|Currency||Romanian Leu (RON)|
Romania is a country at the crossroads of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. It borders Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, Moldova to the east and the Black Sea to the southeast. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate, and an area of 238,397 km2 (92,046 sq mi), with a population of around 19 million. Romania is the twelfth-largest country in Europe and the sixth-most populous member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Iași, Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Constanța, Craiova, Brașov, and Galați.
The Danube, Europe's second-longest river, rises in Germany's Black Forest and flows in a southeasterly direction for 2,857 km (1,775 mi), before emptying into Romania's Danube Delta. The Carpathian Mountains, which cross Romania from the north to the southwest, include Moldoveanu Peak, at an altitude of 2,544 m (8,346 ft).
Romania was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. During World War I, after declaring its neutrality in 1914, Romania fought together with the Allied Powers from 1916. In the aftermath of the war, Bukovina, Bessarabia, Transylvania and parts of Banat, Crișana, and Maramureș became part of the Kingdom of Romania. In June–August 1940, as a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and Second Vienna Award, Romania was compelled to cede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union, and Northern Transylvania to Hungary. In November 1940, Romania signed the Tripartite Pact and, consequently, in June 1941 entered World War II on the Axis side, fighting against the Soviet Union until August 1944, when it joined the Allies and recovered Northern Transylvania. Following the war and occupation by the Red Army, Romania became a socialist republic and a member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition towards democracy and a market economy.
Romania is a developing country, with a high-income economy, ranking 49th in the Human Development Index. It has the world's 47th largest economy by nominal GDP. Romania experienced rapid economic growth in the early 2000s; its economy is now based predominantly on services. It is a producer and net exporter of machines and electric energy through companies such as Automobile Dacia and OMV Petrom. Romania has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, NATO since 2004, and the European Union since 2007. The majority of Romania's population are ethnic Romanian and religiously identify themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians, speaking Romanian, a Romance language.
The earliest inhabitants of Romania were stone age hunters who lived about 8,000 BC. In time the people of Romania learned to farm and then they learned to make bronze tools. Eventually, they learned to use iron. From about 600 BC the ancient Greeks traded with the people they called Getae. They founded settlements on the coast of Romania.
The Romans called the people of Romania Dacians. In 101-102 AD the Roman Emperor Trajan led a campaign against the Dacians. A further campaign was fought in 105-106 AD and the Romans crushed the Dacians at the battle of Sarmizegetusa. Afterwards, Dacia became a Roman province. Settlers from other parts of the Roman Empire were brought in and the local people became ‘Romanized’. They began to speak Latin.
However Roman rule was short-lived. In the 3rd century, the cost of defending Dacia from ‘barbarians’ became too great. In 271 Emperor Aurelian withdrew the Roman Empire south of the Danube.
Waves of migrants then came to Romania. In the 5th century came the Huns. In the 6th century, they were followed by the Avars and in the 7th century Slavs. Romania then gradually settled down and a feudal order emerged.
Meanwhile, in the 10th century, a fierce people called the Magyars (ancestors of modern Hungarians) arrived in Transylvania. By the 13th century, the Hungarians ruled Transylvania although it was allowed some autonomy, and the Hungarian kings persuaded Germans to go and live there. However, although the inhabitants of Transylvania were Magyars or Germans most of the population were Romanian peasants.
Then in the 14th century, Radu Negru (1310-1352) united some Romanians and formed the first Romanian principality, Wallachia. Later in the 14th century another principality, Moldavia was formed. Most of the peasants became serfs (halfway between slaves and freemen). They were ruled over by aristocrats called boyars.
Then during the 15th century, a new threat came from south of Romania – the Turks. Both Wallachia and Moldavia fought the Turks and the notorious Vlad the Impaler lived at that time.
In the 16th century, Transylvania became part of the Turkish Empire (although it was still allowed some autonomy). However, for a time Wallachia and Moldavia managed to remain independent of Turkey.
In 1593 Michael the Brave became ruler of Wallachia. In 1595 he fought and defeated the Turks. In 1599 he defeated the Transylvanians and became prince of Transylvania. In 1600 he conquered Moldavia and made himself its prince. However, Michael was killed in 1601 and the union ended.
