Foundation of Wallachia

The foundation of Wallachia (Romanian: Descălecatul Țării Românești), that is the establishment of the first independent Romanian principality, was achieved at the beginning of the 14th century, through the unification of smaller political units that had existed between the Carpathian Mountains, and the Rivers Danube, Siret and Milcov.[1][2][3]

Prior to the consolidation of Wallachia, waves of nomadic peoples – the last of them being the Cumans and the Mongols – rode across the territory.[4][5] The territory became a frontier area between the Golden Horde (the westernmost part of the Mongol Empire) and the Kingdom of Hungary after 1242.[6] The Romanians in Muntenia, east of the Olt River, had to pay tribute to the Mongols; and west of the river, in Oltenia, they were oppressed by the Bans of Severin, appointed by the Kings of Hungary.[7] The Golden Horde's domination decreased in the region at the end of the 13th century, and at that time the Kingdom of Hungary also underwent a strong political crisis.[8] These events enabled the incipient states of the territory to consolidate their autonomy.[8]

One Romanian tradition records that Wallachia was founded when a certain Radu Negru (‘Radu the Black’) arrived from the Făgăraș region in the 1290s after crossing the Transylvanian Alps with "a great many following him".[5][9] Jean W.Sedlar wrote that "more credible" is the report that some Romanian lords in the Olt and Argeș valleys chose as leader one of their number, a certain Basarab.[5]

It was Voivode Basarab I (c. 1310–1352) who broke off with the Kingdom of Hungary and refused to accept the king's suzerainty.[1] Basarab I received international support and the recognition of the autonomy of Wallachia due to his great military victory over King Charles I of Hungary (1301–1342) at Posada on November 12, 1330.[1][10] The Metropolitan See of Wallachia, directly subordinated to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, was set up during the reign of Basarab I's son, Nicolae Alexandru (1352–1364).[11][12] The first silver and bronze coins were minted in Wallachia in 1365.[13]

Last centuries of the Early Middle Ages

Among the oldest attestations of the countries of the Vlachs (early Romanians) on the left side of the Danube, there is a quotation of a passage from an Armenian book of geography.[14] The passage represents an interpolation, probably from the first centuries of the second millennium, which refers to an "unknown country called Balak", situated in the neighborhood of the "Sarmatians’ country" and of "Zagura" (Bulgaria).[15] Another 11th-century reference to the Vlachs’ country appears to be the section of the ancient Turkic chronicle Oghuzname ('Oghuz Khan's Tale'), preserved in a 17th-century text, which narrates the battles of the Cumans against several peoples, including the Vlachs (Ulak).[16][17]

The Cumans, a Turkic tribe approached the Danube Delta shortly after 1064–1065, and from 1068 the entire territory between the Aral Sea and the lower Danube were controlled by them.[18] But this vast territory was never politically united by a strong central power.[19] The different Cuman groups were under independent rulers or khans who meddled in the political life of the surrounding areas, such as the Rus’ principalities and the Byzantine Empire.[19] In attacking the Byzantine Empire, the Cumans were also assisted by the Vlachs living in the Balkan Mountains (now in Bulgaria) who showed them the mountain paths where no imperial guard was set up.[20]

In 1185, the Balkan Vlachs, together with the Bulgarians, rose up in arms against the Byzantine Empire.[21] They created, with the help of the Cumans and the Vlachs living on the left bank of the Danube, a new state, the Second Bulgarian Empire between the Balkan Mountains and the Danube (to the south of the future Wallachia).[21] The new state was called '"Bulgaria and Vlachia" in Western sources.[22] For example, in 1204 the pope elevated the head of the Bulgarian church to the rank of "primas" (primate) "of all Bulgaria and Vlachia".[23] "Vlachia" as an exonym for northern Bulgaria only disappeared from the sources after the middle of the 13th century.[24]

In 1211, King Andrew II of Hungary (1205–1235) settled the Teutonic Knights in the region of Brașov in order to put an end to the frequent incursions of the Cumans into Transylvania.[25][26] The knights were given all the territory they could conquer beyond the Carpathian Mountains as a fief to be held from the king of Hungary.[27] According to a royal charter of 1222, the knights’ military power stretched across the Carpathians all the way to the Danube.[28] That the Teutonic Knights won several victories "beyond the snowy mountains" (ultra montes nivium), that is to the south and to the east of the Carpathians, is also confirmed by papal letters.[28] However, the Teutonic Knights were forced out of the territory in 1225 by King Andrew II, who claimed that they had ignored his authority.[29]

The Mongols entered Europe in 1223 when they defeated a joint Rus’-Cuman army at the river Kalka (now in Ukraine).[30] Some Cuman groups, after their defeat of the Mongols, become willing to adopt Christianity.[31][32] As early as 1227, one of the Cuman chieftains, Boricius subjected himself and his people to the future King Béla IV of Hungary, converted to Christianity and agreed to pay an annual tax and the tithe.[31][33] The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cumania, located in northeastern Wallachia and southwestern Moldavia, was established in 1228.[34] A significant presence of the Vlachs within the newly established bishopric is documented in the correspondence between the Hungarian crown prince and Pope Gregory IX (1227–1241), as the pope complained about Orthodox prelates active among the local Vlachs.[35]

Mongol warrior of Genghis Khan
Mongol warrior on horseback, preparing a mounted archery shot.

