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;[7] 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.

Principality of Wallachia

Țara Românească
Coat of arms of Wallachia
Coat of arms
Wallachia in 1812
Wallachia in 1812
Wallachia in the late 14th century
Wallachia in the late 14th century
StatusVassal of the Ottoman Empire (1417–1859)
(under Russian protection 1774–1856)
Common languagesRomanian;[2][3] Old Church Slavonic as chancelery language until it was replaced by Romanian from 18th century onwards[4][5]Greek as chancelery and culture language[6]
Eastern Orthodox
GovernmentElective monarchy with hereditary traits
• c. 1290 – c. 1310
Radu Negru (first)
• 1859–62
Alexandru Ioan Cuza (last)
Historical eraMiddle Ages/Early modern period/Modern history
• First official attestation
• Traditional date Independence
• Ottoman suzerainty
• Long and Moldavian Magnate wars
• Treaties:
  • 21 July [O.S. 10 July] 1774
  • 14 September [O.S. 2 September] 1829
5 February [O.S. 24 January] 1859
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Coat of arms of the Second Bulgarian Empire.svg Second Bulgarian Empire
Flag of Hungary (11th c. - 1301).svg Kingdom of Hungary (1301–1526)
United Principalities


The name Wallachia is an exonyme, generally not used by Romanians themselves who used the denomination "Țara Românească/Rumânească” - Romanian Land. The term "Wallachia" (however present in some Romanian texts as Valahia or Vlahia) is derived from the term walhaz used by Germanic peoples to describe Celts, and later romanized Celts and all Romance-speaking people. In Northwestern Europe this gave rise to Wales, Cornwall, and Wallonia, among others, while in Southeast Europe it was used to designate Romance-speakers, and subsequently shepherds generally.

In the Early Middle Ages, in Slavonic texts, the name Zemli Ungro-Vlahiskoi (Земли Унгро-Влахискои or "Hungaro-Wallachian Land") was also used as a designation for its location. The term, translated in Romanian as "Ungrovalahia", remained in use up to the modern era in a religious context, referring to the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan seat of Hungaro-Wallachia, in contrast to Thessalian or Great Vlachia in Greece or Small Wallachia (Mala Vlaška) in Serbia.[8] The Romanian-language designations of the state were Muntenia (The Land of Mountains), Țara Românească (the Romanian Land), Valahia, and, rarely, România.

For long periods after the 14th century, Wallachia was referred to as Vlaško (Bulgarian: Влашко) by Bulgarian sources, Vlaška (Serbian: Влашка) by Serbian sources, Voloschyna (Ukrainian: Волощина) by Ukrainian sources and Walachei or Walachey by German-speaking (Transylvanian Saxon) sources. The traditional Hungarian name for Wallachia is Havasalföld, literally "Snowy Lowlands", the older form of which is Havaselve, meaning "Land beyond the snowy mountains" ("snowy mountains" refers to the – Southern Carpathians (the Transylvanian Alps)[9][10]); its translation into Latin, Transalpina was used in the official royal documents of Kingdom of Hungary. In Ottoman Turkish, the term Eflâk Prensliği, or simply ''Eflâk افلاق, appears. (Note that in a turn of linguistic luck utterly in favor of the Wallachians' eastward posterity, this toponym, at least according to the phonotactics of modern Turkish, is homophonous with another word, افلاک, meaning "heavens" or "skies".)

Arabic chronicles from the 13th century had used the name of Wallachia instead of Kingdom of Bulgaria. They gave the coordinates of Wallachia and specified that Wallachia was named al-Awalak and the dwellers ulaqut or ulagh.[11]

The area of Oltenia in Wallachia was also known in Turkish as Kara-Eflak ("Black Wallachia") and Kuçuk-Eflak ("Little Wallachia"),[12] while the former has also been used for Ottoman Moldova.[13]


Ancient times

In the Second Dacian War (AD 105) western Oltenia became part of the Roman province of Dacia, with parts of Wallachia included in the Moesia Inferior province. The Roman limes was initially built along the Olt River in 119 before being moved slightly to the east in the second century, during which time it stretched from the Danube up to Rucăr in the Carpathians. The Roman line fell back to the Olt in 245 and, in 271, the Romans pulled out of the region.

The area was subject to Romanization also during the Migration Period, when most of present-day Romania was also invaded by Goths and Sarmatians known as the Chernyakhov culture, followed by waves of other nomads. In 328, the Romans built a bridge between Sucidava and Oescus (near Gigen) which indicates that there was a significant trade with the peoples north of the Danube. A short period of Roman rule in the area is attested under Emperor Constantine the Great,[14] after he attacked the Goths (who had settled north of the Danube) in 332. The period of Goth rule ended when the Huns arrived in the Pannonian Basin and, under Attila, attacked and destroyed some 170 settlements on both sides of the Danube.

Early Middle Ages

Byzantine influence is evident during the 5th to 6th century, such as the site at Ipotești-Cândești, but from the second half of the 6th century and in the seventh century, Slavs crossed the territory of Wallachia and settled in it, on their way to Byzantium, occupying the southern bank of the Danube.[15] In 593, the Byzantine commander-in-chief Priscus defeated Slavs, Avars and Gepids on future Wallachian territory, and, in 602, Slavs suffered a crucial defeat in the area; Flavius Mauricius Tiberius, who ordered his army to be deployed north of the Danube, encountered his troops' strong opposition.[16]

Bulgaria under Presian-1
Bulgaria after the territorial expansion under Krum, Omurtag and Presian

Wallachia was under the control of the First Bulgarian Empire from its establishment in 681, until approximately the Hungarians' conquest of Transylvania at the end of the 10th century. With the decline and subsequent Byzantine conquest of Bulgaria (from the second half of the 10th century up to 1018), Wallachia came under the control of the Pechenegs, Turkic peoples who extended their rule west through the 10th and 11th century, until they were defeated around 1091, when the Cumans of southern Ruthenia took control of the lands of Wallachia.[17] Beginning with the 10th century, Byzantine, Bulgarian, Hungarian, and later Western sources mention the existence of small polities, possibly peopled by, among others, Vlachs led by knyazes and voivodes.

