History of Romania

History of Romania

This article provides only a brief outline of each period of the History of Romania; details are presented in separate articles (see the links in the box and below).


The territory of Romania has been inhabited by different groups of people since prehistory. One of the fossils found—a male, adult jawbone—has been dated to be between 34,000 and 36,000 years old, which would make it one of the oldest fossils found to date of modern humans in Europe.Jonathan Amos, [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3129654.stm "Human fossils set European record"] , "BBC News", 22 September, 2003] A skull found in "Peştera cu Oase" (The Cave with Bones) in 2004-5 bears features of both modern humans and Neanderthals. According to a paper by Erik Trinkaus and others, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January 2007, this finding suggests that the two groups interbred thousands of years ago. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the skull is between 35,000 and 40,000 years old, making it the oldest modern human fossil ever found in Europe. [http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0603/feature2/images/mp_download.2.pdf] [Tony Fitzpatrick, [http://record.wustl.edu/news/page/normal/2370.html "A jaw-some discovery: Earliest modern human fossils in Europe found in bear cave"] , "Record", Washington University in St. Louis, vol. 28, no. 8, October 3, 2003]

The oldest modern human remains in Europe were discovered in the "Cave With Bones" in present day Romania. []

In August 1944, Antonescu was toppled and arrested by King Michael I of Romania. Romania changed sides and joined the Allies, but its role in the defeat of Nazi Germany was not recognized by the Paris Peace Conference of 1947. [citeweb|url=http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/5/38D4D252-BE7E-4943-A6A9-4E3C1B32A05F.html|title=World War II – 60 Years After: Former Romanian Monarch Remembers Decision To Switch Sides|author=Eugen Tomiuc|date=May 6,2005|accessdate=2007-12-08] With the Red Army forces still stationed in the country and exerting "de facto" control, Communists and their allied parties claimed 80% of the vote, through a combination of vote manipulation, [ [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/rotoc.html#ro0037|Federal research Division, Library of Congress - Romania: Country studies - Chapter 1.7.1 "Petru Groza's Premiership"] ] elimination, and forced mergers of competing parties, thus establishing themselves as the dominant force. Romania suffered additional heavy casualties fighting the Nazi Army in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. By the end of the war, the Romanian army had suffered about 300,000 casualties. [ Michael Clodfelter. "Warfare and Armed Conflicts- A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500-2000. 2nd Ed. 2002, p. 582 " ISBN 0-7864-1204-6.]

The Paris Peace Treaty at the end of World War II rendered the Vienna Awards void: Northern Transylvania returned to Romania—having, for several years, an autonomous status that was eventually abolished—but Bessarabia, northern Bukovina and southern Dobruja were not recovered. The Moldavian SSR became independent of the Soviet Union only with the latter's 1991 demise, becoming the Republic of Moldova.

Communist period

; (1947–1989)In 1947, King Michael I was forced by the Communists to abdicate and leave the country, Romania was proclaimed a republic [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ro.html CIA - The World Factbook - Romania ] ] [ [http://www.ed-u.com/ro.html Romania - Country Background and Profile at ed-u.com - The Colossal Education Mega-Site - Click here ] ] , and remained under direct military and economic control of the USSR until the late 1950s. During this period, Romania's resources were drained by the "SovRom" agreements: mixed Soviet-Romanian companies established to mask the looting of Romania by the Soviet Union. [Citation|first=Carmen|last=Rîjnoveanu|title=Romania's Policy of Autonomy in the Context of the Sino-Soviet Conflict|year=2003|pages=1|publisher=Czech Republic Military History Institute, Militärgeschichtliches Forscheungamt|url=http://www.servicehistorique.sga.defense.gouv.fr/07autredossiers/groupetravailhistoiremilitaire/pdfs/2003-gthm.pdf] [Citation|last=Roper|first=Stephen D.|title=Romania: The Unfinished Revolution|place=London|publisher=Routledge|year=2000|isbn=9058230279|pages=18] [Citation|last=Cioroianu|first=Adrian|author-link=Adrian Cioroianu|title="On the Shoulders of Marx. An Incursion into the History of Romanian Communism"|language=Romanian|publisher=Editura Curtea Veche|year =2005|location=Bucharest|pages=68–73|isbn=9736691756]

Soviet occupation following World War II led to the formation of a communist People's Republic in 1947, and the abdication of King Michael, who went into exile. The leader of Romania from 1948 to his death in 1965 was Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, the First Secretary of the Romanian Workers' Party.

