United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia

The United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia was the official name of the personal union which later became Romania, adopted on 24 January 1859 (O.S.) (5 February N.S.) when Alexandru Ioan Cuza was elected as the Domnitor (Ruling Prince) of both principalities, which were autonomous but still vassals of the Ottoman Empire.

On 22 January (O.S.) (3 February N.S.) 1862, the Principality of Moldavia and the Principality of Wallachia formally united to create the Romanian United Principalities, the core of the Romanian nation state.[2][3] In 1866 a new constitution came into effect, giving the country the name of Romania. The new state remained nominally a vassal of the Ottoman Empire. However, it only acknowledged the suzerainty of the Sublime Porte in a formal way. It had its own flag, anthem, and (from 1867) currency, and conducted its own foreign policy.

On 9 May 1877 (O.S.) (21 May N.S.), Romania proclaimed itself fully independent, and on 14 March (O.S.) (26 March N.S.) 1881, it became the Kingdom of Romania. After the First World War, Transylvania and other territories were also included.

United Principalities (1859–62)
Principatele Unite
Romanian United Principalities (1862–66)
Principatele Unite Române
Romania (1866–81)

Coat of arms of United Principalities
Coat of arms
Motto: Nihil Sine Deo
"Nothing without God"
United Principalities (Romania) 1859–1878, shown in light beige
United Principalities (Romania) 1859–1878, shown in light beige
StatusDe jure vassal of the Ottoman Empire (1859–77)[a]
CapitalIași and Bucharest
Common languagesRomanian (official)
Hungarian, Romani, Ukrainian, German
Romanian Orthodox, Catholicism, Judaism, Reformed Church
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy[b]
Domnitor (Prince) 
• 1859–1866
Alexandru Ioan Cuza
• 1866–1881
Carol I
• 1866
Lascăr Catargiu
• 1866
Nicolae Golescu
• 1866
Nicolae Haralambie
President of the Council of Ministers 
• 1862
Barbu Catargiu (first)
• 1879–1881
Ion Brătianu (last)
Chamber of Deputies
• Union between Moldavia and Wallachia
24 January 1859
• First common government
22 January 1862
• Independence from the Ottoman Empire[c]
9 May 1877
• Kingdom established
14 March 1881
1860[d]124,506 km2 (48,072 sq mi)
1881[d]130,434 km2 (50,361 sq mi)
• 1860[d]
• 1881[d]
CurrencyAustrian gulden
Romanian leu (from 1870)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Principality of Moldavia
Principality of Wallachia
Northern Dobruja
Kingdom of Romania
Bessarabia Governorate
Today part of Moldova
^ a. De facto independent state.
^ b. 1866 Constitution of Romania.
^ c. Independence internationally recognized in 1878.
^ d. Ethnic and Political Studies.[1]


As a historical term designating the pre-Union Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, sometimes including the Principality of Transylvania, the term "Romanian Principalities" dates back to the beginnings of modern Romanian history in the mid-19th century.[4] It was subsequently used by Romanian historians as an alternative to the much older term "Romanian Lands". English use of "Romanian Principalities" is documented from the second half of the 19th century.

In the period between the late 18th century and the 1860s, Danubian Principalities was used, a term that sometimes included Serbia, but not Transylvania. In contrast, use of "Romanian Principalities" sometimes included Transylvania but never Serbia.


Theodor Aman-Unirea Principatelor
The Union of the Principalities, Theodor Aman, 1857

The aftermath of the Russian Empire's defeat in the Crimean War brought the 1856 Treaty of Paris, which started a period of common tutelage for the Ottomans and a Congress of Great Powers—the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Second French Empire, the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, and, though never again fully, Russia. While the Moldavia-Wallachia unionist campaign, which had come to dominate political demands, was accepted with sympathy by the French, Russians, Prussians, and Sardinians, it was rejected by the Austrian Empire, and looked upon with suspicion by Great Britain and the Ottomans.[5] Negotiations amounted to an agreement on a minimal formal union; however, elections for the ad-hoc divans in 1859 profited from an ambiguity in the text of the final agreement, which, while specifying two thrones, did not prevent the same person from occupying both thrones simultaneously and ultimately ushered in the ruling of Alexandru Ioan Cuza as Domnitor (Ruling Prince) over the United Romanian Principalities from 1862 onwards.

Though internationally formally recognized only after the period of Cuza's reign,[5] the Union was cemented by Ioan Cuza's unsanctioned interventions in the text of previous "Organic Law". In addition, the circumstances of his deposition in 1866, together with the rapid election of Prussian Prince Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (who was backed by the increasingly important Prussia) and the Austro-Prussian War in the same time, made applying measures against the Union actually impossible.

