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Istoria Romanilor - Ion Calafeteanu

Romania este situata in centrul Europei, in partea de nord a Peninsulei Balcanice, si teritoriul sau este marcat de Muntii Carpati, Dunare si Marea Neagra. Avand un climat temperat si un mediu natural diversificat, care este foarte favorabil vietii, teritoriul romanesc a fost locuit inca din cele mai vechi timpuri. Cercetarile facute de arheologii romani la Bugiulesti, Tinutul Valcei, a dus la descoperirea unor relicve umane, datand de la inceputul Paleoliticului Inferior (aprox. 2 milioane de ani inainte de Hristos). Aceste vestigii sunt dintre cele mai vechi din Europa, scotand la iveala perioada in care omul, un humanoid, de fapt, parcurgea, fizic si spiritual, etapele depasirii statutului sau de animal. O populatie umana mai densa (Omul de Neanderthal), a trait aprox. 100.000 de ani in urma; dar, relativ stabila populatie, nu a fost descoperita decat incepand cu Neoliticul (cu 6000-5000 ani inainte de Hristos).

Ceramica de Cucuteni

La un moment dat, populatia de pe teritoriul actualei Romanii, a creat o remarcabila cultura, a carei dovada se regaseste in policromia ceramicii de Cucuteni (comparabile cu ceramica unor alte culturi europene importante, la vremea aceea, din Bazinul Mediteranei de Rasarit si a Orientului Mijlociu), precum si cultura statuetelor Hamangia (Ganditorul de la Hamangia este cunoscut astazi in intreaga lume).

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Ganditorul de la Hamangia (statueta neolitica)

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La inceputul mileniului al doilea, cand Epoca Paleoliticului facea loc Epocii de Bronz, triburile tracice de origine indo-europeana se stabileau alaturi de populatia care deja traia in Bazinul Carpato-Balcanic. De pe vremea tracilor, se poate vorbi de un fenomen neintrerupt de creare a poporului roman. In prima parte a primului mileniu dinainte de Hristos, in zona carpatodunareano-pontica - care era partea de nord a unei mari suprafete locuite de triburile tracice - un grup al tracilor de nord s-a ndividualizat: s-a creat un mozaic de triburi getice si dacice. Strabo - un geograf si istoric renumit din epoca imparatului Augustus, ne informeaza ca 'dacii aveau aceeasi limba ca si getii'. Initial, a fost acelasi popor, singura diferenta dintre daci si geti fiind zona in care locuiau ei: dacii - in mare parte, locuiau in muntii si pe platoul Transilvaniei; getii - in campiile Dunarii. In antichitate, grecii, care i-au intalnit primii pe geti - au folosit acest nume pentru intreaga populatie de la nordul Dunarii, in timp ce romanii, care i-au intalnit primii pe daci, au extins folosirea acestui nume pentru toate celelalte triburi ce locuiau pe teritoriul de astazi al Romaniei. Dupa cucerirea acestui teritoriu, romanii au creat aici provincia Dacia. Iata de ce, intregul teritoriu al Romaniei de azi este numit Dacia, in toate sursele de informatie din perioada latina si a Evului Mediu. Contactul daco-getilor cu lumea greaca a fost usor de facut, prin intermediul coloniilor grecesti create pe teritoriul tarmului Marii Negre al Romaniei de azi: Istros (Histria), fondat in sec. VII inainte de Hristos, Callatis (Mangalia de azi), si Tomis (Constanta de azi); ultimele doua create un secol mai tarziu. In istoria scrisa, populatia de la nordul Dunarii (getica), a fost prima data mentionata de Herodot, 'parintele istoriei' (sec. IV inainte de Hristos). El ne-a vorbit despre povestea campaniei regelui persan Darius I, impotriva scitilor din stepele aflate la nord de Pontic (anul 513 inainte de Hristos). El a scris ca getii erau cei mai mari luptatori dintre traci. Ei au fost singurii care au rezistat regelui persan, pe drumul dintre Bosfor si Dunare. Burebista (82 - pana in jur de 44 inainte de Hristos), care a reusit sa uneasca triburile geto-dacice, pentru prima data, a creat un regat puternic si intins, pe vremea cand suveranul dac i-a oferit sprijin lui Pompei impotriva lui Cezar (anul 48 inainte de Hristos), si se intindea de la Beskit, in nord, Bazinul Dunarii Mijlocii, in vest, raul Tiras (Nistru) si tarmul Marii Negre, in est, pana la Muntii Balcani, in sud.

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Cetatea dacica de la Sarmisegetuza

In primul secol inainte de Hristos, pe masura ce Imperiul roman se extindea si se creau provincii romane in Panonia, Dalmatia, Moesia si Tracia, granita cu Dunarea se intindea pe aproape 1500 km si despartea Imperiul Roman de lumea dacica. In Dobrogea, care se afla sub conducerea romana, de sapte secole, incepand cu domnia lui Augustus, poetul Publius Ovidius Naso si-a petrecut ultimii ani ai vietii sale 'printre greci si geti', intrucat el a fost exilat acolo, la Tomis (intre anii 8 si 17 e.n.), din ordinul aceluiasi Cezar. Dacia s-a aflat in apogeul puterii sale sub regele Decebal (87-106 e.n.). Dupa o prima confruntare, pe timpul domniei lui Domitian, (87-89 e.n.), s-au impus cu necesitate doua razboaie pentru Imperiul Roman (101-102 e.n. si 105-106 e.n.), pentru ca, in culmea gloriei sale, imparatul Traian (98-117 e.n.), sa-l invinga pe Decebal si sa-i transforme regatul intr-o provincie romana numita Dacia.

Regele Decebal

Imparatul Traian

Columna lui Traian, inaltata la Roma, si mausoleul de la Adamclisi (Dobrogea) povestesc despre aceasta inclestare militara, care a fost urmata de o masiva si sistematica colonizare a noilor teritorii integrate noului imperiu.

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Columna lui Traian din Roma - certificatul de nastere a poporului roman

Mausoleul roman de la Adamclisi (secolul II e.n.)

Dacii, cu toate ca au suferit pierderi grele, au ramas, chiar si dupa ce a fost instaurata noua conducere, principalul element din Dacia; provincia a fost supusa unui proces de romanizare complex, elementul sau de baza fiind impunerea si adoptarea definitiva a limbii latine. Romanii sunt astazi singurii descendenti ai Imperiului Roman de Rasarit; limba romana este una din marile mostenitoare ale limbii latine, alaturi de Franta, Italia, Spania, Romania este o oaza de latinitate in aceasta parte a Europei. Locuitorii, fie ei descendenti ai Imperiului Roman sau a dacoromanilor, si-au continuat existenta neintrerupta ca tarani sau ca pastori, chiar dupa retragerea romana sub imparatul Aurelian, (270275), atat a armatei, cat si a administratiei romane, care s-a mutat la sud de Dunare. Dar, stramosii romanilor au ramas timp de cateva secole in sfera de influenta a Imperiului Roman, atat in politica, cat si in economie, religie sau cultura; dupa despartirea in doua a Imperiului http://www.tradepc.co.nz/diasromnz/history/historyrom.htm 11/13/04

Untitled Roman, in anul 395 e.n., ei au ramas in sfera de influenta a Imperiului Bizantin. Ei traiau mai mult in spiritul vechilor romani, care acum decazuse, si au supravietuit imprejurarilor grele din timpul valurilor succesive ale popoarelor migratoare. La vremea cand simbioza etno-culturala dintre daci si romani a fost realizata, si s-a finalizat in sec. VI-VII, prin formarea poporului roman, intre sec. II si IV, daco-romanii au adoptat crestinismul in forma sa latina. Prin urmare, in sec. VI-VII, cand procesul de formare a poporului roman a fost gata, natiunea a patruns in istorie ca o natiune crestina. Iata de ce, spre deosebire de natiunile vecine, care au ca date de crestinare (bulgarii - anul 865, sarbii - 874, polonii - 966, slavii de est - 988, ungurii - 1000), romanii nu au o data fixa a crestinarii, intrucat ei au fost prima natiune crestina din regiune. In sec. IV-XIII, poporul roman a trebuit sa faca fata valurilor de popoare migratoare gotii, hunii, gepizii, avarii, slavii, pecinegii, cumanii, tatarii - care au traversat teritoriul Romaniei. Triburile migratoare au controlat acest spatiu, din punct de vedere militar si politic, intarziind dezvoltarea economica si sociala a bastinasilor si formarea entitatilor statale locale. Slavii, care s-au stabilit masiv in sec. VII la sud de Dunare, au despartit in doua masa compacta a romanilor din zona carpato-danubiana: cei de la nord (daco-romanii), au fost separati de cei de la sud, care s-au deplasat spre vestul si sud-estul Peninsulei Balcanice (aromanii, megleno-romanii si istro-romanii). Slavii s-au stabilit la nord de Dunare si au fost asimilati incetul cu incetul de poporul roman si limba lor a lasat urme in vocabularul si fonetica limbii romane. Peste limba romana s-a suprapus asa-numita limba slavica (in acelasi mod cum s-a impus idiomul germanic francilor). Romanii apartinand religiei ortodoxe au adoptat astfel limba veche slavona bisericeasca, ca o limba de cult si incepand cu sec. XI-XVII ca o limba de curte si cultura. Limba slava n-a fost niciodata o limba vie, vorbita de popor, pe teritoriul Romaniei; ea a jucat pentru romani, la un momentdat, in Evul Mediu, acelasi rol pe care l-a jucat latina in vest; la inceputul epocii moderne, ea a fost inlocuita pentru totdeauna in biserica, la curte si in cultura de catre limba romana. Datorita pozitiei lor, romanii de la sud de Dunare au fost pentru prima data mentionati in sursele istorice (sec. X), sub numele de vlahi sau blahi (valahi); acest nume aratand ca ei erau vorbitori ai unei limbi romanice, si ca popoarele non-romanice din jurul lor recunosteau acest fapt. Dupa anul 602, slavii stabiliti masiv la sud de Dunare au fondat un tarat puternic bulgar, in sec. IX. Asta a facut o bresa intre romanii din nordul Dunarii si cei aflati la sud de Dunare. Pe masura ce au fost supusi la tot felul de presiuni si izolati de trunchiul puternic romanesc de la nord de Dunare, numarul romanilor din sudul Dunarii a scazut continuu, in timp ce fratii lor de la nordul Dunarii, cu toate ca traiau in conditii extrem de dificile, si-au continuat evolutia lor istorica, ca o natiune separata, cea mai indepartata la est descendenta a Imperiului Roman.