After the negotiated retreat of Soviet troops in 1958, Romania, under the new leadership of Nicolae Ceauşescu, started to pursue independent policies. Such examples are the condemnation of the Soviet-led 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia (being the only Warsaw Pact country not to take part in the invasion), the continuation of diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six-Day War of 1967 (again, the only Warsaw Pact country to do so), the establishment of economic (1963) and diplomatic (1967) relations with the Federal Republic of Germany, and so forth. [ [http://countrystudies.us/romania/75.htm "countrystudies.us - Romania: Soviet Union and Eastern Europe"] ] Also, close ties with the Arab countries (and the PLO) allowed Romania to play a key role in the Israel-Egypt and Israel-PLO peace processes by intermediating the visit of Sadat in Israel. [ [http://countrystudies.us/romania/80.htm "countrystudies.us: Middle East policies in Communist Romania"] ] A short-lived period of relative economic well-being and openness followed in the late 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s.Fact|date=November 2007 As Romania's foreign debt sharply increased between 1977 and 1981 (from 3 to 10 billion US dollars), [Citation|last=Deletant|first =Dennis|title=New Evidence on Romania and the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1989|publisher=Cold War International History Project e-Dossier Series|url =http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=topics.publications&doc_id=16367&group_id=13349] the influence of international financial organisations such as the IMF or the World Bank grew, conflicting with Nicolae Ceauşescu's autarchic policies. Ceauşescu eventually initiated a project of total reimbursement of the foreign debt (completed in 1989, shortly before his overthrow). To achieve this goal, he imposed policies that impoverished Romanians and exhausted the Romanian economy. He greatly extended the authority police state and imposed a cult of personality. These led to a dramatic decrease in Ceauşescu-popularity and culminated in his overthrow and execution in the bloody Romanian Revolution of 1989.

Seduced by Ceauşescu's "independent" foreign policy, Western leaders were slow to turn against a regime that, by the late 1970s, had become increasingly harsh, arbitrary, and capricious. Rapid economic growth fueled by foreign credits gradually gave way to wrenching austerity and severe political repression, which became increasingly draconian through the 1980s. During the 1947–1962 period, many people were arbitrarily killed or imprisoned for political, economic or unknown reasons: [ro iconCitation|last =Caraza|first =Grigore|title =Aiud însângerat|publisher =Editura Vremea XXI|year=2004|volume=Chapter IV|isbn=9736450503|url=http://www.procesulcomunismului.com/marturii/fonduri/gcaraza/aiud/docs/cap4.htm] detainees in prisons or camps, deported, persons under house arrest, and administrative detainees. There were hundreds of thousands of abuses, deaths and incidents of torture against a large range of people, from political opponents to ordinary citizens. [ Cicerone Ioniţoiu, Victimele terorii comuniste. Arestaţi, torturaţi, întemniţaţi, ucişi. Dicţionar. Editura Maşina de scris, Bucureşti, 2000. ISBN 973-99994-2-5.] Between 60,000 [citebook|publisher=S.R.I.|title="Cartea albă a Securităţii"|volume=2|year=1997] and 80,000 political prisoners were detained as psychiatric patients and treated in some of the most sadistic ways by doctors. [Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, "Speech at the Plenary session of the Central Committee of the Romanian Workers' Party", 30 November 1961] Even though between 1962 and 1964 some political prisoners were freed in a series of amnesties Fact|date=December 2007 it is estimated that, it total, two million people were direct victims of the communism repression. ["Recensământul populaţiei concentraţionare din România în anii 1945-1989" - report of the "Centrul Internaţional de Studii asupra Comunismului", Sighet, 2004] ["Raportul Comisiei Prezidenţiale pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din România" - report of the "Comisia Prezidenţială pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din România", 15 December 2006]

1989 Revolution

The Romanian Revolution of 1989 resulted in more than 1,000 deaths in Timişoara and Bucharest, and brought about the fall of Ceauşescu and the end of the Communist regime in Romania. After a weeklong state of unrest in Timişoara, a mass rally summoned in Bucharest in support of Ceauşescu on December 21, 1989 turned hostile. The Ceauşescu couple, fleeing Bucharest by helicopter, ended up in the custody of the army. After being tried and convicted by a kangaroo court for genocide and other crimes, they were executed on December 25, 1989. The events of this revolution remain to this day a matter of debate, with many conflicting theories as to the motivations and even actions of some of the main players.

