Learn more about Romanians
|Total population||21.5 <ref> The lower estimate is the sum of the countrywise estimates listed</ref> to 28 million (est.) <ref>  Investment Climate and Market Structure in the Energy Sector Paper of the Energy Charter Secretariat puts the number of Romanians outside Romania at 8.2 million]</ref> <ref> [www.usaid.gov/locations/europe_eurasia/pdfs/romaniaictpub.pdf] Romane IED Assessment puts the number of Romanians outside the country at 8 million</ref> <ref>UNEP GRID-Arendal Environmental Information Programme </ref><ref>  Data obtained from the Romanian Government Embassy in Prague </ref> <ref> Romanian President emphasizes that the Cotroceni Palace is a home for all Romanians, including the 8 million Romanians outside Romania.</ref><ref>Romanian Census Results 2002</ref><ref>  Romanian World Council estimates the number of Romanians living outside Romania to be 10 mil. people.</ref><ref>  Romanian President puts Romanian immigrants at 6 million and Romanians around Romania's borders at 4 million people.</ref>|
|Regions with significant populations|| Romania: 19,409,400 (2002 cens.)<ref>Romanian Census Results 2002</ref>|
Moldova 75,000 (2004 cens.) <ref>Based on the 2004 Moldovan Census. Note: also 481,593 Moldovans declared Romanian as their mother tongue and the Moldovan language is widely viewed as the official name used in the Republic of Moldova for the Romanian language, thus adding 2,011,403 to the number of Romanian speakers. Source: 2004 Moldovan Census.</ref> - 2,638,125 (est. based on cens.)<ref name="CIA World Factbook">  Data according to the CIA World Factbook</ref>
|Religion|| Predominantly Romanian Orthodox, but also including Romanian Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant and Atheist. <tr>
<th style="background-color:#fee8ab;">Related ethnic groups</th> <td style="background-color:#fff6d9;">• Vlachs
The Romanians (români in present-day Romanian and rumâni in historical contexts) are an ethnic group; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania. There is an ongoing dispute whether the Moldovans of Moldova are Romanians or constitute a distinct ethnic group<ref name="Moldovans as a distinct ethnic group"> see Moldovenism.</ref>). Both countries also have other significant ethnic minorities, and the Romanians constitute an ethnic minority in several nearby countries.
The Romanian people are a nation in the meaning an ethnos (in Romanian: popor), defined more by a sense of sharing a common Romanian culture and having a Romanian mother tongue, than by citizenship or by being subjects to any particular country. In the world today, 24 million have Romanian as their mother tongue <ref>  Data according to the Latin Union</ref>. If a distinction is made between Romanians and Ethnic Romanians, the latter are distinguished by living outside of the Romania and not holding Romanian citizenship.
The concept of who is a Romanian has varied in time. In historical contexts, the Romanians are generally referred with the exonym Vlachs, a term shared by other Romance populations of the Balkan Peninsula. These populations also shared, and share, a common autonym, with dialectical variants rumân, armân, rumâr, etc. These populations, regarded separately today, had generally been regarded as a single people with a cohesive self-identity, possessing a common language divided into the main dialects: Daco-Romanian, the dominant language of modern Romania and Moldova; Aromanian (also known as Macedo-Romanian), spoken today by about 300,000 people in the several countries south of the Danube; Megleno-Romanian, spoken today by about 10,000 people in Greece and the Republic of Macedonia; and Istro-Romanian spoken today by fewer than 1,000 people in a few villages on the peninsula of Istria in Croatia. However, a modern separation and interpretation, although would group the modern Romanians along with the Macedo-Romanians, Megleno-Romanians and Istro-Romanians, would nevertheless conclude and have as final result the perception of these populations as separate, distinguished ethnic groups.
Ascribing the concept to the territory which nowadays encompasses Romania, than it can be inferred that until the 19th century, the term Romanian denoted the speakers of the Daco-Romanian dialect of the Romanian language, thus being a much more distinct concept than that of Romania, the country of the Romanians. Prior to 1867, the (Daco-)Romanians were part of different statal entities: with the Moldavians and the Wallachians being split off and having shaped separate political identities, possessing states of their own, and with the rest of Romanians being part of other states. However, like the rest of the Vlachs, they all retained their Romanian cultural and ethnic identity.
