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The History Of Romania In Brief

Mar 6, 2008
Getting to know the history of a nation is a must if you are interested in understanding its people. The history of Romania is the history of the events that took place from ancient times, i.e. the third century B.C. to the present day, when the modern day nation state of Romania that you see on the map evolved after going through many turmoils, and its boundaries got redrawn a number of times. It is also the history of its people, the very people, who gave Romania national identity and distinct cultural flavor.

At the end of the third century B.C., the region now covered by Romania was populated by people of Dacia, who were of Thracian origin. During the rule of Burebista (82 - 44 B.C.), the first state was founded in this region. The new state, however, had to face a formidable foe in the dominant power of that time, the Roman Empire. After a series of conflicts the state was finally annexed by the Romans during the reign of Emperor Trajan.

When the power of the Roman Empire faded, Romania, like other countries of Central and Southern Europe, was vandalized by various normandic tribes. Between 10th and 12th centuries it was ruled by the Hungarians. Then the Ottoman Turks in their westward push occupied Romania and retained it till 1541. In the year 1600, the three separate states of Moldavia, Walachia and Transylvania were briefly united under the reign of Michael the Brave. The next foreign rulers to conquer Romania were the Austrians, who held on till 1775, and in 1812 the Russians occupied it.

1848 was a year of revolutions in the history of Europe, and there was a great revolution for independence in Romania as well. In 1859, the modern nation state of Romania came into existence when the states of Moldavia and Walachia merged under the leadership of Alexander John Cuza.

Subsequently, Romania got independence in the year 1877. Romania joined the First World War in 1916 in favour of the Allies. At the end of the War, it was rewarded with the addition of Transylvania.

The end of the First World War signified great changes in Europe. The Russian and the Austro-Hungarian empires existed no more, and Romania gained the provinces of Bessarabia and Bucovina.

Romania joined the Axis powers in 1938 in the run up to the Second World War. In 1940, the king of Romania abdicated. The alliance with Germany ended in 1944, when the Russian Army took control of the country. When the War ended, Romania still had Transylvania, but portions of Bucovina, Bessarabia and Dobrogea were taken from it.

Though Romania became a part of the Soviet Bloc in the post war period, it still retained a degree of independence in its policies. When Nicolai Ceaucescu came to power in 1967, it seemed that dark ages had returned to haunt Romania. Romania was a socialist republic during his infamous regime, and all the negative experiences of a communist state seemed to converge on Romania. Widespread hunger and deprivation seemed to be the order of a day, even as his authoritarian rule clamped down on television and the freedom of expression. There was no freedom of worship either, and, in fact, many churches were pulled down.

The reign of Nicolai Ceaucescu finally came to an end after the mass upsurge in 1989. He was executed after a hurried trial together with his wife, Elena. As Romania limped towards a democratic set up and the market economy, a lot of hardships were inflicted on the common man. In fact, some people felt that even the communist rule was better than the chaos its removal resulted in.

Romania has become a democratic republic. Three presidents - Ion Iliescu, Emil Constantinescu and the present president, Trajan Basescu have governed the country from 1990 onwards. Romania became a member of NATO in 2004 and joined the European Union in 2007.

As you can see, Romania has a really eventful history. This brief overview will hopefully give you an insight into the background of Romanian society and culture.
About the Author
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