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Romanians
Români
Flag of Romania.svg
Romanian people around the world.svg
Ethnic distribution of Romanians around the world
Total population
c. 24—30 million[1][2][3]
(Including Moldovans as a subgroup, which is a matter of ethnic and linguistic scholarly debate)
Regions with significant populations
 Romania 16,792,868 (2011 Romanian census)[4]
 Moldova 192,800 (2014 Moldovan census)
(additional 2,068,058 Moldovans)[5][6]
Other countries
Europe
 Italy11,206,938
(additional 128,979 Moldovans)[7]
 Germany1748,225–1,500,000 (includes a range of Romanian German ethnic groups as well as some 14,815 additional Moldovans)[8][9][10]
 Spain1671,985
(additional 21,945 Moldovans)[11][12]
 Ukraine150,989
(additional

The Romanians (Romanian: Români, pronounced [roˈmɨnʲ]) are a Romance[53][54][55][56] ethnic group and nation native to Romania, that share a common Romanian culture, ancestry, and speak the Romanian language, the most widespread spoken Balkan Romance language, which is descended from the Latin language. According to the 2011 Romanian census, just under 89% of Romania's citizens identified themselves as ethnic Romanians.

In one interpretation of the census results in Moldova, the Moldovans are counted as Romanians, which would mean that the latter form part of the majority in that country as well.[57][58] Romanians are also an ethnic minority in several nearby countries situated in Central, respectively Eastern Europe, particularly in Hungary, Czech Republic, Ukraine (including Moldovans), Serbia, and Bulgaria.

Today, estimates of the number of Romanian people worldwide vary from 26 to 30 million according to various sources, evidently depending on the definition of the term 'Romanian', Romanians native to Romania and Republic of Moldova and their afferent diasporas, native speakers of Romanian, as well as other Balkan Romance-speaking groups considered by most scholars and the Romanian Academy[59] as a constituent part of the broader Romanian people, specifically Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, Istro-Romanians, and Vlachs of Serbia (including medieval Vlachs), in Croatia, in Bulgaria, or in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[1][2][3][60][61]

History

Antiquity

Map showing the area where Dacian was spoken. The blue area shows the Dacian lands conquered by the Roman Empire. The orange area was inhabited by Free Dacian tribes and others.

Inhabited by the ancient Dacians, part of today's territory of Romania was conquered by the Roman Empire in 106,[62] when Trajan's army defeated the army of Dacia's ruler Decebalus (see Dacian Wars). The Roman administration withdrew two centuries later, under the pressure of the Goths and Carpi.

Two theories account for the origin of the Romanian people. One, known as the Daco-Roman continuity theory, posits that they are descendants of Romans and Romanized indigenous peoples living in the Roman Province of Dacia, while the other posits that the Romanians are descendants of Romans and Romanized indigenous populations of the former Roman provinces of Illyricum, Moesia, Thracia, and Macedonia, and the ancestors of Romanians later migrated from these Roman provinces south of the Danube into the area which they inhabit today.

According to the first theory, the Romanians are descended from indigenous populations that inhabited what is now Romania and its immediate environs: Thracians (Dacians, Getae) and Roman legionnaires and colonists. In the course of the two wars with the Roman legions, between AD 101–102 and AD 105–106 respectively, the emperor Trajan succeeded in defeating the Dacians and the greatest part of Dacia became a Roman province.

Map showing the area where Latin language was spoken in pink during the Roman Empire in the 4–7th century.

The colonisation with Roman or Romanized elements, the use of the Latin language and the assimilation of Roman civilisation as well as the intense development of urban centres led to the Romanization of part of the autochthonous population in Dacia. This process was probably concluded by the 10th century when the assimilation of the Slavs by the Daco-Romanians was completed.[63]

According to the south-of-the-Danube origin theory, the Romanians' ancestors, a combination of Romans and Romanized peoples of Illyria, Moesia and Thrace, moved northward across the Danube river into modern-day Romania. Small population groups speaking several versions of Romanian (Megleno-Romanian, Istro-Romanian, and Aromanian) still exist south of the Danube in Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia, but it is not known whether they themselves migrated from more northern parts of the Balkans, including Dacia. The south-of-the Danube theory usually favours northern Albania and/or Moesia (modern day Serbia and Northern Bulgaria) as the more specific places of Romanian ethnogenesis.