The Diocese of Cumania was de jure a part of the Kingdom of Hungary, and King Andrew II adopted the title of "king of Cumania" in 1233.[27][36] There can be no doubt that the king also placed garrisons at key points on the southern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains in northeastern Wallachia.[36][37] But the military outposts in the region of the bishopric are only first mentioned in relation to the Mongol invasion of 1241 by Roger of Torre Maggiore.[36]

In parallel with the emergence of the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary also persuaded an active expansionist policy in the Balkan Peninsula from the end of the 12th century.[38] To that end, Oltenia was put under the control of a Hungarian governor, who received the title of ban.[31][39][40] The centre of the new province (the Banate of Severin) was Fort Severin (now Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Romania), on the Danube, in the vicinity of the Iron Gates.[7] Its first ban, Luke, was mentioned in 1233.[40]

In 1236 a large Mongol army was collected under the supreme leadership of Batu Khan and set forth to the west, in one of the greatest invasions in world's history.[41][42] The Mongols’ most devastating attacks against the western territories of the Desht-i Quipchaq (‘the steppe of the Cumans’) took place in 1237–1238.[41][43] The development of the battles was not recorded in the sources, but the Cuman's subsequent migration to Hungary, Bulgaria and other neighboring territories is eloquent enough.[44] Although some Cuman groups survived the Mongol invasion,the Cuman aristocracy was slain.[45] The steppes of eastern Europe were conquered by Batu Khan's army and became parts of the Golden Horde.[44]

But the Mongols left no garrisons or military detachments in the lower Danube region and did not take direct political control of it.[46] Although theoretically part of the Golden Horde, the steppe corridor between the Dnieper River and the lower Danube was only a "region of hegemony", not of direct control.[46]

Earliest voivodates in medieval documents

After the Mongol invasion, a great many (if not most) of the Cuman population left the Wallachian Plain, but the Vlach (Romanian) population remained there under the leadership of their local chiefs, called knezes and voivodes.[47] In 1247, King Béla IV tried to bring the Knights Hospitallers to the region and granted to them a number of territories in the "land of Severin".[48][49] The knights’ mission, however, proved to be a total failure (there is even no report whether they occupied their posts), but the royal charter for the knights, dated June 2, 1247, lists four autonomous territorial-administrative units (kenezates) in Oltenia and western Muntenia.[50]

Two of them, the kenezates of Johannes and Farcaş were given to the Knights Hospitallers.[49][50] But the kenezates under Litovoi and Seneslau were exempted from the grant, and the royal charter expressly stipulated that they were to be left "to the Vlachs as they had owned it until now".[49] On the other hand, the royal charter also describes that Voivode Litovoi's rule had extended on the northern side of the Transylvanian Alps into the Hunedoara region, but the king removed this territory from Litovoi's authority in 1247; thenceforward Litovoi's kenezate was restricted to the Oltenian part of the Jiu valley.[48][51] Voivode Seneslau held the territories of central and southern Muntenia on the banks of the rivers Argeș and Dâmbovița.[48][52]

After the failure and disappearance of the Hospitallers, the history of the region is shrouded in obscurity for decades.[50] But the trend toward the unification of the Romanian polities seems to begin with Voivode Litovoi.[2] He (or his namesake son) was at war with the Hungarians and killed in battle sometime between 1270 and 1280.[2][48] In the battle, his brother, Bărbat was captured.[2] Bărbat was forced not only to pay ransom but also to recognize Hungarian rule.[2]

'Dismounting' by Radu Negru

Romanian chronicles written in the 17th century narrate that a herțeg or duke of Făgăraș and Almaș, named Radu Negru (‘Radu the Black’) or Negru Vodă (‘The Black Voivode’) was the first voivode of Wallachia.[1][9][53] These texts state that Radu Negru, together with some colonists ("Romanians, Catholics and Saxons") arrived from the region of Făgăraş in Transylvania.[54] The first documentary evidence for a terra Blacorum (‘land of the Vlachs’) on the territory later called Făgăraș is an early 13th-century property register which mentions the order of King Andrew II of Hungary that estates previously in Vlach hands be transferred to the Cistercian abbey at Cârța.[55][56] Radu Negru and his followers crossed the Carpathians to Muntenia and founded Wallachia with its capitals in Câmpulung and Curtea de Argeș.[9][54] The chronicles narrate these events under the year 1290 or 1292.[9]

The Romanian term for the "founding" (descălecat, literally ‘dismounting’) refers to this alleged settling in Wallachia.[57] But the word's exact meaning is debated, since there had been Romanians living in Wallachia before Radu Negru's arrival; thus the term likely refers simply to the unification of the lands under one ruler.[57] Moreover, this account of Radu Negru's ‘dismounting’ may merely be a legend subsequently invented to parallel the circumstances by which Moldavia, the other Romanian principality was founded according to the earliest chronicles.[5][58]

The origin of Oltenia is given by some of the chronicles differently: according to these chronicles Oltenia was colonized by Romanians from Turnu Severin, who founded two other capitals, at Strehaia and Craiova.[59] After the arrival of Radu Negru and his descălecat, these Romanians swore allegiance to him.[59]

Radu Negru's personality is surrounded by legend; no details about him can be proved by other historical sources.[1][60] Some chronicles identify him with the founder of various churches, such as the monastery at Curtea de Argeș, but they mistake him for later voivodes of Wallachia, such as Radu I (c. 1377–c. 1383) and Neagoe Basarab (1512–1521).[53][61]

Due to lack of any actual contemporary evidence, the Roman historian Nicolae Iorga doubted the existence of such a voivode, considering that 'Negru Vodă' is simply a nickname that could have been given to Basarab I, the real founder of Wallachia.[60] Other view is represented by Neagu Djuvara who identifies Negru Vodă with Thocomerius, Basarab's father, explaining his nickname by his alleged Cuman descent: he appeared to have a dark skin color for the Romanians.[62] In an interview, historian Ioan-Aurel Pop stated, Djuvara "is not a specialist in the field of medieval history" and his "Cumanian theory" is questionable.[63]

The legendary traditions may also be in connection with the establishment of a trans-Carpathian frontier mark by the Hungarian monarchy, with its capital at Câmpulung, probably in the last decade of the 13th century.[8] A tomb stone belonging to one of the leaders of this formation, Count Lawrence of Câmpulung (comes Laurentius de Longo Campo), dating from the year 1300, may provide a solid chronological reference point.[8] On the other hand, comes Laurentius may have been a one-time leader of the Saxon community in Câmpulung.[64]

Cetatea Fagaras by night
Făgăraș Castle (Hungarian: Fogaras, German: Fogarasch)
The Princely Church
The Princely Church in Curtea de Argeş

History of Wallachia from the time when the Orthodox Christians dismounted there

But earlier the Romanians arrived who had separated from the Romans and wandered to the north. Having crossed the waters of the Danube, they dismounted at Turnu Severin, others in Hungary, by the waters of the Olt, by the waters of the Mureș and by the waters of the Tisa, reaching as far as Maramureș. Those who had dismounted at Turnu Severin spread all along the foot of the mountains towards the waters of the Olt; others went downward all along the Danube. Having this way all the places been filled with them, they arrived as far as the outskirts of Nicopolis. Then the boyars, who are of noble families, gathered. In order to have their own leaders (that is great bans), a family, named Basarab, was appointed to the banship. The first seat was decided to be at Turnu Severin, the second seat to be set up farther, at Strehaia, and the third seat to be set up even farther, at Craiova; and it happened like that. Much time went by and they were governing that region.