Following the Romanian War of Independence in 1877-78, Romania shook off formal Ottoman rule but eventually clashed with its Russian ally over its demand for the South Bessarabia region. Ultimately, Romania was awarded Northern Dobruja in exchange for Southern Bessarabia. The Kingdom of Romania subsequently emerged in 1881 with Prince Carol being crowned as King Carol I of Romania.

The reign of Alexandru Ioan Cuza

Theodor Aman - Proclamarea Unirii
Proclamation of the Moldo-Wallachian union

Alexandru Ioan Cuza took steps to unify the administrations of the two Romanian Principalities and gain international recognition for the Union. He also adopted several reforms, including the secularization of church lands, introduction of free primary education, a French-inspired civil code and penal code as well as a limited agrarian reform and one in the army.

Opposition from the large-land-owners dominated parliament to Cuza resulted in a coup against him in 1864. He subsequently instituted authoritarian rule but his popular support, strong at the time of the coup, gradually waned as the land reform failed to bring prosperity to the peasant majority.

Cuza was forced to abdicate in 1866 by the two main political groups, the Conservatives and the Liberals, who represented the interests of former large-land-owners. Although the event sparked some anti-unionist turmoil in Cuza's native province of Moldavia, it was quickly suppressed by the central authorities.

The reign of Carol I as Prince

Trecerea dunarii 1878.jpeg
Romanian Army crossing the Danube

The new governing coalition appointed Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen as the new Ruling Prince of Romania in a move initially rejected by the European powers but later on accepted. In the first year of Carol's reign Romania adopted its first constitution. This instrument provided for a hereditary constitutional monarchy, with a Parliament being elected through censitary suffrage although the country remained under Ottoman suzerainty. Carol was not unanimously accepted, and a rise in republican sentiment culminated with an uprising in Ploiești in 1870 and a revolt in Bucharest in 1871, both of which were quelled by the army.

In April 1877, in the wake of a new Russo-Turkish war, Romania signed a convention by which Russian troops were allowed to pass through Romanian territory in their advance towards the Ottoman Empire. On May 9, the Romanian parliament declared the independence of the principality, and joined the war on the Russian side. After several Romanian victories south of the Danube and the ultimate victory of the Russian-led side in the war, the European powers recognized Romania's independence under the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. Nevertheless, Romania was made to exchange Southern Bessarabia for Northern Dobruja, and allow non-Christians living in Romania access to Romanian citizenship.

In 1881, the country's parliament proclaimed Romania a kingdom.

List of Princes of Romania

Portrait Name Birth Death Start of reign End of reign Notes
Al I Cuza Alexandru Ioan I (Alexandru Ioan Cuza) March 1820 15 May 1873 5 February 1862 22 February 1866 Born in Bârlad, Moldavia
Carol I of Romania king Carol I (Karl Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen) 20 April 1839 10 October 1914 20 April 1866 15 March 1881 First German King of Romania from the House of Hohenzollern, the founder of the Romanian branch of this German royal dynasty

Administrative division

United Principalities, 1861, with counties
1861 administrative map of the United Principalities of Moldavia (in blue) and Wallachia (in yellow); marks for the two capitals (Iași and Bucharest), and the proposed judicial capital, Focșani

At the union, the Romanian United Principalities was organized into 33 counties of which 17 were in Wallachia (12 in Muntenia and 5 in Oltenia), and 16 were in Moldavia (13 in western Moldavia and 3 in southern Bessarabia).[6]


According to the 1859-1860 census, the United Principalities had a population of 4,424,961.[7]

Religion and ethnic group number %
Eastern Orthodox 4,198,862 94.89
Jewish 134,168 3.03
Roman Catholic 45,152 1.02
Protestant 28,903 0.65
Lipovans 8,375 0.19
Armenians 8,178 0.18
Muslim 1,323 0.03
Total 4,424,961 100.0

Cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants, in 1859:[8]

Rank Name Population Region
1 Bucharest 121,734 Muntenia
2 Iași 65,745 Moldavia
3 Botoșani 27,147 Moldavia
4 Ploiești 26,468 Muntenia
5 Galați 26,050 Moldavia
6 Craiova 21,521 Oltenia
7 Brăila 15,767 Muntenia
8 Bârlad 13,165 Moldavia
9 Focșani 13,164 Moldavia
10 Huși 12,764 Moldavia
11 Piatra Neamț 11,805 Moldavia
12 Roman 10,818 Moldavia
13 Giurgiu 10,557 Muntenia

