In my previous blogs about Romania, I wrote in the first one about the Dacians, the Roman soldiers, and about when Christianity came to Romania. In the second one, I wrote about Vlad Tepis and Stephan Cel Mare fighting the Muslism from the Ottoman Empire off, when the Protestants came to Romania, when Mihai Viteazul first united all the Romanian stares, and the effects of the Autro-Hungarian Empire. Now, I want to continue telling you about important people and events in Romania.
Stephan Cel Mare and Mihai Viteazul are both street names in Sibiu, Romania. Another street name is Ion Cuza. I lived on Ion Cuza for a while, right in the middle of Sibiu. There was an important battle of the Romanian revolution on the street named Ion Cuza, and I saw lots of bullet holes and heard many stories from the people on that street. However, who was Ion Cuza? He was a leader of Romania who, in 1806, was exiled in a coup d’etat. To replace him, Austria sent Prince Karof who changed his name to Prince Carol of Romania. If you have seen pictures of the Peles Castle on Facebook, that is where he lived as did his son, Prince Carol 11 and his grandson, Prince Micheal. Now, it is a tourist’s attraction.
The Romanians were having trouble stabilizing their politics, so in 1829, the Boyar system was put in place. The Boyars were land owners. The Ottomans still wanted Romania, and so did Russia, but the boyars gave Romania stability and kept these guys back. The boyars were an elected assembly. –I am not sure about which period of time the next happened, but several years ago, I remember reading in the same book where I read about these boyars that the Romanians were using honey as currency because there was so much honey in Romania. When I went to an Orthodox Romanian wedding, honey was a big part of the ceremony. Honey is important in Romania.
The boyars, however, couldn’t keep the Russians out. The Russians took Romania over in 1834. Romania became occupied by Russia. In 1876, though, Romania was finally recognized as an independent state when they signed the Treaty of Berlin. In 1877-1877, the Ottomans, now called the Turkish, tried to take Romania again. Russia teamed up with Romania and fought the Turkish off.
In 1878, Prince Carol became King Carol. There was a period of stability in Romania from 1878-1914 under King Carol. However, World War 1 began in 1914. Romania tried to stay neutral. They didn’t want to get into a war. Both sides were pressing them to join them, and so they gave in in 1916 to the western allies, mostly pressured by France. Transylvania was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Only Moldova was called Romania then. In 1918, The three countries, Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia united to become one country, Romania. Finally, in 1920, Hungary gave up claim to Transylvania. There were two treaties, the Treaty of St. Germain in 1919 and the Treaty of Paris in 1920.
The first time I read Romania’s history during WW 1 and WW 2, the only thing I could think was the Romanians really wanted no part of war. They tried to stay neutral in both wars, but the other countries just wouldn’t leave them alone. Romania just kept switching sides during these wars. All they wanted was to remain independent; they wanted to come out of these wars as one whole, independent country. They didn’t want war, but the other countries just kept dragging them in.
After the treaties were signed that made all three states into one united Romania and the other countries gave up their claim to Romania, there were still remnants of the rule of other countries. There were Magyars left in Transylvania. Magyar is another name for the Hungarians. There were Germans (Austrians) in Transylvania, Bukovina, and Banat. In Bessarabia and Bukovina, there were Ukranians. In Dobrudja, there were Bulgarians. There were foreign pockets all over Romania, and the Romanian people welcomed them in, but they didn’t all like the Romanians. Many thought they were too good to be part of Romania.
In 1937, the Iron Guard came to Romania. They were tough guys and a strong political force. In 1938, King Carol !! became King. He was a dictator and ruled from 1938-1944. While he was king, the world went to war again, WW 2, 1940-1947. Romania tried to stay neutral again, but it was hard. Different countries took turns coming into Romania. First, the Germans came and took all their oil. They had a lot of oil, but the Germans completely depleted it during WW 2. The Romanians didn’t want to be on the German side. They wanted to be neutral. In 1940, the Russians told Romania they must take their side or they would invade them. They didn’t want to be on the Russian side either, but after the threat of invasion, the Romanians took Russia’s side in WW 2.
When WW 2 was finished, basically, Romania was given to the Russians in the treaties. The Romanians didn’t want the lines drawn that way. They looked for the Americans to come in and liberate them from Russia, but America never came. By that time, King Micheal was King of Romania, and when the Russians took over, he abdicated. He left and went to France. Romania became Communist. Russia ruled them until the late 1950’s. Romania was looted again by the U. S. S. R., United Soviet States of Russia. Some historians called them a Maverick because they pulled away from Russia instead of falling in line like the other Soviet States. Some historians thought they only pulled away from Russia as a ruse to fool the world so they could spend spies out. Regardless, they became autonomous. The three states of Romania, Wallachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia were united and one country. Even if they were autonomous, Russia still had a lot of influence. Ceausescu, the Communist leader Romania killed in their revolution, went to school in Russia and had close ties in Russia.
The Russian language was taught in Romanian schools. The Romanian people rebelled to this. When I got there, people said to me in disgust, “They made me study Russian at school, but they can’t make me speak it!” They didn’t want to be occupied by Russia.
The next years of Romania were quiet to the rest of the world. Communism took over in Romania, and the world forgot them. Many people thought Transylvania was a legendary place because no news went out of Romania. Until the Romanian revolution, I thought Transylvania was a legendary place. When my oldest son went to school and told them they was moving to Transylvania, they laughed at him because they all thought Transylvania was just a legendary place and didn’t actually exist.
I am not finished with talking about Romania. There is one more blog here. In fact, there is actually more, but I can’t write it all in my blog. I have written a book called “Escaping.” It is all about Romanians trying to get away from Communism in all different ways. It is still in the works because we have to get it copy-written, but as soon as I have a copy-write on it, it will be out there for people to buy, and you can look for it on my blog. Romania has had such a colorful history. When I was in Romania, at one point, I even found an old German army helmet in my barn that someone had attached a piece of wood was a handle to use as a shovel. Under Communism, the Romanians looked for America to come and liberate them, but America never came. The world forgot them. In their struggle to stay an independent nation, it became like they were in prison in their own country. No one left Romania, and no news went out of Romania either. I know how it was in the Communist years because I went there one year after the revolution. I know about their struggles, and I will continue writing for you.