In 1241, during the Mongol invasion of Europe, Cuman domination was ended—a direct Mongol rule over Wallachia was not attested, but it remains probable.[18] Part of Wallachia was probably briefly disputed by the Kingdom of Hungary and Bulgarians in the following period,[18] but it appears that the severe weakening of Hungarian authority during the Mongol attacks contributed to the establishment of the new and stronger polities attested in Wallachia for the following decades.[19]


One of the first written pieces of evidence of local voivodes is in connection with Litovoi (1272), who ruled over land each side of the Carpathians (including Hațeg Country in Transylvania), and refused to pay tribute to the Ladislaus IV of Hungary. His successor was his brother Bărbat (1285–1288). The continuing weakening of the Hungarian state by further Mongol invasions (1285–1319) and the fall of the Árpád dynasty opened the way for the unification of Wallachian polities, and to independence from Hungarian rule.

The seal of Voivode Mircea I of Wallachia from 1390, depicting the coat of arms of Wallachia

Wallachia's creation, held by local traditions to have been the work of one Radu Negru (Black Radu), is historically connected with Basarab I of Wallachia (1310–1352), who rebelled against Charles I of Hungary and took up rule on either side of the Olt, establishing his residence in Câmpulung as the first ruler of the House of Basarab. Basarab refused to grant Hungary the lands of Făgăraș, Almaș and the Banate of Severin, defeated Charles in the Battle of Posada (1330), and, according to Romanian historian Ștefan Ștefănescu, extended his lands to the east, to comprise lands as far as Kiliya in the Budjak (reportedly providing the origin of Bessarabia);[20] the supposed rule over the latter was not preserved by the princes that followed, as Kilia was under the rule of Nogais c.1334.[21]

Bulgaria-Ivan Asen 2
The territorial extent of the Second Bulgarian-Vlach Empire under the reign of Ivan Asen II.

There is evidence that the Second Bulgarian Empire ruled at least nominally the Wallachian lands up to the Rucăr–Bran corridor as late as the late 14th century. In a charter by Radu I, the Wallachian voivode requests that tsar Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria order his customs officers at Rucăr and the Dâmboviţa River bridge to collect tax following the law. The presence of Bulgarian customs officers at the Carpathians indicates a Bulgarian suzerainty over those lands, though Radu's imperative tone hints at a strong and increasing Wallachian autonomy.[22] Under Radu I and his successor Dan I, the realms in Transylvania and Severin continued to be disputed with Hungary.[23] Basarab was succeeded by Nicholas Alexander, followed by Vladislav I. Vladislav attacked Transylvania after Louis I occupied lands south of the Danube, conceded to recognize him as overlord in 1368, but rebelled again in the same year; his rule also witnessed the first confrontation between Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire (a battle in which Vladislav was allied with Ivan Shishman).[24]


Mircea the Elder to Radu the Great

Tara Rumaneasca map
Territories held by Wallachian prince Mircea the Elder, c. 1390[25]

As the entire Balkans became an integral part of the growing Ottoman Empire (a process that concluded with the fall of Constantinople to Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453), Wallachia became engaged in frequent confrontations in the final years of the reign of Mircea I (r. 1386–1418). Mircea initially defeated the Ottomans in several battles, including the Battle of Rovine in 1394, driving them away from Dobruja and briefly extending his rule to the Danube Delta, Dobruja and Silistra (c. 1400–1404).[26] He swung between alliances with Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, and Jagiellon Poland (taking part in the Battle of Nicopolis),[27] and accepted a peace treaty with the Ottomans in 1417, after Mehmed I took control of Turnu Măgurele and Giurgiu.[28] The two ports remained part of the Ottoman state, with brief interruptions, until 1829. In 1418–1420, Michael I defeated the Ottomans in Severin, only to be killed in battle by the counter-offensive; in 1422, the danger was averted for a short while when Dan II inflicted a defeat on Murad II with the help of Pippo Spano.[29]

Nuremberg chronicles f 270v (Valachia)
Wallachia as pictured in the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle

The peace signed in 1428 inaugurated a period of internal crisis, as Dan had to defend himself against Radu II, who led the first in a series of boyar coalitions against established princes.[30] Victorious in 1431 (the year when the boyar-backed Alexander I Aldea took the throne), boyars were dealt successive blows by Vlad II Dracul (1436–1442; 1443–1447), who nevertheless attempted to compromise between the Ottoman Sultan and the Holy Roman Empire.[31]

The following decade was marked by the conflict between the rival houses of Dănești and Drăculești. Faced with both internal and external conflict, Vlad II Dracul reluctantly agreed to pay the tribute demanded of him by the Ottoman Empire, despite his affiliation with the Order of the Dragon, a group of independent nobleman whose creed had been to repel the Ottoman invasion. As part of the tribute, the sons of Vlad II Dracul (Radu cel Frumos and Vlad the Impaler) were taken into Ottoman custody. Recognizing the Christian resistance to their invasion, leaders of the Ottoman Empire released Vlad III Dracula to rule in 1448 after his father's assassination in 1447.

Known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad III Dracula, he immediately put to death the boyars who had conspired against his father and was characterized as both a hero and a villain. He was cheered for restoring order to a destabilized principality, yet showed no mercy toward thieves, murderers or anyone who plotted against his rule. Vlad demonstrated his intolerance for criminals by utilizing impalement as a form of execution, having learned of the method of the impalement from his youth spent in Ottoman captivity. Vlad fiercely resisted Ottoman rule, having both repelled the Ottomans and been pushed back several times.

Poienari Castle, one of the royal seats of Vlad III Dracul

The Transylvanian Saxons were also furious with him for strengthening the borders of Wallachia, which interfered with their stranglehold on the trade routes. In retaliation, the Saxons distributed grotesque poems of cruelty and other propaganda, demonizing Vlad III Dracula as a drinker of blood. These tales strongly influenced an eruption of vampiric fiction throughout the West and, in particular, Germany. As well, some are convinced that the main character in the 1897 Gothic novel Dracula by Bram Stoker was modelled on Vlad III Dracula but there is no supporting evidence.[32] Stoker borrowed only the name and "scraps of miscellaneous information" about Romanian history, according to one expert, Elizabeth Miller; as well, and there are no comments about Vlad III in the author's working notes. [33][34]