See also


  1. ^ Europa, Rusia si Romania, Ethnic and Political Studies, D. A. Sturdza, 1890 (in Romanian)
  2. ^ (in French) Histoire du congrès de Paris, Edouard Gourdon (1857)
  3. ^ Boia, Lucian (2001). Romania: Borderland of Europe. Reaktion Books. ISBN 9781861891037.
  4. ^ map of principalities, Principalities under Michael the Brave
  5. ^ a b The establishment of the Balkan national states, 1804–1920. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  6. ^ O lucrare enciclopedica despre Romania, aparuta in primii ani de domnie ai lui Carol I (in Romanian)
  7. ^ Statul si cultele religioase (in Romanian)
  8. ^ Analiza rezultatelor Recensamantului General al Populatiei Romaniei de la 1899 (in Romanian)

Further reading

  • Keith M. Hitchins, The Romanians, 1774–1866 (1996) online
Armorial of Romania

The Romanian government is the armiger in Romania. It exercises this right under the mandatory advice of the National Committee of Heraldry, Genealogy and Sigillography (Romanian: Comisia Națională de Heraldică, Genealogie și Sigilografie). The committee is subordinate to the Romanian Academy. All the coats of arms of Romanian institutions must be approved by this committee with two exceptions. The Romanian military is subject to the Ministry of National Defense Heraldric Committee, and Romanian law enforcement institutions are subject to the Ministry of Administration and Interior Heraldric Committee. Both of these committees may share members with the National Committee of Heraldry, Genealogy and Sigillography.


Autocephaly (; from Greek: αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchical Christian Church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used in mostly all Eastern Christian denominations like Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and few Independent Catholic churches. The status has been also compared with that of the churches of the Anglican Communion.

Cahul County (Romania)

Cahul County was a county of the Kingdom of Romania, in the historical region of Bessarabia, the successor of Cahul County.

The county was located in the eastern part of Greater Romania, in the southwestern part of Bessarabia. Cahul County was bordered by the counties of Cetatea Albă and Tighina to the east, Lăpușna to the north, County, Tutova and Covurlui to the west, and Ismail to the south.

Its territory underwent changes in the north, where one third of Plasa Cantemir was for some time part of Fălciu County, and in the south, where the communes of Brînza, Colibași, Văleni, and Vulcănești were left in Cahul County, while the communes of Valea-Stejarului, Grecenii-Burlăcenilor, and Bulgărica were part of Ismail County. Plasa Dragoş-Voda, headquartered at Albota was renamed Plasa Mihai Viteazu.

Its territory is currently part of the Republic of Moldova, corresponding roughly to the districts Cahul, Cantemir, Leova, Taraclia and the Vulcănești district (dolay) from Gagauzia.

Charles Edward Mansfield

Colonel Sir Charles Mansfield KCMG (11 October 1828 – 1 August 1907) was a British army officer and diplomat, envoy to several countries.


Corvée (French: [kɔʁve] (listen)) is a form of unpaid, unfree labour, which is intermittent in nature and which lasts limited periods of time: typically only a certain number of days' work each year.

Statute labour is a corvée imposed by a state for the purposes of public works. As such it represents a form of levy (taxation). Unlike other forms of levy, such as a tithe, a corvée does not require the population to have land, crops or cash. It was thus favored in historical economies in which barter was more common than cash transactions or circulating money was in short supply.

The obligation for tenant farmers to perform corvée work for landlords on private landed estates was widespread throughout history before the Industrial Revolution. The term is most typically used in reference to medieval and early modern Europe, where work was often expected by a feudal landowner (of their vassals), or by a monarch of their subjects. However, the application of the term is not limited to that time or place; corvée has existed in modern and ancient Egypt, ancient Sumer, ancient Israel under Solomon, ancient Rome, China and Japan, everywhere in continental Europe, the Incan civilization, Haiti under Henri Christophe and under American occupation (1915–1934), and Portugal's African colonies until the mid-1960s. Forms of statute labour officially existed until the early twentieth century in Canada and the United States.

Danubian Principalities

Danubian Principalities (Romanian: Principatele Dunărene, Serbian: Дунавске кнежевине, translit. Dunavske kneževine) was a conventional name given to the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, which emerged in the early 14th century. The term was coined in the Habsburg Monarchy after the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) in order to designate an area on the lower Danube with a common geopolitical situation. The term was largely used then by foreign political circles and public opinion until the union of the two Principalities (1859). Alongside Transylvania, the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia became the basis for the Kingdom of Romania, and by extension the modern Romanian nation-state.In a wider context, the concept may also apply to the Principality of Serbia as one of The Principalities of the Danube which came under the suzerainty (alongside Wallachia and Moldavia) of the Porte from 1817.