Ion Iliescu, a former Communist Party official marginalized by Ceauşescu, attained national recognition as the leader of an impromptu governing coalition, the National Salvation Front (FSN) that proclaimed the restoration of democracy and civil liberties on December 22, 1989. The Communist Party was initially outlawed by Ion Iliescu, but he soon revoked that decision; as a consequence, Communism is not outlawed in Romania today. However, Ceauşescu's most unpopular measures, such as bans on abortion and contraception, were among the first laws to be changed after the Revolution, and their legality has not been questioned since then.

Transition to free market

;(1990-2004)After the fall of Ceauşescu, the National Salvation Front (FSN), led by Ion Iliescu, took partial multi-party democratic and free market measures. [cite web| last=Carothers| first= Thomas |title= Romania: The Political Background |url= http://www.idea.int/publications/country/upload/Romania,%20The%20Political%20Background.pdf |text= "This seven-year period can be characterized as a gradualistic, often ambiguous transition away from communist rule towards democracy."|format=PDF] [cite book| last=Hellman| first=Joel| title= Winners Take All: The Politics of Partial Reform in Postcommunist | Transitions World Politics - Volume 50, Number 2, January 1998, pp. 203-234] Several major political parties of the pre-war era, such as the National Christian Democrat Peasant's Party (PNŢCD), the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Romanian Social Democrat Party (PSDR) were resurrected. After several major political rallies (especially in January), in April 1990, a sit-in protest contesting the results of the recently held parliamentary elections began in University Square, Bucharest. The protesters accused the FSN of being made up of former Communists and members of the Securitate. The protesters did not recognize the results of the election, which they deemed undemocratic, and were asking for the exclusion from the political life of the former high-ranking Communist Party members. The protest rapidly grew to become an ongoing mass demonstration (known as the Golaniad). The peaceful demonstrations degenerated into violence. After the police failed to bring the demonstrators to order, Ion Iliescu called on the "men of good will" to come and defend the State institutions in Bucharest. [cite web| last=Bohlen | first=Celestine |title = Evolution in Europe; Romanian miners invade Bucharest|url= http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE6D6113DF936A25755C0A966958260|text= "Responding to an emergency appeal by President Ion Iliescu, thousands of miners from northern Romania descended on the capital city today"] [cite web| title= Romania, Human Rights Developments|url= http://www.hrw.org/reports/1990/WR90/HELSINKI.BOU-02.htm| text= "The most dramatic example was then President-elect Iliescu's call on June 13 for miners to come to Bucharest to restore order"] Coal miners of the Jiu Valley answered the call and arrived in Bucharest on June 14. Their violent intervention is remembered as the June 1990 Mineriad.

Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on May 20, 1990. Running against representatives of the re-established pre-war National Peasants' Party and National Liberal Party, and taking advantage of FSN's tight control of the national radio and television, Iliescu won 85% of the vote. The FSN secured two-thirds of the seats in Parliament. A university professor with strong family roots in the Communist Party, Petre Roman, was named prime minister of the new government, which consisted mainly of former communist officials. The government initiated modest free market reforms.

Because the majority of ministers in the Petre Roman government were ex-communists, anti-communist protesters initiated a round-the-clock anti-government demonstration in University Square, Bucharest in April 1990. Two months later, these protesters, whom the government referred to as "hooligans", were brutally dispersed by the miners from Jiu Valley, called in by President Iliescu; this event became known as the mineriad. The miners also attacked the headquarters and private residences of opposition leaders. Petre Roman's government fell in late September 1991, when the miners returned to Bucharest to demand higher salaries. A technocrat, Theodor Stolojan, was appointed to head an interim government until new elections could be held.

In December 1991, a new constitution was drafted and subsequently adopted, after a popular referendum, which, however, attracted criticism from international observers who accused the government of manipulating the population and even of outright fraud. (The constitution was most recently revised by a national referendum on October 18-19, 2003, again plagued by fraud accusations made by internal and international observers.) The new constitution, which took effect October 29, 2003, follows the structure of the Constitution of 1991, but makes significant revisions, among which the most significant are extension of the presidential mandate from four years to five, and the guaranteed protection of private property.