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Valahia, Moldova si Transilvania


Incepand cu sec. al X-lea, surse bizantine, slave si ungare, si mai tarziu surse occidentale, mentioneaza existenta entitatilor statale ale populatiei romanesti - cnezate si voievodate - la inceput in Transilvania si Dobrogea, apoi in sec. XII-XIII, si in teritoriile de la estul si sudul Carpatilor. O trasatura specifica a istoriei romanilor din Evul Mediu, pana in epoca moderna, este aceea ca ei au trait in trei principate vecine, dar autonome, - Valahia, Moldova si Transilvania. Acest fenomen - care este, fara indoiala, unic in Europa medievala, este extrem de complex. O serie de cauze tin de esenta societatii feudale, dar sunt de asemenea si factori specifici. Printre ultimii, dorim sa mentionam existenta imperiilor vecine puternice, care s-au opus unificarii entitatilor statale romanesti si chiar au ocupat - pentru o perioada mai scurta sau mai lunga - teritoriile romanesti. De exemplu, la vest, romanii a trebuit sa faca fata politicii de cucerire dusa de regatul ungar. In 895, triburile ungare care au venit din tinuturile Volgai, conduse de Arpad, s-au stabilit in Panonia. Ei au fost opriti in inaintarea lor spre vest de catre imparatul Otto I (995), astfel ca ungurii s-au stabilit si si-au intors fata catre sud-est si est. Aici, ei s-au intalnit cu romanii. O cronica ungara descrie intalnirea dintre mesagerii trimisi de Arpad, regele ungur, si voievodul Menumorut al Biharei, un oras in vestul Transilvaniei. Ambasadorii unguri au pretins ca teritoriul sa le fie cedat lor. Cronica a pastrat pentru noi raspunsul plin de demnitate dat de Menumorut: 'Spuneti-i lui Arpad, ducele Ungariei, conducatorul vostru. Bucurosi ii vom iesi in intampinare, ca de la prieten la prieten, pentru ai da lui tot ce are nevoie, pentru ca este strain, si unui strain ii lipsesc multe. Dar pamantul pe care il pretinde, nu-l va avea niciodata de la noi de bunavoie, cata vreme vom trai'. In ciuda rezistentei cnezatelor si voievodatelor romanesti, ungurii au reusit in sec. X-XII sa ocupe Transilvania si s-o incorporeze regatului ungar (pana la inceputul secolului XVI, ca voievodat autonom). In scopul de a consolida puterea lor in Transilvania, unde romanii au continuat sa fie de-a lungul secolelor marea majoritate etnica, ca si in scopul de a apara granita estica si sudica a voievodatului, coroana ungara a recurs la colonizarea regiunilor de frontiera, cu sasi si secui, in sec. XII-XIII.

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Biserica din Densusi

In sec. XIV, odata cu declinul puterii imperiilor vecine (polonii, ungurii, tatarii), s-au format o serie de state feudale, in sudul si estul lantului muntos al Carpatilor: Valahia, sub Basarab I, in jurul anului 1360, si Moldova, sub Bogdan I, in jurul anului 1359. Regatele Poloniei si Ungariei au incercat in sec. XIV si XV sa anexeze sau sa subjuge cele doua principate, dar n-au reusit. In cea de-a doua jumatate a sec. XIV, o noua amenintare se abatea asupra teritoriilor romanesti: Imperiul otoman. Dupa ce au pus prima data piciorul pe pamantul european, in 1354, turcii otomani au inceput rapida lor expansiune pe continent, astfel ca stindardul verde al Islamului flutura deja in sudul Dunarii, in 1396.

Scene din Cronica pictata de la Viena, reprezentand victoria romanilor la Posada (1330) impotriva armatei regelui Ungariei

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Untitled Singure sau in alianta cu tarile crestine vecine, mai degraba in alianta cu voievodatele vecine ale celorlalte doua principate romanesti, voievozii Mircea cel Batran al Valahiei (1386-1418) si Vlad Tepes (Dracula din legendele medievale - 1456-1462), precum si Stefan cel Mare si Sfant (1457-1504), voievodul Moldovei si Iancu de Hunedoara, voievodul Transilvaniei (1441-1456), au dus grele batalii de aparare impotriva turcilor otomani, impiedicandu-le expansiunea spre centrul Europei.

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Mircea cel Batran, domnitorul Tarii Romanesti (1386-1418)

Vlad Tepes, domnitorul Tarii Romanesti (Dracula din legendele medievale, 1456-1462)

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Stefan cel Mare si Sfant, Domnitorul Moldovei (1457-1504)

Intreaga Peninsula Balcanica a devenit teritoriu turcesc. Constantinopole a fost capturat de Mohamed al II-lea, in 1453, Soliman Magnificul a capturat orasul Belgrad, in 1521, si Regatul ungar a disparut in urma Bataliei de la Mohaci - 1526. Prin urmare, Valahia si Moldova erau incercuite si a trebuit sa recunoasca suzeranitatea Imperiului Otoman timp de peste trei secole. Dupa ce Buda a fost capturata si Ungaria a devenit pasalac, Transilvania a devenit principat autonom, in 1541, dar ea a recunoscut, de asemenea, suzeranitatea Imperiului Otoman, ca si celelalte doua teritorii romanesti. Spre deosebire de toate celelalte popoare din sudestul Europei, spre deosebire de unguri si poloni, romanii au fost singurii care si-au mentinut entitatea statala in timpul Evului Mediu, ca si propria politica, precum si structurile militare si administrative. Tributul platit sultanului avea menirea sa garanteze pastrarea autonomiei interne, dar in acelasi timp, si protectia impotriva altor dusmani puternici. Valahia si Moldova, detinand propriul lor statut autonom, au continuat, dupa caderea Imperiului Bizantin, sa cultive traditiile culturale bizantine si au luat asupra lor, in acelasi timp, pastrarea religiei ortodoxe rasaritene; pe teritoriul lor, invatati din toata Peninsula Balcanica, la adapost de islamul intolerant, au putut continua munca lor, fara nici un obstacol. Ei au pregatit renasterea culturala a propriilor natiuni.

Orasul Soroca pe malul raului Nistru

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Untitled Sfarsitul sec. XVI a fost dominat de personalitatea lui Mihai Viteazul. El a devenit voievod al Tarii Romanesti in 1593 si s-a alaturat Ligii Crestine - o coalitie antiotomana, initiata de papalitate si de Sfantul Imperiu Roman. El a reusit, dupa grele batalii (Calugareni, Giurgiu) sa redobandeasca chiar independenta tarii sale. In 1599-1600, pentru prima data in istorie, el a unit toate teritoriile locuite de romani, proclamandu-se 'Print al Tarii Romanesti, al Transilvaniei si al intregii Moldove'. Situatia interna era foarte complicata, marile puteri vecine Imperiul Otoman, Polonia si Imperiul habsburgic - ii erau ostile si si-au unit fortele pentru a-l infrange; astfel ca aceasta unire a fost de scurta durata, intrucat Mihai Viteazul a fost asasinat in 1601. Unirea realizata de domnitorul domnitor a devenit totusi un simbol pentru posteritate. In sec. al XVII-lea, sub diferite forme, si cu succese trecatoare, si alti printi au incercat sa relanseze ambitiosul program politic al lui Mihai Viteazu, incercand sa formeze un front de uniune antiotomana din cele trei principate si sa restaureze unitatea Daciei antice.

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Mihai Viteazu (1593-1601), cel care a unit primul cele trei teritorii romanesti

Sfarsitul sec. XVII si inceputul sec. XVIII au adus schimbari, politice, atat in centrul, cat si in estul Europei. Imperiul Otoman a esuat in tentativa sa de a captura Viena, in 1683 si, prin urmare, Imperiul Habsburgic si-a inceput expansiunea catre sud-estul Europei. Tratatul de pace austriaco-turcesc de la Karlowitz (1699) sanctiona anexarea Transilvaniei si organizarea ei ca un principat autonom la Imperiul Austriac (din 1765 a devenit mare principat, condus de un guvernator). Polonia era divizata si Rusia, prin cuceriri succesive, a atins, sub Petru cel Mare, (1696-1725) raul Nistru, devenind astfel vecinul de rasarit al Moldovei. Ambitiosul vis al tarilor de a domina Stramtoarea Bosfor si Constantinopolul situa Principatele Romanesti in calea expansiunii rusesti. Imperiul Otoman, in incercarea de a-si apara vechile pozitii, a introdus in Moldova (1711) si Tara Romaneasca (1716) 'regimul fanariot', care a durat pana in 1821, si sub care Sublima Poarta desemna in cele doua principate domnitori greci, recrutati din Fanar, un cartier al Istanbulului, care erau considerati drept credinciosi ai turcilor. Aceasta a fost epoca in care controlul politic otoman si exploatarea economica a http://www.tradepc.co.nz/diasromnz/history/historyrom.htm 11/13/04

Untitled luat proportii, la fel ca si coruptia; dar, s-au introdus, de asemenea, si cateva reforme sociale - cum este abolirea serbiei -, ca si reforme administrative, de modernizare, dupa modelul european, din perioada iluminismului. Autonomia interna, desi limitata, a fost conservata la baza, in cele doua principate, care au continuat sa fie entitati distincte in Imperiul Otoman; aceasta situatie a fost recunoscuta in cateva tratate internationale (de ex. in cel de la Cuciuc Kainargi) (1784). Situate la granita celor trei mari imperii si ravnite de toate trei, Tara Romaneasca si Moldova au devenit, timp de mai bine de 150 de ani, nu numai teritorii de confruntare, dar chiar si de batalie, pe care armatele imperiilor s-au intalnit. Multi ani, Austria si Rusia au luptat impotriva Imperiului Otoman (1710-1711, 1716-1718, 1735-1739, 1768-1774, 1787-1792, 18061812, 1828-1829, 1853-1856): acele lupte au avut loc pe pamantul Romniei si au fost insotite intotdeauna de ocupatie militara straina, care, adeseori, s-a mentinut mult timp dupa ce razboiul propriu-zis s-a terminat, astfel ca tarile romanesti au indurat nu numai devastarea si pierderile irecuperabile, dar au trecut, de asemenea, si prin dislocari de populatie si amputari de teritorii dureroase. De exemplu, Austria a anexat Oltenia temporar (1718-1793), precum si Nordul Moldovei, numit Bucovina (1775-1918). Dupa razboiul ruso-turc din 1806-1812, Rusia a anexat partea de rasarit a Moldovei, teritoriul dintre raurile Prut si Nistru, numit mai tarziu Basarabia (1812-1918).

