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Major Cities of Romania in the continent of Europe

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Location of Romania within the continent of Europe
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Map of Romania
Romania Flag Description: The Romania flag was officially adopted on December 27, 1989.

Romania's flag displays colors from its previous associations with the Ottoman Empire, as the red and blue were once part of the former Ottoman province of Moldova's flag, and the red and yellow were similaraly part of the Ottoman province of Wallachia's flag.

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Official name România (Romania)
Form of government unitary republic with two legislative houses (Senate [176]; Chamber of Deputies [4121])
Head of state President: Klaus Iohannis
Head of government Prime Minister: Victor Ponta
Capital Bucharest
Official language Romanian
Official religion none
Monetary unit (new) leu2 (RON; plural [new] lei)
Population (2014 est.) 19,704,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 92,043
Total area (sq km) 238,391
Urban-rural population

Urban: (2010) 52.8%
Rural: (2010) 47.2%

Life expectancy at birth

Male: (2011) 70.1 years
Female: (2011) 77.5 years

Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate

Male: not available
Female: not available

GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2013) 9,060

1Includes 18 elective seats for ethnic minorities.

2The leu was redenominated on July 1, 2005. As of that date 10,000 (old) lei (ROL) = 1 (new) leu (RON).

Background of Romania

The principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia - for centuries under the suzerainty of the Turkish Ottoman Empire - secured their autonomy in 1856; they were de facto linked in 1859 and formally united in 1862 under the new name of Romania. The country gained recognition of its independence in 1878. It joined the Allied Powers in World War I and acquired new territories - most notably Transylvania - following the conflict. In 1940, Romania allied with the Axis powers and participated in the 1941 German invasion of the USSR. Three years later, overrun by the Soviets, Romania signed an armistice. The post-war Soviet occupation led to the formation of a communist "people's republic" in 1947 and the abdication of the king. The decades-long rule of dictator Nicolae CEAUSESCU, who took power in 1965, and his Securitate police state became increasingly oppressive and draconian through the 1980s. CEAUSESCU was overthrown and executed in late 1989. Former communists dominated the government until 1996 when they were swept from power. Romania joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.

Geography of Romania

The Land

Romania is bounded by Ukraine to the north, Moldova to the northeast, the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Serbia to the southwest, and Hungary to the west. There is a certain symmetry in the physical structure of Romania. The country forms a complex geographic unit centred on the Transylvanian Basin, around which the peaks of the Carpathian Mountains and their associated subranges and structural platforms form a series of crescents. Beyond this zone, the extensive plains of the south and east of the country, their potential increased by the Danube River and its tributaries, form a fertile outer crescent extending to the frontiers. There is great diversity in the topography, geology, climate, hydrology, flora, and fauna, and for millennia this natural environment has borne the imprint of a human population.

Romania comprises a number of geographic regions, some of which correspond roughly to the historic regions whose names they share. In the southern part of the country, following the general contours of the former principality of the same name, Walachia (Wallachia) stretches south from the Southern Carpathians (Transylvanian Alps) to the Bulgarian border and is divided by the Olt River. In the southeast, situated between the lower Danube and the Black Sea, is the historic and geographic region of Dobruja, which also encompasses part of Bulgaria. The geographic region of Moldavia, comprising only part of the former principality of Moldavia (the remainder of which constitutes the country of Moldova), stretches from the Eastern Carpathian Mountains to the Prut River on the Ukrainian border. In western Romania, the historic Banat region is bounded on the north by the Mureș River and reaches west and south into Hungary and Serbia. Finally, bounded on the north and east by the Eastern Carpathians, on the south by the Southern Carpathians, and on the west by the Bihor Mountains is the geographic region of Transylvania, which is roughly contiguous with the borders of the former principality of Transylvania and in most schemes includes the Banat.

  • Relief

The relief of Romania is dominated by the Carpathian Mountains, which can be divided into the Eastern Carpathians, the Southern Carpathians, and the Western Carpathians. The Eastern Carpathians extend from the Ukrainian frontier to the Prahova River valley and reach their maximum elevation in the Rodna Mountains, with Pietrosu rising to 7,556 feet (2,303 metres). They are made up of a series of parallel crests that are oriented in a more or less north-south direction. Within these mountains is a central core that is made up of hard, crystalline rocks and has a bold and rugged relief. Rivers have cut narrow gorges here (known as cheile)—including the Bistriței and Bicazului gorges—which offer some magnificent scenery. This portion of the Carpathians is bounded on the eastern side by a zone of softer flysch. For some 250 miles (400 km) on the western fringe, the volcanic ranges Oaș and Harghita, with a concentration of volcanic necks and cones, some with craters still preserved, lend character to the landscape. St. Ana Lake—the only crater lake in Romania—is also found there. The volcanic crescent provides rich mineral resources (notably copper, lead, and zinc) as well as the mineral-water springs on which are founded several health resorts. The Carpathian range proper is made up in large part of easily weathered limestones and conglomerates, which again provide some striking scenery. The Maramureș, Giurgiu, Ciuc, and Bârsei depressions further break up the mountainous relief.

The Southern Carpathians, or Transylvanian Alps, lie between the Prahova River valley on the east and the Timiș and Cerna river valleys to the west. They are composed mainly of hard crystalline and volcanic rocks, which give the region the massive character that differentiates it from the other divisions of the Carpathians. The highest points in Romania are reached in the peaks of Mounts Moldoveanu (8,346 feet [2,544 metres]) and Negoiu (8,317 feet [2,535 metres]), both in the Făgăraș Mountains, which, together with the Bucegi, Parâng, and Retezat-Godeanu massifs, form the major subdivision of the region. The latter contains Retezat National Park, Romania’s first established (1935) national park, which covers about 94,000 acres (38,000 hectares), offers spectacular mountain scenery, and provides an important refuge for the chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and other animals. Ancient erosion platforms, another distinguishing feature of the area, have been utilized as pastures since the dawn of European history. Communication is possible through the high passes of Bran, Novaci-Șugag, and Vâlcan, at elevations up to 7,400 feet (2,260 metres), but the scenic Olt, Jiu, and Danube river valleys carry the main roads and railways through the mountains. At the Iron Gate gorge, on the Danube, a joint navigation and power project by Romania and the former federation of Yugoslavia harnessed the fast-flowing waters of the gorge. In addition to greatly improving navigation facilities, the project created two power stations, which are jointly administered by Romania and Serbia. Finally, as in the Eastern Carpathians, there are important lowland depressions within the mountains (notably Brezoi, Hațeg, and Petroșani), and agriculture and industry are concentrated in them.

The Western Carpathians extend for about 220 miles (350 km) between the Danube and Someș rivers. Unlike the other divisions of the Carpathians, they do not form a continuous range but rather a cluster of massifs around a north-south axis. Separating the massifs is a series of deeply penetrating structural depressions. Historically, these depressions have functioned as easily defended “gates,” as is reflected in their names: the Iron Gate of Transylvania (at Bistra); the Eastern Gate, or Poarta Orientală (at Timiș-Cerna); and, most famous, the Iron Gate on the Danube.

