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Pentru o excelenta prezentare a Romaniei, va recomand o vizita la :  rostema1.gif (5232 bytes)



Ancient History

In the 7th and 6th Centuries B.C., the Greeks founded a number of colonies on the Black Sea shore. These were the ancient cities of Histria, Tomis and Callatis (now the modern Constanta and Mangalia). Herodot, the Greek historian of the time, was the first to mention the native inhabitants of the land. These were the Dacians, a branch of the people living in the Balkans, named Thracians. The Greeks and the Dacians lived peacefully, relying on trade and agriculture.

Five centuries later the supremacy of Greece declined, and a new power arose: the Romans. By this time, the Dacians were united for the first time under the authority of a wise ruler called Burebista. He founded a capital city in the heights of the Carpathian Mountains. Its ruins can still be seen today. The new city - Sarmizegetusa - was well-organized and defended by powerful fortresses.

200 years later, in the 1st century A.D., another great Dacian leader, Decebalus, became the ruler of Sarmizegetusa. Meanwhile, the legendary richness of the country made it a temptation for the Roman Empire. The Dacians fiercely fought to defend their land against Roman occupation. Decebalus resisted the Romans more than 20 years and only the great emperor Traianus could defeat him. But he needed to build a bridge in order to get his troops over the Danube river. This task was accomplished by the famous ancient engineer Apolodor of Damascus, and the remains of that unprecedented bridge still stand today. Traianus could conquer the great Dacian city only after one traitor sold him the secret of the hidden water
pipes. The Romans left the city without water, forcing it to surrender. Decebalus killed himself, and Traianus celebrated the victory for 123 days. In honor of this victory he also erected a sculpted column to tell the story of conquering Dacia. Traianus's column still stands in Rome.

During the two centuries of Roman Occupation, new roads and cities were built in Dacia.
The official language was Latin, from which the present Romanian language was born. The Romans retreated from Dacia in 271 A.D.

Medieval History

There are very few sources describing the period between the Roman Retreat and the 10th Century A.D. These were dark times for Eastern Europe, when countless warrior tribes roamed the land destroying everything on their way. The three regions that form Romania today were first mentioned as states around the 14th Century. 

To the West,Transylvania was a region ruled by leaders obeying the authority of the Hungarian King. In its attempt to consolidate its authority in Transylvania, Hungary encouraged the german colonization, which began in 1141 A.D. Bringing along the spirit of western civilization, they helped build great cities such as Sighisoara, Sibiu, Brasov, developed strong guilds and boosted trade. In the 15th century, the Romanian population stood up and fought against Hungarian oppression, receiving some rights, for the first time.
Transylvania was united with the other two Romanian territories by Michael the Brave, who defeated the Hungarian Army in 1600. However, because of the huge political interests, Michael the Brave was assassinated, and the country broke apart shortly after. Still, the Hungarian authority was weakened.

The South region,Wallachia was first mentioned in 1310 A.D., as a kingdom ruled by Basarab. By this time, another big power threatened the Romanian territories: the Ottoman Empire. Wallachia's history is entirely centered on its resisting the Turkish occupation. The fight took centuries, and no matter how tough it got, Wallachia was never fully conquered, despite the enormous military power of the Turks. This was possible because of great commanders such as Mircea the Wise, Vlad Tepes and Michael the Brave.
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The Eastern kingdom, Moldavia had to fight not only against the Turks, but also the cruel Tatars, a tribe of wandering warriors from the Far East. The brightest figure of Moldavia's history was Stefan the Great who ruled between 1457 and 1504. During his long leadership, Moldavia, which included the territory of the present Republic of Moldova, reached its biggest development. Stefan was a military genius, winning several major battles against the Turks, Tatars, Polish and Hungarians. He used to celebrate each of his victories by building a church or monastery. This was the birth of the famous Moldavian painted monasteries.
Because of his effort of keeping the Turks and the Tatars from invading Europe, he was blessed by the Pope as "divine defender of the Christiandom". Recently, he was declared saint by the Romanian Orthodox Church. 

Modern History

One could say that Romanian modern history starts with the scholars of the Romanian Enlightenment - the so-called "Transylvanian School" ("Scoala Ardeleana"). Elaborating on earlier works of Romanian scholars like Miron Costin or Dimitrie Cantemir, the Transylvanian School affirmed, through people like Gheorghe Sincai, Samuil Micu, Petru Maior, the Latin origin of the Romanian people, and the Latin structure and fundamental vocabulary of the Romanian language, arousing in this way the national consciousness of a people living in three countries, under foreign domination. A new generation grew up in this spirit in the first half of the 19th century, with its elite being educated in the West (France, Germany). This was the generation of '48.
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The revolution of 1848 proclaimed the ideals of a nation, the ideals of a free world: "Dreptate, Fratie" (Justice, Brotherhood) were words to die for. The revolution called for the union of the Romanian people in the three provinces, for the cease of foreign domination and abuse (by the Ottoman, Russian and Austrian Empires), for equal justice under law and human rights in the tradition of the French (1789) Revolution. Though defeated in 1848, through the Ottoman and Russian military interventions, the generation of '48 will achieve its goals. 

In 1859 Moldavia and Wallachia, who were allowed by the European powers to elect their own princes, chose the same person: Alexandru Ioan Cuza. During his reign ("By God's Grace and through National Will"), some of the fundamental institutions of a modern state were created, and an important land reform took place. The United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia became Romania.