In the 17th century, Wallachia and Moldavia came to be dominated by the Turkish Empire. In the 18th century, they had puppet rulers under Turkish control.
In 1683 the Turks were defeated at Vienna and in 1687 the Habsburgs (rulers of Austria) took Transylvania. Although some of its people were Magyars or Germans most were Romanian peasants. Their harsh treatment led to a rebellion headed by three serfs called Horea, Cloxa, and Crisan. The rebellion failed but in 1785 the Hapsburg Emperor abolished serfdom in Transylvania.
During the early 19th century Turkey continued to dominate Wallachia and Moldavia. However Turkish power was weakening. In 1859 the two principalities were united under a single prince called Alexander Ioan Cuza. In 1862 the new state was named Romania. Finally, in 1877 Romania declared its independence from Turkey.
Modern Romania n Cuza carried out reforms in Romania including abolishing serfdom. However, he was unpopular with conservatives and in 1866 he was overthrown. Prince Carol replaced him. In 1881 Romania became a kingdom with Carol I its king.
In 1916 Romania joined Britain France and Russia against Germany and Austria-Hungary. In 1918 Romania took Transylvania from Hungary. Bessarabia, which was taken by the Russians in 1812 became part of Romania again. As a result, Romania increased greatly in size and its population increased from about 7.5 million to about 12 million. In 1920 the Western powers recognized the changes by the Treaty of Trianon.
In 1927 the right-wing Legion of the Archangel Michael, better known as the Iron Guard was formed in Romania. The 1930s were an era of political instability in Romania with many different governments. Finally, in 1938 the king banned political parties and introduced a royal dictatorship in Romania.
Geography and Climate
Romania is the largest country in Southeastern Europe and the twelfth-largest in Europe, having an area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi): 17 It lies between latitudes 43° and 49° N and longitudes 20° and 30° E. The terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountains, hills, and plains. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the centre of Romania, with 14 mountain ranges reaching above 2,000 m or 6,600 ft—the highest is Moldoveanu Peak at 2,544 m or 8,346 ft.: 11 They are surrounded by the Moldavian and Transylvanian plateaus, the Carpathian Basin and the Wallachian plains.
Romania is home to six terrestrial ecoregions: Balkan mixed forests, Central European mixed forests, East European forest-steppe, Pannonian mixed forests, Carpathian montane conifer forests, and Pontic steppe. Natural and semi-natural ecosystems cover about 47% of the country's land area. There are almost 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) (about 5% of the total area) of protected areas in Romania covering 13 national parks and three biosphere reserves. The Danube river forms a large part of the border with Serbia and Bulgaria, and flows into the Black Sea, forming the Danube Delta, which is the second-largest and best-preserved delta in Europe, and a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage Site. At 5,800 km2 (2,200 sq mi), the Danube Delta is the largest continuous marshland in Europe and supports 1,688 different plant species alone.
Romania has one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe, covering almost 27% of its territory. The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 5.95/10, ranking it 90th globally out of 172 countries. Some 3,700 plant species have been identified in the country, from which to date 23 have been declared natural monuments, 74 extinct, 39 endangered, 171 vulnerable, and 1,253 rare.
The fauna of Romania consists of 33,792 species of animals, 33,085 invertebrates and 707 vertebrates, with almost 400 unique species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, including about 50% of Europe's (excluding Russia) brown bears and 20% of its wolves.
The Constitution of Romania is based on the constitution of France's Fifth Republic and was approved in a national referendum on 8 December 1991 and amended in October 2003 to bring it into conformity with EU legislation. The country is governed based on a multi-party democratic system and the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches. It is a semi-presidential republic where executive functions are held by both the government and the president. The latter is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two terms of five years and appoints the prime minister who in turn appoints the Council of Ministers. The legislative branch of the government, collectively known as the Parliament (residing at the Palace of the Parliament), consists of two chambers (Senate and Chamber of Deputies) whose members are elected every four years by simple plurality.
The justice system is independent of the other branches of government and is made up of a hierarchical system of courts with the High Court of Cassation and Justice being the supreme court of Romania. There are also courts of appeal, county courts and local courts. The Romanian judicial system is strongly influenced by the French model, is based on civil law and is inquisitorial. The Constitutional Court (Curtea Constituțională) is responsible for judging the compliance of laws and other state regulations with the constitution, which is the fundamental law of the country and can only be amended through a public referendum. Romania's 2007 entry into the EU has been a significant influence on its domestic policy, including judicial reforms, increased judicial cooperation with other member states, and measures to combat corruption.