In 6798 AM, there was a voievode in Hungary, called Voievod Radu the Black, great duke of Almaș and Făgăraș. He set out from there, together with his whole household and with many other people, Romanians, papists, Saxons, and all kind of men. They descended towards the waters of Dâmbovița, starting this way to establish a new country. First they founded the town called Câmpulung where a large, beautiful and lofty church was built. Afterwards, they settled at Argeş where another large town was founded. By building stone castles, princely houses and a large and beautiful church, the prince's seat was also established there. Some of the people, who had come down together with him, went farther along the foothills as far as the waters of the Siret and towards Brăila. Others went downward establishing towns and villages, and they reached all the places as far as the banks of the Danube and all along the Olt.

— Cantacuzino Chronicle[65]

In 6798 AM, there was a voievode called Voievod Radu the Black, who had his seat at Făgăraș from the fathers and forefathers of the Romanians who had come from Rome, in the days of Emperor Trajan decided to move his seat on the other side [of the Carpathians] – Chronicle of Radu Popescu (Cronica Balenilor)[66]

Basarab I the Founder

Basarab was the son of Thocomerius whose status cannot be specified.[8] There is no direct clue in the sources to the date when Basarab took the office of voivode.[67] But Ioannes Kantakouzenos in his History narrates that in 1323 Basarab's armies joined in the fighting between Bulgaria and Byzantium and supported Tzar Michael Šišman of Bulgaria (1323–1330) against the Byzantines.[2][68] In a diploma, dated July 26, 1324, King Charles I of Hungary refers to Basarab as "our voivode of Wallachia" (woiuodam nostrum Transalpinum) which indicates that at that time Basarab was a vassal of the king of Hungary.[67]

In short time, however, Basarab refused to accept the suzerainty of the king, for neither Basarab's growing power nor the active foreign policy he was conducting on his own account to the south could be acceptable in Hungary.[1][2] In a new diploma, dated June 18, 1325, King Charles I mentions him as "Basarab of Wallachia, unfaithful to the king's Holy Crown" (Bazarab Transalpinum regie corone infidelem).[68]

Hoping to punish Basarab, King Charles I mounted a military campaign against him in 1330.[1] The king marched to Severin and took it from Basarab.[69] The voivode asked for a truce, offering to refund 7,000 silver marks for the costs of the army, and showed himself ready to continue paying tribute to the king and send his son as a hostage to the royal court.[1][69] But the king refused and advanced with his host into Wallachia where everything seemed to have been laid waste.[11]

Unable to subdue Basarab, the king ordered the retreat through the mountains.[11] But in a long and narrow valley, the Hungarian army was attacked by the Romanians, who had taken up positions on the heights.[11] The battle, called the Battle of Posada, lasted for four days (November 9–12, 1330) and was a disaster for the Hungarians whose defeat was devastating.[11] The king was only able to escape with his life by exchanging his royal coat of arms with one of his retainers.[69]

The Battle of Posada was a turning point in Hungarian-Wallachian relations: though in the course of the 14th century, the kings of Hungary still tried to regulate the voivodes of Wallachia more than one time, but they could only succeed temporarily.[69] Thus Basarab's victory irretrievably opened the way to independence for the Principality of Wallachia.[69]

Aftermath of the Battle of Posada

The international prestige of Wallachia increased considerably after Basarab's victory over King Charles I.[11] Only a few months after his great victory, in February 1331, Basarab contributed to the establishment of his son-in-law, Ivan Alexander (1331–1371) on the throne of the tzars of Bulgaria in Tarnovo.[70]

Armoiries Wallaquie XIV
14th century coat of arms of Wallachia, used during the rule of the Basarab royal dynasty.

As a way of solemnizing his secession from the Kingdom of Hungary, Basarab's son, Nicolae Alexandru also sought Byzantine approval for the creation of an Orthodox see for his territories.[71] In 1359 Byzantium acceded to his request that the displaced metropolitan of Vicina, Hyakinthos – whom Nicolae Alexander had been hosting at his court for some time – should become the "legitimate pastor of all Oungrovlachia for the blessing and spiritual direction of himself, his children and all his lordship".[71] At the same time, Byzantium also agreed to the creation of a metropolitan see, after Hyakinthos’ death, for "all Oungrovlachia".[71]

The new state was denoted as Oungrovlachia (Οὐγγροβλαχία) in Byzantine sources which reflects that it bordered on the Kingdom of Hungary.[72] This name is first encountered in a Greek diploma issued by the synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1370.[71][72] In the diploma, the ruler of Wallachia, Nicolae Alexandru is styled "great voivode and master of all Oungrovlachia".[71][72]

Latin documents used the term Wallachia or Wallachia maior (‘Greater Wallachia’) for Muntenia (which first appeared in 1373), and Wallachia minor (‘Lesser Wallachia’) for Oltenia (first recorded in 1377).[72] The new country was identified as terra transalpina (‘land beyond the mountains’) or partes transalpinae (‘parts beyond the mountains’) in documents issued by the Royal Chancellery of Hungary in the entire 14th century.[73][74] The terminology of the Hungarian chancellery was also used in the Latin documents of the Wallachian voivodes.[74]

The Romanian rulers chose the Byzantine model of government, and Wallachia was from the start an absolute monarchy.[75] The princes' absolute power was held to be divinely ordained.[76] Their correspondence and records used the expression "By the Grace of God" from the 14th century.[76] Wallachian sovereigns were host commanders and supreme judges, they patronized the church and made decisions that became laws.[77] In theory, the voivodes were considered proprietors of all the lands in the country, but in fact they were devoid of extensive personal land holdings.[77][78]