In 1462, Vlad III defeated Mehmed the Conqueror 's offensive during the Night Attack at Târgovişte before being forced to retreat to Târgoviște and accepting to pay an increased tribute.[35] Meanwhile, Vlad III faced parallel conflicts with his brother, Radu cel Frumos, (r. 1437/1439—1475), who had at this time become Muslim, and Basarab Laiotă cel Bătrân. This led to the conquest of Wallachia by Radu who would rule it for 11 years until his death.[36] Subsequently, Radu IV the Great (Radu cel Mare, who ruled 1495–1508) reached several compromises with the boyars, ensuring a period of internal stability that contrasted his clash with Bogdan III the One-Eyed of Moldavia.[37]

Mihnea cel Rău to Petru Cercel

The late 15th century saw the ascension of the powerful Craiovești family, virtually independent rulers of the Oltenian banat, who sought Ottoman support in their rivalry with Mihnea cel Rău (1508–1510) and replaced him with Vlăduț. After the latter proved to be hostile to the bans, the House of Basarab formally ended with the rise of Neagoe Basarab, a Craioveşti.[38] Neagoe's peaceful rule (1512–1521) was noted for its cultural aspects (the building of the Curtea de Argeş Cathedral and Renaissance influences). It was also a period of increased influence for the Saxon merchants in Brașov and Sibiu, and of Wallachia's alliance with Louis II of Hungary.[39] Under Teodosie, the country was again under a four-month-long Ottoman occupation, a military administration that seemed to be an attempt to create a Wallachian Pashaluk.[40] This danger rallied all boyars in support of Radu de la Afumaţi (four rules between 1522 and 1529), who lost the battle after an agreement between the Craiovești and Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent; Prince Radu eventually confirmed Süleyman's position as suzerain and agreed to pay an even higher tribute.[40]

Mihai 1600
Wallachia (highlighted in green) towards the end of the 16th century

Ottoman suzerainty remained virtually unchallenged throughout the following 90 years. Radu Paisie, who was deposed by Süleyman in 1545, ceded the port of Brăila to Ottoman administration in the same year. His successor Mircea Ciobanul (1545–1554; 1558–1559), a prince without any claim to noble heritage, was imposed on the throne and consequently agreed to a decrease in autonomy (increasing taxes and carrying out an armed intervention in Transylvania — supporting the pro-Turkish John Zápolya).[41] Conflicts between boyar families became stringent after the rule of Pătrașcu the Good, and boyar ascendancy over rulers was obvious under Petru the Younger (1559–1568; a reign dominated by Doamna Chiajna and marked by huge increases in taxes), Mihnea Turcitul, and Petru Cercel.[42]

The Ottoman Empire increasingly relied on Wallachia and Moldavia for the supply and maintenance of its military forces; the local army, however, soon disappeared due to the increased costs and the much more obvious efficiency of mercenary troops.[43]

17th century

Mihai Viteazul fighting the Turks, Giurgiu, October 1595
Fighting between Michael the Brave and the Ottomans in Giurgiu, 1595

Initially profiting from Ottoman support, Michael the Brave ascended to the throne in 1593, and attacked the troops of Murad III north and south of the Danube in an alliance with Transylvania's Sigismund Báthory and Moldavia's Aron Vodă (see Battle of Călugăreni). He soon placed himself under the suzerainty of Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor, and, in 1599–1600, intervened in Transylvania against Poland's king Sigismund III Vasa, placing the region under his authority; his brief rule also extended to Moldavia later in the following year.[44] For a brief period, Michael the Brave ruled (in a personal, but not formal, union)[45] all the territories where Romanians lived, rebuilding the mainland of the ancient Kingdom of Dacia.[46] The rule of Michael the Brave, with its break with Ottoman rule, tense relations with other European powers and the leadership of the three states, was considered in later periods as the precursor of a modern Romania, a thesis which was argued with noted intensity by Nicolae Bălcescu. Following Michael's downfall, Wallachia was occupied by the Polish–Moldavian army of Simion Movilă (see Moldavian Magnate Wars), who held the region until 1602, and was subject to Nogai attacks in the same year.[47]

Tara Romaneasca judete 1601-1718
Counties of Wallachia, 1601–1718

The last stage in the Growth of the Ottoman Empire brought increased pressures on Wallachia: political control was accompanied by Ottoman economical hegemony, the discarding of the capital in Târgoviște in favour of Bucharest (closer to the Ottoman border, and a rapidly growing trade center), the establishment of serfdom under Michael the Brave as a measure to increase manorial revenues, and the decrease in importance of low-ranking boyars (threatened with extinction, they took part in the seimeni rebellion of 1655).[48] Furthermore, the growing importance of appointment to high office in front of land ownership brought about an influx of Greek and Levantine families, a process already resented by locals during the rules of Radu Mihnea in the early 17th century.[49] Matei Basarab, a boyar appointee, brought a long period of relative peace (1632–1654), with the noted exception of the 1653 Battle of Finta, fought between Wallachians and the troops of Moldavian prince Vasile Lupu—ending in disaster for the latter, who was replaced with Prince Matei's favourite, Gheorghe Ștefan, on the throne in Iași. A close alliance between Gheorghe Ștefan and Matei's successor Constantin Șerban was maintained by Transylvania's George II Rákóczi, but their designs for independence from Ottoman rule were crushed by the troops of Mehmed IV in 1658–1659.[50] The reigns of Gheorghe Ghica and Grigore I Ghica, the sultan's favourites, signified attempts to prevent such incidents; however, they were also the onset of a violent clash between the Băleanu and Cantacuzino boyar families, which was to mark Wallachia's history until the 1680s.[51] The Cantacuzinos, threatened by the alliance between the Băleanus and the Ghicas, backed their own choice of princes (Antonie Vodă din Popești and George Ducas)[52] before promoting themselves—with the ascension of Șerban Cantacuzino (1678–1688).