Greater Romania

The term Greater Romania (Romanian: România Mare) usually refers to the borders of the Kingdom of Romania in the interwar period. It also refers to a pan-nationalist idea.

As a concept, its main goal is the re-creation of a nation-state which would incorporate all Romanian speakers. The phrase is strongly associated with the Kingdom of Romania between 1918 and 1940, often considered the realization of the pan-Romanian goal. In 1918, after the incorporation of Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia, the Romanian state reached its largest peacetime geographical extent ever (295,049 km²). Today the concept serves as a guiding principle for the unification of Romania and Moldova.

The idea is comparable to other similar conceptions such as the Greek Megali Idea, Greater Hungary, Great Yugoslavia, as well as Greater Italy.

Ismail County

Ismail County was a county (județ) of Romania, in Bessarabia, with the capital city at Ismail.

January 24

January 24 is the 24th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 341 days remaining until the end of the year (342 in leap years).

List of flags of Romania

The following is a list of flag of Romania.

List of political entities in the 19th century

This is a list of political entities that existed between 1801 and 1900. It includes both sovereign states and any political predecessors of current sovereign states.

List of rulers of Wallachia

This is a list of rulers of Wallachia, from the first mention of a medieval polity situated between the Southern Carpathians and the Danube until the union with Moldavia in 1862, leading to the creation of Romania.

Order of the Star of Romania

The Order of the Star of Romania (Romanian: Ordinul Steaua României) is Romania's highest civil Order and second highest State decoration after the defunct Order of Michael the Brave. It is awarded by the President of Romania. It has five ranks, from lowest to the highest: Officer, Commander, Grand Officer, Grand Cross, and Grand Cross with Collar.

Principality of Transylvania (1711–1867)

The Principality of Transylvania, from 1765 Grand Principality of Transylvania, was a realm of the Hungarian Crown and since 1804 an Austrian crownland ruled by the Habsburg and Habsburg-Lorraine monarchs of the Habsburg Monarchy (later Austrian Empire). During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian government proclaimed union with Transylvania in the April Laws of 1848 (after the Transylvanian Diet's confirmation on 30 May and the king's approval on 10 June that Transylvania again become an integral part of Hungary, an initiative rejected by the Romanians and Saxons who formed the majority population of Transylvania). After the failure of the revolution, the March Constitution of Austria decreed that the Principality of Transylvania be a separate crown land entirely independent of Hungary. In 1867, as a result of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, the principality was reunited with Hungary proper.

Romanian Old Kingdom

The Romanian Old Kingdom (Romanian: Vechiul Regat or just Regat; German: Regat or Altreich) is a colloquial term referring to the territory covered by the first independent Romanian nation state, which was composed of the Romanian Principalities—Wallachia and Moldavia. It was achieved when, under the auspices of the Treaty of Paris (1856), the ad hoc Divans of both countries - which were under Imperial Ottoman suzerainty at the time - voted for Alexander Ioan Cuza as their prince, thus achieving a de facto unification under the name of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The region itself is defined by the result of that political act, followed by the Romanian War of Independence and inclusion of Northern Dobruja and the transfer of southern part of Bessarabia to Russia in 1878, the proclamation of the Kingdom of Romania in 1881, and the annexation of Southern Dobruja in 1913.

The term came into use after World War I, when the Old Kingdom became Greater Romania, after including Transylvania, Banat, Bessarabia, and Bukovina. Nowadays, the term mainly has a historical relevance, and is otherwise used as a common term for all regions in Romania included in both the Old Kingdom and present-day borders (namely: Wallachia, Moldavia, and Northern Dobruja).

Romanian Orthodox Church

The Romanian Orthodox Church (Romanian: Biserica Ortodoxă Română) is an autocephalous Orthodox Church in full communion with other Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches, one of the nine Patriarchates in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since 1925, the Church's Primate bears the title of Patriarch. Its jurisdiction covers the territories of Romania and Moldova, with additional dioceses for Romanians living in nearby Serbia and Hungary, as well as for diaspora communities in Central and Western Europe, North America and Oceania.

Currently it is the only autocephalous Church within Orthodoxy to have a Romance language for liturgical use. The majority of Romania's population (16,367,267, or 85.9% of those for whom data were available, according to the 2011 census data), as well as some 720,000 Moldovans, belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Members of the Romanian Orthodox Church sometimes refer to Orthodox Christian doctrine as Dreapta credință ("right/correct belief" or "true faith"; compare to Greek ὀρθὴ δόξα, "straight/correct belief").


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