Most Romanians live in Romania, where they constitute a majority; Romanians also constitute a minority in the countries that neighbour them. Romanians can also be found in many countries as immigrants, notably in the United States, Spain, Italy, Canada, France and Germany. It is also a matter of the ongoing dispute whether the population of the Republic of Moldova (i.e., Moldovans) are Romanians.
The contemporary total population of ethnic Romanians cannot be stated with any degree of certainty. A disparity can be observed between official sources (such as census counts) where they exist, and estimates which come from non-official sources and interested groups. Several inhibiting factors (not unique to this particular case) contribute towards this uncertainty, which may include:
- A degree of overlap may exist or be shared between Romanian and other ethnic identities in certain situations, and census or survey respondents may elect to identify with one particular ancestry but not another, or instead identify with multiple ancestries;
- Counts and estimates may inconsistently distinguish between Romanian nationality and Romanian ethnicity (i.e. not all Romanian nationals identify with Romanian ethnicity, and vice versa);
- The measurements and methodologies employed by governments to enumerate and describe the ethnicity and ancestry of their citizens vary from country to country. Thus the census definition of "Romanian" might variously mean Romanian-born, of Romanian parentage, or also include other ethnic identities as Romanian which otherwise are identified separately in other contexts;
- The number of ethnic Romanians who live and work abroad is not precisely known, particularly so where their presence in the host country may be considered "illegal". In addition, where estimates for these populations have been made there is some risk of likely "double counting"— that is, Romanian persons abroad who have retained (or have not formally relinquished) their original citizenship may possibly figure in the counts or estimates of both the "home" and "host" countries.
For example, the decennial U.S. Census of 2000 calculated (based on a statistical sampling of household data) that there were 367,310 respondents indicating Romanian ancestry (roughly 0.1% of the total population).<ref name="USCensus"/> The actual total recorded number of foreign-born Romanians was only 136,000 Migration Information Source However, some non-specialist organisations have produced estimates which are considerably higher: a 2002 study by the Romanian-American Network Inc. mentions an estimated figure of 1,200,000<ref>Romanian Communities Allocation in United States: Study of Romanian-American population (2002), Romanian-American Network, Inc. Retrieved 14 Oct 2005. Their figure of 1.2 million includes "200,000-225,000 Romanian Jews", 50,000-60,000 Germans from Romania, etc.</ref> for the number of Romanian-Americans. This estimate notes however that "...other immigrants of Romanian national minority groups have been inlcuded [sic] such as: Armenians, Germans, Gypsies, Hungarians, Jews, and Ukrainians". It also includes an unspecified allowance for second- and third-generation Romanians, and an indeterminate number living in Canada. An error range for the estimate is not provided. For the United States 2000 Census figures, almost 20% of the total population did not classify or report an ancestry, and the census is also subject to undercounting, an incomplete (67%) response rate, and sampling error in general.
Inhabited by the ancient Dacians, today's territory of Romania was conquered by the Roman Empire in 106, when Trajan's army defeated the army of Decebalus (see Dacian Wars). The Roman administration withdrew two centuries later, under the pressure of the Goths and Carpi.
The tribal migrations that followed - such as the ones of Slavs, Bulgars (later Bulgarians), Hungarians, and Tatars - did not allow Romanians to develop any large centralized state, which was only achieved in the 13th century and especially in the 14th century, when the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia emerged to fight the Ottoman Empire.
The entire Balkan peninsula was annexed by the Ottoman Empire, but Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania remained autonomous under Ottoman suzerainty. The three principalities were united in 1600 under the authority of Wallachian Prince Michael the Brave.
Up until 1541, Transylvania was part of the Kingdom of Hungary, later (due to the conquest of Hungary by the Ottoman Empire) was a self-governed Principality governed by the Hungarian nobility. In 1699 it became a part of the Habsburg lands. By the 19th century, the Austrian Empire was awarded the by the Ottomans the region of Bukovina and, in 1812, the Russians occupied the eastern half of Moldavia, known as Bessarabia.
In 1821 and 1848, two rebellions occurred, and both failed; but they had an important role in the spreading of the liberal ideology. In 1859, Moldavia and Wallachia elected the same ruler - Alexander John Cuza (who reigned as Domnitor) and were thus unified de facto.