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Renasterea nationala
In sec. XVIII si la inceputul sec. XIX au avut loc uriase transformari economice si sociale, structurile feudale erau profund erodate, incepusera sa apara primele intreprinderi de tip capitalist si, in acelasi timp, produsele romanesti intrau, putin cite putin, in circuitul oriental. Ideea nationala, ca pretutindeni in Europa, avea sa devina visul inaltator al intelectualitatii si elementul de baza in planurile de viitor, facute de politicieni. Unirea unei parti a creierului din Transilvania cu biserica catolica (greco-catolicii), realizata de casa de Habsburg intre anii 1699-1701, a jucat un rol important in emanciparea romanilor transilvaneni. Lupta lor pentru drepturi egale cu alte grupuri etnice (cu toate ca romanii detineau peste 60% din populatia principatului, ei erau inca considerati 'tolerati' in propria lor tara), a fost pornita de episcopul Inocentiu MicuKlein si continuata de grupul de intelectuali din cadrul miscarii 'Scoala Ardeleana': Gheorghe Sincai, Petru Maior, Samuel Micu, Ion Budai Deleanu. Acesti carturari au dovedit latinitatea limbii romane si a poporului roman, ba chiar mai mult faptul ca ei au avut o existenta neintrerupta ca populatie autohtona. In virtutea acestei mosteniri, ei au pretins drepturi egale cu celelalte natiuni din Transilvania - ungurii, secuii si sasii. Revendicarile romanilor din Transilvania au fost supuse atentiei Curtii din Viena, intro lunga petitie, numita Supplex Libellus Valachorum (1791), care insa n-a primti nici un raspuns. Problema Renasterii in Tara Romaneasca a http://www.tradepc.co.nz/diasromnz/history/historyrom.htm 11/13/04

Untitled fost exprimata in cadrul Revolutiei condusa de Tudor Vladimirescu (1821), care a izbucnit in acelasi timp cu miscarea Greciei pentru libertate.

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Tudor Vladimirescu, conducatorul Revolutiei Romane de la 1821

Cu toate ca trupele otomane si tariste au ocupat principatele dunarene in acelasi an, sacrificiile facute de romani au dus la abolirea regimului fanariot si domnitorii pamanteni au fost din nou numiti pe tronurile din Moldova si Tara Romaneasca. Tratatul de Pace din 1929, semnat la Adrianopole (astazi Edirne), a dus la incheierea conflictului ruso-turc din 828-829, care a dus in final la razboiul de eliberare nationala purtat de Grecia. Acest tratat a slabit foarte mult suzeranitatea otomana si a sporit protectoratul Rusiei. Acum, comertul era liber, cerealele romanesti au inceput sa patrunda pe pietele europene. Sub Pavel Kiseleff, comandantul trupelor rusesti, care ocupa cele doua principate romanesti (1828-1834) a fost introdus un Regulament Organic in Tara Romaneasca (1831) si Mildova (1832). Pana in 1859, aceste regulamente au servit ca legi fundamentale (constitutii) si au contribuit la modernizarea si omogenizarea structurilor sociale, economice, administrative si politice, care incepusera in decadele premergatoare. Prin urmare, in prima jumatate a sec. XIX, Principatele Romanesti au inceput sa se distanteze de lumea otomana orientala si sa isi spuna cuvantul in spatiul spiritual al Europei de Vest. Idei curente, atitudini din vest erau mai mult decat binevenite in societatea romaneasca care suferea un proces ireversibil de modernizare. Acum, constiinta ca toti romanii apartin aceleiasi natiuni era generalizata si uniunea intr-un singur stat independent a devenit idealul tuturor romanilor.

Unirea si independenta
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Untitled Vantul revolutiei din 1848 a batut si asupra principatelor romanesti de asemenea. Ele au adus in mijlocul scenei politice o serie de intelectuali straluciti precum Ion Eliade Radulescu, Nicolae Balcescu, Mihail Kogalniceanu, Simion Barnutiu, Avram Iancu si altii.

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Nicolae Balcescu, unul din conducatorii Revolutiei din 1848

In Moldova tulburarile au fost inabusite rapid dar in Tara Romaneasca revolutionarii practic au condus tara din iunie pina in septembrie 1848. In Transilvania revolutia s-a prelungit pina aproape la sfirsitul lui 1849. Acolo, liderii unguri au refuzat sa ia in consideratie revendicarile romanilor si ei au reusit sa anexeze Transilvania la Ungaria; asta a dus la separarea fortelor revolutionare romanesti si unguresti. Guvernul ungar al lui Kossuth Laios a incercat sa inabuse lupta romanilor, dar el s-a confruntat cu rezistenta armata a romanilor in Apuseni sub conducerea lui Avram Iancu.

Avram Iancu, conducatorul Revolutiei din 1848 in Transilvania

Cu toate ca interventia brutala a armatelor otomane, tariste si habsburgice a fost incununata de succes in 1848-1849, valul de inoire in favoarea ideilor democratice s-a raspindit peste tot in urmatoarea

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Untitled decada. Rusia a fost infrinta in Razboiul din Crimeea (1853-1856) si asta a pus sub semnul intrebarii din nou fragilil echilibru european. Datorita pozitiei lor strategice la gurile Dunarii, pe masura ce aceasta cale de navigatie era din ce in ce mai importanta pentru comunicatiile europene, la Congresul de pace de la Paris (februarie-martie 1856) s-a pus problema statutului Principatelor Dunarene. Valahia si Moldova ramaneau inca sub suveranitate otomana, dar acum ele erau plasate sub tutela colectiva a celor sapte puteri care semnau Tratatul de pace de la Paris: aceste puteri au hotarit atunci sa fie convocate adunarile locale care sa hotarasca asupra viitoarei organizari a celor doua principate. Tratatul de la Paris stipula de asemenea: retrocedarea sudului Basarabiei la Moldova, teritoriu ce fusese anexat de Rusia in 1812 (judetele Cahul, Bolgrad, Ismail); navigatia libera pe Dunare: stabilirea unei comisii europene a Dunarii; statutul de neutralitate a Marii Negre. In 1857 au fost convocate Adunarile Ad-hoc la Bucuresti si Iasi in baza prevederilor Congresului de Pace de la Paris din 1856: toate categoriile sociale participante la aceste adunari au hotarat in unanimitate sa uneasca cele doua principate intr-un singur stat. Imparatul francez Napoleon al III-lea a sprijinit aceasta hotarare, Imperiul Otoman si Austria au fost impotriva, astfel ca s-a convocat o noua conferinta a celor sapte puteri in Paris (Mai-august 1858): cu acea ocazie doar citeva din revendicarile romanilor au fost acceptate. Dar, romanii au ales in 5-17 ianuarie 1859, in Moldova, si in 24 ianuarie-5 februarie 1859, in Tara Romaneasca, pe colonelul Alexandru Ioan Cuza, ca domnitor unic, realizand, de facto, unirea celor doua principate.

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Alexandru Ioan Cuza (1859-1866), Domnitorul Principatelor Unite

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Untitled indatoririlor feudale si improprietarindu-i cu pamant (1864), Legea codului penal, Legea codului civil (1864), Legea educatiei, in principiul careia scoala primara devenea obligatorie si gratuita (1864), infiintarea universitatilor din Iasi (1860) si din Bucuresti (1864).

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Mihail Kogalniceanu (1817-1890), parintele reformei, care a facut din Romania o tara moderna

Dupa abdicarea lui Alexandru Ioan Cuza (1866), Carol de Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, inrudit cu familia regala de Prusia, si care a fost sprijinit de Napoleon al III-lea si Bismark, a fost proclamat, in 10 mai 1866, dupa un pleibiscit, ca print conducator al Romaniei, sub numele de Carol I.

Carol I, primul rege al Romaniei

Noua Constitutie, inspirata dupa cea belgiana (din 1831), care a fost promulgata in 1866 si s-a aflat in uz pana in 1923, proclama Romania ca o monarhie constitutionala. In urmatorii 10 ani, lupta romanilor de asi dobandi independenta totala de stat a fost parte integranta din miscarile ce au avut loc, impreuna cu alte popoare din sud-estul Europei - sarbii, ungurii, muntenegrenii, bulgarii, albanezii - si aveau ca scop sa taie ultimele lor legaturi cu Imperiul Otoman.

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Untitled Intr-un cadrul international favorabil - in 1865 -, a izbucnit din nou criza orientala si a inceput atunci, in 1877, razboiul ruso-turc. Romania si-a declarat independenta de stat totala, in 9-21 mai 1877. Guvernul condus de Ion C. Bratianu, si in care Mihail Kogalniceanu functiona ca ministru de externe, a hotarat ca, in cadrul cererii de asistenta a Rusiei, sa se uneasca cu fortele rusesti ce operau in Bulgaria. Armata romana, sub comanda directa a printului Carol I, a trecut Dunarea si a participat la asediul Plevnei; rezultatul a fost incercuirea armatei otomane, condusa de Osman Pasa (10 decembrie 1877).

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Atacul redutei Grivita Gravura a Razboiului de Independenta (1877-1878)

Independenta Romaniei, ca si independenta Serbiei si a Muntenegrului, precum si unirea Dobrogei cu Romania, au fost recunoscute, in Tratatul de pace ruso-turc de la San Stefano (3 martie 1878). In urma insistentei marilor puteri, s-a tinut Congresul de Pace de la Berlin (iunie-iulie 1878), in cadrul caruia s-a recunoscut si mentinut statutul pe care si-l proclamase Romania cu un an mai inainte. S-a restabilit, de asemenea, dupa o lunga perioada de dominatie otomana, dreptul Romaniei asupra Dobrogei, care a fost realipita la Romania. Dar, in acelasi timp, Rusia a violat conventia semnata in 4 aprilie 1877 si a fortat Romania sa retrocedeze judetele Basarabiei de sud Kapul, Bolgrad si Ismail. Pe 14-26 martie, 1881, Romania s-a proclamat regat si Carol I de Hohenzollern Sigmaringen a fost incoronat ca rege al Romaniei. Dupa ce si-a obtinut independenta, statul roman a fost locul catre care si-au indreptat ochii toti romanii care traiau in teritoriile aflate inca sub ocupatie straina. Romanii din Bucovina si Basarabia se confruntau cu politica sistematica de asimilare in lumea germana, respectiv ruseasca. Imigratia strainilor era dirijata catre teritoriile lor. Enclavele romanesti din Peninsula Balcanica aveau dificultati tot mai mari vizavi de politica de deznationalizare. La inceputul sec. XX, romanii erau un popor cu peste 12 milioane de locuitori, dintre care aproape jumatate se aflau sub dominatie straina. In aceeasi vreme, in Transilvania, romanii sufereau consecintele serioase ale acordului prin care statul ungar se restabilea, dupa mai mult de 3 secole de colaps, in care a fost creata dualitatea austro-ungara (1867).