Russo-Turkish Wars and the Phanariotes

Balkans XV-XVIIth century
Central and Southeastern Europe (including the Balkan peninsula) from the 15th to the 18th century

Wallachia became a target for Habsburg incursions during the last stages of the Great Turkish War around 1690, when the ruler Constantin Brâncoveanu secretly and unsuccessfully negotiated an anti-Ottoman coalition. Brâncoveanu's reign (1688–1714), noted for its late Renaissance cultural achievements (see Brâncovenesc style), also coincided with the rise of Imperial Russia under Tsar Peter the Great—he was approached by the latter during the Russo-Turkish War of 1710–11, and lost his throne and life sometime after sultan Ahmed III caught news of the negotiations.[53] Despite his denunciation of Brâncoveanu's policies, Ștefan Cantacuzino attached himself to Habsburg projects and opened the country to the armies of Prince Eugene of Savoy; he was himself deposed and executed in 1716.[54]

Immediately following the deposition of Prince Ștefan, the Ottomans renounced the purely nominal elective system (which had by then already witnessed the decrease in importance of the Boyar Divan over the sultan's decision), and princes of the two Danubian Principalities were appointed from the Phanariotes of Constantinople. Inaugurated by Nicholas Mavrocordatos in Moldavia after Dimitrie Cantemir, Phanariote rule was brought to Wallachia in 1715 by the very same ruler.[55] The tense relations between boyars and princes brought a decrease in the number of taxed people (as a privilege gained by the former), a subsequent increase in total taxes,[56] and the enlarged powers of a boyar circle in the Divan.[57]

Welcoming the Prince of Saxa-Coburg by the Metropolitan and boyars, 1789
Welcoming of the Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in Bucharest (1789)

In parallel, Wallachia became the battleground in a succession of wars between the Ottomans on one side and Russia or the Habsburg Monarchy on the other. Mavrocordatos himself was deposed by a boyar rebellion, and arrested by Habsburg troops during the Austro-Turkish War of 1716–18, as the Ottomans had to concede Oltenia to Charles VI of Austria (the Treaty of Passarowitz).[58] The region, subject to an enlightened absolutist rule that soon disenchanted local boyars, was returned to Wallachia in 1739 (the Treaty of Belgrade, upon the close of the Austro-Russian–Turkish War (1735–39)). Prince Constantine Mavrocordatos, who oversaw the new change in borders, was also responsible for the effective abolition of serfdom in 1746 (which put a stop to the exodus of peasants into Transylvania);[59] during this period, the ban of Oltenia moved his residence from Craiova to Bucharest, signalling, alongside Mavrocordatos' order to merge his personal treasury with that of the country, a move towards centralism.[60]

In 1768, during the Fifth Russo-Turkish War, Wallachia was placed under its first Russian occupation (helped along by the rebellion of Pârvu Cantacuzino).[61] The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) allowed Russia to intervene in favour of Eastern Orthodox Ottoman subjects, curtailing Ottoman pressures—including the decrease in sums owed as tribute[62]—and, in time, relatively increasing internal stability while opening Wallachia to more Russian interventions.[63]

Principality of Wallachia, 1793–1812, highlighted in green

Habsburg troops, under Prince Josias of Coburg, again entered the country during the Russo-Turkish-Austrian War, deposing Nicholas Mavrogenes in 1789.[64] A period of crisis followed the Ottoman recovery: Oltenia was devastated by the expeditions of Osman Pazvantoğlu, a powerful rebellious pasha whose raids even caused prince Constantine Hangerli to lose his life on suspicion of treason (1799), and Alexander Mourousis to renounce his throne (1801).[65] In 1806, the Russo-Turkish War of 1806–12 was partly instigated by the Porte's deposition of Constantine Ypsilantis in Bucharest—in tune with the Napoleonic Wars, it was instigated by the French Empire, and also showed the impact of the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (with its permissive attitude towards Russian political influence in the Danubian Principalities); the war brought the invasion of Mikhail Andreyevich Miloradovich.[66] After the Peace of Bucharest, the rule of Jean Georges Caradja, although remembered for a major plague epidemic, was notable for its cultural and industrial ventures.[67] During the period, Wallachia increased its strategic importance for most European states interested in supervising Russian expansion; consulates were opened in Bucharest, having an indirect but major impact on Wallachian economy through the protection they extended to Sudiți traders (who soon competed successfully against local guilds).[68]

From Wallachia to Romania

Early 19th century

The death of prince Alexander Soutzos in 1821, coinciding with the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, established a boyar regency which attempted to block the arrival of Scarlat Callimachi to his throne in Bucharest. The parallel uprising in Oltenia, carried out by the Pandur leader Tudor Vladimirescu, although aimed at overthrowing the ascendancy of Greeks,[69] compromised with the Greek revolutionaries in the Filiki Eteria and allied itself with the regents,[70] while seeking Russian support[71] (see also: Rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire).

Obşteasca Adunare, 1837
The Legislative Assembly of Wallachia in 1837

On March 21, 1821, Vladimirescu entered Bucharest. For the following weeks, relations between him and his allies worsened, especially after he sought an agreement with the Ottomans;[72] Eteria's leader Alexander Ypsilantis, who had established himself in Moldavia and, after May, in northern Wallachia, viewed the alliance as broken—he had Vladimirescu executed, and faced the Ottoman intervention without Pandur or Russian backing, suffering major defeats in Bucharest and Drăgășani (before retreating to Austrian custody in Transylvania).[73] These violent events, which had seen the majority of Phanariotes siding with Ypsilantis, made Sultan Mahmud II place the Principalities under its occupation (evicted by a request of several European powers),[74] and sanction the end of Phanariote rules: in Wallachia, the first prince to be considered a local one after 1715 was Grigore IV Ghica. Although the new system was confirmed for the rest of Wallachia's existence as a state, Ghica's rule was abruptly ended by the devastating Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829.[75]

The 1829 Treaty of Adrianople placed Wallachia and Moldavia under Russian military rule, without overturning Ottoman suzerainty, awarding them the first common institutions and semblance of a constitution (see Regulamentul Organic). Wallachia was returned ownership of Brăila, Giurgiu (both of which soon developed into major trading cities on the Danube), and Turnu Măgurele.[76] The treaty also allowed Moldavia and Wallachia to freely trade with countries other than the Ottoman Empire, which signalled substantial economic and urban growth, as well as improving the peasant situation.[77] Many of the provisions had been specified by the 1826 Akkerman Convention between Russia and the Ottomans, but it had never been fully implemented in the three-year interval.[78] The duty of overseeing of the Principalities was left to Russian general Pavel Kiselyov; this period was marked by a series of major changes, including the reestablishment of a Wallachian Army (1831), a tax reform (which nonetheless confirmed tax exemptions for the privileged), as well as major urban works in Bucharest and other cities.[79] In 1834, Wallachia's throne was occupied by Alexandru II Ghica—a move in contradiction with the Adrianople treaty, as he had not been elected by the new Legislative Assembly; he was removed by the suzerains in 1842 and replaced with an elected prince, Gheorghe Bibescu.[80]


1848 revolutionaries carrying an early version of the flag of Romania. The text on the flag can be translated as: "Justice, Brotherhood".