Small genetic differences were reportedly[64] found among Southeast European (Greece, Albania) populations and especially those of the DniesterCarpathian (Romania, Moldova, Ukraine) region. Despite this low level of differentiation between them, tree reconstruction and principal component analyses allowed a distinction between Balkan–Carpathian (Romanians, Moldovans, Ukrainians, Macedonians, and Gagauzes) and Balkan Mediterranean (Greeks, Albanians, Turks) population groups. The genetic affinities among Dniester–Carpathian and southeastern European populations do not reflect their linguistic relationships. According to the report, the results indicate that the ethnic and genetic differentiations occurred in these regions to a considerable extent independently of each other.

Middle Ages to Early Modern Age

Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia during the late 15th century.

During the Middle Ages Romanians were mostly known as Vlachs, a blanket term ultimately of Germanic origin, from the word Walha, used by ancient Germanic peoples to refer to Romance-speaking and Celtic neighbours. Besides the separation of some groups (Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, and Istro-Romanians) during the Age of Migration, many Vlachs could be found all over the Balkans, in Transylvania,[65] across Carpathian Mountains[66] as far north as Poland and as far west as the regions of Moravia (part of the modern Czech Republic), some went as far east as Volhynia of western Ukraine, and the present-day Croatia where the Morlachs gradually disappeared, while the Catholic and Orthodox Vlachs took Croat and Serb national identity.[67]

Because of the migrations that followed – such as those of Slavs, Bulgars, Hungarians, and Tatars – the Romanians were organised in agricultural communes (obști), developing large centralised states only in the 14th century, when the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia emerged to fight the Ottoman Empire.

During the late Middle Ages, prominent medieval Romanian monarchs such as Bogdan of Moldavia, Stephen the Great, Mircea the Elder, Michael the Brave, or Vlad the Impaler took part actively in the history of Central Europe by waging tumultuous wars and leading noteworthy crusades against the then continuously expanding Ottoman Empire, at times allied with either the Kingdom of Poland or the Kingdom of Hungary in these causes.

Eventually the entire Balkan peninsula was annexed by the Ottoman Empire. However, Moldavia and Wallachia (extending to Dobruja and Bulgaria) were not entirely subdued by the Ottomans as both principalities became autonomous (which was not the case of other Ottoman territorial possessions in Europe). Transylvania, a third region inhabited by an important majority of Romanian speakers, was a vassal state of the Ottomans until 1687, when the principality became part of the Habsburg possessions. The three principalities were united for several months in 1600 under the authority of Wallachian Prince Michael the Brave.[68]

Map depicting Romanian and Vlach transhumance in Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

Additionally, in medieval times there were other lands known by the name 'Vlach' (such as Great Vlachia, situated between Thessaly and the western Pindus mountains, originally within the Byzantine Empire, but after the 13th century autonomous or semi-independent; White Wallachia, a Byzantine denomination for the region between the Danube River and the Balkans; Moravian Wallachia, a region in south-eastern Czech Republic).

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 by the Ottomans with the region of Bukovina and, in 1812, the Russians occupied the eastern half of Moldavia, known as Bessarabia.

Late Modern Age to Contemporary Era

Animated history of Romania's borders (mid 19th century–present).
Walachians (Romanians) in the Kingdom of Hungary, according to census 1890.
Map depicting the United Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia between 1859 and 1878.

In the context of the 1848 Romanticist and liberal revolutions across Europe, the events that took place in the Grand Principality of Transylvania were the first of their kind to unfold in the Romanian-speaking territories. On the one hand, the Transylvanian Saxons and the Transylvanian Romanians (with consistent support on behalf of the Austrian Empire) successfully managed to oppose the goals of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, with the two noteworthy historical figures leading the common Romanian-Saxon side at the time being Avram Iancu and Stephan Ludwig Roth.