Among the massifs themselves, the Banat and Poiana Ruscăi mountains contain a rich variety of mineral resources and are the site of two of the country’s three largest metallurgical complexes, at Reșița and Hunedoara. The marble of Ruschița is well known. To the north lie the Apuseni Mountains, centred on the Bihor Massif, from which emerge fingerlike protrusions of lower relief. On the east the Bihor Mountains merge into the limestone tableland of Cetățile Ponorului, where the erosive action of water along joints in the rocks has created a fine example of the rugged karst type of scenery. To the west lie the parallel mountain ranges of Zărand, Codru-Moma, and Pădurea Craiului; to the south, along the Mureș River, the Metaliferi and Trascău mountains contain a great variety of metallic and other ores, with traces of ancient Roman mine workings still visible. The Western Carpathians generally are less forested than other parts of the range, and human settlement reaches to the highest elevations.

The great arc of the Carpathians is accompanied by an outer fringe of rolling terrain known as the Subcarpathians and extending from the Moldova River in the north to the Motru River in the southwest. It is from 2 to 19 miles (3 to 31 km) wide and reaches elevations ranging between 1,300 and 3,300 feet (400 and 1,000 metres). The topography and the milder climate of this region favour vegetation (including such Mediterranean elements as the edible chestnut) and aid agriculture; the region specializes in cereals and fruits, and its wines—notably those of Odobești and the Călugărească Valley—are known throughout Europe. The area is densely populated, and there are serious problems of economic development in remoter areas where there is little scope for further agricultural expansion.

Tablelands are another important element in the physical geography of Romania. The tableland of the Transylvanian Basin is the largest in the country and has an average elevation of 1,150 feet (350 metres). In the east, between the outer fringe of the Subcarpathians and the Prut River, lies the Moldavian Plateau, with an average elevation of 1,600 to 2,000 feet (500 to 600 metres). The Dobruja (Dobrodgea) tableland, an ancient, eroded rock mass in the southeast, has an average elevation of 820 feet (250 metres) and reaches a maximum elevation of 1,532 feet (467 metres) in the Pricopan Hills.

Plains cover about one-third of Romania, reaching their fullest development in the south and west. Their economic importance has increased greatly since the early 19th century. In the southern part of Romania is the Walachian Plain, which can be divided into the Romanian Plain to the east of the Olt River and the Oltenian Plateau to the west. The whole region is covered by deposits of loess, on which rich black chernozem soils have developed, providing a strong base for agriculture. The Danube floodplain is important economically, and along the entire stretch of the river, from Calafat in the west to Galați in the east, former marshlands have been diked and drained to increase food production. Willow and poplar woods border the river, which is important for fishing but much more so for commerce. River port towns—including Drobeta–Turnu Severin, Turnu Măgurele, Giurgiu, Brăila, Galați, and Tulcea—complement the rural settlements.

On the northern edge of the Dobruja region, adjoining the Moldavian Plateau, the great swampy triangle of the Danube delta is a unique physiographic region covering some 2,000 square miles (5,180 square km), of which the majority is in Romania. The delta occupies the site of an ancient bay, which in prehistoric times became wholly or partially isolated from the sea by the Letea sandbanks. The delta, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991, contributes about half of Romania’s fish production from home waters, with fishing off the Danube mouth contributing to the majority of the catch of sturgeon (banned since 2006) and Danube herring. It also is home to hundreds of species of birds, some of which are rare. For this reason the delta region is of great interest not only to a growing number of tourists but also to scientists and conservationists. Two dozen or more settlements are scattered over the region, but many are exposed to serious flood risks. Sulina and Tulcea are the major ports.

Romania lies in an active earthquake zone at the junction of three tectonic plates. Devastating earthquakes in both 1940 and 1977 caused considerable damage and loss of life in Romania.

  • Drainage

The rivers of Romania are virtually all tributary to the Danube, which forms the southern frontier from Moldova Nouă to Călărași. Nearly two-fifths of the total Danubian discharge into the Black Sea is in fact provided by Romanian rivers. The final discharge takes place through three arms—the Chilia (two-thirds of the flow), Sfântu Gheorghe (one-fourth), and Sulina (the remainder)—that add to the scenic attraction of the delta region. The most significant of the Romanian tributary rivers are the Prut, Mureș, Olt, Siret, Ialomiţa, and Someș. The rivers have considerable hydroelectric potential, although there are great seasonal fluctuations in the discharge and few natural lakes to regulate the flow. The total surface-water potential of the tributary rivers is dwarfed by the volume discharged at the Danube mouth, which is more than five times as large. Subsoil waters have been estimated at an annual volume of some 250 billion cubic feet (700 million cubic metres).

The total theoretical hydroelectric potential of Romania—given optimum technological conditions—is tremendous, but for technical and economic reasons only a fraction of this potential can be developed. Geographically, the hydroelectric reserves of Romania are concentrated along the Danube and in the valleys of rivers emerging from the mountain core of the country. Other hydrographic resources include more than 2,500 lakes, ranging from the glacial lakes of the mountains to those of the plains and the marshes of the Danube delta region. The main effort since the 1940s, however, has been on the Argeș, Bistrița, Lotru, Olt, Mare, Sebeș, and Someș rivers, as well as on the Danube at the Iron Gate.

  • Soils

Romania has generally fertile soils. About one-fifth of the country is covered with chernozem—humus-rich black soils. These and reddish brown forest soils are found on the plains to the south and east of the Carpathians, as well as in the Banat. Gray-brown podzolic (leached) soils are found at higher elevations. A broad expanse of alluvial soils covers the Danube floodplain. Ill-advised cultivation methods during the communist period and profligate use of pesticides and industrial pollution after 1990 resulted in a legacy of significant soil erosion.

  • Climate

Romania’s location in the southeastern portion of the European continent gives it a climate that is transitional between temperate regions and the harsher extremes of the continental interior. In the centre and west of the country, humid Atlantic climatic characteristics prevail; in the southeast the continental influences of the Russian Plain (East European Plain) make themselves felt; and in the extreme southeast there are even milder sub-Mediterranean influences. This overall pattern is substantially modified by the relief, however, and there are many examples of climatic zones induced by changes in elevation.

The average annual temperature is in the low 50s F (about 11 °C) in the south and in the 40s F (about 8 °C) in the north, although, as noted, there is much variation according to elevation and related factors. Extreme temperatures range from about 112 °F (45 °C) in the Bărăgan region to –37 °F (–38 °C) in the Brașov Depression.

Average annual rainfall amounts to about 25 inches (640 mm), but in the Carpathians it reaches about 55 inches (1,400 mm), and in the Dobruja it is only about 16 inches (400 mm). Many regions are subject to periodic drought and flooding. Since the early 1990s Romania’s northern regions have been affected by severe rainfall and flooding. In 1998 and 1999 an unprecedented amount of rain fell in the Retezat Mountains, resulting in landslides, flooding, and widespread destruction and loss of lives. On the other hand, the southern areas of the country have suffered drought and high temperatures since the 1990s. These conditions have been exacerbated by injudicious agricultural practices.