Opposition to Ghica's arbitrary and highly conservative rule, together with the rise of liberal and radical currents, was first felt with the protests voiced by Ion Câmpineanu (quickly repressed);[81] subsequently, it became increasingly conspiratorial, and centered on those secret societies created by young officers such as Nicolae Bălcescu and Mitică Filipescu.[82] Frăția, a clandestine movement created in 1843, began planning a revolution to overthrow Bibescu and repeal Regulamentul Organic in 1848 (inspired by the European rebellions of the same year). Their pan-Wallachian coup d'état was initially successful only near Turnu Măgurele, where crowds cheered the Islaz Proclamation (June 9); among others, the document called for political freedoms, independence, land reform, and the creation of a national guard.[83] On June 11–12, the movement was successful in deposing Bibescu and establishing a Provisional Government. Although sympathetic to the anti-Russian goals of the revolution, the Ottomans were pressured by Russia into repressing it: Ottoman troops entered Bucharest on September 13.[84] Russian and Turkish troops, present until 1851, brought Barbu Dimitrie Știrbei to the throne, during which interval most participants in the revolution were sent into exile.

Wallachia (in green), after Treaty of Paris (1856)

Briefly under renewed Russian occupation during the Crimean War, Wallachia and Moldavia were given a new status with a neutral Austrian administration (1854–1856) and the Treaty of Paris: a tutelage shared by Ottomans and a Congress of Great Powers (Britain, France, the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, and, albeit never again fully, Russia), with a kaymakam-led internal administration. The emerging movement for a union of the Danubian Principalities (a demand first voiced in 1848, and a cause cemented by the return of revolutionary exiles) was advocated by the French and their Sardinian allies, supported by Russia and Prussia, but was rejected or suspicioned by all other overseers.[85]

Divanul Ad-Hoc, 1857
Wallachia's ad hoc divan in 1857

After an intense campaign, a formal union was ultimately granted: nevertheless, elections for the ad hoc divans of 1859 profited from a legal ambiguity (the text of the final agreement specified two thrones, but did not prevent any single person from simultaneously taking part in and winning elections in both Bucharest and Iași). Alexander John Cuza, who ran for the unionist Partida Națională, won the elections in Moldavia on January 5; Wallachia, which was expected by the unionists to carry the same vote, returned a majority of anti-unionists to its divan.[86]

Those elected changed their allegiance after a mass protest of Bucharest crowds,[86] and Cuza was voted prince of Wallachia on February 5 (January 24 Old Style), consequently confirmed as Domnitor of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia (of Romania from 1862). Internationally recognized only for the duration of his reign, the union was irreversible after the ascension of Carol I in 1866 (coinciding with the Austro-Prussian War, it came at a time when Austria, the main opponent of the decision, was not in a position to intervene).



Slavery (Romanian: robie) was part of the social order from before the founding of the Principality of Wallachia, until it was abolished in stages during the 1840s and 1850s. Most of the slaves were of Roma (Gypsy) ethnicity.[87] The very first document attesting the presence of Roma people in Wallachia dates back to 1385, and refers to the group as ațigani (from the Greek athinganoi, the origin of the Romanian term țigani, which is synonymous with "Gypsy").[88]

The exact origins of slavery are not known. Slavery was a common practice in Europe at the time, and there is some debate over whether the Romani people came to Wallachia as free men or as slaves. In the Byzantine Empire, they were slaves of the state and it seems the situation was the same in Bulgaria and Serbia until their social organization was destroyed by the Ottoman conquest, which would suggest that they came as slaves who had a change of 'ownership'. Historian Nicolae Iorga associated the Roma people's arrival with the 1241 Mongol invasion of Europe and considered their slavery as a vestige of that era, the Romanians taking the Roma from the Mongols as slaves and preserving their status. Other historians consider that they were enslaved while captured during the battles with the Tatars. The practice of enslaving prisoners may also have been taken from the Mongols.[87] While it is possible that some Romani people were slaves or auxiliary troops of the Mongols or Tatars, the bulk of them came from south of the Danube at the end of the 14th century, some time after the foundation of Wallachia. The arrival of the Roma made slavery a widespread practice.[89]

Traditionally, Roma slaves were divided into three categories. The smallest was owned by the hospodars, and went by the Romanian-language name of țigani domnești ("Gypsies belonging to the lord"). The two other categories comprised țigani mănăstirești ("Gypsies belonging to the monasteries"), who were the property of Romanian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox monasteries, and țigani boierești ("Gypsies belonging to the boyars"), who were enslaved by the category of landowners.[88][90]

The abolition of slavery was carried out following a campaign by young revolutionaries who embraced the liberal ideas of the Enlightenment. The earliest law which freed a category of slaves was in March 1843, which transferred the control of the state slaves owned by the prison authority to the local authorities, leading to their sedentarizing and becoming peasants. During the Wallachian Revolution of 1848, the agenda of the Provisional Government included the emancipation (dezrobire) of the Roma as one of the main social demands. By the 1850s the movement gained support from almost the whole of Romanian society, and the law from February 1856 emancipated all slaves to the status of taxpayers (citizens).[87][88]


The present-day counties comprising Wallachia

With an area of approximately 77,000 km2 (30,000 sq mi), Wallachia is situated north of the Danube (and of present-day Bulgaria), east of Serbia and south of the Southern Carpathians, and is traditionally divided between Muntenia in the east (as the political center, Muntenia is often understood as being synonymous with Wallachia), and Oltenia (a former banat) in the west. The division line between the two is the Olt River.

Wallachia's traditional border with Moldavia coincided with the Milcov River for most of its length. To the east, over the Danube north-south bend, Wallachia neighbours Dobruja (Northern Dobruja). Over the Carpathians, Wallachia shared a border with Transylvania; Wallachian princes have for long held possession of areas north of the line (Amlaș, Ciceu, Făgăraș, and Hațeg), which are generally not considered part of Wallachia proper.

The capital city changed over time, from Câmpulung to Curtea de Argeș, then to Târgoviște and, after the late 17th century, to Bucharest.