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Untitled Transilvania si-a pierdut statutul autonom pe care l-a avut sub stapanirea austriaca si a fost incorporata in Ungaria. Legislatia adoptata de guvernul de la Budapesta proclama existenta unei singure nationalitati in Ungaria - aceea maghiara, destinata sa distruga din punct de vedere etno-cultural celelalte populatii, fortandu-le sa devina ungare. Asta a supus populatia romaneasca, alaturi de alte grupuri etnice, la grele incercari. La vremea aceea, Partidul National Roman a jucat un rol important in impunerea identitatii nationale a romanilor; partidul a fost recunoscut in 1881 si a fost promotorul in lupta de obtinere a recunoasterii drepturilor egale pentru natiunea romana, precum si rezistenta ei impotriva proiectelor de deznationalizare. In 1892, lupta nationala a romanilor a atins apogeul, in cadrul Miscarii Memorandistice. Memorandumul a fost conceput de liderii romanilor din Transilvania, Ion Ratiu, Gheorghe Pop Basesti, Eugen Brote, Vasile Lucaciu si a fost trimis la Viena pentru a fi supus atentiei imparatului Franz Iosef I. El avertiza opinia publica europeana asupra revendicarilor romanilor si o punea in garda fata de intoleranta aratata de guvernul de la Budapesta, referitor la problema nationala. Perioada 1878-1914 a fost una de stabilitate si progres pentru Romania. Politica s-a polarizat in jurul a doua partide mari - conservator (Lascar Catargiu, Petre Carp, Gheorghe Grigore Cantacuzino, Titu Maiorescu) si liberal (Ion C. Bratianu, Dimitrie Sturza, Ion I. C. Bratianu). Ei au venit la putere alternativ si asta a fost caracteristic pentru comportamentul politic al epocii. Politica expansionista a Rusiei a determinat Romania sa semneze, in 1883, in secret un tratat de alianta cu Austria, Ungaria, Germania si Italia; tratatul a fost reinnoit periodic pana la primul razboi mondial. Dupa ce la inceput a ramas neutra, in primul razboi balcanic (1912-1913), Romania s-a alaturat Greciei, Serbiei, Muntenegrului si Turciei impotriva Bulgariei, in cadrul celui de-al doilea razboi balcanic. Pacea de la Bucuresti (1913) a marcat sfarsitul conflictului si ea prevedea ca sudul Dobrogei - Cadrilaterul (judetele Durostor si Silistra) sa devina parte la Romania. In august 1914, cand a izbucnit primul razboi mondial, Romania s-a declarat neutra. Doi ani mai tarziu, in 14-27 august 1916, ea s-a alaturat Aliatilor, care i-au promis sprijin pentru dobandirea unitatii sale nationale. Guvernul condus de Ion I.C. Bratianu a declarat razboi Austro-Ungariei.

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Ion I.C. Bratianu, prim ministru al Romaniei

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Untitled Dupa primul succes, armata romana a fost silita sa abandoneze o parte din tara, inclusiv Bucurestiul, si sa se retraga in Moldova, datorita ofensivei unite a armatelor din Transilvania, comandate de Generalul von Falkenheyn si a celor din Bulgaria, comandate de Maresalul von Mackensen. In vara lui 1917, in marile batalii de la Marasesti, Marasti si Oituz, romanii au respins incercarea puterilor centrale de a se apara si au scos Romania din razboi, ocupandu-si restul teritoriului.

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Lupta de la Marasesti - gravura din primul razboi mondial

Monumentul de la Marasesti dedicat eroilor primului razboi mondial

Situatia insa s-a schimbat complet dupa Revolutia din 1917 din Rusia si pacea separata, incheiata de sovietici la Brest-Litovsk (3 martie 1918). Asta atragea dupa sine sfarsitul operatiunilor militare pe frontul de est. Romania a fost obligata sa urmeze pasii aliatei sale Rusia, deoarece pe frontul din Moldova trupele romanesti se intercalau cu trupele rusesti si era imposibil ca lupta sa continue intr-o zona a frontului, si pacea sa se instaleze in alta zona a frontului. Rupandu-se de aliatii sai occidentali, Romania a fost obligata sa semneze Tratatul de Pace de la Bucuresti cu puterile centrale (24 aprilie-7 mai 1918). Procedura de ratificare n-a fost insa niciodata dusa la bun sfarsit, astfel ca din punct de vedere legal tratatul n-a fost niciodata operativ; de fapt, la sfarsitul lui octombrie 1918, Romania a denuntat tratatul si a reintrat in razboi. Dreptul popoarelor la autoguvernare a triumfat la sfarsitul primului razboi mondial, si asta a servit cauzelor romanilor care traiau in imperiile tarist si austro-ungar. Colapsul sistemului tarist si http://www.tradepc.co.nz/diasromnz/history/historyrom.htm 11/13/04

Untitled recunoasterea de catre guvernul sovietic al dreptului la autoguvernare permis romanilor din Basarabia sa-si exprime prin vot in cadrul organului national reprezentativ - Parlamentul tarii, care s-a convocat la Chisinau, vointa lor de a se uni cu Romania (27 martie-9 aprilie 1918). Caderea monarhiei habsburgice in toamna lui 1918, a facut posibila, pentru natiunile aflate sub opresiunea austro-ungara, emanciparea acestora. La 15-28 noiembrie 1918, Consiliul National din Bucovina a votat la Cernauti unirea acelei provincii cu Romania.

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Palatul Metropolitan din Cernauti, unde a fost votata unirea Bucovinei cu Romania (28 noiembrie 1918)

Adunarea nationala din Transilvania, convocata la Alba Iulia in 18 noiembrie-1 decembrie 1918, a votat, in prezenta a preste 100.000 de delegati, unirea Transilvaniei si Banatului cu Romania. Astfel ca, in ianuarie 1918, cand s-a inaugurat la Paris conferinta de pace, unirea tuturor romanilor intr-un singur stat era un fapt pe deplin realizat. Tratatele de pace internationale din 1919-1920, semnate la Neuilly, Saint Germain, Trianon si Paris, stabileau noile realitati europene si sanctionau, de asemenea, unirea provinciilor care erau locuite de romani intr-un singur stat (295.042 km.p, cu o populatie de 15,5 milioane). Votul universal a fost introdus (1918), reforma radicala a fost aplicata (1921), noua Constitutie a fost adoptata - una dintre cele mai democratice de pe continent - (1923) - si toate aceste au creat un cadru general democratic si au pavat drumul pentru o dezvoltare economica rapida (productia industriala s-a dublat intre 1923 si 1938. Cu cele 7,2 milioane de barili de titei produs in 1937, Romania era cel de-al doilea producator european si nr. 7 in lume. Venitul national pe cap de locuitor atingea 97 de dolari, in 1938, comparativ cu cel al Greciei de 76$, cel al Portugaliei de 81 $, cel al Cehoslovaciei de 141$ si al Frantei de 246$. In politica, erau mai multe partide aflate in competitie. Astfel ca Guvernul a fost controlat, de-a lungul anilor, de cateva dintre ele: Partidul Poporului (Alexandru Averescu), Partidul National Liberal (Ion I.C. Bratianu, I.G. Duca, Gheorghe Tatarescu), Partidul National Taranesc (Iuliu Maniu). Partidul Comunist Roman, fondat in 1921, si care avea un numar nesemnificativ de membri, a fost interzis, in 1924. Garda de Fier, o miscare extremista a aripii nationaliste de dreapta, http://www.tradepc.co.nz/diasromnz/history/historyrom.htm 11/13/04

Untitled fondata de Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, in 1927, a fost, de asemenea, exilata. In 1930, Carol al II-lea s-a razgandit in legatura cu decizia sa anterioara de a renunta la tron si l-a detronat pe fiul sau minor, Mihai (care devenise rege in 1927) si a luat tronul. Opt ani mai tarziu el instaura propria sa dictatura (1938-1940). Obiectivele politicii externe in perioada interbelica, cand Nicolae Titulescu a jucat un rol major, erau indreptate spre mentinerea statusquo-ului teritorial, prin crearea aliantelor regionale, sprijinind Liga natiunilor si politica de securitate colectiva, la fel ca si promovarea unei stranse cooperari cu democratiile vestice - Franta si Anglia.

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Nicolae Titulescu, ministrul afacerilor externe roman, suporterul securitatii colective in Europa

Impreuna cu Cehoslovacia si Iugoslavia, Romania a fondat Mica Antanta, in 1920-1921 si a creat o noua organizatie de securitate regionala - Antanta Balcanica, impreuna cu Iugoslavia, Grecia si Turcia, in 1934. Pe masura ce nazismul crestea in Germania, aceasta impreuna cu Italia sprijinea pretentiile revizioniste ale statelor vecine Romaniei; politica de forta a avut succes pe continent si acest lucru a fost marcat de Anschluss, Pactul de la Munchen (1938), de separare a Cehoslovaciei (1939). S-a produs o apropiere intre Uniunea Sovietica si cel de-al treilei Reich; toate acestea au dus la izolarea internationala a Romaniei. Pactul Ribentropp-Molotov (23 august 1939), stipula intr-un protocol secret interesele sovietice in statele baltice, estul Poloniei, precum si in Basarabia. Cand a izbucnit cel de-al doilea razboi mondial, Romania si-a declarat neutralitatea (6 septembrie 1939). Dar ea a sprijinit Polonia (facilitand tranzitul tezaurului Bancii Nationale si garantand azil presedintelui polonez si guvernului). Infrangerile suferite de Franta si Marea Britanie in 1940 au creat o situatie dramatica pentru Romania. Guvernul sovietic a aplicat capitolul 3 al protocolului secret din 23 august 1939 si a fortat Romania, prin ultimatumul din 26 si 28 iunie

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Untitled 1940, sa cedeze nu numai Basarabia, dar si nordul Bucovinei si teritoriul Hertei (ultimele doua nu au apartinut niciodata Rusiei). Sub tratatul de la Viena - de fapt, un dictat - (30 august 1940), Germania si Italia i-au dat Ungariei nord-estul Transilvaniei, unde populatia majoritara era romaneasca. In urma discutiilor romano-bulgare de la Craiova, s-a semnat un tratat, in 7 septembrie 1940, prin care sudul Dobrogei (Cadrilaterul) revenea Bulgariei.