The monarchy was also dynastic: the princes were to be elected by boyars from among the members of the ruling family, the Basarabs.[76] The boyars were the members of the privileged landed aristocracy.[79] However, the origin of the Romanian boyar class is problematic: it may have evolved naturally from the heads of the Vlach villages and communities, but it is also possible that the princes created it by granting privileges to certain favored persons.[80]

Multiple vassalage became an important aspect of Romanian diplomacy after the Christian Balkan states (Bulgaria, Serbia) one by one fell to the Ottoman Empire in the course the second half of the 14th century.[81] For example, Mircea the Elder (1386–1418) accepted the suzerainty of Poland in 1387 and that of Hungary in 1395, and Wallachia was paying tribute to the Ottoman Empire from 1417.[82][83] When accepting Hungarian suzerainty, the princes of Wallachia usually also received the district of Făgăraş in Transylvania from the Hungarian monarchs, for example in 1366 King Louis I of Hungary (1342–1382) granted the region to Prince Vladislav I of Wallachia (1364–1377), with the title of duke, and Prince Mircea the Elder received it from King Sigismund (1387–1437).[83][84][85]

During the reign of Mircea the Elder, Dobruja also became part of Wallachia before it was annexed to the Ottoman Empire.[83]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Pop 1999, p. 45.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Georgescu 1991, p. 17.
  3. ^ Treptow, Popa 1996, p. 218.
  4. ^ Pop 1999, p. 30.
  5. ^ a b c d Sedlar 1994, p. 24.
  6. ^ Vásáry 2005, pp. 144, 148.
  7. ^ a b Vásáry 2005, p. 148.
  8. ^ a b c d e Sălăgean 2006, p. 193.
  9. ^ a b c d Rădvan 2009, p. 48.
  10. ^ Engel 2001, p. 434.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Pop 1999, p. 46.
  12. ^ Georgescu 1991, p. 33.
  13. ^ Georgescu 1991, p. 27.
  14. ^ Spinei 2009, p. 50.
  15. ^ Spinei 2009, pp. 50–51.
  16. ^ Spinei 2009, p. 81.
  17. ^ Curta 2006, p. 306.
  18. ^ Spinei 2009, pp. 114., 116–117.
  19. ^ a b Vásáry 2005, p. 7.
  20. ^ Vásáry 2005, p. 21.
  21. ^ a b Pop 1999, p. 40.
  22. ^ Vásáry 2005, pp. 29–30.
  23. ^ Dimitrov 2007, p. 52.
  24. ^ Vásáry 2005, p. 31.
  25. ^ Engel 2001, pp. 90., 431.
  26. ^ Spinei 2009, p. 146.
  27. ^ a b Engel 2001, p. 90.
  28. ^ a b Spinei 2005, p. 417.
  29. ^ Spinei 2005, p. 418.
  30. ^ Korobeinikov 2005, p. 388.
  31. ^ a b c Engel 2001, p. 95.
  32. ^ Spinei 2005, p. 427.
  33. ^ Spinei 2005, p. 423.
  34. ^ Spinei 2005, pp. 426., 436
  35. ^ Curta 2006, p. 352.
  36. ^ a b c Spinei 2005, p. 432.
  37. ^ Vásáry 2005, p. 138.
  38. ^ Vásáry 2005, p. 136.
  39. ^ Spinei 2005, p. 421.
  40. ^ a b Vásáry 2005, p. 146.
  41. ^ a b Korobeinikov 2005, p. 390.
  42. ^ Spinei 2009, p. 166.
  43. ^ Spinei 2009, p. 38.
  44. ^ a b Spinei 2009, p. 167.
  45. ^ Korobeinikov 2005, p. 406.
  46. ^ a b Curta 2006, p. 413.
  47. ^ Vásáry 2005, p. 144.
  48. ^ a b c d Pop 1999, p. 44.
  49. ^ a b c Curta 2006, p. 407.
  50. ^ a b c Vásáry 2005, p. 147.
  51. ^ Curta 2006, pp. 407–408.
  52. ^ Georgescu 1991, p. 16.
  53. ^ a b Brătianu 1980, p. 87.
  54. ^ a b Brătianu 1980, pp. 93., 102.
  55. ^ Curta 2006, p. 354.
  56. ^ Engel 2001, p. 119.
  57. ^ a b Brătianu 1980, p. 93.
  58. ^ Treptow, Popa 1996, p. 135.
  59. ^ a b Brătianu 1980, pp. 102–103.
  60. ^ a b Brătianu 1980, p. 90.
  61. ^ Treptow, Popa 1996, pp. xvii–xviii.
  62. ^ Djuvara 2007
  63. ^ Pop, Florina (29 August 2015). "Ioan Aurel Pop despre "Prințul Negru" de la Curtea de Argeș: "Numele nu garantează etnia nimănui" [Ioan Aurel Pop on the "Black Prince" of Curtea de Argeș: "The name does not guarantee someone's ethnicity"]". (in Romanian). Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  64. ^ Rădvan 2009, p. 50.
  65. ^ Stoica Ludescu (?). "Istoria Țării Rumînești de cînd au descălecat pravoslavnicii creștini (History of Wallachia from the time when the Orthodox Christians dismounted there)". Letopisețul Cantacuzinesc. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
  66. ^ Popescu 1975, p. 13
  67. ^ a b Vásáry 2005, p. 149.
  68. ^ a b Vásáry 2005, p. 150.
  69. ^ a b c d e Vásáry 2005, p. 154.
  70. ^ Sălăgean 2006, p. 195.
  71. ^ a b c d e Angold 2006, p. 26.
  72. ^ a b c d Vásáry 2005, p. 142.
  73. ^ Rădvan 2009, p. 47.
  74. ^ a b Vásáry 2005, p. 143.
  75. ^ Georgescu 1991, pp. 33–34.
  76. ^ a b c Georgescu 1991, p. 34.
  77. ^ a b Pop 1999, p. 51.
  78. ^ Sedlar 1994, p. 260.
  79. ^ Treptow, Popa 1996, p. 46.
  80. ^ Sedlar 1994, p. 59.
  81. ^ Georgescu 1991, p. 47.
  82. ^ Georgescu 1991, p. 48.
  83. ^ a b c Treptow, Popa 1996, p. 89.
  84. ^ Treptow, Popa 1996, p. xvii.
  85. ^ Engel 2001, pp. 165, 232., 442.