Humid winds from the northwest are most common, but often the drier winds from the northeast are strongest. A hot southwesterly wind, the austru, blows over western Romania, particularly in summer. In winter, cold and dense air masses encircle the eastern portions of the country, with the cold northeasterly known as the crivăț blowing in from the Russian Plain, and oceanic air masses from the Azores, in the west, bring rain and mitigate the severity of the cold.

Romania enjoys four seasons, though there is a rapid transition from winter to summer. Autumn is frequently longer, with dry warm weather from September to late November.

  • Plant and animal life

Forests, which cover about one-fourth of Romania’s area, are an important component of the vegetation cover, particularly in the mountains. Up to about 2,600 feet (800 metres), oaks predominate, followed by beeches between 2,600 and 4,600 feet (800 and 1,400 metres) and conifers between 4,600 and 5,900 feet (1,400 and 1,800 metres). At the highest levels, Alpine and sub-Alpine pastures are found. In the tableland and plains regions, the natural vegetation has to a large degree been obliterated by centuries of human settlement and agriculture.

The rich and varied animal life includes some rare species, notably the chamois and eagle, which are found on the Alpine heights of the Carpathians. Forest animals include the brown bear, red deer, wolf, fox, wild pig, lynx, and marten and various songbirds. The lower course of the Danube, particularly the delta, is rich in animal and fish life. The delta is also home to hundreds of species of birds, including pelicans, swans, wild geese, ibis, and flamingos, which are protected by law (as are wild pigs and lynx). It also serves as a seasonal stop for migratory birds. Some rare species of birds found in the delta and the neighbouring Dobruja region are Dalmatian pelicans, pygmy cormorants, spoonbills, red-breasted and white-fronted geese, and whooper swans.

Demography of Romania

The People

  • Ethnic groups

Historical and archaeological evidence and linguistic survivals confirm that the area of present-day Romania had a fully developed society of Dacian tribes long before the Roman armies crossed the Danube into what became the province of Dacia. Therefore, though Roman influence was profound and created a civilization that managed to maintain its identity during the great folk migrations that followed the collapse of the empire, some Romanians are quick to identify their country’s origins in the intermixing of the indigenous Dacian people and the Roman settlers.

About nine-tenths of the country’s people are ethnically Romanian. There are also many ethnic Hungarians, who reside largely in Transylvania, in the northwestern area of the country. A small percentage of Romanian citizens identify themselves as Roma (Gypsies), and ethnic Germans make up an even tinier amount of the populace. In 1930 there were about 342,000 Germans living in Romania (about 4 percent of the population). Following World War II, tens of thousands of ethnic Germans were deported to the Soviet Union, and others emigrated as opportunities presented themselves, generally to the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). After the Romanian revolution of 1989, there was another mass exodus of ethnic Germans to Germany. In the early 21st century, Germans made up a minuscule portion of the population.

Similarly, Romania’s Jewish population significantly decreased during and after World War II. The events of the Holocaust and opportunities to emigrate to other parts of the world reduced the Jewish population from about 750,000 in 1930 to 43,000 in 1966. A mass exodus to Israel ensued after the revolution, leaving an even smaller Jewish community behind.

  • Languages

Romanian, a Romance language, is the official language of the country, though technically it is the Daco-Romanian dialect that is spoken by nine-tenths of the populace in several regional variants. Hungarian is the only other language of Romania that is spoken by more than a million people. Smaller numbers speak Romany, German, Turkish, Serbian, and other languages.

Romanian Language

Romanian language, also spelled Rumanian, Romanian Româna, Romance language spoken primarily in Romania and Moldova. Four principal dialects may be distinguished: Daco-Romanian, the basis of the standard language, spoken in Romania and Moldova in several regional variants; Aromanian, or Macedo-Romanian, spoken in scattered communities in Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, and Serbia; Megleno-Romanian, a nearly extinct dialect of northern Greece; and Istro-Romanian, also nearly extinct, spoken on the Istrian Peninsula of Croatia. Mutual intelligibility between the major dialects is difficult; the Megleno-Romanian, Istro-Romanian, and Aromanian are sometimes classed as languages distinct from Romanian proper, or Daco-Romanian, which has many slightly varying dialects of its own. Moldovan, the national language of Moldova, is a form of Daco-Romanian. It is written in the Latin alphabet.--->>>>Read More.<<<

  • Religion

Under communist rule, religion was officially viewed as a personal matter, and relatively few restrictions were placed upon it (compared with those imposed by other communist regimes), although the government made efforts to undermine religious teachings and faith in favour of science and empiricism. When the communists came to power in 1948, they continued the monarchy’s practice of requiring all churches to be registered with the state (under its Department of Cults), which retained administrative and financial control, thus becoming the ultimate authority on matters of religion. Despite these incursions, Romanians remained devout. After the 1989 revolution, Romanians were free to practice their religions.

Almost nine-tenths of Romanians are adherents of the Romanian Orthodox Church, headed by a patriarch in Bucharest. Roman Catholicism is the primary religion of ethnic Hungarians and Swabian Germans. The Eastern rite (Uniate) church is prominent in Transylvania. In 1948 it was forcibly united with the Romanian Orthodox Church by the communist regime, but its independence was restored after 1989. Protestantism, both Lutheran and Calvinist, is practiced by some ethnic Hungarians and Germans. Other Protestant churches that are represented in Romania include the Presbyterian Evangelical Church and the Unitarian church. In 1950, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and Pentecostals were forced to form the Federation of Protestant Cults, but they too had their independence restored after 1989. There is a small Jewish community, and Islam is practiced in the Dobruja and along the Black Sea coast by ethnic Tatars and Turks. The Roma have traditionally blended Romanian Orthodoxy with their own spiritual traditions. Since 1989 some Roma have been attracted to the Pentecostal and Evangelical denominations of Protestantism.

  • Settlement patterns

The natural environment of Romania long has offered favourable conditions for human settlement. The accessibility of the region to the movements of peoples across the Eurasian landmass has predisposed the region to absorb cultural influences from many countries and peoples, and this too is reflected in the contemporary patterns of Romanian life.

About one-third of Romania’s population lives within the regions of Transylvania and Dobruja, with the remainder in Walachia and Moldavia. During the medieval period the principalities of Walachia and Moldavia, which united in 1859 to form the state of Romania, were independent feudal states, with mountain crests marking a political frontier. Initially, the core areas of these states were centred in the foothills of the Carpathians; only later, as the Romanian lands on the plains were gradually consolidated, were the major settlements transferred from the mountains, first to Târgovişte and Suceava and later to Bucharest and Iași. The Roma community is divided between those who have assimilated into Romanian culture and those who follow a traditional nomadic lifestyle. The period of Ottoman rule left an ethnic legacy of Turk and Tatar settlements along the lower Danube.