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Harta Romaniei cu teritoriile pierdute in anii '40

Serioasa criza din vara lui 1940 a dus la abdicarea regelui Carol al IIlea, in favoarea fiului sau, Mihai I (6 septembrie 1940); in acelasi timp, a dus la preluarea Guvernului de catre generalul Ion Antonescu (el a devenit maresal in octombrie 1941). Intr-un efort de a obtine sprijinul Germaniei si Italiei, Ion Antonescu a antrenat la guvernare miscarea Garzii de Fier. Miscarea a incercat, intr-un act de rebeliune in 21-23 ianuarie 1941, sa ia intreaga conducere a guvernului, si ca urmare ea a fost eliminata din politica. Dorind sa recapete teritoriile pierdute in 1940, Ion Antonescu a participat, alaturi de Germania, in razboiul dus impotriva Uniunii Sovietice (1941-1944). Infrangerile suferite de puterile Axei au dus dupa 1942 la sporirea incercarilor facute de regimul Antonescu, precum si de opozitia democratica (Iuliu Maniu, C.I.C. Bratianu) de a scoate Romania din Alianta cu Germania. Pe 23 august 1944, maresalul Ion Antonescu a fost arestat din ordinul regelui Mihai I. Noul guvern, format din militari si tehnocrati, a declarat razboi Germaniei (24 august 1944) si, astfel, Romania si-a adus intregul ei potential economic si militar in Alianta Natiunilor Unite, pana la sfarsitul celui de-al doilea razboi mondial in Europa. In ciuda eforturilor umane si economice, pe care Romania le facuse pentru cauza Natiunilor Unite timp de noua luni, Tratatul de Pace de la Paris (10 februarie 1947), nega Romaniei statutul de co-beligerant si o obliga sa plateasca o imensa despagubire de razboi; dar, Tratatul recunostea retrocedarea teritoriilor din nord-estul Transilvaniei la Romania, in timp ce Basarabia si nordul Bucovinei ramaneau anexate la URSS.

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Untitled

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Monumentul de la Moisei, dedicat victimelor teroarei hortisto-ungare in Romania ocupata

Trupele sovietice stationau pe teritoriul Romaniei si tara a fost abandonata de puterile occidentale, astfel ca urmatorul stadiu a adus o evolutie similara acesteia, ca si celorlalti sateliti ai imperiului sovietic. Intregul guvern a fost preluat prin forta de comunisti, partidele politice au fost interzise, iar membrii lor au fost persecutati si arestati; regele Mihai I a fost fortat sa abdice si in aceeasi zi a fost proclamata Republica Populara (30 decembrie 1947). S-a instaurat dictatura unui singur partid, bazata pe o supraveghere omnipotenta si omniprezenta si pe forta de represiune. Intreprinderile industriale, bancile si mijloacele de transport au fost nationalizate (1948), agricultura a fost colectivizata fortat (1949-1962). Intreaga economie s-a dezvoltat potrivit planurilor de cinci ani, obiectivul principal fiind industrializarea de tip stalinist. Romania a devenit membru fondator al CAER (1949) si al Tratatului de la Varsovia (1955). La moartea lui Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (1965), liderul comunist al epocii de dupa razboi, conducerea partidului, care mai tarziu a fost identificata si cu conducerea de stat, a fost monopolizata de catre Nicolae Ceausescu. Intr-o scurta perioada, el a reusit sa concentreze in propriile maini (si ale celor ale clanului condus de sotia sa, Elena Ceausescu), toate parghiile puterii partidului comunist si cele ale sistemului de stat. Romania s-a distantat de URSS (acest lucru a fost facut public in 'Declaratia' din aprilie 1964; politica interna a fost mai putin rigida si s-a inregistrat o oarecare deschidere in politica externa (Romania a fost singurul stat membru al Tratatului de la Varsovia, care nu a intervenit in Cehoslovacia, in 1968); toate acestea, ca si capitalul politic construit pe o linie mai putin ortodoxa, erau folosite pentru a consolida propria pozitie a lui Ceausescu, ca sa preia intreaga putere in cadrul partidului si a statului. Dictatura familiei Ceausescu, una dintre cele mai absurde forme de guvernare totalitarista din Europa secolului XX, bazata pe cultul personalitatii care friza, de fapt, patologicul, a avut ca rezultat, printre altele, distorsiuni in economie, degradarea in viata sociala si morala, izolarea tarii in cadrul comunitatii internationale. Resursele tarii au fost abuziv folosite pentru construirea unor proiecte gigant absurde, nascocite de megalomania dictatorului. Asta a contribuit, de asemenea, la scaderea dramatica a nivelului de trai al populatiei si la adancirea

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Untitled crizei regimului. In aceste conditii, izbucnirea revoltei starnite la Timisoara in 16 decembrie 1989, a cuprins rapid toata tara, si in 22 decembrie dictatura a fost rasturnata, prin sacrificiul a peste 1000 de vieti.

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Revolutia romana din 22 decembrie 1989

Victoria revolutiei a deschis drumul spre restabilirea democratiei, a sistemului politic pluralist, pentru intoarcerea la economia de piata si reintegrarea tarii in spatiul economic, politic si cultural european.
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Untitled
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History of Romanians - Ion Calafeteanu

Romania is situated in Central Europe, in the northern part of the Balkan peninsula and its territory is marked by the Carpathian Mountains, the Danube and the Black Sea. With its temperate climate and varied natural environment, which is favourable to life, the Romanian territory has been inhabited since time immemorial. The research done by Romanian archaeologists at Bugiulesti, Valcea Country, has led to the discovery of traces of human presence dating back as early as the Lower Palaeolithic (approximately two million years BC). These vestiges are among the oldest in Europe, revealing a period when 'man,' a humanoid in fact, went physically and spiritually through the stages of his coming out of the animal status. A denser human population, ('the Neanderthal man') can be proved to have lived about 100,000 years ago; a relatively stable population can only be found beginning with the Neolithic (6-5,000 years BC).

Cucuteni pottery At the time, the population on the territory of present-day Romania created a remarkable culture, whose proof is the polychrome pottery of the 'Cucuteni' culture (comparable to the pottery of other important European cultures of the time in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East) and the statuettes of the 'Hamangia' culture (the Thinker of Hamangia is known today to the whole world).

The Thinkers of Hamangia (Neolithic statuette) At the turn of the second millennium, when the Palaeolithic age made way for the Bronze age, the Thracian tribes of Indo-European origin settled alongside

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the population that already lived in the Carpathian-Balkan region. From the time of the Thracians on, the uninterrupted phenomenon of the Romanian peoples birth can be traced. In the former half of the first millennium BC, in the Carpathian-Danube-Pontic area - which was the northern part of the large surface inhabited by the Thracian tribes - a northern Thracian group became individualised: it was made up of a mosaic of Getae and Dacian tribes. Strabo, a famous geographer and historian in the age of emperor Augustus, informs that 'the Dacians have the same language as the Getae.' Basically, it was the same people, the only difference between the Dacians and the Getae being the area they inhabited: the Dacians - mostly in the mountains and the plateau of Transylvania; the Getae - in the Danube Plains. In the Antiquity, the Greeks, who first got to encounter the Getae - used this name for the whole population north of the Danube, while the Romans, who first got to encounter the Dacians-extended this name to cover all the other tribes on the presentday territory of Romania; after the conquest of this territory, the Romans created here the Dacia province. This is why the whole territory of presentday Romania is called Dacia in all ancient Latin and Early Middle Ages sources. The contact of the Geto-Dacians with the Greek world was made easy by the Greek colonies created on the present-day Romanian Black Sea shore: Istros (Histria), founded in the 7th century BC, Callatis (today: Mangalia) and Tomi (today: Constanta); the latter two were founded a century later. In the recorded history, the population north of the Danube (the Getae) was first mentioned by Herodotus, 'the father of history' (the 4th century BC). He told the story of the campaign of Persian king Darius I against the Scythians in the northern Pontic steppes (513 BC). He wrote that the Getae were 'the most valiant and just of the Thracians'. They had been the only ones to resist the Persian king on the way from the Bosporus to the Danube. Burebista (82 - around 44 BC), who succeeded to unite the Geto-Dacian tribes for the first time, founded a powerful kingdom that stretched, when the Dacian sovereign offered to support Pompey against Caesar (48 BC), from the Beskids (north), the Middle Danube (west), the Tyras river (the Dniester), and the Black Sea shore (east) to the Balkan Mountains (south).

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The Dacian stronghold of Sarmisegetuza In the 1st century BC, as the Roman empire was expanding and Roman provinces were being created in Pannonia, Dalmatia, Moesia and Thracia, the Danube became, along 1,500 Km., the border between the Roman Empire and the Dacian world. In Dobrudja, which was under Roman rule for seven centuries beginning with the reign of Augustus, poet Publius Ovidius Naso spent the last years of his life, 'among Greeks and Getae,' as he was exiled there, to Tomi (8-17, AD) by order of the same Caesar. Dacia was at the peak of its power under King Decebal (87-106 AD). After a

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first confrontation during the reign of Domitian (87-89), two extremely tough wars were necessary (101-102 and 105-106) to the Roman empire, at the peak of its power under Emperor Trajan (98-117) to defeat Decebal and turn most of his kingdom into the Roman province called Dacia.

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King Decebal

Emperor Trajan

Trajans Column erected in Rome and the Triumphal Monument at Adamclisi (Dobrudja) tell the story of this military effort, which was followed by a systematic and massive colonisation of the new territories that were integrated into the empire.

