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National awakening of Romania

 This article is part of the
History of Romania series.
 Romania in the Middle Ages
 National awakening of Romania
 Kingdom of Romania
 Romania during World War II
 Communist Romania
 Romania since 1989

During the period of Austro-Hungarian rule in Transylvania and Ottoman suzerainty over most of the rest of the Romanian lands, most ethnic Romanians were in the situation of being second-class citizens (or even non-citizens) in their own country. In some Transylvanian cities, such as Braşov (at that time the Saxon citadel of Kronstadt), ethnic Romanians were not allowed to even to reside within the city walls.

Increasingly, in the Romantic era, a national consciousness emerged among the Romanians, as among many other peoples of Europe. Defining themselves against the nearby Slavs, Germans, and Hungarians, the nationalist Romanians looked for models of nationality in the other "Latin" countries, notably France.

As in most European countries, 1848 brought revolution to Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania. Its goals - complete independence for the first two and national emancipation in third - remained unfulfilled, but were the basis of the subsequent evolutions. Also, they helped the population of the three principalities recognise their unity of language and interests.

Heavily taxed and badly administered under the Ottoman Empire, in 1859, people in both Moldavia and Wallachia elected the same person - Alexander John Cuza- as prince. Thus, Romania was created, albeit a Romania that excluded Transylvania, where Romanian nationalism inevitably ran up against Hungarian nationalism, a conflict that persists to this day. For some time yet, the Austria-Hungary, especially under the Dual Monarchy of 1867, would keep the Hungarians firmly in control, even in parts of Transylvania where Romanians constituted a local majority.

In 1861 the Transylvanian Association for the Literature and Culture of the Romanian People (ASTRA) was founded in Sibiu (then Hermannstadt), protected by an uncommonly enlightened local government composed largely of ethnic Germans.


1812 Russia annexes Bessarabia.
1829 Treaty of Adrianopole: Russia declares protectorate over Moldavia and Wallachia.
1834 Russians withdraw from Moldavia and Wallachia.
1846 Customs union of Moldavia and Wallachia.
1848 Failed revolutions in the principalities and in Transylvania.
  Russia reoccupies Moldavia and Wallachia.
1856 Partial Russian withdrawal, following Crimean War.
1859 Alexander John Cuza unites Moldavia and Wallachia under his personal rule.
1861 ASTRA founded.
1862 Formal union of Moldavia and Wallachia to form principality of Romania.
1867 Formation of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, which increases Hungarian domination of Transylvania.
1918 After World War I, "Greater Romania" incorporates Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina as well as Moldavia and Wallachia.