Szeklers, a Hungarian-speaking people, began settling in southeastern Transylvania after 900 ce. The Saxon Germans from the Rhineland areas were encouraged by the Hungarians to settle along the Carpathian arc in the 12th and 13th centuries. They built fortified villages and churches (many of which were designated UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1993) to defend Transylvania against invading Tatars and Turks. The Roma appeared in what is now Romania in the 14th century, having migrated in stages from northern India, only to be enslaved until the mid-19th century. In the early 18th century, Austria-Hungary’s Habsburg rulers encouraged Germans to settle in the Banat, which had been ravaged under Ottoman domination. The Habsburgs hoped that these Germans would help to fortify the region against invasion, revive destroyed farmland, and promote Roman Catholicism in eastern Europe. As enticements, the German settlers were offered land, supplies, and livestock and were exempt from paying taxes. Although only some of the emigrants were from Swabia, in southwestern Germany, the Hungarians referred to all the newly arrived Germans as Swabians. Throughout the 18th century, communities of Serbs, Croats, Bulgarians, and Romanians also settled in the plains of the Banat. Jews from Poland and Russia arrived during the first half of the 19th century.

Romania’s urban settlements were situated at points of commercial or strategic significance, and the great majority of present-day towns are either on or in the immediate neighbourhood of the ruins of ancient settlements, whether fortress or market towns. The oldest towns were founded on the Black Sea shores, and urban development spread only later to the plains and then to the mountains. It was common for settlements at opposite ends of the main trans-Carpathian routes to acquire urban status. In fact, the turbulent history of the country favoured some of these early settlements, which grew into modern towns and cities. The ancient commercial trade between these old market towns lends support to the view that the mountains have served as much as a link as they have as a barrier in the country’s development. During the Middle Ages many “Ungureni”—Romanians from the inner side of the mountains under Hungarian rule—came to settle on the outer side with its greater agricultural potential. In the many lowland areas scattered among the mountains there has been a long continuity of settlement, as may be seen in very old place-names and distinct regional consciousness.

A dispersed type of rural settlement is generally found in the foothill, tableland, and upland regions. The scattered village proper is found at the highest elevations and reflects the rugged terrain and pastoral economic life. The population maintains many traditional features in architecture, dress, and social customs, and the old market centres, or nedei, are still important. Small plots and dwellings are carved out of the forests and on the upland pastures wherever physical conditions permit. Where the relief is less difficult, the villages are slightly more concentrated, although individual dwellings still tend to be scattered among agricultural plots. Mining, livestock raising, and agriculture are the main economic activities, the latter characterized by terrace cultivation on the mountain slopes, a legacy of Roman times. The Subcarpathian region, with hills and valleys covered by plowed fields, vineyards, orchards, and pastures and dotted with dwelling places, typically has this type of settlement. More-familiar concentrated villages, marked by uniform clustering of buildings, are found in the plains, particularly those given over to cereal cultivation.

A belt of towns has grown up on the margins of the Subcarpathian region, and these often parallel another outer fringe of towns commanding the main trans-Carpathian passes. Examples of such “double towns” include Suceava and Bistrița, Făgăraș and Câmpulung, Sibiu and Râmnicu Vâlcea, Alba Iulia and Arad, and Cluj Napoca and Oradea. In contrast to Transylvania, which experienced considerable urban development during the Dacian and Roman periods, Moldavia did not begin to develop towns until the Middle Ages, when the old Moldavian capitals of Iași and Suceava had close commercial connections with the towns of Transylvania and derived benefit from trade passing between the Baltic and Black Sea ports.

Ethnic Romanians traditionally inhabited the countryside, while the cities were home to minorities: Hungarians, Germans, Jews, Greeks, and Armenians. This pattern began to change in the 19th century with the start of industrialization, and ethnic Romanians have become the majority in the larger cities.

  • Demographic trends

The substantial changes in the social composition of the population that took place in Romania as a result of increasing industrialization and urbanization were reflected in the rise of the working-class population. Similarly, the collectivization of agriculture transformed the rural population. Since World War II there has been a sharp rise in the proportion of the population that has received some kind of higher education. Differing rates of economic development in different parts of Romania have produced a movement toward towns and cities, largely for daily and seasonal work, so that less than half of the population lives in rural areas. The communist government sought to reduce migration across county boundaries by trying to ensure that each area had its share of development and that the benefits of modernization were spread throughout the country. They were only partially successful, and sharp regional contrasts persist.

The population density of the country as a whole has doubled since 1900, though it is still lower than most central European states. The overall density figures, however, conceal considerable regional variation. Population densities are naturally highest in the towns, with the plains (up to elevations of some 700 feet [200 metres]) having the next highest density, especially in areas with intensive agriculture or a traditionally high birth rate (e.g., northern Moldavia and the “contact” zone with the Subcarpathians); areas at elevations of 700 to 2,000 feet (200 to 600 metres), rich in mineral resources, orchards, vineyards, and pastures, support the lowest densities.

Since the 1990s the population of Romania itself has declined. Several factors have contributed to this downturn. Primarily, abortions and birth control were restricted under communist rule; after the revolution the restrictions were lifted, causing a plunge in the birth rate. Secondarily, a sharp decline in the standard of living and in the quality and availability of public health and medical facilities has leveled off life expectancy. The number of stillbirths and infant deaths, which had fallen significantly from the early 1970s to the early ’80s, rose in the late ’80s and remained high through the early 2000s. The proportion of the population under age 15, which was about one-third in the 1980s, had dropped to less than one-sixth by the early 21st century. These statistics have caused concern regarding the deterioration of Romania’s population. The lifting of emigration restrictions also resulted in a loss of population, especially among minorities and particularly ethnic Germans. Moreover, many Romanians, especially young adults, emigrated from Romania after 1989, searching for economic opportunities in western Europe and North America.

Economy of Romania

The population density of the country as a whole has doubled since 1900, though it is still lower than most central European states. The overall density figures, however, conceal considerable regional variation. Population densities are naturally highest in the towns, with the plains (up to elevations of some 700 feet [200 metres]) having the next highest density, especially in areas with intensive agriculture or a traditionally high birth rate (e.g., northern Moldavia and the “contact” zone with the Subcarpathians); areas at elevations of 700 to 2,000 feet (200 to 600 metres), rich in mineral resources, orchards, vineyards, and pastures, support the lowest densities.

Since the 1990s the population of Romania itself has declined. Several factors have contributed to this downturn. Primarily, abortions and birth control were restricted under communist rule; after the revolution the restrictions were lifted, causing a plunge in the birth rate. Secondarily, a sharp decline in the standard of living and in the quality and availability of public health and medical facilities has leveled off life expectancy. The number of stillbirths and infant deaths, which had fallen significantly from the early 1970s to the early ’80s, rose in the late ’80s and remained high through the early 2000s. The proportion of the population under age 15, which was about one-third in the 1980s, had dropped to less than one-sixth by the early 21st century. These statistics have caused concern regarding the deterioration of Romania’s population. The lifting of emigration restrictions also resulted in a loss of population, especially among minorities and particularly ethnic Germans. Moreover, many Romanians, especially young adults, emigrated from Romania after 1989, searching for economic opportunities in western Europe and North America.