Trajan's Column in Rome - the birth certificate of the Romanian people

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The Roman monument of Adam Clisi (second century AD) The Dacians, although they had suffered heavy casuals, remained, even after the new rule was established, the main ethnic element in Dacia; the province was subjected to a complex Romanization process, its basic element being the staged but definitive adoption of the Latin language. The Romanians are today the only descendants of the Eastern Roman stock; the Romanian language is one of the major heirs of the Latin language, together with French, Italian, Spanish; Romania is an oasis of Latinity in this part of Europe. The natives, be they of Roman or Daco-Roman descent, continued their uninterrupted existence as farmers and shepherds even after the withdrawal, under emperor Aurelian (270-275) of the Roman army and administration, which were moved south of the Danube. But the ancestors of the Romanians remained for several centuries in the political, economic, religious and cultural sphere of influence of the Roman Empire; after the empire split in 395 AD, they stayed in the sphere of the Byzantine Empire. They lived mostly in the old Roman hearts that had now decayed and survived in difficult circumstances under successive waves of migratory tribes. At the time when the Daco-Roman ethno-cultural symbiosis was achieved and finalised in the 6-7th centuries by the formation of the Romanian people, in the 2-4th centuries, the Daco-Romans adopted Christianity in a Latin garb. Therefore, in the 6-7th centuries, when the formation process of the Romanian people was done, this nation emerged in history as a Christian one. This is why, unlike the neighbouring nations, which have established dates of Christianization (the Bulgarians - 865, the Serbs - 874, the Poles966, the eastern Slavs - 988, the Hungarians - the year 1000), the Romanians do not have a fixed date of Christianization, as they were the first Christian nation in the region. In the 4-13th centuries the Romanian people had to face the waves of migrating peoples - the Getae, the Huns, the Gepidae, the Avars, the Slavs, the Petchenegs, the Cumanians, the Tartars - who crossed the Romanian territory. The migratory tribes controlled this space from the military and political points of view, delaying the economic and social development of the natives and the formation of local statehood entities. The Slavs, who massively settled since the 7th century south of the Danube, split the compact mass of Romanians in the Carpathian-Danubian area: the ones to the north (the Daco-Romanians) were separated from the ones to the south, who were moved towards the west and Southeast of the Balkan Peninsula (Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians and Istro-Romanians). The Slavs that settled north of the Danube were assimilated little by little by the

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Romanian people and their language left traces in the vocabulary and phonetics of the Romanian language. To the Romanian language, the Slavic language (similarly to the Germanic idiom of the Franks with the French people) was the so-called super-imposed layer. The Romanians belonged to the Orthodox religion so they adopted the Old Church Slavic as a cult language, and, beginning with the 14-16th centuries, as a chancery and culture language. The Slavic language was never a living language, spoken by the people, on the territory of Romania; it played for Romanians, at a certain time during the Middle Ages, the same role that Latin played in the West; in the early modern age it was replaced for ever, in church, chancery and culture included, by the Romanian language. Owing to their position, the Romanians south of the Danube were the first to be mentioned in historical sources (the 10th century), under the name of vlahi or blahi (Wallachians); this name shows they were speakers of a Romance language and that the non-Roman peoples around them recognised this fact. After the year 602, the Slavs massively settled south of the Danube and they established a powerful Bulgarian czardom in the 9th century; this, cut the tie between the Romanian world north of the Danube and the one south of the Danube. As they were subjected to all sorts of pressures and isolated from the powerful Romanian trunk north of the Danube, the number of Romanians south of the Danube continuously decreased, while their brothers north of the Danube, although living in extremely difficult circumstances, continued their historical evolution as a separate nation, the farthest one to the east among the descendants of Imperial Rome. In fact the Romanians are the only ones who, through their very name roman - (coming from the Latin word 'Roman') - have preserved to this day in this part of Europe the seal of the ancestors, of their descent, that they have always been aware of. This will show later in the name of the nation state Romania.

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Wallachia, Moldavia, Transylvania


Beginning with the 10th century, the Byzantine, Slav and Hungarian sources, and later on the western sources mention the existence of statehood entities of the Romanian population - kniezates and voivodates - first in Transylvania and Dobrudja, then in the 12-13th centuries, also in the lands east and south of the Carpathians. A specific trait of the Romanians history from the Middle Ages until the modern times is that they lived in three Principalities that were neighbours, but autonomous - Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania. This phenomenon - which is by no means unique in Mediaeval Europe - is extremely complex. The underlying causes pertain to the essence of the feudal society, but there are also specific factors. Among the latter, we wish to mention the existence of powerful neighbouring empires, which opposed the unification of the Romanian state entities and even occupied - for shorter or longer periods of time - Romanian territories. For instance, to the west the Romanians had to face the policy of conquests conducted by the Hungarian kingdom. In 895, the Hungarian tribes, who came from the Volga lands, led by Arpad, settled in Pannonia. They were stopped in their progress towards the west by emperor Otto I (995) so the Hungarians settled down and turned their eyes to the south-east and east. There they encountered the Romanians. A Hungarian chronicle describes the meeting between the messengers sent by Arpad, the Hungarian king, and voivode Menumorut of the Biharea city in western Transylvania. The Hungarian ambassadors demanded that the territory be handed over to them. The chronicle has preserved for us the dignified answer given by Menumorut: 'Tell Arpad, the Duke of Hungary, your ruler. Verily we owe him, as a friend to a friend, to give him all that is

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necessary because he is a foreigner and a stranger and lacks many. But the land that he has demanded from our good will we shall never give to him, as long as we are alive'. Despite the resistance of the Romanian kniezates and voivodates, the Hungarians succeeded in the 10-13th centuries to occupy Transylvania and make it part of the Hungarian kingdom (until the beginning of the 16th century as an autonomous voivodate.) In order to consolidate their power in Transylvania, where the Romanians continued to be, over the centuries, the great majority ethnic element, as well as to defend the southern and eastern borders of the voivodate, the Hungarian crown resorted to the colonisation of Szecklers and Germans (Saxons) in the 12-13th centuries in the frontier areas.

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The Church of Densus In the 14th century, with the decline of the neighbouring imperial powers (the Poles, the Hungarians, the Tartars), south and east of the Carpathian Mountains range the autonomous feudal states were formed: Wallachia, under Basarab I (around 1310) and Moldavia, under Bogdan I (around 1359). The Polish and Hungarian kingdoms attempted in the 14-15th centuries to annex or subordinate the two principalities, but they did not succeed. In the second half of the 14th century a new threat against the Romanian lands emerged: the Ottoman Empire. After first setting foot on European soil in 1354, the Ottoman Turks began their rapid expansion on the continent, so the green banner of the Islam already flew south of the Danube in 1396.

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Scene from the Painted Chronicle of Vienna showing the victory of the Romanians at Posada (1330) against the army of the Hungarian King Alone or in alliance with the neighbouring Christian countries, more often in alliance with the neighbouring voivodes of the other two Romanian principalities, the voivodes of Wallachia Mircea the Old (1386-1418) and Vlad the Impeller (Dracula of the Mediaeval legends, 1456-1462), with Stephen the Great and Holy (1457-1504), the voivode of Moldavia and Iancu of Hunedoara, the voivode of Transylvania (1441-1456) fought heavy defence battles against the Ottoman Turks, delaying their expansion to Central Europe.

Mircea the Old, Voivode of Wallachia (1386-1418)

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Vlad the Impeller, Voivode of Wallachia (Dracula of the Mediaeval legends, 1456-1462)

Stephen the Great and Holy, Voivode of Moldavia (1457-1504) The whole Balkan Peninsula became a Turkish-ruled territory, Constantinople was captured by Mohammed II (1453), Suleiman the Magnificent captured the city of Belgrade (1521), and the Hungarian kingdom disappeared following the battle of Mohacs (1526). Therefore, Wallachia and Moldavia were surrounded and they had to recognise for over three centuries the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. After Buda was captured and Hungary became a pashalik, Transylvania became a selfruling principality (1541) and it, too, recognised the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire, as the other two Romanian lands. Unlike all the other peoples of south-east Europe, unlike the Hungarians and the Poles, the Romanians were the only ones who maintained their state entity during the Middle Ages, along with their own political, military and administrative structures. The tribute paid to the sultan was the guarantee for the preservation of domestic autonomy, but also for the protection against more powerful enemies. Wallachia and Moldavia, owing to their autonomy status, continued after the fall of the Byzantine Empire to foster their Byzantine cultural traditions, taking at the same time upon themselves to protect the Eastern Orthodox religion; on their territory, scholars from all over the Balkan Peninsula, chased away by the intolerant Islam, were able to continue their work without any obstacles; they prepared the cultural revival of

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their nations.

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City of Soroca on the Dnister river bank The end of the 16th century was dominated by the personality of Michael the Brave. He became voivode of Wallachia in 1593, joined the Christian League - an anti-Ottoman coalition initiated by the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire and he succeeded, following heavy battles (Calugareni, Giurgiu) to actually regain the independence of his country. In 1599-1600 he united for the first time in history all the territories inhabited by Romanians, proclaiming himself 'prince of Wallachia, Transylvania and the whole of Moldavia.' The domestic situation was very complex, the neighbouring great-powers - the Ottoman Empire, Poland, the Hapsburg Empire - were hostile and joined forces to overthrow him; so this union was short-lived as Michael the Brave was assassinated in 1601. The union achieved by the valiant voivode became, however, a symbol to the posterity. In the 17th century, in various forms and with evanescent success, other princes attempted to restart the ambitious political program of Michael the Brave, by trying to form a united anti-Ottoman front, made-up of the three principalities and to restore the unity of ancient Dacia.

Michael the Brave (1593-1601) who first united the three Romanian lands The end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century brought about changes in the politics of Central and Eastern Europe. The Ottoman Empire failed to capture Vienna in 1683 and following that, the Hapsburg Empire began its expansion to the south-east of Europe. The Austrian-Turkish peace treaty of Karlowitz (1699) sanctioned the annexation of Transylvania and its organisation as an autonomous principality to Hapsburg Austria (since 1765 great principality), ruled by a governor. Poland was divided and Russia, by successive conquests, reached under Peter the Great (1696-1725) the

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Dniester river, thus becoming Moldavias eastern neighbour. The ambitious dream of the czars to dominate the Bosporus strait and Constantinople placed the Romanian Principalities in the way of Russian expansionism. The Ottoman Empire, in an attempt to defend its old position, introduced in Moldavia (1711) and Wallachia (1716) the 'Phanariot regime,' (until 1821), under which the Sublime Porte appointed in the two principalities Greek voivodes recruited from the Phanar district of Istanbul and considered faithful to the Turks. That was a time when the Ottoman political control and economic exploitation increased and corruption spread; but some social reforms were also introduced - such as the abolition of serfdom - as well as administrative and modernising reforms, modelled on the European ones in the age of the Enlightenment. The domestic autonomy, although limited, was basically preserved and the two principalities continued to be distinct entities from the Ottoman Empire; this situation was recognised in several international treaties (for instance that of Kuchuk-Kainargi, 1774). Lying at the borders of three great empires and wanted by all three of them, Wallachia and Moldavia became for over 150 years not only territories of contention but also a battlefield on which the armies of the empires fought each other. Many wars were fought by Austria and Russia against the Ottoman Empire (1710-1711, 1716-1718, 1735-1739, 1768-1774, 1787-1792, 1806-1812, 1828-1829, 1853-1856): those battles took place on Romanian soil, always accompanied by a foreign military occupation, which was often maintained long after the war proper was over, so the Romanian lands endured not only through devastation and irrecoverable losses but also through population displacements and painful territory amputations. So, Austria temporarily annexed Oltenia (1718-1793) and Northern Moldavia that they called Bukovina (1775-1918). Following the Russian-Turkish war of 1806-1812, Russia annexed the eastern part of Moldavia, the land between the Prut and Dniester rivers, later called Bessarabia (1812-1918).