  • Angold, Michael (2006). Eastern Christianity (The Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 5.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-81113-2.
  • Brătianu, Gheorghe I. (1980). Tradiția istorică despre întemeierea statelor românești (The Historical Tradition of the Foundation of the Romanian States). Editura Eminescu.
  • Curta, Florin (2006). Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500–1250. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-89452-4.
  • Dimitrov, Ivan Zhelev (2007). Bulgarian Christianity. In: Parry, Ken (2007); The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity; Blackwell Publishing; ISBN 978-0-631-23423-4.
  • Djuvara, Neagu (2007). Thocomerius – Negru Vodă. Un voivod de origine cumană la începuturile Țării Românești (Thocomerius – Negru Vodă: A Voivode of Cuman Origin at the Origins of Wallachia). Humanitas.
  • Engel, Pál (2001). The Realm of St Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 895–1526. I.B. Tauris Publishers. ISBN 1-86064-061-3.
  • Georgescu, Vlad (1991). The Romanians: A History. Ohio State University Press. ISBN 0-8142-0511-9.
  • Gjuzelev, Vassil (1981). Fontes Latini Historiae Bulgaricae, IV. In aedibus Academiae litterarum Bulgaricae, Serdicae (Latin Sources for the History of Bulgaria, IV, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia).
  • Korobeinikov, Dimitri (2005). A Broken Mirror: The Kipçak World in the Thirteenth Century. In: Curta, Florin (2005); East Central and Eastern Europe in the Early Middle Ages; The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-11498-6.
  • Pop, Ioan Aurel (1999). Romanians and Romania: A Brief History. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-88033-440-1.
  • Popescu, Petru Demetru. Basarab I, Ed. Militară, București, 1975.
  • Примов, Боян (1965). Създаването на Втората българска държава и участието на власите. In: Българо-румънски връзки и отношения през вековете. Изследвания, т. І (ХІІ-ХІХ в.) [=Primov, Boyan (1965). The creation of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom and the participation of Vlachs. In: Bulgarian-Romanian relations and dealings over the centuries, vol. I (13th-19th centuries)]
  • Rădvan, Laurenţiu (2009). Considerations Regarding the Urbanization Process in Wallachia (13th–15th Centuries). In: Medieval and Early Modern Studies for Central and Eastern Europe I. (2009), No. 1-4; "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University Press.
  • Sălăgean, Tudor (2006): Romanian Society in the Early Middle Ages (9th–14th Centuries). In: Pop, Ioan-Aurel; Bolovan, Ioan (2005); History of Romania: Compendium; Romanian Cultural Institute (Center for Transylvanian Studies). ISBN 978-973-7784-12-4.
  • Sedlar, Jean W. (1994). East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000–1500. University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-97290-4.
  • Spinei, Victor (2005). The Cuman Bishopric: Genesis and Evolution. In: Curta, Florin (2005); East Central and Eastern Europe in the Early Middle Ages; The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-11498-6.
  • Spinei, Victor (2009). The Romanians and the Turkic Nomads North of the Danube Delta from the Tenth to the Mid-Thirteenth Century. Koninklijke Brill NV. ISBN 978-90-04-17536-5.
  • Treptow, Kurt W.; Popa, Marcel (1996). Historical Dictionary of Romania. The Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 0-8108-3179-1.
  • Vásáry, István (2005). Cumans and Tatars: Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185–1365. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83756-1.

Further reading

  • Castellan, Georges (1989). A History of the Romanians. East European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-154-2
  • Durandin, Catherine (1995). Historie des Roumains (The History of the Romanians). Librairie Artheme Fayard. ISBN 978-2-213-59425-5.
  • Klepper, Nicolae (2005). Romania: An Illustrated History. Hippocrene Books, Inc. ISBN 0-7818-0935-5.
  • Коледаров, Петър (1989). Политическа география на средновековната българска държава, Втора част (1186–1396) [=Koledarov, Petar. Political Geography of the Medieval Bulgarian State, Part II: 1186–1396]. БАН
  • Петров, Петър (1985). Възстановяване на българската държава, 1185–1197 [=Petrov, Petar. Restoration of the Bulgarian State: 1185–1197].
  • Treptow, Kurt W.; Bolovan, Ioan (1996). A History of Romania. East European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-345-6.

External links

1918 Romanian National Assembly election

Elections for 680 of the 1,228 delegates to the National Assembly of Romanians of Transylvania and Hungary took place in Transylvania and neighbouring regions of the Hungarian Democratic Republic inhabited by Romanians between November 20 and December 1, 1918. Called by the Central Romanian National Council, the elections were open exclusively to ethnic Romanians, with women excluded from the process in most of the places. Voting procedure was highly irregular, ranging from universal vote direct vote to indirect elections and even acclamation by local self-proclaimed "Romanian national councils".


Bărbat was the brother and successor of voivode Litovoi whose territory had comprised northern Oltenia (Romania).In 1277 (or between 1277 and 1280), Litovoi renounced fealty to king Ladislaus IV of Hungary (1272–1290) when the king claimed lands for the crown, but Litovoi refused to pay tribute for them. King Ladislaus IV dispatched a punitive force, and Litovoi was killed during the battle against the Hungarian army. Bărbat was taken prisoner and sent to the royal court where he was forced not only to pay ransom but also to recognize Hungarian rule. After Bărbat accepted Hungarian suzerainty under the duress of circumstances, he returned to his country.All these events are recounted in the king’s letter of grant of 8 January 1285, in which king Ladislaus IV donated villages in Sáros County (today in Slovakia) to Master George, son of Simon, who had been sent against Litovoi.