March 1992 marked the split of the FSN into two groups: the Democratic National Front (FDSN), led by Ion Iliescu and the Democratic Party (PD), led by Petre Roman. Iliescu won the presidential elections in September 1992 by a clear margin, and his FDSN won the general elections held at the same time. With parliamentary support from the nationalist PUNR (National Unity Party of Romanians), PRM (Great Romania Party), and the ex-communist PSM (Socialist Workers' Party), a new government was formed in November 1992 under Prime Minister Nicolae Văcăroiu, an economist and former Communist Party official. The FDSN changed its name to Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) in July 1993.

The subsequent disintegration of the FSN produced several political parties including the Romanian Democrat Social Party (PDSR, later Social Democratic Party, PSD), the Democratic Party (PD) and the ApR (Alliance for Romania). The PDSR party governed Romania from 1990 until 1996 through several coalitions and governments with Ion Iliescu as head of state. Since then there have been three democratic changes of government: in 1996, the democratic-liberal opposition and its leader Emil Constantinescu acceded to power; in 2000 the Social Democrats returned to power, with Iliescu once again president; and in 2004 Traian Băsescu was elected president, with an electoral coalition called Justice and Truth Alliance (DA). The government was formed by a larger coalition which also includes the Conservative Party and the ethnic Hungarian party.

Emil Constantinescu of the Democratic Convention (CDR) emerged as the winner of the second round of the 1996 presidential elections and replaced Iliescu as chief of state. The PDSR won the largest number of seats in Parliament, but was unable to form a viable coalition. Constituent parties of the CDR joined the Democratic Party (PD), the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) to form a centrist coalition government, holding 60% of the seats in Parliament. This coalition of sorts frequently struggled for survival, as decisions were often delayed by long periods of negotiations among the involved parties. Nevertheless, this coalition was able to implement several critical reforms. The new coalition government, under prime minister Victor Ciorbea remained in office until March 1998, when Radu Vasile (PNŢCD) took over as prime minister. The former governor of the National Bank, Mugur Isărescu, eventually replaced Radu Vasile as head of the government.

The 2000 elections, brought Iliescu's PDSR back to power. The party, now renamed the Social Democratic Party (PSD), was led largely by former Communist officials. Iliescu won a third term as the country's president. Adrian Năstase became the prime minister of the newly formed government. His rule was shaken by recurring allegations of corruption.

European Union membership

;(2004-present)Presidential and parliamentary elections took place again on November 28, 2004. No political party was able to secure a viable parliamentary majority, amidst accusations from international observers and opposition parties alike that the PSD had committed large-scale electoral fraud. There was no winner in the first round of the presidential elections. The joint PNL-PD candidate, Traian Băsescu, won the second round on December 12, 2004 with 51% of the vote and thus became the third post-revolutionary president of Romania.

The PNL leader, Călin Popescu Tăriceanu was assigned the difficult task of building a coalition government without including the PSD. In December 2004, the new coalition government (PD, PNL, PUR Romanian Humanist Party - which eventually changed its name to Romanian Conservative Party and UDMR), was sworn in under Prime Minister Tăriceanu.

Post-Cold War Romania developed closer ties with Western Europe, eventually joining NATO in 2004. [Citation|title =NATO update: NATO welcomes seven new members|url =http://www.nato.int/docu/update/2004/04-april/e0402a.htm] The country applied in June 1993 for membership in the European Union (EU). It became an Associated State of the EU in 1995, an Acceding Country in 2004, and a member on January 1, 2007. [Citation|title=BBC News: EU approves Bulgaria and Romania|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/5380024.stm]

Following the free travel agreement and politic of the post-Cold War period, as well as hardship of the life in the post 1990s economic depression, Romania has an increasingly large diaspora, estimated at over 2 million people.Fact|date=January 2008 The main emigration targets are Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, UK, Canada and the USA.

Romania joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organizaion in 2004, and the European Union, alongside Bulgaria, on January 1, 2007.

In April 2008, Bucharest hosted the NATO summit.

Romanian rulers

*List of Wallachian rulers (up to 1859)
*List of Moldavian rulers (up to 1859)
*List of Transylvanian rulers (up to 1867)
*Kings of Romania (1881 - 1947)
*Presidents of Romania (since 1947)
*Prime ministers of Romania (since 1862)

ee also

* Military history of Romania
* History of the Balkans
* History of Europe


External links

* [http://domino.kappa.ro/guvern/istoria-e.html Illustrated History of Romanians]
* [http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Romania.htm World Statesmen: Romania] , including a timeline, a comprehensive history of the Romanian flag; a listing of princes, monarchs, prime ministers; etc.

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