Friday, December 09, 2005

History of Romania

History of Romania. This is a short history of the European nation of Romania. The emphasis is on 20th Century political history.

Wikipedia notes, "Romania (formerly also spelled Rumania or Roumania; Romanian: România /ro.mɨ'ni.a/) is a country in Europe. It is bordered by Ukraine and Moldova in the northeast; Hungary in the west; Serbia and Bulgaria to the south along the Danube River. Romania has a stretch of sea coast on the Black Sea and the eastern and southern Carpathian mountains run through its centre. Romania has been a member of NATO since 2004, and is also an acceding country to the European Union. The EU Accession Treaty was signed in early 2005, and Romania is due to join the Union on January 1, 2007."

From the site:

From about 200 B.C., when it was settled by the Dacians, a Thracian tribe, Romania has been in the path of a series of migrations and conquests. Under the emperor Trajan early in the second century A.D., Dacia was incorporated into the Roman Empire, but was abandoned by a declining Rome less than two centuries later. Romania disappeared from recorded history for hundreds of years, to reemerge in the medieval period as the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Heavily taxed and badly administered under the Ottoman Empire, the two Principalities were unified under a single native prince in 1859, and had their full independence ratified in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. A German prince, Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was crowned first King of Romania in 1881.

The new state, squeezed between the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, looked to the West, particularly France, for its cultural, educational, and administrative models. Romania was an ally of the Entente and the U.S. in World War I, and was granted substantial territories with Romanian populations, notably Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina, after the war.

Most of Romania's pre-World War II governments maintained the forms, but not always the substance, of a liberal constitutional monarchy. The quasi-mystical fascist Iron Guard movement, exploiting nationalism, fear of communism, and resentment of alleged foreign and Jewish domination of the economy, was a key destabilizing factor, which led to the creation of a royal dictatorship in 1938 under King Carol II. In 1940, the authoritarian General Antonescu took control. Romania entered World War II on the side of the Axis Powers in June 1941, invading the Soviet Union to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina, which had been annexed in 1940.

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