Crișana (Hungarian: Körösvidék, German: Kreischgebiet) is a geographical and historical region in north-western Romania, named after the Criș (Körös) River and its three tributaries: the Crișul Alb, Crișul Negru, and Crișul Repede. In Romania, the term is sometimes extended to included areas beyond the border, in Hungary; in this interpretation, the region is bounded to the east by the Apuseni Mountains, to the south by the Mureș River, to the north by the Someș River, and to the west by the Tisza River, the Romanian-Hungarian border cutting it in two. However, in Hungary, the area between the Tisza River and the Romanian border is usually known as Tiszántúl.


Farcaş, also Farkas, Farkaş or Farcas, was a cneaz (local chieftain or ruler) mentioned in a diploma issued by king Béla IV of Hungary (1235–1270) on 2 July 1247; the diploma granted territories to the Knights Hospitaller in the Banate of Severin and Cumania. Farcaş held a kenazate which was given to the knights by the king. His kenazate lay in the northeast of modern Oltenia (in Romania).The diploma of Béla IV also refers to the kenazates of John and voivode Litovoi and to voivode Seneslau. Seneslau and Litovoi are expressly said to be Vlachs (Olati) in the king's diploma.Farcaş (Farkas) is a typical Hungarian name meaning ‘wolf’. The Romanian historian Ioan Aurel Pop suggests that his name is mentioned in Hungarian translation in the diploma, and Farcaş's kenazate was one of the incipient Romanian states south of the Carpathian Mountains.According to the Hungarian historian István Vásáry, Farcaş was either Hungarian or Romanian with Hungarian name, but the latter supposition is less probable, since Lupu, the Romanian equivalent of Hungarian Farkas, was used by the Romanians.László Makkai proposes that the name of Vâlcea County could indicate the land of Farcaş (Slavic vlk (‘wolf’) > Vâlcea).

Founding of Moldavia

The founding of Moldavia began with the arrival of a Vlach (Romanian) voivode (military leader), Dragoș, soon followed by his people from Maramureș to the region of the Moldova River. Dragoș established a polity there as a vassal to the Kingdom of Hungary in the 1350s. The independence of the Principality of Moldavia was gained when Bogdan I, another Vlach voivode from Maramureș who had fallen out with the Hungarian king, crossed the Carpathians in 1359 and took control of Moldavia, wresting the region from Hungary. It remained a principality until 1859, when it united with Wallachia, initiating the development of the modern Romanian state.

Historical regions of Romania

The historical regions of Romania are located in Central, Southeastern, and Eastern Europe. Romania came into being through the unification of two principalities, Wallachia and Moldavia in 1862. The new unitary state extended over further regions at various times during the late 19th and 20th centuries, including Dobruja in 1878, and Transylvania in 1918.These regions are part of Romania today:


Muntenia (Greater Wallachia): part of Wallachia (which united with Moldavia in 1859 to create modern Romania);

Oltenia (Lesser Wallachia): the territory between the rivers Danube and Olt and the Southern Carpathian became part of the Principality of Wallachia in the early 14th century. Moldavia:

Western Moldavia: part of Moldavia (which united with Wallachia in 1859 to create modern Romania);

Bukovina: in Romania between 1918 and World War II, today divided between Romania and Ukraine; Dobruja:

Northern Dobruja: in Romania since 1878 (excepting some Danubian islands and the Snake Island which were incorporated in the USSR in 1948, and became part of Ukraine since 1991);Wallachia, western Moldavia, and Dobruja are sometimes referred collectively as the Regat (The Kingdom), as they formed the Romanian "Old" Kingdom before World War I.

Transylvania (the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also part of the historical regions of Crișana, Maramureș, and Banat. The new borders were set by the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 between the respective states):

Transylvania proper: following the declaration of the union with Romania in 1918, Transylvania is divided into several ethnographic regions;

Banat: since 1918 divided between Romania, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (today Serbia) and Hungary;

Crișana: the region bordered by the rivers Mureș and Someș and the Apuseni Mountains following the declaration of the union in 1918.

Maramureș: the mountainous northwestern region following the declaration of the union in 1918.Between 1918-1920, during the Revolutions and interventions in Hungary the Hungarian–Romanian War effected also part of these territories until the final resolution of state affairs by the Paris Peace Conference.

These regions were part of Romania in the past:

Bessarabia: This territory was part (as the eastern half) of Moldavia until 1812 (when it was incorporated into the Russian Empire). The entire region became part of Romania from 1918 to 1940 when it got occupied by the Soviets. Romania managed to annex it again, but lost it after World War II.

Southern Bessarabia (including a part of Budjak): In 1856, the southern part of Bessarabia was returned to Moldavia, which united with Wallachia in 1859 to create modern Romania. In 1878, Romania was pressured into exchanging this territory for the Dobruja, and the Russian rule was restored over it.

Northern Bukovina: The region was part of Romania from 1918 to 1940 when it got occupied by the Soviets. Romania managed to annex it again, but lost it after World War II.

Hertza region: A territory of Moldavia, it was part of Romania from 1859 to 1940, when it was occupied by the Soviets. Romania managed to annex it again, but lost it after the World War II.

Southern Dobruja: Was annexed from Bulgaria in 1913, after the Second Balkan War. It became Bulgarian again after 1940.Others:

Snake Island: An island located in the Black Sea, that was part of Romania between 1878–1948.

Transnistria Governorate: A Romanian-administered territory from 1941 to 1944 (Romania did not formally incorporate Transnistria into its administrative framework).

History of Romania since 1989

After the Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu was executed in the Romanian Revolution of December 1989, the National Salvation Front (FSN) took power, led by Ion Iliescu. The FSN transformed itself into a political party and overwhelmingly won the general election of May 1990, with Iliescu as president. These first months were marked by violent protests and counter-protests, involving among others the coal miners of the Jiu Valley.

The government undertook a programme of free market economic reforms and privatization, following a gradualist line rather than shock therapy. Economic reforms have continued, although there was little economic growth until the 2000s. Social reforms soon after the revolution included easing of the former restrictions on contraception and abortion. Later governments implemented further social policy changes.