On the other hand, the Wallachian revolutions of 1821 and 1848 as well as the Moldavian Revolution of 1848, which aimed for independence from Ottoman and Russian foreign rulership, represented important impacts in the process of spreading the liberal ideology in the eastern and southern Romanian lands, in spite of the fact that all three eventually failed. Nonetheless, in 1859, Moldavia and Wallachia elected the same ruler, namely Alexander John Cuza (who reigned as Domnitor) and were thus unified de facto, resulting in the United Romanian Principalities for the period between 1859 and 1881.

During the 1870s, the United Romanian Principalities (then led by Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen Domnitor Carol I) fought a War of Independence against the Ottomans, with Romania's independence being formally recognised in 1878 at the Treaty of Berlin. Although the newly founded Kingdom of Romania initially allied with Austria-Hungary, Romania refused to enter World War I on the side of the Central Powers, because it was obliged to wage war only if Austria-Hungary was attacked. In 1916, Romania joined the war on the side of the Triple Entente.

As a result, at the end of the war, Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina were awarded to Romania, through a series of international peace treaties, resulting in an enlarged and far more powerful kingdom under King Ferdinand I. As of 1920, the Romanian people was believed to number over 15 million solely in the region of the Romanian kingdom, a figure larger than the populations of Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands combined.[69]

During the interwar period, two additional monarchs came to the Romanian throne, namely Carol II and Michael I. This short-lived period was marked, at times, by political instabilities and efforts of maintaining a constitutional monarchy in favour of other, totalitarian regimes such as an absolute monarchy or a military dictatorship.

During World War II, the Kingdom of Romania lost territory both to the 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, respectively Ukrainian SSR. The eastern territory losses were facilitated by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact.

After the end of the war, the Romanian Kingdom managed to regain territories lost westward but was nonetheless not given Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, the aforementioned regions being forcefully incorporated into the Soviet Union. Subsequently, the Soviet Union imposed a Communist government and King Michael was forced to abdicate and leave for exile. Nicolae Ceaușescu became the head of the Romanian Communist Party in 1965 and his draconian rule of the 1980s was ended by the Romanian Revolution of 1989.

The 1989 revolution brought to power the dissident communist Ion Iliescu (backed by the FSN). He remained in power as head of state until 1996, when he was defeated by CDR-supported Emil Constantinescu at the 1996 general elections, the first in post-Communist Romania that saw a peaceful transition of power. Following Constantinescu's only term as president from 1996 to 2000, Iliescu was re-elected in late 2000 for another term of four years. In 2004, Traian Băsescu, the PNL-PD candidate, was elected president. Five years later, Băsescu was narrowly re-elected for a second term at the 2009 presidential elections.

In 2014, the PNL-PDL candidate Klaus Iohannis won a surprise victory over former prime minister and PSD-supported contender Victor Ponta in the second round of the 2014 presidential elections. Thus, Iohannis became the first Romanian president stemming from an ethnic minority (as he belongs to the Romanian-German community, being a Transylvanian Saxon). In 2019, the PNL-supported Iohannis was re-elected for a second term as president at the 2019 Romanian presidential election.

In the meantime, Romania's major foreign policy achievements were the alignment with Western Europe and the United States by joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004 and the European Union three years later, in 2007.

Genetics

The prevailing element in Wallachia (Ploiești, Dolj), Moldavia (Piatra Neamț, Buhuși), Dobruja (Constanța), and northern Republic of Moldova is recorded to be Haplogroup I,[70] while the gene pool of Transylvania is often untypical and diverse.[71][Moldova, the Moldovans are counted as Romanians, which would mean that the latter form part of the majority in that country as well.[57][58] Romanians are also an ethnic minority in several nearby countries situated in Central, respectively Eastern Europe, particularly in Hungary, Czech Republic, Ukraine (including Moldovans), Serbia, and Bulgaria.