Map gallery

TR XIII - XVI copy

Territorial extent of the Principality of Wallachia (alongside neighbouring Moldavia and Transylvania) throughout the late Middle Ages


Wallachia, as shown on a wider map of the Black Sea (mid 16th century)

Map of the Holy League in 1595

Wallachia, as part of the Holy League's Orthodox states


The Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1786, as depicted on an Italian map by G. Pittori (after the geographer Giovanni Antonio Rizzi Zannoni)

Salt trade in Wallachia (16th–19th centuries)

Salt trade in Wallachia between the 16th and 19th centuries

Walachia (1)

The region of Wallachia within contemporary Romania


Historical population

Contemporary historians estimate the population of Wallachia in the 15th century at 500,000 people.[91] In 1859, the population of Wallachia was 2,400,921 (1,586,596 in Muntenia and 814,325 in Oltenia).[92]

Current population

According to the latest 2011 census data, the region has a total population of 8,256,532 inhabitants, distributed among the ethnic groups as follows (as per 2001 census): Romanians (97%), Roma (2.5%), others (0.5%).[93]


The largest cities (as per the 2011 census) in the Wallachia region are:

See also


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  9. ^ A multikulturális Erdély középkori gyökerei – Tiszatáj 55. évfolyam, 11. szám. 2001. november, Kristó Gyula – The medieval roots of the multicultural Transylvania – Tiszatáj 55. year. 11th issue November 2001, Gyula Kristó
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  • Berza, Mihai. "Haraciul Moldovei și al Țării Românești în sec. XV–XIX", in Studii și Materiale de Istorie Medie, II, 1957, pp. 7–47
  • Djuvara, Neagu. Între Orient și Occident. Țările române la începutul epocii moderne, Humanitas, Bucharest, 1995
  • Giurescu, Constantin. Istoria Bucureștilor. Din cele mai vechi timpuri pînă în zilele noastre, Ed. Pentru Literatură, Bucharest, 1966
  • Ștefănescu, Ștefan. Istoria medie a României, Vol. I, Bucharest, 1991
  • Giurescu, Constantin. Istoria Românilor, Vol. I, 5th edition, Bucharest, 1946

External links

Coordinates: 44°25′N 26°06′E / 44.417°N 26.100°E

Basarab I of Wallachia

Basarab I (Romanian pronunciation: [basaˈrab] (listen)), also known as Basarab the Founder (Romanian: Basarab Întemeietorul), was a voivode, and later the first independent ruler of Wallachia who lived in the first half of the 14th century. Many details of his life are uncertain. Although his name is of Turkic origin, 14th-century sources unanimously state that he was a Vlach. Basarab came into power before 1324, but the circumstances of his ascension are unknown. According to two popular theories, he succeeded either his father, Thocomerius, or the legendary founder of Wallachia, Radu Negru.

A royal charter issued on 26 July 1324 is the first document to reference Basarab. According to the charter, he was subject to Charles I of Hungary as the voivode of Wallachia. Basarab became "disloyal to the Holy Crown of Hungary" in 1325. He seized the Banate of Severin and raided the southern regions of the Kingdom of Hungary. Basarab supported Michael Shishman of Bulgaria's attack against the Kingdom of Serbia, but their united armies were defeated in the Battle of Velbazhd on 28 July 1330. Soon after, Charles I of Hungary invaded Wallachia, but the Wallachians ambushed and almost annihilated the royal troops in the Battle of Posada, which occurred between 9 and 12 November 1330.

The Battle of Posada ended Hungarian suzerainty in Wallachia, and the first independent Romanian principality was consequently founded. Basarab's descendants ruled Wallachia for at least two centuries. The region of Bessarabia, situated between the rivers Dniester and Prut, was named for the Basarab dynasty.

Boyars of Wallachia and Moldavia

The boyars of Wallachia and Moldavia were the nobility of the Danubian Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia. The title was either inherited or granted by the Hospodar, often together with an administrative function. The boyars held much of the political power in the principalities and, until the Phanariote era, they elected the Hospodar.

As such, until the 19th century, the system oscillated between an oligarchy and an autocracy with the power concentrated in the hospodar's hands.

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.

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).

House of Drăculești

The House of Drăculești (Romanian: [drəkuˈleʃtʲ] ) were one of two major rival lines of Wallachian voivodes of the House of Basarab, the other being the House of Dănești.

These lines were in constant contest for the throne from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries. Descendants of the line of Drăculești would eventually come to dominate this principality until its unification with Transylvania and Moldavia by Mihai Viteazul in 1600.

The line of the Drăculești began with Vlad II Dracul, son of one of the most important rulers of the Basarab dynasty, Mircea cel Bătrân. The name Drăculești is derived from the membership of Vlad II Dracul (in old Romanian Dracul means "dragon", while currently means "the Devil") in the Order of the Dragon (founded 1408).

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.

Long Turkish War

The Long Turkish War or Thirteen Years' War was an indecisive land war between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire, primarily over the Principalities of Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia. It was waged from 1593 to 1606 but in Europe it is sometimes called the Fifteen Years War, reckoning from the 1591–92 Turkish campaign that captured Bihać.

In the series of Ottoman wars in Europe it was the major test of force between the Ottoman–Venetian War (1570–73) and the Cretan War (1645–69). The next of the major Ottoman-Habsburg wars was the Great Turkish War of 1683-99. Overall, the conflict consisted in a great number of costly battles and sieges, but with very little result for either side.

Michael the Brave

Michael the Brave (Romanian: Mihai Viteazu(l) pronounced [miˈhaj viˈte̯azu(l)] or Mihai Bravu pronounced [miˈhaj ˈbravu], Hungarian: Vitéz Mihály; 1558 – 9 August 1601) was the Prince of Wallachia (as Michael II, 1593–1601), Prince of Moldavia (1600) and de facto ruler of Transylvania (1599–1600). He is considered one of Romania's greatest national heroes, and he is seen by Romanian historiography as the first author of Romanian unity.His rule over Wallachia began in the autumn of 1593. Two years later, war with the Ottomans began, a conflict in which the Prince fought the Battle of Călugăreni, considered one of the most important battles of his reign. Although the Wallachians emerged victorious from the battle, Michael was forced to retreat with his troops and wait for aid from his allies, Prince Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania and Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. The war continued until a peace finally emerged in January 1597, but this lasted for only a year and a half. Peace was again reached in late 1599, when Michael was unable to continue the war due to lack of support from his allies.