Political reforms have been based on a new democratic constitution adopted in 1991. The FSN split that year, beginning a period of coalition governments that lasted until 2000, when Iliescu's Social Democratic Party (now the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, PDSR), returned to power and Iliescu again became President, with Adrian Năstase as Prime Minister. This government fell in the 2004 elections amid allegations of corruption, and was succeeded by further unstable coalitions which have been subject to similar allegations.

During the period Romania has become more closely integrated with the West, becoming a member of NATO in 2004 and of the European Union in 2007.

John (knez)

John, also Joan or Ioan, was a cneaz (local chieftain or ruler) mentioned in a diploma issued by King Béla IV of Hungary (1235-1270) on 2 July 1247; the diploma granted territories to the Knights Hospitaller in the Banate of Severin and Cumania. John held a kenazate which was given to the knights by the king. His kenazate lay in southern Oltenia.The diploma of Béla IV also refers to the kenazates of Farcaş and voivode Litovoi and to voivode Seneslau. Seneslau and Litovoi are expressly said to be Vlachs (Olati) in the king's diploma.The Romanian historian Ioan-Aurel Pop suggests that the kenazate of John was one of the incipient Romanian states south of the Carpathian Mountains. In the diploma, his name is given in its Latin form (Johannes), and so contains no hint of the nationality of its bearer.


Litovoi, also Litvoy, was a Vlach/Romanian voivode in the 13th century whose territory comprised northern Oltenia (Romania).He is mentioned for the first time in a diploma issued by king Béla IV of Hungary (1235–1270) on 2 July 1247. The diploma granted territories to the Knights Hospitaller in the Banate of Severin and Cumania, “with the exception of the land of the kenazate of Voivode Litovoi,” which the king left to the Vlachs “as they had held it”.The king’s diploma also refers to the kenazates of Farcaş and John and to a certain voivode Seneslau. Although the names of Litovoi and Seneslau are of Slavic origin, they are expressly said to be Vlachs (Olati) in the king's diploma. It seems that Litovoi was the most powerful of all the above local rulers. His territories were exempted from the grant to the knights, but half of the royal tax generated by his land (terra Lytua) was assigned to the Hospitallers – except for the income from the District of Hátszeg (terra Harszoc in the diploma’s only surviving, papal copy), which the king kept all for himself. According to the Romanian historian Ioan Aurel Pop, the king had grabbed Haţeg from Litovoi shortly before 1247.In 1277 (or between 1277 and 1280), Litovoi was at war with the Hungarians over lands king Ladislaus IV of Hungary (1272–1290) claimed for the crown, but for which Litovoi refused to pay tribute. Litovoi was killed in battle. This event is recounted in the king’s letter of grant of 8 January 1285, in which king Ladislaus IV donated villages in Sáros County (today in Slovakia) to Master George, son of Simon, who had been sent against Litovoi.Ioan Aurel Pop argues that the Litovoi mentioned in the diploma of 1247 was not identical to the Litovoi whose death is described in the letter of grant of 1285, and the latter was probably the former’s successor.


Muntenia (Romanian pronunciation: [munˈteni.a], also known in English as Greater Wallachia) is a historical region of Romania, usually considered Wallachia-proper (Muntenia, Țara Românească, and the seldom used Valahia are synonyms in Romanian). It is situated between the Danube (south and east), the Carpathian Mountains (the Transylvanian Alps branch) and Moldavia (both north), and the Olt River to the west. The latter river is the border between Muntenia and Oltenia (or Lesser Wallachia). Part of the traditional border between Wallachia/Muntenia and Moldavia was formed by the rivers Milcov and Siret.

National awakening of Romania

In the Romantic era, the concept of a national state emerged among the Romanians, as among many other peoples of Europe and a "national awakening" began. Defining their nation against the nearby Slavs, Germans, and Hungarians, the nationalist Romanians looked for models of nationality in the other Latin countries, notably France.

The Romanian upper classes looked for support firstly from the Russian Empire, who they thought would help the Orthodox Romanian people in their struggle against the Islamic Ottoman Empire. However, Russia's expansionist goals after annexing Bessarabia in 1812, made them suspicious that they would just become part of another far-flung empire. Since Austria also had similar goals, as shown by the annexations of Oltenia (1718–1739) and Bukovina (1775), the Romanian elites started looking for allies in Western Europe.


Oltenia (Romanian pronunciation: [olˈteni.a], also called Lesser Wallachia in antiquated versions, with the alternate Latin names Wallachia Minor, Wallachia Alutana, Wallachia Caesarea between 1718 and 1739) is a historical province and geographical region of Romania in western Wallachia. It is situated between the Danube, the Southern Carpathians and the Olt river.

Radu Negru

Radu Negru (born 13 February 1269) (Radu [the] Black) also known as Radu Vodă (Voivode Radu), Radu Negru, or Negru Vodă, was a legendary Voivode and ruler of Wallachia.

According to Romanian traditions, Radu would have been the founder and ruler of Wallachia at a date around 1290. The legend was first mentioned in 17th century Cantacuzino Annals, which also state that the prince built large churches in Câmpulung and Curtea de Argeş, successive capitals of Wallachia. This is probably a confusion with Radu I of Wallachia, who reigned 1377–1383. Legends surrounding Meşterul Manole also mention Radu Negru as the commissioner of the church and blend his image with that of Neagoe Basarab, who ruled at a much later date than Radu I.

Radu is a name derived from the Slavic word for "joy". Today, the name Radu is a very common name in Romania and Moldova.

In various folk traditions and legends, Negru Voda's image blends with that of the following rulers:


Basarab I

Radu I

Neagoe Basarab

Romanian War of Independence

The Romanian War of Independence is the name used in Romanian historiography to refer to the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78), following which Romania, fighting on the Russian side, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. On April 16 [O.S. April 4] 1877, Romania and the Russian Empire signed a treaty at Bucharest under which Russian troops were allowed to pass through Romanian territory, with the condition that Russia respected the integrity of Romania. Consequently, the mobilization of the Romanian troops also began, and about 120,000 soldiers were massed in the south of the country to defend against an eventual attack of the Ottoman forces from south of the Danube. On April 24 [O.S. April 12] 1877, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire and its troops entered Romania through the newly built Eiffel Bridge, on their way to the Ottoman Empire. Due to great losses, the Russian Empire asked Romania to intervene. On July 24 [O.S. July 12] 1877, the first Romanian Army units crossed the Danube and join forces with the Russian Army.