Socialist development transformed the economy. Industry’s contribution to national income rose from 35.2 percent in 1938 to 68.3 percent in 1986. Unemployment was avoided despite a substantial growth of population, and services were able to expand to meet demand. The transport system was modernized, and increasing numbers of families took vacations on the Black Sea coast and at mountain resorts. Nevertheless, incomes remained low and living conditions poor (with high housing densities and low welfare standards). Much of industry was inefficient, with overmanned factories achieving only low productivity and producing goods of inferior quality that could be sold only within the communist bloc (or in world markets at low prices that did not always reflect the actual costs of production). After large development loans were secured from Western creditors in the 1960s and ’70s, dependence on foreign capital was minimized by the settlement of all foreign debts during the 1980s. This left many sectors of industry starved of investment in new technology, and the persistence of a primitive command structure left people with little capacity to innovate and take initiatives. Moreover, serious pollution problems arose, especially in the chemical industry.

The postcommunist government faced a difficult transition toward a market economy. It approached privatization cautiously, since few Romanians had significant capital to invest and many state-owned enterprises were not attractive to foreign investors. Despite expectations that the replacement of markets lost through the collapse of the Soviet Union would lead to a revival in production and that restructuring would then proceed gradually, the shift to a market economy was at best intermittent and slow. Throughout the 1990s the government had to support a large number of unemployed workers, and it was left with an antiquated industrial base. Nevertheless, many small retail and tourism-related businesses were created.

By the end of the 1990s, a mixed economy had evolved in Romania, and a trend toward a full-fledged market economy was clearly visible. Important sectors of heavy industry, mining, transport, and communications, however, remained under government control and were relatively immune to market forces. High unemployment and inflation rates led to an overall decline in the standard of living.

Despite an initial outpouring of foreign aid following the revolution in 1989, ongoing aid and investment was discouraged by confusing and inconsistent investment and tax laws and the widespread perception of corruption. It was not until 1997 that laws were changed to attract foreign investment to stimulate the economy. In 2001 the Romanian Agency for Foreign Investment was established. By the early 2000s the leading sources of foreign investment came from the Netherlands, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States. Also during this period, gross domestic product (GDP) rose dramatically, more than quadrupling between 2002 and 2008, and inflation rates had dropped to the single digits by mid-decade.

Under the constitution, private property rights and a market economy are guaranteed. Natural resources are public property, but they can be leased. Thousands of state-owned enterprises (apart from utilities) were privatized under a program of the National Privatization Agency.

Agriculture has traditionally been the backbone of the Romanian economy; more than one-third of the land is devoted to cultivation (including vineyards, orchards, and vegetable gardens). A radical land reform, begun in 1921 and completed in 1948, redistributed farmland from large owners to peasant farmers, but the restructuring of the economy after the communist takeover included the compulsory collectivization of agriculture, carried out between 1949 and 1962. Since 1989, state farms have been retained as large units of up to about 120 acres (50 hectares) with shareholders, but collective farms have been broken up into individual holdings—although in some areas they have been replaced by loose cooperative associations.--->>>>Read More.<<<

Romania has an unusually rich and well-balanced mix of natural resources. Hydrocarbons are found across two-thirds of the country, and the petroleum industry dates to the 19th century. Oil deposits are found in the flysch formations that run in a band along the outer rim of the Carpathians and through the Subcarpathians. --->>>>Read More.<<<

After World War II Romanian manufacturing underwent a radical structural change. Three branches became much more important: engineering and metalworking accounted for 25.8 percent of all industrial production in 1990, compared with 13.3 percent in 1950, while electricity and fuels increased their share from 13.2 to 19 percent and chemicals from 3.1 to 9.6 percent. Two other branches, metallurgy and building materials, showed a slight relative advance. The main relative declines were in wood processing and paper, textiles and clothing, and food processing. --->>>>Read More.<<<

  • Finance

The initial euphoria after the 1989 revolution subsided during the 1990s as foreign investment declined. The financial stability of Romania was threatened at various times during this period by severe inflation. In an attempt to lower the inflation rate, the Romanian currency, the leu, was revaluated in 2005. The National Bank of Romania, founded in 1880, implements the monetary policy of the Ministry of Finance, managing budgetary cash resources and issuing currency. The Bucharest Stock Exchange opened in 1995, and by 1999 hundreds of companies were being traded. By 1998 there were dozens of banks in Romania, including foreign, domestic, and jointly owned institutions.

  • Trade

The modernization of the Romanian economy during the communist period resulted in a considerable upsurge in its foreign trade and commercial contacts, which involved more than 100 countries. Romania was the first member of Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) to negotiate independently with the European Economic Community (later succeeded by the European Union [EU]), signing a trade agreement in 1980. The country also took part in numerous international fairs and exhibitions. Since the disbanding in 1991 of Comecon, great attention has been paid to broadening trade with less-developed countries as well as with industrialized Western countries. In the decade following the revolution, however, the Romanian government failed to implement many of the macroeconomic reforms that other eastern European countries with transitional economies had undertaken. Nevertheless, in 1993 the United States reinstated most-favoured-nation trading status with Romania, which had been suspended in 1988.

By the beginning of the 21st century, traditional Romanian exports such as textiles and clothing accounted for more than one-fifth of exports, followed by metals, electrical equipment, oil, and nonelectrical machinery. Significant imports included textiles, machinery and electrical equipment, chemical products, oil, and foodstuffs. Total foreign trade has increased since the 1990s, but exports have not kept pace with imports, resulting in a persistent deficit in balance of payments. By the mid-2000s, Romania was actively pursuing membership in the EU, which required that the country adopt measures to establish a free-market economy and curb corruption and smuggling. Romania was admitted to the EU in 2007, but its efforts to join the visa-free Schengen area were frustrated by other EU members’ concerns about possible abuses to the “borderless” system. Romania’s main trading partners are Italy, Germany, Russia, France, and Turkey.

  • Services

About one-tenth of Romania’s labour force works in the service industry. Tourism has the potential to become a significant source of income for the country. The unstable economy, ethnic tension, and widespread reports of deprivation and shortages caused a precipitous decline in tourism in the early 1990s. Most visitors were from neighbouring countries such as the Balkan states and Turkey. Efforts to improve accommodations, especially in the large cities, and a generally favourable exchange rate helped to restore tourism, and from the late 1990s to the early 2000s the number of foreign visitors doubled.

Tourist attractions range from winter sports in the mountains to summer seaside activities in the resort belt fringing the Black Sea, with health spas receiving special emphasis, including those that have been built on the salt lakes of Transylvania, most notably in the towns of Ocna Sibiului and Sovata. The historic town of Sighiůoara is a popular tourist draw. The towns of Năvodari, Mamaia, and Eforie were erected after World War II, and the older settlements of Mangalia and Techirghiol have undergone extensive redevelopment. Lakes—among which Lakes Tașaul, Siutghiol, Agigea, Techirghiol, and Mangalia are the most significant—further enhance the attractions of the region. Several of them contain deposits of mud and sulfurous hot springs believed to have therapeutic properties. The Danube delta too has become increasingly popular, because of the growing worldwide interest in ecology and conservation. Special features of interest to tourists include the mountain lakes and underground cave systems of the Carpathians and the fine churches and monasteries, with frescoes dating from the 14th to the 16th century, that are found in northern Moldavia. More generally, the folk costumes and the ancient folklore of Romanians, notably in the Carpathian Mountains, provide a reminder of the country’s long traditions.