In 1599, Michael won the Battle of Șelimbăr and soon entered Alba Iulia, becoming the imperial governor (i.e. de facto ruler) of Transylvania. A few months later, Michael's troops invaded Moldavia and reached its capital, Iaşi. The Moldavian leader Ieremia Movilă fled to Poland and Michael was declared Prince of Moldavia. Michael kept the control of all three provinces for less than a year before the nobles of Transylvania and certain boyars in Moldavia and Wallachia rose against him in a series of revolts. Thereafter, Michael allied with the Imperial General Giorgio Basta and defeated an uprising of the Hungarian nobility at Gurăslău in Transylvania. Immediately after this victory, Rudolf ordered the assassination of Michael, an action carried out on 9 August 1601 by Basta's men.

Mircea I of Wallachia

Mircea the Elder (Romanian: Mircea cel Bătrân, pronounced [ˈmirt͡ʃe̯a t͡ʃel bəˈtrɨn] (listen), d. 31 January 1418) was Voivode of Wallachia from 1386 until his death. The byname "elder" was given to him after his death in order to distinguish him from his grandson Mircea II ("Mircea the Younger"), although some historians believe the epithet was given to him as a sign of respect by later generations. He is considered the most important Wallachian ruler during the Middle Ages and one of the great rulers of his era, and starting in the 19th century Romanian historiography has also referred to him as Mircea the Great (Mircea cel Mare).


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.


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.


Phanariotes, Phanariots, or Phanariote Greeks (Greek: Φαναριώτες, Romanian: Fanarioți, Turkish: Fenerliler) were members of prominent Greek families in Phanar (Φανάρι, modern Fener), the chief Greek quarter of Constantinople where the Ecumenical Patriarchate is located, who traditionally occupied four important positions in the Ottoman Empire: Grand Dragoman, Grand Dragoman of the Fleet, Hospodar of Moldavia, and Hospodar of Wallachia. Despite their cosmopolitanism and often-Western education, the Phanariotes were aware of their Hellenism; according to Nicholas Mavrocordatos' Philotheou Parerga, "We are a race completely Hellenic".They emerged as a class of moneyed Greek merchants (of mostly noble Byzantine descent) during the second half of the 16th century, and were influential in the administration of the Ottoman Empire's Balkan domains in the 18th century. The Phanariotes usually built their houses in the Phanar quarter to be near the court of the Patriarch, who (under the Ottoman millet system) was recognized as the spiritual and secular head (millet-bashi) of the Orthodox subjects—the Rum Millet, or "Roman nation" of the empire, except those under the spiritual care of the patriarchs of Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Ohrid and Peć—often acting as archontes of the Ecumenical See. They dominated the administration of the patriarchate, often intervening in the selection of hierarchs (including the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople).

Treaty of Adrianople (1829)

The Treaty of Adrianople (also called the Treaty of Edirne) concluded the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. It was signed on 14 September 1829 in Adrianople by Count Alexey Fyodorovich Orlov of Russia and by Abdülkadir Bey of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire gave Russia access to the mouths of the Danube and the fortresses of Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki in Georgia. The Sultan recognized Russia's possession of Georgia (with Imeretia, Mingrelia, Guria) and of the Khanates of Erivan and Nakhichevan which had been ceded to the tsar by Persia in the Treaty of Turkmenchay a year earlier. The treaty opened the Dardanelles to all commercial vessels, thus liberating commerce for cereals, livestock and wood. However, it took the Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi (1833) to finally settle the Straits Question between the signatories.

Under the Treaty of Adrianople, the Sultan reguaranteed the previously promised autonomy to Serbia, promised autonomy for Greece, and allowed Russia to occupy Moldavia and Wallachia until the Ottoman Empire had paid a large indemnity. However, under the modifications the later Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi, these indemniİties were sharply curtailed. The treaty also fixed the border between the Ottoman Empire and Wallachia on the thalweg of the Danube, transferring to Wallachia the rule of the rayas of Turnu, Giurgiu and Brăila.The main sections of treaty were as follows:

1) In recognition of the Treaty of London, the independence of Greece under suzerainty of Turkey was accepted.

2) Turkey had nominal suzerainty over the Danube states of Moldavia and Wallachia; for all practical purposes, they were independent.

3) Russia took control of the towns of Anape and Poti in Asia Minor.

4) The Russian traders in Turkey were placed under the legal jurisdiction of the Russian ambassador.


Târgoviște (alternative spelling: Tîrgoviște; Romanian pronunciation: [tɨrˈɡoviʃte]) is a city in Romania, and the county seat of the Dâmbovița County. It is situated on the right bank of the Ialomița. At the 2011 census Târgoviște had a population of 79,610, making it the 26th largest city in Romania. One of the most important cities in the history of Wallachia, it was its capital between the early 15th century and the 16th century.

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 in 1859 when Alexandru Ioan Cuza was elected as the Domnitor (Ruling Prince) of both territories, which were still vassals of the Ottoman Empire.

On 24 January (O.S.) (5 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. 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.

In 1877, 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.


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.

Vlad Călugărul

Vlad IV Călugărul, ("Vlad IV the Monk"; prior to 1425 – September 1495), was the Prince of Wallachia in 1481 and then from 1482 to 1495.

His father Vlad Dracul had previously held the throne, as had his brothers Mircea II and Radu the Handsome, and lastly Vlad III Dracula. The 15th century was a very volatile time in Wallachia, with the throne passing first from one then to another of the many princes that desired it. Both of his younger brothers, Vlad III and Radu, had been hostages for a number of years to the Ottoman Sultan, having been offered up to the Ottoman court by their own father, Vlad Dracul, in exchange for the Ottoman's support of Vlad Dracul regaining his throne. His father had first gained the throne following the death of Vlad the Monk's uncle.

Both his brothers Mircea II and Vlad III were able military commanders in the field, and both saw success in battle against the Ottomans. In 1447, his brother Mircea II and his father were both captured and brutally killed. Following this, Vlad III was placed on the throne by the Ottomans, but was forced off shortly thereafter by forces supported by John Hunyadi. This would begin a long quest by Vlad III to gain the throne, which he would do two more times. His longest time on the throne would be from 1456 to 1462, this being his reign of terror for which he would become best known, and which would lead to him being the inspiration for the novel Dracula, by Bram Stoker. His brother Radu gained the throne due to the fact that he was the second in the line of succession, losing it several times to Basarab Laiotă cel Bătrân. Radu died in January, 1475, as the result of a long bout with syphilis, at which time Basarab naturally took the throne yet again, only to be forced off shortly thereafter in 1476 by Vlad III. Vlad III was killed in battle during December, 1476, after which Basarab Laiotă cel Bătrân was restored to the throne, only to be pushed off by Basarab Ţepeluş cel Tânăr in November 1477.