Today, estimates of the number of Romanian people worldwide vary from 26 to 30 million according to various sources, evidently depending on the definition of the term 'Romanian', Romanians native to Romania and Republic of Moldova and their afferent diasporas, native speakers of Romanian, as well as other Balkan Romance-speaking groups considered by most scholars and the Romanian Academy[59] as a constituent part of the broader Romanian people, specifically Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, Istro-Romanians, and Vlachs of Serbia (including medieval Vlachs), in Croatia, in Bulgaria, or in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[1][2][3][60][61]

Inhabited by the ancient Dacians, part of today's territory of Romania was conquered by the Roman Empire in 106,[62] when Trajan's army defeated the army of Dacia's ruler Decebalus (see Dacian Wars). The Roman administration withdrew two centuries later, under the pressure of the Goths and Carpi.

Two theories account for the origin of the Romanian people. One, known as the Daco-Roman continuity theory, posits that they are descendants of Romans and Romanized indigenous peoples living in the Roman Province of Dacia, while the other posits that the Romanians are descendants of Romans and Romanized indigenous populations of the former Roman provinces of Illyricum, Moesia, Thracia, and Macedonia, and the ancestors of Romanians later migrated from these Roman provinces south of the Danube into the area which they inhabit today.

According to the first theory, the Romanians are descended from indigenous populations that inhabited what is now Romania and its immediate environs: Thracians (Dacians, Getae) and Roman legionnaires and colonists. In the course of the two wars with the Roman legions, between AD 101–102 and AD 105–106 respectively, the emperor Trajan succeeded in defeating the Dacians and the greatest part of Dacia became a Roman province.

Map showing the area where Latin language was spoken in pink during the Roman Empire in the 4–7th century.

The colonisation with Roman or Romanized elements, the use of the Latin language and the assimilation of Roman civilisation as well as the intense development of urban centres led to the Romanization of part of the autochthonous population in Dacia. This process was probably concluded by the 10th century when the assimilation of the Slavs by the Daco-Romanians was completed.[63]

According to the south-of-the-Danube origin theory, the Romanians' ancestors, a combination of Romans and Romanized peoples of Illyria, Moesia and Thrace, moved northward across the Danube river into modern-day Romania. Small population groups speaking several versions of Romanian (Megleno-Romanian, Istro-Romanian, and Aromanian) still exist south of the Danube in Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia, but it is not known whether they themselves migrated from more northern parts of the Balkans, including Dacia. The south-of-the Danube theory usually favours northern Albania and/or Moesia (modern day Serbia and Northern Bulgaria) as the more specific places of Romanian ethnogenesis.

Small genetic differences were reportedly[64] found among Southeast European (Greece, Albania) populations and especially those of the DniesterCarpathian (Romania, Moldova, Ukraine) region. Despite this low level of differentiation between them, tree reconstruction and principal component analyses allowed a distinction between Balkan–Carpathian (Romanians, Moldovans, Ukrainians, Macedonians, and Gagauzes) and Balkan Mediterranean (Greeks, Albanians, Turks) population groups. The genetic affinities among Dniester–Carpathian and southeastern European populations do not reflect their linguistic relationships. According to the report, the results indicate that the ethnic and genetic differentiations occurred in these regions to a considerable extent independently of each other.

Middle Ages to Early Modern Age

Roman Province of Dacia, while the other posits that the Romanians are descendants of Romans and Romanized indigenous populations of the former Roman provinces of Illyricum, Moesia, Thracia, and Macedonia, and the ancestors of Romanians later migrated from these Roman provinces south of the Danube into the area which they inhabit today.

According to the first theory, the Romanians are descended from indigenous populations that inhabited what is now Romania and its immediate environs: Thracians (Dacians, Getae) and Roman legionnaires and colonists. In the course of the two wars with the Roman legions, between AD 101–102 and AD 105–106 respectively, the emperor Trajan succeeded in defeating the Dacians and the greatest part of Dacia became a Roman province.