  • Labour and taxation

Although high unemployment resulted from the collapse of communism, in the 1990s, as the number of people who migrated increased, a labour deficit arose in certain sectors of the economy, such as construction, agriculture, tourism, mechanical processing, and the clothing industry.

Women represent more than two-fifths of Romania’s labour force and generally work in retail, education, and health care. Child labour has been a problem in Romania, especially among Roma girls, with children generally working in agriculture, construction, and domestic service. Various child labour elimination laws were passed at the beginning of the 21st century; however, the problem still exists.

Among the hopeful signs that emerged in the 1990s was the growth of vigorous and independent labour unions as well as chambers of commerce and other nongovernmental organizations. Besides the Central Union of Consumer and Credit Cooperatives, a union of producers and credit institutions dating from the communist era, organizations appropriate to a private economy are emerging.

Romania has a wage tax, a corporate income tax, and a public finance tax. A value-added tax (VAT), a capital tax, and a global income tax also were implemented in the 1990s to attract foreign investment. A flat income tax at the corporate and individual level was introduced in 2004.

  • Transportation and telecommunications

Romania is located at a crossroads of European transport. Railways provide the main method of transportation for both freight and passengers in the country. There are good local rail connections with the main lines, including the two that cross the Danube, at Cernavodă (linking Bucharest with the Black Sea port of Constanța) and Giurgiu (connecting Romania with Bulgaria). Since the 1930s, diesel locomotives have been in service, and about one-third of the major lines have been electrified. Most of Romania’s system of national roads has been brought up to modern standards.

The main lines of communication tend to focus on Bucharest and include many scenic routes. The country has maritime connections with many countries, and the port of Constanţa, which has undergone major expansion, plays a large role in the national economy. Finally, the Danube River, supplemented since 1984 by the Danube–Black Sea Canal from Cernavodă to Constanța, is a major transportation route between the Black Sea, the Middle East, and western Europe. The principal ports on the Danube are Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Calafat, Turnu Mǎgurle, Giurgiu, Calarași, Cernavodǎ, Brăila, Galați, Tulcea, and Sulina. Bucharest also is the main centre for air transportation. In addition to local travel, international traffic has grown in significance, and there are international airports in Constanța, Cluj-Napoca, Arad, Timișoara, and Sibiu. The great majority of flights by the Romanian national airline TAROM (derived from Transporturile Aeriene Române) are to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Romania’s telecommunications sector was privatized in 2003. Within five years, the fixed-line market expanded substantially, and there was an increase in Internet availability. Romania has significantly more cellular phone subscriptions than people, which marks an exponential increase from 2000, when about one-tenth of Romanians subscribed to a cellular service.

Government and politics of Romania

Romania is a semi-presidential democratic republic where executive functions are shared between the president and the prime minister. The president is elected by popular vote, and resides at Cotroceni Palace. Since the constitutional amendment of 2003, the president's term is five years (previously it was four).

A prime minister, who appoints the other members of his or her cabinet, and who is nearly always the head of the party or coalition that holds a majority in the parliament, heads the Romanian Government, which is based at Victoria Palace. If no party holds 50 percent + 1 of the total seats in parliament, the president will appoint the prime minister. Before beginning its term, the government is subject to a parliamentary vote of approval.

The legislative branch of the government, collectively known as the bicameral parliament of Romania (Parlamentul României), consists of two chambers – the Senate (Senat), which has 137 members, and the Chamber of Deputies (Camera Deputaţilor), which has 332 members. The members of both chambers are elected every four years under a system of party-list proportional representation. All aged 18 years and over may vote.

The justice system is independent of the other branches of government, and is made up of a hierarchical system of courts culminating in the High Court of Cassation and Justice. There are also courts of appeal, county courts and local courts. The Romanian judicial system is influenced by the French model, is based on civil law, and is inquisitorial in nature. The Constitutional Court (Curtea Constituţională) is responsible for judging the compliance of laws to the constitution, which was introduced in 1991, can only be amended by a public referendum. The Constitutional Court comprises nine judges who serve nine-year, non-renewable terms. The court's decisions cannot be overruled by any majority of the parliament.

The country's entry into the European Union in 2007 has been a significant influence on its domestic policy. As part of the process, Romania has instituted reforms including judicial reform, increased judicial cooperation with other member states, and taken steps to combat corruption.


Administrative map of Romania outlining the 41 counties. The map also shows the historical region of Transylvania in green, Wallachia in blue, Moldavia in red, and Dobrogea in yellow. Romania is divided into 41 counties]] (judeţe), as well as the municipality of Bucharest, which is its own administrative unit. Each county is administered by a county council (consiliu judeţean), responsible for local affairs, as well as a prefect, who is appointed by the central government but cannot be a member of any political party.

Alongside the county structure, Romania is divided into eight development regions, which correspond to divisions in the European Union, and are used for co-ordinating regional development projects and for statistical purposes. The country is further subdivided into 2686 communes, which are rural localities, and 265 towns. Communes and towns have their own local councils and are headed by a mayor (primar). Larger and more urbanized towns gain the status of municipality, which gives them greater administrative power over local affairs.


The Romanian Armed Forces (Forţele Armate Române or Armata Română) consists of three branches: Land, naval, and air forces. Since Romania joined NATO, extensive preparations have been made to abolish conscription and make the transition to a professional army by 2007, which would include 90,000 men and women. About 75,000 of these would be military personnel, while 15,000 would be made up of civilians. Sixty thousand would be active forces, while 30,000 would comprise the territorial forces

Culture Life of Romania

History of Romania

History to 1881

Romania occupies, roughly, ancient Dacia, which was a Roman province in the 2d and 3d cent. A.D. The ethnic character of modern Romania seems to have been formed in the Roman period; Christianity was introduced at that time as well. After the Romans left the region, the area was overrun successively by the Goths, the Huns, the Avars, the Bulgars, and the Magyars.

After a period of Mongol rule (13th cent.), the history of the Romanian people became in essence that of the two Romanian principalities—Moldavia and Walachia—and of Transylvania, which for most of the time was a Hungarian dependency. The princes of Walachia (in 1417) and of Moldavia (mid-16th cent.) became vassals of the Ottoman Empire, but they retained considerable independence. Although the princes were despots and became involved in numerous wars, their rule was a period of prosperity as compared with the 18th and 19th cent. Many old cathedrals in the country still testify to the cultural activity of the time.

