A Brief History of Romania

Romania hasn’t had a very peaceful history, because geographically it is located at the intersection point between Asia and Europe, between Russia and Central Europe, between the Mediterranean and the Baltic seas, etc.

However, a highlight in Romanian history and probably one of the most recognized figures from Romania is the former communist ruler, Nicolae Ceausescu, who was overthrown at the Romanian revolution, in December 1989.

  • Ancient History / Roman Period (3600 BC – 500 AD)
  • Middle Ages / Byzantine Period (500 – 1500)
  • Early Modern / Ottoman Period (1500 – 1750)
  • Mid Modern Period (1750 – 1914)
  • Contemporary Period (1914 – present)

Some of the history that has helped Romania take shape

10,000 B.C.

The approximate date of the first known art in present day Romania: cave paintings in northwest Transylvania.

4,000 B.C. 

The approximate date of pottery (dated to the Neolithic Age) that is found in all regions of Romania.

3,000 B.C.

Thracian tribes occupy the current territory of Romania.

Thracian tribes of Indo-European origin, who migrated from Asia, occupied the actual territory of Romania.

700 B.C.

Greeks arrived and settled near the Black Sea.

The cities of Histria, Tomis (now Constanta) and Callatis (now Mangalia) were established. Western-style civilization developed significantly.

 2nd century 101-106 BC

Wars between the Dacians and the Roman army led by Emperor Traian.

After the death of Dacian king Decebal in 106, Dacia became a Roman province, as apart of the Roman Empire

2nd to 8th centuries AD

Successive invasions of migratory people from Eurasia.

German tribes, Huns, Avars, Slavs, who settled on these territories

10th century AD

Romanian language crystallization as a Latin language.

The beginning of the Romanian language in use

10th century AD

Beginning of the principality of Transylvania in Western Romania

14th century AD

Beginning of Muntenia principality (Wallachia) in the South of Romania  Formation of Romanian principalities

14th century AD

Beginning of Moldova principality in the East

14th -15th centuries AD

Battles fought by the rulers of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia against the Ottoman Empire

Defending the independence of the two principalities

16th century AD

The three principalities fall under the domination of Ottoman domination

Keeping the state identity (structures, laws), but obliged to pay annual tribute Ottoman sultan.


The first union of Romanian Principalities under the leadership of Prince Michael the Brave.

This union was dismembered the same year.

Unification of the three Romanian principalities for the first time

17th century AD

First printing machines appear in the Romanian principalities

Religious and secular books printed in that period have circulated throughout Europe and the Christian Middle East.

18th century AD

Decay of the Ottoman State and ascension of the two empires: the Russian Empire and the Austrian Empire.

Romanian Principalities – Moldavia and Wallachia also experienced a period of decline and political instability. Transylvania came under Austrian rule.


Bucovina, the Northern part of Moldavia, is given to the Austrian Empire

The Romanian principalities Moldavia and Wallachia are under the influence of the Ottoman Empire


Bessarabia (Basarabia), the territory between the  rivers Prut and Nistru, is annexed by the Russian Empire.


Peasant revolt in Transylvania under the leadership of Horia, Cloșca and Crisan.  Revolt against feudalism


Bourgeois-democratic revolution in Wallachia and Moldova

Goals: obtaining rights/ principles that ensure democratic governance, economic and cultural development, achieving autonomy and union of Wallachia and Moldova into one state.


Unification of Muntenia and Moldova under the rule of Alexandru Ioan – Cuza

The two principalities were united under the name “United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia”, with the capital city in Bucharest.


Prince Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (of German origin) is chosen as ruler.

The first Constitution of Romania.

The United Principalities are officially named Romania.


Recognition of Romania’s independence


Romania becomes a kingdom

Carol I becomes the first king of Romania

1 December 1918

Transylvania unites with Romania

The biggest territory in Romanian history is achieved when the Union takes place in 1918


King Mihai I abdicates

Romanian People’s Republic is proclaimed and a new constitution is adopted, identical to the constitution of the Soviet Union.

1944 – 1958

Romania is under the control of the Soviet Union

A time of great trouble and economic crisis.


Romania becomes a Socialist Republic.

The communist party elects Nicolae Ceausescu as the leader.

Romanian people suffered during this period several shortcomings, including the lack of freedom of movement,  freedom of speech, lack of ownership, the food crisis and so on.


Nicolae Ceausescu becomes the first president of Romania


The Romanian Revolution takes place, successfully getting out from under the communist umbrella.

Establishment of democracy and the transition to a market economy.

20 May 1990

The first free and democratic presidential elections.

March 2004

Romania’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

1 January 2007

Romania joins the European Union

Benefits: freedom of movement for citizens within the EU, free movement of goods, free movement of services and capital.

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