The colonisation with Roman or Romanized elements, the use of the Latin language and the assimilation of Roman civilisation as well as the intense development of urban centres led to the Romanization of part of the autochthonous population in Dacia. This process was probably concluded by the 10th century when the assimilation of the Slavs by the Daco-Romanians was completed.[63]

According to the south-of-the-Danube origin theory, the Romanians' ancestors, a combination of Romans and Romanized peoples of Illyria, Moesia and Thrace, moved northward across the Danube river into modern-day Romania. Small population groups speaking several versions of Romanian (Megleno-Romanian, Istro-Romanian, and Aromanian) still exist south of the Danube in Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia, but it is not known whether they themselves migrated from more northern parts of the Balkans, including Dacia. The south-of-the Danube theory usually favours northern Albania and/or Moesia (modern day Serbia and Northern Bulgaria) as the more specific places of Romanian Albania and/or Moesia (modern day Serbia and Northern Bulgaria) as the more specific places of Romanian ethnogenesis.

Small genetic differences were reportedly[64] found among Southeast European (Greece, Albania) populations and especially those of the DniesterCarpathian (Romania, Moldova, Ukraine) region. Despite this low level of differentiation between them, tree reconstruction and principal component analyses allowed a distinction between Balkan–Carpathian (Romanians, Moldovans, Ukrainians, Macedonians, and Gagauzes) and Balkan Mediterranean (Greeks, Albanians, Turks) population groups. The genetic affinities among Dniester–Carpathian and southeastern European populations do not reflect their linguistic relationships. According to the report, the results indicate that the ethnic and genetic differentiations occurred in these regions to a considerable extent independently of each other.

During the Middle Ages Romanians were mostly known as Vlachs, a blanket term ultimately of Germanic origin, from the word Walha, used by ancient Germanic peoples to refer to Romance-speaking and Celtic neighbours. Besides the separation of some groups (Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, and Istro-Romanians) during the Age of Migration, many Vlachs could be found all over the Balkans, in Transylvania,[65] across Carpathian Mountains[66] as far north as Poland and as far west as the regions of Moravia (part of the modern Czech Republic), some went as far east as Volhynia of western Ukraine, and the present-day Croatia where the Morlachs gradually disappeared, while the Catholic and Orthodox Vlachs took Croat and Serb national identity.[67]

Because of the migrations that followed – such as those of Slavs, Bulgars, Hungarians, and Tatars – the Romanians were organised in agricultural communes (obști), developing large centralised states only in the 14th century, when the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia emerged to fight the Ottoman Empire.

During the late Middle Ages, prominent medieval Romanian monarchs such as Bogdan of Moldavia, Stephen the Great, Mircea the Elder, Michael the Brave, or Vlad the Impaler took part actively in the history of Central Europe by waging tumultuous wars and leading noteworthy crusades against the then continuously expanding Ottoman Empire, at

Because of the migrations that followed – such as those of Slavs, Bulgars, Hungarians, and Tatars – the Romanians were organised in agricultural communes (obști), developing large centralised states only in the 14th century, when the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia emerged to fight the Ottoman Empire.

During the late Middle Ages, prominent medieval Romanian monarchs such as Bogdan of Moldavia, Stephen the Great, Mircea the Elder, Michael the Brave, or Vlad the Impaler took part actively in the history of Central Europe by waging tumultuous wars and leading noteworthy crusades against the then continuously expanding Ottoman Empire, at times allied with either the Kingdom of Poland or the Kingdom of Hungary in these causes.