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National Revival
In the 18th and early 19th centuries huge economic and social changes took place, the feudal structures were deeply eroded, the first capitalist enterprises emerged and at the same time Romanian goods were attracted step by step into the European circuit. The national idea, as everywhere else in Europe, was becoming the soaring dream of intellectuals and the underlying element in the plans for the future made by the politicians. The union of part of the clergy in Transylvania with the Catholic Church (the Greek- Catholics), achieved by the House of Hapsburg in 1699-1701, played an important part in the emancipation of Transylvanian Romanians. Their fight for equal rights with the other ethnic groups (although the Romanians accounted for over 60% of the principates population, they were still considered 'tolerated' in their own country) was begun by Bishop Inocentiu Micu-Klein and continued by the intellectuals grouped in the 'Transylvanian School' movement: Gheorghe Sincai, Petru Maior, Samuil Micu, Ion Budai-Deleanu, a.o. These scholars proved the Latinity of the Romanian language and people and, even more, the fact that they had uninterruptedly been the autochthonous population here. By virtue of this ancients, they demanded equal rights with the other 'nations' in Transylvania - Hungarians, Szecklers and Saxons. The claims of the Romanians in Transylvania were submitted to the Court of Vienna in the long petition called Supplex Libellus Valachorum (1791), which did not receive any answer. The quest for renewal in Wallachia was expressed in the revolution led by Tudor Vladimirescu (1821), which broke out at the same time with the Greeks movement for liberation.

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Tudor Vladimirescu, the leader of the 1821 Romanian revolution Although the Ottoman and Czarist troops occupied the Danube principalities that same year, the sacrifices made by the Romanians brought about the abolition of the Phanariot regime and native voivodes were again appointed on the thrones of Moldavia and Wallachia. The peace treaty of 1829 signed at Adrianople (today Edirne) ended the Russian-Turkish conflict of 1828-1829, which had broken out in the final stage of the war for national liberation fought by the Greeks; this treaty greatly weakened the Ottoman suzerainty, but it increased Russias 'protectorate.' Now that trade was freed, Romanian cereals began to penetrate European markets. Under Pavel Kiseleff, the commander of the Russian troops that occupied the two Romanian principalities (1828-1834), quasi-identical Organic Regulations were introduced in Wallachia (1831) and Moldavia (1832); until 1859 these Regulations served as fundamental laws (constitutions) and they contributed to the modernisation and homogenisation of the social, economic, administrative and political structures that had started in the preceding decades. Therefore, in the first half of the 19th century, the Romanian principalities began to distance themselves from the Oriental Ottoman world and tune into the spiritual space of Western Europe. Ideas, currents, attitudes from the West were more than welcome in the Romanian world, which was undergoing an irreversible process of modernisation. Now the awareness that all Romanians belong to the same nation was generalised and the union into one single independent state became the ideal of all Romanians.

Union and Independence


The winds of 1848 also blew over the Romanian principalities. They brought to the centre-stage of politics several brilliant intellectuals such as Ion Heliade Radulescu, Nicolae Balcescu, Mihail Kogalniceanu, Simion Barnutiu, Avram Iancu and others.

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Nicolae Balcescu, one of the 1848 revolution leaders In Moldavia the unrest was quickly cracked down on, but in Wallachia the revolutionaries actually governed the country in June-September 1848. In Transylvania the revolution was prolonged until as late as 1849. There, the Hungarian leaders refused to take into account the claims of the Romanians and they resolved to annex Transylvania to Hungary; this led to a split of the revolutionary forces between the Hungarians and the Romanians. The Hungarian government of Kossuth Lajos attempted to crack down on the fight of the Romanians, but he encountered the resolute armed resistance of the Romanians in the Apuseni Mountains, under the leadership of Avram Iancu.

Avram Iancu, leader of the 1848 Romanian revolution in Transylvania Although the brutal intervention of the Ottoman, Czarist and Hapsburg armies was successful in 1848-1849, the renewal tide favouring democratic ideas spread everywhere in the next decade. Russia was defeated in the Crimean War (1853-1856) and this called into question again the fragile European balance. Owing to their strategic position at the mouth of the Danube, as this waterway was becoming increasingly important to European communications, the status of the Danube principalities became a European issue at the peace Congress in Paris (February-March 1856). Wallachia and Moldavia were still under Ottoman suzerainty, but now they were placed under the collective guarantee of the

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seven powers that signed the Paris peace treaty; these powers decided then that local assemblies be convened to decide on the future organisation of the two principalities. The Treaty of Paris also stipulated: the retrocession to Moldavia of Southern Bessarabia, which had been annexed in 1812 by Russia (the Cahul, Bolgrad and Ismail counties); freedom of sailing on the Danube; the establishment of the European Commission of the Danube; the neutral status of the Black Sea. In 1857 the 'Ad-hoc assemblies' convened in Bucharest and Iasi under the provisions of the Paris Peace Congress of 1856; all social categories participated and these assemblies unanimously decided to unite the two principalities into one single state. French emperor Napoleon III supported this, the Ottoman Empire and Austria were against, so a new conference of the seven protector powers was called in Paris (May-August 1858); there, only a few of the Romanians claims were approved. But the Romanians elected on January 5/17, 1859 in Moldavia and on January 24/February 5, 1859 in Wallachia Colonel Alexandru Ioan Cuza as their unique prince, achieving de facto the union of the two principalities.

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Alexandru Ioan Cuza (1859-1866), Voivove of the United Principalities The Romanian nation state took on January 24/February 5, 1862 the name of Romania and settled its capital in Bucharest. Assisted by Mihail Kogalniceanu, his closest adviser, Alexandru Ioan Cuza initiated a reform programme, which contributed to the modernisation of the Romanian society and state structures: the law to secularise monastery assets (1863), the land reform, providing for the liberation of the peasants from the burden of feudal duties and the granting of land to them (1864), the Penal Code law, the Civilian Code law (1864), the education law, under which primary school became tuitionfree and compulsory (1864), the establishment of universities in Iasi (1860) and Bucharest (1864), a.o.

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Mihail Kogalniceanu (1817-1890), father of the program to make Romania a modern country After the abdication of Alexandru Ioan Cuza (1866), Carol of HohenzollernSigmaringen, a relative of the royal family of Prussia, who was supported by Napoleon III and Bismark, was proclaimed on May 10, 1866, following a plebiscite, ruling prince of Romania, with the name of Carol I.

Carol I, first King of Romania The new Constitution (inspired from the Belgian one of 1831), which was promulgated in 1866 and was in use until 1923, proclaimed Romania a constitutional monarchy. In the next decade the struggle of the Romanians to achieve full state independence was part of the movements that took place with other peoples in the south-east of Europe - Serbs, Hungarians, Montenegrins, Bulgarians, Albanians - to cut off their last ties to the Ottoman Empire. Within a favourable international framework - in 1875 the Oriental crisis broke out again and the Russo-Turkish war started in April 1877 Romania declared its full state independence on May 9/21, 1877. The government led by Ion C. Bratianu, in which Mihail Kogalniceanu served as Foreign Minister, decided, upon the Russian request for assistance, to join the Russian forces that were operative in Bulgaria. A Romanian army, under the personal command of Prince Carol I, crossed the Danube and participated in the siege of Pleven; the result was the surrender of the Ottoman army led by Osman Pasha (December 10, 1877).

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Attack of Grivita stronghold Engraving of the Independence War period (1877-1878) The independence of Romania, similarly to that Serbia and Montenegro, as well as the union of Dobrudja with Romania were recognised in the RussianTurkish peace treaty of San Stefano (March 3, 1878). Upon the insistence of the great powers, an international peace Congress was held in Berlin (JuneJuly 1878), which acknowledged and maintained the status that Romania had proclaimed by herself more than a year before; it also re-established, after a long period of Ottoman rule, Romanias rights over Dobrudja, which was reunited to Romania. But at the same time Russia violated the convention signed on April 4, 1877 and forced Romania to cede the Cahul, Bolgrad and Ismail counties of Southern Bessarabia. On March 14/26, 1881, Romania proclaimed itself a kingdom and Carol I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was crowned King of Romania. After gaining its independence, the Romania state was the place to which the hopeful eyes of all Romanians who lived on the lands still under foreign occupation turned. The Romanians in Bukovina and in Bessarabia were facing a systematic policy of assimilation into the German and Russian worlds, respectively. Immigration of foreign peoples was directed to their territory. The Romanian enclaves in the Balkan Peninsula had increasing difficulties in opposing the denationalisation tendencies. At the turn of the 20th century, the Romanians were a people with over 12 million inhabitants, of whom almost half lived under foreign occupation. At the same time in Transylvania, the Romanians suffered the serious consequences of the accord by which the Hungarian state was re-established more than three centuries after its collapse and the dual Austria-Hungary state was created (1867). Transylvania lost the autonomous status it had under Austrian rule and it was incorporated into Hungary. The legislation passed by the government in Budapest, which proclaimed the existence of only one nationality in Hungary - the Magyar one - sought to destroy from the ethno-cultural point of view the other populations, by forcing them to become Hungarian. This subjected the Romanian population, along with other ethnic groups, to heavy ordeals. At that time the National Romanian Party in Transylvania played an important role in asserting the Romanian national identity; the party was reorganised in 1881 and it became the standard bearer in the struggle to achieve recognition of equal rights of the Romanian nation and it the resistance against the denationalisation projects. In 1892 the national struggle of the Romanians reached a climax through the Memorandum Movement. The memorandum was drafted by the leaders of the Romanians in Transylvania, Ion Ratiu, Gheorghe Pop of Basesti, Eugen

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Brote, Vasile Lucaciu, a.o. and it was sent to Vienna to be submitted to emperor Franz Joseph I; it advised the European public opinion of the Romanians claims and of the intolerance shown by the government in Budapest regarding the national issue. The 1878-1914 period was one of stability and progress for Romania. Politics got polarised around two huge parties - the conservative one (Lascar Catargiu, P.P. Carp, Gh. Grigore Cantacuzino, Titu Maiorescu, a.o.) and the liberal one (Ion C. Bratianu, Dimitrie A. Sturdza, Ion I.C. Bratianu, a.o.). They alternatively came to power and this became the characteristic trait of the epochs politics. The expansionist policy of Russia determined Romania to sign in 1883 a secret alliance treaty with Austria-Hungary, Germany and Italy; the treaty was renewed periodically until World War I. After staying neutral in the first Balkan war (1912-1913) Romania joined Greece, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey against Bulgaria in the second Balkan war. The peace treaty of Bucharest (1913) marked the end of that conflict and under its provisions Southern Dobrudja - the Quadrilateral (the Durostor and Caliacra counties) became part of Romania. In August 1914, when World War I broke out, Romania declared neutrality. Two years later on August 14/27, 1916 it joined the Allies, which promised support for the accomplishment of national unity; the government led by Ion I.C. Bratianu declared war on Austria-Hungary.