Vlad the Monk was a contender to his brother's throne as ruler of the principality of Wallachia for many years, but he took no active part in fighting for the throne until near the end of Vlad III's lifetime.

In 1481, the same year Mehmed II died and conflict between his two surviving sons, Bayezid II and Cem erupted into open conflict. Vlad was now placed on the throne by Ştefan III., who had invaded Wallachia that June and routed Basarab IV at Râmnicu Vâlcea. Soon enough Basarab IV was again Voivode of Wallachia, with Ottoman support. Ştefan made a last attempt to secure his influence in Wallachia. and within the year Basarab lost the throne again, after which he would reign until 1495. Although Vlad IV was restored, he was soon forced to accept the Sultan's suzerainty.In 1495, he helped build St. Nicholas Church, in Braşov, Transylvania. There is nothing historically that suggests his death that same year was anything other than natural. His fairly long reign by comparison to those before him was due in part to his having the support of Stephen III of Moldavia. He was succeeded by his son, Radu cel Mare, who would reign until 1508, when he was ousted by his first cousin Mihnea cel Rău, son of Vlad the Impaler.

Vlad II Dracul

Vlad II (Romanian: Vlad al II-lea), also known as Vlad Dracul (Vlad al II-lea Dracul) or Vlad the Dragon (before 1395 – November 1447), was Voivode of Wallachia from 1436 to 1442, and again from 1443 to 1447. Born an illegitimate son of Mircea I of Wallachia, he spent his youth at the court of Sigismund of Luxembourg, who made him a member of the Order of the Dragon in 1431 (hence his sobriquet). Sigismund also recognized him as the lawful voivode of Wallachia, allowing him to settle in the nearby Transylvania. Vlad could not assert his claim during the life of his half-brother, Alexander I Aldea, who acknowledged the suzerainty of the Ottoman Sultan, Murad II.

After Alexander Aldea died in 1436, Vlad seized Wallachia with Hungarian support. Following the death of Sigismund of Luxembourg in 1437, Hungary's position weakened, causing him to pay homage to Murad II, which included participating in Murad II's invasion of Transylvania in the summer of 1438. John Hunyadi, Voivode of Transylvania, came to Wallachia to convince Vlad to join a crusade against the Ottomans in 1441. After Hunyadi routed an Ottoman army in Transylvania, the sultan ordered Vlad to come to Edirne where he was captured in 1442. Hunyadi invaded Wallachia and made Vlad's cousin, Basarab II, voivode.

Vlad was released before the end of the year, but he had to leave his two sons as hostages in the Ottoman Empire. He was restored in Wallachia with Ottoman support in 1443. He remained neutral during Hunyadi's "Long Campaign" against the Ottoman Empire between October 1443 and January 1444, but he sent 4,000 horsemen to fight against the Ottomans during the Crusade of Varna. With the support of a Burgundian fleet he captured the important Ottoman fortress at Giurgiu in 1445. He made peace with the Ottoman Empire in 1446 or 1447, which contributed to the deterioration of his relationship with Hunyadi. Hunyadi invaded Wallachia, forcing Vlad to flee from Târgoviște in late November, where he was killed at a nearby village.

Vlad the Impaler

Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș, Bulgarian: Влад Цепеш, pronunciation: [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepeʃ] ) or Vlad Dracula ( (Romanian: Vlad Drăculea, pronunciation: [ˈdrəkule̯a] , Bulgarian: Влад Дракула); 1428/31 – 1476/77), was voivode (or prince) of Wallachia three times between 1448 and his death.

He was the second son of Vlad Dracul, who became the ruler of Wallachia in 1436. Vlad and his younger brother, Radu, were held as hostages in the Ottoman Empire in 1442 to secure their father's loyalty. Vlad's father and eldest brother, Mircea, were murdered after John Hunyadi, regent-governor of Hungary, invaded Wallachia in 1447. Hunyadi installed Vlad's second cousin, Vladislav II, as the new voivode. Hunyadi launched a military campaign against the Ottomans in the autumn of 1448, and Vladislav accompanied him. Vlad broke into Wallachia with Ottoman support in October, but Vladislav returned and Vlad sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire before the end of the year. Vlad went to Moldavia in 1449 or 1450, and later to Hungary.

Relations between Hungary and Vladislav later deteriorated, and in 1456 Vlad invaded Wallachia with Hungarian support. Vladislav died fighting against him. Vlad began a purge among the Wallachian boyars to strengthen his position. He came into conflict with the Transylvanian Saxons, who supported his opponents, Dan and Basarab Laiotă (who were Vladislav's brothers), and Vlad's illegitimate half-brother, Vlad the Monk. Vlad plundered the Saxon villages, taking the captured people to Wallachia where he had them impaled (which inspired his cognomen). Peace was restored in 1460.

The Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed II, ordered Vlad to pay homage to him personally, but Vlad had the Sultan's two envoys captured and impaled. In February 1462, he attacked Ottoman territory, massacring tens of thousands of Turks and Bulgarians. Mehmed launched a campaign against Wallachia to replace Vlad with Vlad's younger brother, Radu. Vlad attempted to capture the sultan at Târgoviște during the night of 16–17 June 1462. The sultan and the main Ottoman army left Wallachia, but more and more Wallachians deserted to Radu. Vlad went to Transylvania to seek assistance from Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, in late 1462, but Corvinus had him imprisoned.

Vlad was held in captivity in Visegrád from 1463 to 1475. During this period, anecdotes about his cruelty started to spread in Germany and Italy. He was released at the request of Stephen III of Moldavia in the summer of 1475. He fought in Corvinus's army against the Ottomans in Bosnia in early 1476. Hungarian and Moldavian troops helped him to force Basarab Laiotă (who had dethroned Vlad's brother, Radu) to flee from Wallachia in November. Basarab returned with Ottoman support before the end of the year. Vlad was killed in battle before 10 January 1477. Books describing Vlad's cruel acts were among the first bestsellers in the German-speaking territories. In Russia, popular stories suggested that Vlad was able to strengthen central government only through applying brutal punishments, and a similar view was adopted by most Romanian historians in the 19th century. Vlad's reputation for cruelty and his patronymic inspired the name of the vampire Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.

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