. Romania officials were allowed to participate in peace talks between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.[47]

The national debt Romania owed to other countries went from $3 billion to almost $10 billion between 1977 and 1981.[48] The amount of money that Romania owed other countries caused them to rely on banks and other lenders from around the world. President Nicolae Ceauşescu's autarchic ways meant he did not want to rely on other countries and Romania paid back money borrowed from other countries. This affected the Romanian economy. To try to stay in power, Ceauşescu had anyone who disagreed with him arrested and put in prison.[49] Many people were killed or hurt. Almost 60,000 people were put in psychiatric hospitals.[50][51] Ceauşescu eventually lost power and was killed in the Romanian Revolution of 1989.

1989 to 2007[change | change source]

In 1989, the National Salvation Front came into power. It was led by Ion Iliescu. When they came into power, several other parties from before World War II were remade. These included the Christian-Democratic National Peasants' Party, the National Liberal Party and the Romanian Social Democrat Party. In April 1990, as a result of several rallies, protests started. The people who protested did not recognize the results of the election. This was because they thought that members of the National Salvation Front were communists. More and more people protested, and it became a demonstration – a very big protest. This was called the Golaniad, and it became very violent.

When the National Salvation Front lost power, several other parties were made. These were the Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Party, and a couple of other parties from before the war. The Social Democratic Party ruled Romania from 1990 until 1996. Ion Iliescu was the head of state, or person in charge. After 1996, several other parties came into power and lost it. In 2004, Traian Băsescu became the president.

After the Cold War, Romania became closer friends with Western Europe. In 2004, Romania joined NATO and hosted the 2008 summit.[52] The country applied in June 1993 for membership in the European Union and became an Associated State of the EU in 1995, an Acceding Country in 2004, and a member on January 1, 2007.[53]

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