Michael the Brave of Walachia defied both the Ottoman sultan and the Holy Roman emperor and at the time of his death (1601) controlled Moldavia, Walachia, and Transylvania. However, Michael's empire soon fell apart. An ill-fated alliance (1711) of the princes of Moldavia and Walachia with Peter I of Russia led to Turkish domination of Romania. Until 1821 the Turkish sultans appointed governors, or hospodars, usually chosen from among the Phanariots (see under Phanar), Greek residents of Constantinople. The governors and their subordinates reduced the Romanian people (except for a few great landlords, the boyars) to a group of nomadic shepherds and poor, enserfed peasants.

At the end of the 18th cent. Turkish control was seriously challenged by Russia and by Austria; at the same time, a strong nationalist movement was growing among the Romanians. The treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji (1774) gave Russia considerable influence over Moldavia and Walachia. When, in 1821, Alexander Ypsilanti raised the Greek banner of revolt in Moldavia, the Romanians (who had more grievances against the Greek Phanariots than against the Turks) helped the Turks to expel the Greeks. In 1822 the Turks agreed to appoint Romanians as governors of the principalities; after the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, during which Russian forces occupied Moldavia and Walachia, the governors were given life tenure. Although the two principalities technically remained within the Ottoman Empire, they actually became Russian protectorates.

Under Russian pressure, new constitutions giving extensive rights to the boyars were promulgated in Walachia (1831) and Moldavia (1832). At the same time, a renewed national and cultural revival was under way, and in 1848 the Romanians rose in rebellion against both foreign control and the power of the boyars. The uprising, secretly welcomed by the Turks, was suppressed, under the leadership of Russia, by joint Russo-Turkish military intervention. Russian troops did not evacuate Romania until 1854, during the Crimean War, when they were replaced by a neutral Austrian force. The Congress of Paris (1856) established Moldavia and Walachia as principalities under Turkish suzerainty and under the guarantee of the European powers, and it awarded S Bessarabia to Moldavia.

The election (1859) of Alexander John Cuza as prince of both Moldavia and Walachia prepared the way for the official union (1861–62) of the two principalities as Romania. Cuza freed (1864) the peasants from certain servile obligations and distributed some land (confiscated from religious orders) to them. However, he was despotic and corrupt and was deposed by a coup in 1866. Carol I of the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was chosen as his successor. A moderately liberal constitution was adopted in 1866. In 1877, Romania joined Russia in its war on Turkey. At the Congress of Berlin (1878), Romania gained full independence but was obliged to restore S Bessarabia to Russia and to accept N Dobruja in its place. In 1881, Romania was proclaimed a kingdom.

  • The Kingdom to World War I

After becoming a kingdom, Romania continued to be torn by violence and turmoil, caused mainly by the government's failure to institute adequate land reform, by the corruption of government officials, and by frequent foreign interference. There was no real attempt to curb the anti-Semitic excesses through which the peasants, encouraged by demagogues, vented their feelings against the Jewish agents of the absentee Romanian landlords, the boyars. A major peasant revolt in 1907 was directed against both the Jews and the boyars. Romania remained neutral in the first (1912) of the Balkan Wars but entered the second war (1913), against Bulgaria, and gained S Dobruja.

Although Romania had adhered (1883) to the Triple Alliance, it proclaimed its neutrality when World War I broke out in 1914. In the same year Ferdinand succeeded Carol as king. Romanian irredentism in Transylvania helped to bring Romania into the Allied camp, and in 1916 Romania declared war on the Central Powers. Most of the country was overrun by Austro-German forces, and in Feb., 1918, by the Treaty of Bucharest, Romania consented to a harsh peace. On Nov. 9, 1918, Romania again entered the war on the Allied side, and the general armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, annulled the Treaty of Bucharest. Shortly thereafter, Romania annexed Bessarabia from Russia, Bukovina from Austria, and Transylvania and the Banat from Hungary.

Romanian armed intervention (1919) in Hungary defeated the Communist regime of Béla Kun and helped to put Admiral Horthy into power. Romania's acquisition of Bukovina, Transylvania, part of the Banat (the rest going to Yugoslavia [now in Serbia]), and Crişana-Maramureş (until then a part of Hungary) was confirmed by the treaties of Saint-Germain (1919) and Trianon (1920), but the USSR did not recognize Romania's seizure of Bessarabia. A series of agrarian laws beginning in 1917 did much to break up the large estates and to redistribute the land to the peasants. The large Magyar population as well as other minority groups were a constant source of friction.

  • The 1920s through World War II

Internal Romanian politics were undemocratic and unfair. Electoral laws were revised (1926) to enable the party in power to keep out opponents, and assassination was not unusual as a political instrument. Political conflict became acute after the death (1927) of Ferdinand, when the royal succession was thrown into confusion. Ferdinand's son, Carol, had renounced the succession and Carol's son Michael became king, but in 1930 Carol returned, set his son aside, and was proclaimed king as Carol II. The court party, led by the king and by Mme Magda Lupescu, was extremely unpopular, but its opponents were divided.

The Liberal party, headed first by John Bratianu (see under Bratianu, family) and later by Ion Duca, was bitterly opposed by the Peasant party, led by Iuliu Maniu. A right wing of the Peasant party joined with other anti-Semitic groups in the National Christian party, which was linked with the terrorist Iron Guard. There was a frequent turnover of cabinets, and the only figure of some permanence was Nicholas Titulescu, who was foreign minister for much of the period from 1927 to 1936, when the increasingly powerful Fascist groups forced him to resign. In 1938, Carol II assumed dictatorial powers and promulgated a corporative constitution, which was approved in a rigged plebiscite. Later in 1938, after Codreanu and 13 other leaders of the Iron Guard were shot "while trying to escape" from prison, Carol proclaimed the Front of National Renascence as the sole legal political party.

In foreign affairs, Romania entered the Little Entente (1921) and the Balkan Entente (1934) largely to protect itself against Hungarian and Bulgarian revisionism. After 1936 the country drew closer to the Axis powers. The country remained neutral at the outbreak (1939) of World War II, but in 1940 it became a neutral partner of the Axis. Romania was powerless (1940) to resist Soviet demands for Bessarabia and N Bukovina or to oppose Bulgarian and Hungarian demands, backed by Germany, for the S Dobruja, the Banat, Crişana-Maramureş, and part of Transylvania. The Iron Guard rose in rebellion against Carol's surrender of these territories. Carol was deposed (1940) and exiled, and Michael returned to the throne. The army gained increased influence and Ion Antonescu became dictator.

In June, 1941, Romania joined Germany in its attack on the Soviet Union. Romanian troops recovered Bessarabia and Bukovina and helped to take Odessa, but they suffered heavily at Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in late 1942 and early 1943. In Aug., 1944, two Soviet army groups entered Romania. Michael overthrew Antonescu's Fascist regime, surrendered to the USSR, and ordered Romanian troops to fight on the Allied side. During the war half of Romania's Jewish population of 750,000 was exterminated, while most of the remainder went to Israel after its independence (1948). The peace treaty between Romania and the Allies, signed at Paris in 1947, in essence confirmed the armistice terms of 1944. Romania recovered all its territories except Bessarabia, N Bukovina, and S Dobruja.