Seneslau, also Seneslav or Stănislau, was a Vlach voivode mentioned in a diploma issued by king Béla IV of Hungary (1235–1270) on 2 July 1247; the diploma granted territories to the Knights Hospitaller in the Banate of Severin and Cumania. According to the diploma, the king gave the territories east of the Olt River to the knights, with the exception of the territory of voivode Seneslau.The name of Seneslav is of Slavic origin. Seneslau held central and southern Muntenia (i.e., the territories along the rivers Argeş and Dâmboviţa). The Romanian historian Ioan Aurel Pop suggests that Seneslau was quasi independent of the king of Hungary. According to the Hungarian historian István Vásáry, his title (voivode) suggests that he had a territorial unit under his jurisdiction.The diploma of Béla IV also refers to the kenazates of John, Farcaş and voivode Litovoi. Although the names of Seneslau and Litovoi are of Slavic origin, they are expressly said to be Vlachs (Olati) in the king's diploma.

Transylvanian School

The Transylvanian School (Școala Ardeleană in Romanian) was a cultural movement which was founded after part of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Habsburg-ruled Transylvania accepted the leadership of the Pope and became the Greek-Catholic Church (ca.1700). The links with Rome brought to the Romanian Tranylvanians the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment. The Transylvanian School's major centres were in the cities of Blaj, Oradea, Lugoj and Beiuş.

Its members contemplated the origin of Romanians from a scientific point of view, bringing historical and philological arguments in favour of the thesis that the Transylvanian Romanians were the direct descendants of the Roman colonists brought in Dacia after its conquest in early 2nd century AD.

The Transylvanian School had a notable impact in the Romanian culture of both Transylvania, but also of the Romanians living across the Carpathians, in Wallachia and Moldavia, leading to the National awakening of Romania.

Samuil Micu-Klein, Gheorghe Şincai, Petru Maior and Ion Budai-Deleanu, who were members of the Transylvanian School during the era of Romanian national awakening, emphasised the ancient purely Latin origin of Romanians to enhance the political and cultural prestige of Romanians in Western Europe. In 1791, they contributed in the memorandum : "Supplex Libellus Valachorum Transylvaniae". In this memorandum they demanded similar rights for the Transylvanian Romanians, which the Hungarian nobles the enfranchised Saxon bourgeois and Székelys enjoyed by the Union of the Three Nations. This document was presented to Emperor Leopold II by the Transylvanian School.The Transylvanian School created the current phonetic system of the Romanian alphabet based on the Latin alphabet, largely derived from the Italian and the French alphabets. This replaced the use of the medieval Romanian Cyrillic alphabet as well as the previously Latin alphabet based phonetic system which had been based on the Hungarian alphabet. Another notable contribution of the Transylvanian School was the usage of the first French and Italian neologisms.

Union of Bessarabia with Romania

On April 9 [O.S. March 27] 1918, the Sfatul Țării, or National Council, of Bessarabia proclaimed union with the Kingdom of Romania. The Romanian prime-minister at the time, Alexandru Marghiloman, was to admit however that the unification was decided in Romania, as the Moldavian leaders Daniel Ciugureanu and Ion Inculeț, aware of the widespread distrust of Romanian rule, feared an overt annexation would lead to a revolutionary situation.


Vlachs (English: or , or rarely ), also Wallachians (and many other variants), is a historical term from the Middle Ages that designates an exonym—a name that foreigners use—mostly for the Romanians who lived north and south of the Danube.As a contemporary term, in the English language, the Vlachs are the Eastern Romance-speaking peoples who live south of the Danube in what are now eastern Serbia, southern Albania, northern Greece, the Republic of North Macedonia, and southwestern Bulgaria, as indigenous ethnic groups, such as the Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians (Macedoromanians), and Macedo-Vlachs. In Polish and Hungarian, derivations of the term were also applied to Italians. The term also became a synonym in the Balkans for the social category of shepherds, and was also used for non-Romance-speaking peoples, in recent times in the western Balkans derogatively. There is also a Vlach diaspora in other European countries, especially Romania, as well as in North America and Australia."Vlachs" were initially identified and described during the 11th century by George Kedrenos. According to one origin theory, modern Romanians, Moldovans and Aromanians originated from Dacians. According to some linguists and scholars, the Eastern Romance languages prove the survival of the Thraco-Romans in the lower Danube basin during the Migration Period and western Balkan populations known as "Vlachs" also have had Romanized Illyrian origins.Nowadays, Eastern Romance-speaking communities are estimated at 26–30 million people worldwide (including the Romanian diaspora and Moldovan diaspora). All Balkan countries have indigenous Romance-speaking minorities.


Wallachia or Walachia (Romanian: Țara Românească pronounced [ˈt͡sara romɨˈne̯askə] meaning "The Romanian Country"; archaic: Țeara Rumânească, Romanian Cyrillic alphabet: Цѣра Рȣмѫнѣскъ) is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Lower Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians. Wallachia is traditionally divided into two sections, Muntenia (Greater Wallachia) and Oltenia (Lesser Wallachia). Wallachia as a whole is sometimes referred to as Muntenia through identification with the larger of the two traditional sections.

Wallachia was founded as a principality in the early 14th century by Basarab I, after a rebellion against Charles I of Hungary, although the first mention of the territory of Wallachia west of the river Olt dates to a charter given to the voivode Seneslau in 1246 by Béla IV of Hungary. In 1417, Wallachia accepted the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire; this lasted until the 19th century, albeit with brief periods of Russian occupation between 1768 and 1854. In 1859, Wallachia united with Moldavia to form the United Principalities, which adopted the name Romania in 1866 and officially became the Kingdom of Romania in 1881. Later, following the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the resolution of the elected representatives of Romanians in 1918, Bukovina, Transylvania as well as parts of Banat, Crișana, and Maramureș were allocated to the Kingdom of Romania, thereby forming the modern Romanian state.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.