In 1866, Cuza is forced to abdicate by a strange coalition of liberals - angry with his suppressions of freedom - and conservatives - angry with his land reforms. Prince Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was brought to the throne. Under his reign (1866-1914), Romania become independent (1877), a constitutional monarchy (kingdom in 1881) and the country had a great economic and cultural development. The 1870-1880's is the first great era of Romanian literature with Eminescu, Creanga, Caragiale being some of the authors associated with Maiorescu's Junimea. In 1888 The Romanian Athenaeum was inaugurated in Bucharest and in 1895 the bridge over the Danube at Cernavoda( the longest in Europe at the time) was built, to mention just a couple of the great constructions of the time. 

Romania entered the First World War in 1916, on the Allied side. The Romanian Army fought valiantly in the summer of 1917 in Marasti, Marasesti, Oituz. In 1918 the national Assemblies of Bassarabia (March), Bucovina (November) and Transylvania (December), decided to unite with Romania. The peace treaties acknowledged the unions. 

During the reign of king Ferdinand and leadership of prime minister Ionel Bratianu a new constitution was passed and major land and voting reforms were passed. The oil industry was booming in the Prahova Valley. 

Due to the Soviet aggression in summer of 1940 (occupation of Bassarabia), Romania joined Germany in attacking the Soviet Union in 1941. In August 1944 king Michael arrested the "Leader" Marshal Ion Antonescu and put Romania on the Allied side, against Germany.
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However, the Soviet Army kept the country under control and a communist regime quickly came into power. By 1947 the king was forced to abdicate.

The'50 were a decade of terror which seemed to end with the general Amnesty of the political prisoners, in 1964. This coincided with an apparent shift away from Moscow policies during the early years of Ceausescu, which culminated with the 1968 condemnation of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. But the cult of personality of the "Great Leader" grew more and more gruesome during the '80. The economy, which was booming in the late '60 didn't seem to work anymore and human rights abuses were common.

The wind of change that was sweeping through Eastern Europe did not seem to reach Romania. Until ...

1989 Revolution
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The dust has not yet settled on the events of december'89. Some people call it a revolution, some a "stolen revolution", some a coup, and there are probably as many versions of what happened as there are people in Romania. 
The facts are that about 1000 people died, the Ceausescu government was overthrown, and a multi party- system is now in place. Basic human rights, which were unthought of in the Ceausescu era, like freedom of thought, expression, press, religion and travel, have been restored.


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Beside the 89.1% Romanians, there are also significant minorities, such as: Hungarians 8.9%,
Germans 0.4%, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, Russians, Turks, and Gypsies 1.6%.

The Romanians

Historically, the Romanians are descendants of two very old peoples: The Dacians and The Romans. The
Dacians were the ancient inhabitants of the land. Due to the legendary richness of this region, Dacia was a great temptation for the Roman Emperors. But Dacia was not easy to conquer, and general after general
had to bow in front of the brave natives. Finally, the Emperor Traianus conquered the country in A.D.106.
The celebration of the victory lasted 123 days. 7 years later, Traianus erected a monument depicting his
victory, which is called Traianus's Column and still stands in Rome. By the mixing of the two peoples, the
Romanian people emerged. As a proof of Rome's powerful influence, not only the land was later called
Romania, but also, the Romanian language evolved from Latin.

The Minorities

The Hungarians, being the largest minority in Romania, have a particularly strong community that
tries to preserve the Hungarian traditions and culture.
Although Transylvania was a matter of dispute between Romanians and Hungarians over the centuries, and despite some political interests, the two nationalities always found a peaceful way of living

The Transylvanian Germans have a unique history. Descendants of the original german colonists
that came to Transylvania in the 12-th Century, they developed a strong and wealthy community, that
flourished during the Middle Ages. They built some of the largest cities in the region, such as Sibiu,
Sighisoara, Brasov. Out of a population of tens of thousands, only very few remain today, most of them
fleeing from communist represion or going for a better life after the democratic changes of 1989.
Nevertheless, most of those who left still consider themselves Transylvanians and dream of their homeland.

The Turkish community lives in the Southeastern part of the country, near the Black Sea coast. They
are the reminder of an age-old Turkish supremacy in the Balkans - the Ottoman Empire. Their mosques in
the cities of Constanta and Mangalia are nowadays a major tourist attraction. One local story says that
children often go looking here for the flying rugs of the Arabian Nights.

The Ukrainians, who live in the Northermost region of Romania, near the border, are famous for their
painted Easter Eggs, an age old tradition kept alive by old women.

The Russian minority live in the Danube Delta. They call themselves "Lipoveni" and are very different from
the typical Russians. Due to the remoteness of their land, they lost all contacts with Russia. Still, they love
drinking vodka. The Lipoveni are traditionally fishermen, and know by heart the intricate maze of
canals of the Delta. Naturally, they gave Romania a multiple Olympic and World Champion in canoeing -
Ivan Patzaikin. 

The Serbs, living near the border with former Yugoslavia are famous for their colorful traditional
costumes and music.

The Gypsies once an exotic nation of wanderers, are trying now to find their place in the modern world:
they have representation in the Romanian Parliament. Nevertheless, as a reminder of their old ways, they still have an Emperor and a King.

You can get a glimpse of the Romanian nationalities and traditional ways of life by visiting the Village
Museums in Bucharest and Sibiu.