  • The Rise and Fall of Romanian Communism

Politically and economically, Romania became increasingly dependent on the Soviet Union. A Communist-led coalition government, headed by the nominally non-Communist Peter Groza, was set up in 1945. In Dec., 1947, Michael was forced to abdicate, and Romania was proclaimed a people's republic. The first constitution (1945) was superseded in 1952 by a constitution patterned more directly on the Soviet model. Nationalization of industry and natural resources was completed by a law of 1948, and there was also forced collectivization of agriculture. Control over the major industries, notably petroleum, was shared with the USSR after 1945, but an agreement in 1952 dissolved the joint companies and returned them to full Romanian control. In 1949, Romania joined the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), and in 1955 it became a charter member of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and also joined the United Nations.

For all but a year of the period from 1945 to 1965 Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej was head of the Romanian Workers' (Communist) party; he was succeeded by Nicholae Ceauşescu as leader of the party, renamed the Romanian Communist party. Gheorghiu-Dej and Ceauşescu were both dictators who followed the Stalinist model of rapid industrialization and political repression. In 1965, Romania was officially termed a socialist republic, instead of a people's republic, to denote its alleged attainment of a higher level of Communism, and a new constitution was adopted.

Beginning in 1963, Romania's foreign policy became increasingly independent of that of the USSR. In early 1967, Romania established diplomatic relations with West Germany. It maintained friendly relations with Israel after the Arab-Israeli War of June, 1967, whereas the other East European Communist nations severed diplomatic ties. In 1968, Romania did not join in the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and in 1969, Ceauşescu and President Tito of Yugoslavia affirmed the sovereignty and equality of socialist nations.

During the 1970s, the emphasis on rapid industrialization continued at the expense of other areas, especially agriculture. Political repression remained severe, particularly toward the German and Magyar minorities. In 1981, a rising national debt, caused in part by massive investment in the petrochemical industry, led Ceauşescu to institute an austerity program that resulted in severe shortages of food, electricity, and consumer goods. In Dec., 1989, antigovernment violence broke out in Timişoara and spread to other cities. When army units joined the uprising, Ceauşescu fled, but he was captured, deposed, and executed along with his wife. A 2006 presidential commission report estimated that under Communist rule (1945–89) as many as 2 million people were killed or persecuted in Romania.

A provisional government was established, with Ion Iliescu, a former Communist party official, as president. In the elections of May, 1990, Iliescu won the presidency and his party, the National Salvation Front, obtained an overwhelming majority in the legislature. Iliescu was reelected in 1992, but was defeated by Emil Constantinescu of the Democratic Convention party in 1996.

Throughout the 1990s and into the next decade the country's economy lagged, as it struggled to make the transition to a market-based economy. Price increases and food shortages led to civil unrest, and the closing of mines set off large-scale strikes and demonstrations by miners. Privatization of state-run industries proceeded cautiously, with citizens having shares in companies but little knowledge or information about their investments. Widespread corruption also was a problem. In Nov.–Dec., 2000, elections Iliescu again won the presidency, after a runoff against Corneliu V. Tudor, an ultranationalist.

In Oct., 2003, the country approved constitutional changes protecting the rights of ethnic minorities and property owners; the amendments were designed to win European Union approval for Romania's admission to that body, but continuing pervasive corruption remained a stumbling block. The country joined NATO in Mar., 2004. The Nov.–Dec., 2004, presidential election was won by the center-right opposition candidate, Traian Basescu of the Liberal Democratic party (PDL); Basescu defeated the first round leader, Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, after a runoff. In Apr., 2005, Romania finally signed an accession treaty with the European Union; Romania became a member of the EU in 2007, but corruption and judicial reform remained significant EU concerns and delayed the nation's joining the EU's borderless Schengen Area. In Feb., 2006, Nastase, who had become parliament speaker, was charged with corruption; he accused the government of mounting a politically inspired prosecution. Nastase was acquitted in that case in Dec., 2011, but was convicted in a second corruption case in Jan., 2012, and of blackmail in a third case in Mar., 2012.

Disagreements between the outspoken, popular president and the center-right prime minister, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, of the National Liberal party (PNL), became increasing acrimonious in early 2007, after the president accused the prime minister of having attempted to influence a corruption investigation of a political ally. In April the left-wing opposition and Popescu-Tariceanu's allies in parliament voted to suspend the president for unconstitutional conduct, a dubious charge given that the constitutional court had ruled previously that the president had not violated the constitution, but the court also upheld the president's suspension. The suspension forced a referendum on impeaching the president, and in the May poll 74% of the voters opposed impeachment. The prime minister's government subsequently (June) survived a no-confidence vote.

In the Nov., 2008, parliamentary elections, the Social Democratic and Conservative parties (PSD-PC) won the most votes, but the PDL won the most seats. The two formed a coalition government, with PDL leader Emil Boc as prime minister. In Oct., 2009, however, the coalition collapsed after Boc dismissed the PSD interior minister; the resulting PDL minority government soon lost a confidence vote. The president nominated Lucian Croitoru, an economist, for prime minister, but a parliamentary majority rejected him, having proposed Klaus Iohannis, the mayor of Sibiu and a member of a small, ethnic German party.

Basescu was reelected by a narrow margin in Dec., 2009, defeating the PSD-PC's Mircea Geoana. Geoana, whom polls had predicted would win, accused Basescu of fraud and sought a revote; a court-ordered review of the invalidated votes increased Basescu's lead slightly. Basescu appointed Boc as prime minister of the PDL-led coalition government. In 2010 the government imposed a number of austerities, including public sector pay cuts and tax increases, as part of its efforts to reduce the deficit and secure loans from International Monetary Fund. In early 2012, several weeks of protest over the effects of those measures and over corruption and cronyism led Boc's government to resign in February. Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, the head of the foreign intelligence service, succeeded Boc as prime minister, heading the same PDL-led coalition, but the government lost a confidence vote in April.

In May, 2012, Victor Ponta, the PSD leader, became prime minister of a three-party center-left coalition government. In July the president's opponents in parliament for a second time voted to suspend him on charges of unconstitutional behavior, forcing a referendum on removing him from office; Ponta's government also reduced the powers of the constitutional court. The moves prompted criticism from the European Union. The July referendum, which went decisively against Basescu, had less than a 50% turnout, and because of that the result was declared invalid by the constitutional court in August. The PSD and its coalition allies won two thirds of the parliamentary seats in the Dec., 2012, election, and Ponta again became prime minister. The new government subsequently lowered the turnout threshold for a valid referendum to 30%. Efforts by the parliament during 2013 to protect lawmakers from criminal corruption investigations were criticized by the EU and others.

Romania in 2006

Romania Area: 238,391 sq km (92,043 sq mi) Population (2006 est.): 21,577,000 Capital: Bucharest Chief of state: President Traian Basescu Head of government: Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu ...>>>Read More<<<


This is not the official site of this country. Most of the information in this site were taken from the U.S. Department of State, The Central Intelligence Agency, The United Nations, [1],[2], [3], [4], [5],[6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14],[15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24],[25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30],[31], [32], [33], [34], and the [35].

Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.