Newly-founded Kingdom of Romania, led by the Hohenzollern prince Carol I fought the War of Independence against the Ottomans, which was recognized in 1878. At the beginning of World War I, although allied with Austria-Hungary, Romania refused to go to war on the side of the Central Powers, because Romania was obliged to go to war only if Austria-Hungary was attacked. In 1916, Romania joined World War I on the side of the Triple Entente. As a result, at the end of the war, Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina were awarded to Romania, resulting in Greater Romania.
During World War II, Romania lost territory in both east and west, as Northern Transylvania became part of Hungary through the Second Vienna Award, while Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were taken by the Soviets and included in the Moldavian SSR and Ukrainian SSR respectively. The eastern territory losses were facilitated by the Molotov-Ribbentrop German-Soviet non-aggression pact.
The Soviet Union imposed a Communist government and King Michael was forced to abdicate and leave for exile. Ceauşescu became the head of the Romanian Communist Party in 1965 and his draconian rule of the 1980s was stopped by a Revolution in 1989.
The Romanian revolution brought to power the dissident and former communist Ion Iliescu. He remained in power until 1996, and then once more between 2000 and 2004. Emil Constantinescu was president from 1996 to 2000, and Traian Băsescu started his mandate in 2004.
Main article: Culture of Romania
Contribution to humanity
Main article: List of Romanians
In the history of flight, Traian Vuia built the first self-propelling heavier-than-air aircraft, while Henri Coandă built the first aircraft powered by a jet engine. Victor Babeş discovered more than 50 germs and a cure for a disease named after him, babesiosis; biologist Nicolae Paulescu discovered insulin. Another biologist, Emil Palade, received the Nobel Prize for his contributions to cell biology. Mathematican Ştefan Odobleja is considered to be the ideological father behind cybernetics.
In the arts and culture, important figures were George Enescu (music composer), Constantin Brâncusi (sculptor), Eugène Ionesco (playwright), Mircea Eliade (historian of religion and novelist) and Emil Cioran (essayist).
Count Dracula is a worldwide icon of Romania. However, the idea of Dracula as a vampire is not genuinely Romanian. It was created by the Irishman Bram Stoker from Balkan folklore and the historic Romanian figure of Vlad Ţepeş.
Main article: Romanian language
The origins of Romanian language, a Romance language, can be traced back to the Roman colonization of Dacia. The basic vocabulary is of Latin origin, although there are some substratum Dacian words. Of all the Romance languages, it could be said that Romanian is the most archaic one, having retained, for example, the inflected structure of Latin grammar.
During the Middle Ages, Romanian was isolated from the other Romance languages, and borrowed words from the nearby Slavic languages. The Turkish occupation enriched the language with a picturesque Turkic vocabulary by now thoroughly integrated into everyday speech. During the modern era, most neologisms were borrowed from French and Italian, though increasingly the language is falling under the sway of English borrowings.
The Moldovan language, in its official form, is practically identical to Romanian, although there are some differences in colloquial speech. In the de-facto independent (but internationally unrecognised) region of Transnistria, the official script used to write Moldovan is Cyrillic.
A 2005 Ethnologue estimation puts the (world-wide) number of Romanian speakers at approximately 23.5 million,<ref>Romanian language on Ethnologue.</ref> not all of whom however are necessarily ethnic Romanians.
Many Romanian names have the surname suffix -escu, which used to be a patronymic. (for example, "Petrescu" used to be the son of "Petre") Many Romanians in France changed the the ending of their surnames to -esco, because the way it is pronounced "-cu" in French. Other suffixes are "-eanu", which indicates the geographical origin and "-aru", which indicates the occupation.
The most common surnames are Ionescu ("son of John") and Popescu ("son of the priest").
The majority of Romanians are Eastern Orthodox Christians, belonging to the Romanian Orthodox Church. According to the 2002 census, 94.0% of ethnic Romanians in Romania identified themselves as Romanian Orthodox (in comparison to 86.8% of Romania's total population, including other ethnic groups). However, it must be noted that the actual rate of church attendance is significantly lower, and that many Romanians are only nominally believers. For example, according to a 2006 poll, only 26% of Romanians attend church once a week or more.<ref>Barometrul de Opinie Publică - Mai 2006, Open Society Foundation</ref>
Romanian Catholics are present in Transylvania, Bucharest, and parts of Moldavia, belonging to both the Eastern Rite (Romanian Catholic Church) and the Roman Rite (Roman Catholic Church). A small percentage of Romanians are Protestant (2.8%) or atheist. Romania had large Jewish minority before World War II; over 200,000 survived the war. The Jewish populace largely emigrated ("made aliyah") to Israel during the Communist era. Also, because of historic contact with the Ottoman Empire, a few ethnic Romanians may have converted to Islam and assimilated as Turks.