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Ion I.C. Bratianu, Prime Minister of Romania After the first success, the Romanian army was forced to abandon part of the country, Bucharest included and to withdraw to Moldavia, owing to the joint offensive of the armies in Transylvania, commanded by General von Falkenhayn and those of Bulgaria, commanded by Marshal von Mackensen. In the summer of 1917, in the great battles of Marasti, Marasesti and Oituz, the Romanians aborted the attempt made by the Central Powers to defeat and get Romania out of the war by occupying the rest of her territory.

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Fighting at Marasesti - Engraving of WWI

The Marasesti Monument dedicated to the heroes of WWI But the situation changed completely following the outbreak of the revolution in Russia (1917) and the separate peace concluded by the Soviets at BrestLitovsk (March 3, 1918); this triggered the end of the military operations on the eastern front. Romania was compelled to follow in the steps of her Russian ally, because on the Moldavian front the Romanian troops were interspersed with the Russian ones and it was impossible for combat to continue on one area of the front and for peace to settle on another front area, and so on. Cut off from its western allies, Romania was forced to sign the peace treaty of Bucharest with the Central Powers (April 24/May 7, 1918). The ratification procedure was never carried through, so from the legal standpoint the treaty was never operative; in fact, in late October 1918, Romania denounced the treaty and re-entered the war. The right of the peoples to self-rule triumphed in the final stage of World War I and this served the cause of the Romanians who lived in the Czarist and Austro-Hungarian Empires. The collapse of the czarist system and the recognition by the Soviet government of the right of the exploited peoples to self-rule allowed the Romanians in Bessarabia to express through the vote of the national representative body - the Country Council which convened in Chisinau - their will to be united with Romania (March 27/April 9, 1918). The fall of the Hapsburg monarchy in the autumn of 1918 made it possible for the nations that had been under Austrian-Hungarian oppression to emancipate themselves. On November 15/28, 1918, the National Council of Bukovina voted in Cernauti to unite that province to Romania.

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The Metropolitan Palace of Cernauti, where the union of Bukovina with Romania was voted (November 28, 1918) In Transylvania the National Assembly called at Alba Iulia on November 18/December 1, 1918 voted, within the presence of over 100,000 delegates, to unite Transylvania and Banat with Romania. So, in January 1919, when the peace conference was inaugurated in Paris, the union of all Romanians into one single state was an accomplished fact. The international peace treaties of 1919-1920 signed at Neuilly, SaintGermain, Trianon and Paris, established the new European realities and also sanctioned the union of the provinces that were inhabited by Romanians into one single state (295,042 square kilometres, with a population of 15.5 million). The universal suffrage was introduced (1918), a radical reform was applied (1921), a new Constitution was adopted - one of the most democratic on the continent (1923) - and all this created a general-democratic framework and paved the way for a fast economic development (the industrial output doubled between 1923 and 1938). With its 7.2 million metric tons of produced oil in 1937, Romania was the second largest European producer and number seven in the world. The per capita national income reached $94 in 1938 as compared to Greece - $76, Portugal - $81, Czechoslovakia - $141, and France - $246. In politics many parties competed with one another, so the government was controlled over the years by several of them: the Peoples Party (Alexandru Averescu), the National Liberal Party (Ion I.C. Bratianu, I.G. Duca, Gheorghe Tatarescu) and the National Peasant Party (Iuliu Maniu). The Romanian Communist Party, established in 1921, and which had an insignificant number of members, was banned in 1924. The Iron Guard, an extremist right-wing nationalist movement, established by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu in 1927, was equally banned. In 1930 Carol II changed his mind about his earlier decision to give up the throne, he dethroned his minor son, Michael (who had become king in 1927) and he took the throne. Eight years later he established his personal dictatorship (1938-1940). The goals of the foreign policy in the inter-war period, when Nicolae Titulescu played a major role, sought to maintain the territorial status quo by creating regional alliances, supporting the League of Nations and the collective security policy, as well as by promoting close co-operation with the Western democracies - France and Great Britain.

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Nicolae Titulescu, Romanian Foreign Minister, supporter of collective security in Europe With Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, Romania lay the foundation in 19201921 for the Little Entente and in 1934 Romania created with Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey a new organisation of regional security - the Balkan Entente. Nazi Germany was rising and, together with Italy it supported the revisionist states neighbouring Romania; the force policy was successful on the continent and this was marked by the Anschluss, the Munich Pact (1938), the break-up of Czechoslovakia (1939); there was rapprochement between the Soviet Union and the Third Reich; all this led to Romanias international isolation. The von Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact (August 23, 1939) stipulated in a secret protocol the Soviet 'interest' in the Baltic states, eastern Poland and the Soviet similar 'interest' in Bessarabia. When World War II broke out, Romania declared neutrality (September 6,1939) but she supported Poland (by facilitating the transit of the National Bank treasure and granting asylum to the Polish president and government). The defeats suffered by France and Great Britain in 1940 created a dramatic situation for Romania. The Soviet government applied Plank 3 of the secret protocol of August 23, 1939 and forced Romania by the ultimatum notes of June 26 and 28, 1940 to cede not only Bessarabia, but also Northern Bukovina and the Hertza land (the latter two had never belonged to Russia). Under the Vienna 'Award' - actually a dictate - (August 30, 1940) Germany and Italy gave to Hungary the north-eastern part of Transylvania, where the majority population was Romanian. Following the Romanian-Bulgarian talks in Craiova, a treaty was signed on September 7, 1940, under which the south of Dobrudja (the Quadrilateral) went to Bulgaria.

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Romania's map with the territorial losses of the '40s The serious crisis in the summer of 1940 led to the abdication of King Carol II in favour of his son Michael I (September 6, 1940); equally, it led to General Ion Antonescus take-over of the government (he became a Marshal in October 1941). In an effort to win support from Germany and Italy, Ion Antonescu joined forces in government with the Iron Guard Movement. The Movement attempted by way of the rebellion of January 21-23, 1941 to take over the entire government and, as a result, it was eliminated from politics. Wishing to get back the territories lost in 1940, Ion Antonescu participated, side by side with Germany, in the war against the Soviet Union (1941-1944). The defeats suffered by the Axis powers led after 1942 to enhanced attempts made by Antonescus regime, as well as by the democratic opposition (Iuliu Maniu, C.I.C. Bratianu) to take Romania out of the alliance with Germany. On August 23, 1944, Marshal Ion Antonescu was arrested under the order of King Michael I. The new government, made up of military men and technocrats, declared war on Germany (August 24, 1944) and so, Romania brought her whole economic and military potential into the alliance of the United Nations, until the end of World War II in Europe. Despite the human and economic efforts Romania had made for the cause of the United Nations for nine months, the Peace Treaty of Paris (February 10, 1947) denied Romania the co-belligerent status and forced her to pay huge war reparation. payments; but the Treaty recognised the come-back of north-eastern Transylvania to Romania while Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina stayed annexed to the USSR.

The Monument of Moisei, dedicated to the victims of the Horthy Hungarian terror in occupied Transylvania On the territory of Romania Soviet troops were stationed and the country was

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abandoned by the Western powers, so the next stage brought a similar evolution to that of the other satellites of the Soviet Empire. The whole government was forcibly taken over by the communists, the political parties were banned and their members were persecuted and arrested; King Michael I was forced to abdicate and the same day the peoples republic was proclaimed (December 30, 1947). The single-party dictatorship was established, based on an omnipotent and omnipresent surveillance and repression force. The industrial enterprises, the banks and the transportation means were nationalised (1948), agriculture was forcibly collectivised (19491962), the whole economy was developed according to five-year plans, the main goal being a Stalinisttype industrialisation. Romania became a founding member of COMECON (1949) and of the Warsaw Treaty (1955). At the death of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (1965), the communist leader of the after-war epoch, the party leadership, which was later identified with that of the state as well, was monopolised by Nicolae Ceausescu. In a short period of time he managed to concentrate into his own hands (and those of a clan headed by his wife, Elena Ceausescu) all the power levers of the communist party and of the state system. Romania distanced herself from the USSR (this publicy inaugurated in the 'Statement' of April 1964); the domestic policy was less rigid and there was some opening in the foreign policy (Romania was the only Warsaw Treaty member-state that did not intervene in Czechoslovakia in 1968); all this, as well as the political capital built on such a less Orthodox line were used to consolidate Ceausescus own position, to take over the whole power within the party and the state. The dictatorship of the Ceausescu family, one of the most absurd forms of totalitarian government in the 20th century Europe, with a personality cult that actually bordered on mental illness, had as a result, among other things, distortions in the economy, the degradation of the social and moral life, the countrys isolation from the international community. The countrys resources were abusively used to build absurdly giant projects devised by the dictators megalomania; this also contributed to a dramatic decline of the populations living standard and the deepening of the regimes crisis. Under these circumstances, the spark of the revolt that was stirred in Timisoara on December 16, 1989 rapidly spread all over the country and in December 22 the dictatorship was overthrown owing to the sacrifice of over one thousand lives.

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The Romanian Revolution of December 22, 1989 The victory of the revolution opened the way for a re-establishment of democracy, of the pluralist political system, for the return to a market economy and the re-integration of the country in the European economic, political and cultural space.
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