Eventually the entire Balkan peninsula was annexed by the Ottoman Empire. However, Moldavia and Wallachia (extending to Dobruja and Bulgaria) were not entirely subdued by the Ottomans as both principalities became autonomous (which was not the case of other Ottoman territorial possessions in Europe). Transylvania, a third region inhabited by an important majority of Romanian speakers, was a vassal state of the Ottomans until 1687, when the principality became part of the Habsburg possessions. The three principalities were united for several months in 1600 under the authority of Wallachian Prince Michael the Brave.[68]

Additionally, in medieval times there were other lands known by the name 'Vlach' (such as Great Vlachia, situated between Thessaly and the western Pindus mountains, originally within the Byzantine Empire, but after the 13th century autonomous or semi-independent; White Wallachia, a Byzantine denomination for the region between the Danube River and the Balkans; Moravian Wallachia, a region in south-eastern Czech Republic).

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 by the Ottomans with the region of Bukovina and, in 1812, the Russians occupied the eastern half of Moldavia, known as Bessarabia.

Late Modern Age to Contemporary Era

Many Romanian surnames have the suffix -escu or (less commonly) -așcu or -ăscu which corresponds to the Latin suffix -iscus and means "belonging to the people". For example, Petrescu used to be Petre's kin. Similar suffixes such as -asco, -asgo, -esque, -ez, etc. are present in other Latin-derived languages. Many Romanians in France changed this ending of their surnames to -esco, because the way it is pronounced in French better approximates the Romanian pronunciation of -escu.

Another widespread suffix of Romanian surnames is -eanu (or -an, -anu), which indicates the geographical origin. Here some examples: Moldoveanu/Moldovan/Moldovanu, from the region of Moldavia or from river Moldova, Munteanu "from mountains", Jianu "from Jiu river region", Pruteanu, meaning from the Prut river, Mureșanu, meaning from the Mureș river, Petreanu (meaning the son of Petre) etc..

Other suffixes are -aru (or -oru, -ar, -or), which indicates an occupation (like Feraru "smith", Morar "miller"), and -ei, usually preceded by A- in front of a female name, which is a Latin inherited female genitive, like in Amariei "of Maria", Aelenei "of Elena". These matrilineal-rooted surnames are common in the historical region of Moldavia.

  • The most common surnames are Pop / Popa ("the priest")—almost 200,000 Romanians have this surname[82]
  • Popescu ("son of the priest") —almost 150,000 have this name[82]
  • — and Ionescu ("John's (Ion's) son").

Names for Romanians

In English, Romanians are usually called Romanians, Rumanians, or Roumanians except in some historical texts, where they are called Roumans or Vlachs.

Etymology of the name Romanian (român)

Romanian revolutionaries of 1848 waving the tricolor flag.

From the Middle Ages, Romanians bore two names, the exonym (one given to them by foreigners) Wallachians or Vlachs, under its various forms (vlah, valah, valach, voloh, blac, olăh, vlas, ilac, ulah, etc.), and the endonym (the name they used for themselves) Romanians (Rumâni/Români).[83]

The name "Romanian" is derived from Latin "Romanus". Under regular phonetical changes that are typical to the Romanian languages, the name romanus over the centuries transformed into "rumân" [ruˈmɨn]. 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.

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 wer

During the Middle Ages, Romanian was isolated from the other Romance languages, and borrowed words from the nearby Slavic languages (see Slavic influence on Romanian). Later on, it borrowed a number of words from German, Hungarian, and Turkish.[80] During the modern era, most neologisms were borrowed from French and Italian, though the language has increasingly begun to adopt 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.

As of 2017, an Ethnologue estimation puts the (worldwide) number of Romanian speakers at approximately 24.15 million.[81] The 24.15 million, however, represent only speakers of Romanian, not all of whom are necessarily ethnic Romanians. Also, this number does not include ethnic-Romanians who no longer speak the Romanian language.

Many Romanian surnames have the suffix -escu or (less commonly) -așcu or -ăscu which corresponds to the Latin suffix -iscus and means "belonging to the people". For example, Petrescu used to be Petre's kin. Similar suffixes such as -asco, -asgo, -esque, -ez, etc. are present in other Latin-derived languages. Many Romanians in France changed this ending of their surnames to -esco, because the way it is pronounced in French better approximates the Romanian pronunciation of -escu.