There is no official date for the adoption of Christianity by the Romanians. It appears that Christianization occurred gradually, starting with the Saint Andrew's mission during the Roman era and then continuing while the Romanian people and language emerged, as suggested by archeological findings and by Romanian words for church ("biserica" < basilica), God ("Dumnezeu" < Domine Deus), Easter ("Paste" < Paschae), etc.
After the Great Schism, there existed a Catholic Bishopric of Cumania (later, separate bishoprics in both Wallachia and Moldavia). However, this seems to be the exception, rather than the rule, as in both Wallachia and Moldavia the state religion (the one use for crowning, and other ceremonies) was orthodox. Until the 17th century, the official language of the liturgy was Old Church Slavonic. Then, it gradually changed to Romanian.
In addition to these colours, each historical province of Romania has its own characteristic animal symbol:
The Coat of Arms of Romania combines these together.
Main article: Romanian folklore
In English they are usually called Romanians or Rumanians except in some historical texts, where they are called Vlachs.
Main article: Etymology of Romania
The name "Romanian" is derived from Latin "Romanus". Under regular phonetical changes that are typical to the Romanian languages, the name was transformed in "rumân" (ru'mɨn). An older form of "român" was still in use in some regions. Socio-linguistic evolutions in the late 18th century led to a gradual preponderance of the "român" spelling form, which was then generalised during the National awakening of Romania of early 19th century.
The name of "Vlachs" is an exonym that was used by Slavs to refer to all Romanized natives of the Balkans. It holds its origin from ancient Germanic - being a cognate to "Welsh" and "Walloon" -, and perhaps even further back in time, from the Roman name Volcae, which was originally a Celtic tribe. From the Slavs, it was passed on to other peoples, such as the Hungarians (Oláh) and Greeks (Vlachoi). (see: Etymology of Vlach) Vlach was also used for all Orthodox Christians. Wallachia, a region in Romania, takes its name from the same source.
Nowadays, the term Vlach is more often used to refer to the Romanized populations of the Balkans who do not speak the Romanian language but rather the Aromanian language and other Romance languages such as Istro-Romanian and Megleno-Romanian. Aromanian, Istro-Romanian and Megleno-Romanian are the closest related languages to the Romanian language.
To distinguish Romanians from the other Romanic peoples of the Balkans (Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians and Istro-Romanians), the term Daco-Romanian is sometimes used to refer to those who speak the standard Romanian language and live in the territory of ancient Dacia (today comprising mostly Romania and Moldova), although some Daco-Romanians can be found in Serbia (which was part of ancient Moesia).
These are family names that have been derived from either Vlach or Romanian. Most of these names have been given when a Romanian settled in a non-Romanian region.
- Oláh (37,147 Hungarians have this name)
Subgroups and related ethnic groups
The closest ethnic groups to the Romanians are the other Romanic peoples of Southeastern Europe: the Istro-Romanians, the Aromanians (Macedo-Romanians) and the Megleno-Romanians. The Istro-Romanians are the closest ethnic group to the Romanians, and it is believed they left Maramureş, Transylvania about a thousand years ago and settled in Istria, Croatia. Numbering about 500 people, they speak the Istro-Romanian language, the closest living relative of Romanian.
The Aromanians and the Megleno-Romanians are Romanic peoples who live south of the Danube, mainly in Greece, Albania and the Republic of Macedonia, although some of them migrated to Romania in the 20th century. It is believed that they diverged from the Romanians in the 7th to 9th century, and currently speak the Aromanian language and Megleno-Romanian language, both of which are Eastern Romance languages, like Romanian, and are sometimes considered by traditional Romanian linguists to be dialects of standard (Daco-)Romanian.
- Romanians of Serbia
- Moravian Wallachia
- Culture of Romania
- Music of Romania
- Romanian diaspora
Notes and references