In 2019, Romania has a GDP (PPP) of around $547 billion and a GDP per capita (PPP) of $28,189. According to the World Bank, Romania is a high-income economy. According to Eurostat, Romania's GDP per capita (PPS) was 70% of the EU average (100%) in 2019, an increase from 44% in 2007 (the year of Romania's accession to the EU), making Romania one of the fastest-growing economies in the EU.
After 1989 the country experienced a decade of economic instability and decline, led in part by an obsolete industrial base and a lack of structural reform. From 2000 onward, however, the Romanian economy was transformed into one of relative macroeconomic stability, characterised by high growth, low unemployment and declining inflation. In 2006, according to the Romanian Statistics Office, GDP growth in real terms was recorded at 7.7%, one of the highest rates in Europe. However, the Great Recession forced the government to borrow externally, including an IMF €20 billion bailout program. According to The World Bank, GDP per capita in purchasing power parity grew from $13,687 in 2007 to $28,206 in 2018. Romania's net average monthly wage increased to 666 euro as of 2020, and an inflation rate of −1.1% in 2016. Unemployment in Romania was at 4.3% in August 2018, which is low compared to other EU countries.
Industrial output growth reached 6.5% year-on-year in February 2013, the highest in Europe. The largest local companies include car maker Automobile Dacia, Petrom, Rompetrol, Ford Romania, Electrica, Romgaz, RCS & RDS and Banca Transilvania. As of 2020, there are around 6000 exports per month. Romania's main exports are cars, software, clothing and textiles, industrial machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, metallurgic products, raw materials, military equipment, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, and agricultural products (fruits, vegetables, and flowers). Trade is mostly centred on the member states of the European Union, with Germany and Italy being the country's single largest trading partners. The account balance in 2012 was estimated to be 4.52% of GDP.
After a series of privatizations and reforms in the late 1990s and 2000s, government intervention in the Romanian economy is somewhat less than in other European economies. In 2005, the government replaced Romania's progressive tax system with a flat tax of 16% for both personal income and corporate profit, among the lowest rates in the European Union. The economy is based predominantly on services, which account for 56.2% of the country's total GDP as of 2017, with industry and agriculture accounting for 30% and 4.4% respectively. Approximately 25.8% of the Romanian workforce is employed in agriculture, one of the highest rates in Europe.
Romania has attracted increasing amounts of foreign investment following the end of Communism, with the stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Romania rising to €83.8 billion in June 2019. Romania's FDI outward stock (an external or foreign business either investing in or purchasing the stock of a local economy) amounted to $745 million in December 2018, the lowest value among the 28 EU member states. Some companies that have invested in Romania include Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Proctor & Gamble, Citibank, and IBM.
According to a 2019 World Bank report, Romania ranks 52nd out of 190 economies in the ease of doing business, one place higher than neighbouring Hungary and one place lower than Italy. The report praised the consistent enforcement of contracts and access to credit in the country while noting difficulties in access to electricity and dealing with construction permits.
Since 1867 the official currency has been the Romanian leu ("lion") and following a denomination in 2005. After joining the EU in 2007, Romania is expected to adopt the Euro in 2024.
In January 2020, Romania's external debt was reported to be US$122 billion according to CEIC Data.
The culture of Romania is an umbrella term used to encapsulate the ideas, customs and social behaviours of the people of Romania that developed due to the country's distinct geopolitical history and evolution. It is theorized and speculated that Romanians and related peoples (Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, and Istro-Romanians) are the combinations of descendants of Roman colonists and people indigenous to the region who were Romanized.
The Dacian people, one of the major indigenous peoples of southeast Europe, are one of the predecessors of the Proto-Romanians. It is believed that a mixture of Dacians, Romans, Slavs, and Illyrians are the predecessors of the modern Romanians, Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, and Istro-Romanians. Modern Romanian culture visibly reflects a tremendous amount of Eastern European influences. In addition, Romanian culture shares several similarities with other ancient cultures, such as that of the Armenians.
Palace of Parliament of Romania
National Museum of Romanian History