Another widespread suffix of Romanian surnames is -eanu (or -an, -anu), which indicates the geographical origin. Here some examples: Moldoveanu/Moldovan/Moldovanu, from the region of Moldavia or from Another widespread suffix of Romanian surnames is -eanu (or -an, -anu), which indicates the geographical origin. Here some examples: Moldoveanu/Moldovan/Moldovanu, from the region of Moldavia or from river Moldova, Munteanu "from mountains", Jianu "from Jiu river region", Pruteanu, meaning from the Prut river, Mureșanu, meaning from the Mureș river, Petreanu (meaning the son of Petre) etc..

Other suffixes are -aru (or -oru, -ar, -or), which indicates an occupation (like Feraru "smith", Morar "miller"), and -ei, usually preceded by A- in front of a female name, which is a Latin inherited female genitive, like in Amariei "of Maria", Aelenei "of Elena". These matrilineal-rooted surnames are common in the historical region of Moldavia.

In English, Romanians are usually called Romanians, Rumanians, or Roumanians except in some historical texts, where they are called Roumans or Vlachs.

Etymology of the name Romanian (român)

exonym (one given to them by foreigners) Wallachians or Vlachs, under its various forms (vlah, valah, valach, voloh, blac, olăh, vlas, ilac, ulah, etc.), and the endonym (the name they used for themselves) Romanians (Rumâni/Români).[83]

The name "Romanian" is derived from Latin "Romanus". Under regular phonetical changes that are typical to the Romanian languages, the name romanus over the centuries transformed into "rumân" [ruˈmɨn]. 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.

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 state entities: with the Moldavians and the Wallachians being split off and having shaped separate political identities, possessing states of their own, while the rest of the Romanians were part of other states. However, eventually they retained their Romanian cultural and ethnic identity up today.

The name "Romanian" is derived from Latin "Romanus". Under regular phonetical changes that are typical to the Romanian languages, the name romanus over the centuries transformed into "rumân" [ruˈmɨn]. 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.

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 state entities: with the Moldavians and the Wallachians being split off and having shaped separate political identities, possessing states of their own, while the rest of the Romanians were part of other states. However, eventually they retained their Romanian cultural and ethnic identity up today.

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 the eastern part of Central Serbia (which was part of ancient Moesia).

Etymology of the term Vlach

Relationship to other ethnic groups

The closest ethnic groups to the Romanians are the other Romanic peoples of Southeastern Europe: the Aromanians (Macedo-Romanians), the Megleno-Romanians, and the Istro-Romanians. The Istro-Romanians are the closest ethnic group to the Romanians, and it is believed they left Maramureș, Transylvania about a thousand years ago and settled in Istria, Croatia.[92] Numbering about 500 people still living in the original villages of Istria while the majority left for other countries after World War II (mainly to Italy, United States, Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, and Australia

The Coat of Arms of Romania combines these together.

Customs

Relationship to other ethnic groups

The closest ethnic groups to the Romanians are the other Romanic peoples of Southeastern Europe: the Aromanians (Macedo-Romanians), the Megleno-Romanians, and the Istro-Romanians. The Istro-Romanians are the closest ethnic group to the Romanians, and it is believed they left Maramureș, Transylvania about a thousand years ago and settled in Istria, Croatia.[92] Numbering about 500 people still living in the original villages of Istria while the majority left for other countries after World War II (mainly to Italy, United States, Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, and Australia), 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 North 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 Balkan Romance languages, like Romanian, and are sometimes considered by traditional Romanian linguists to be dialects of Romanian.

GalleryThe Aromanians and the Megleno-Romanians are Romanic peoples who live south of the Danube, mainly in Greece, Albania and North 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 Balkan Romance languages, like Romanian, and are sometimes considered by traditional Romanian linguists to be dialects of Romanian.

Transylvanian Romanian peasants from Abrud

  • Romanian family going to a fair, early 19th century

  • Romanians from Transylvania, late 19th century

  • Romanian peasant costume from Bukovina, early 20th century

  • Romanians from Wallachia, early 19th century