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Théodore Valerio, 1852: Pâtre valaque de Zabalcz ("Romanian shepherd from Zăbalț")
Map depicting the current distribution of Balkan Romance-speaking peoples
Vlach herdsmen in Greece (Amand Schweiger from Lerchenfeld, 1887)
Vlach shepherd of Banat (Auguste Raffet, c. 1837)

Vlachs (English: /ˈvlɑːk/ or /ˈvlæk/, or rarely /ˈvlɑːx/), also Wallachians (and many other variants[1]), is a historical term from the Middle Ages that designates an exonym mostly for Romance-speaking peoples who lived north and south of the Danube.[2]

As a contemporary term, in the English language, the Vlachs are the Balkan Romance-speaking peoples who live south of the Danube in what are now eastern Serbia, southern Albania, northern Greece, North Macedonia, and southwestern Bulgaria, as native ethnic groups, such as the Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians (Macedoromanians), and Macedo-Vlachs.[3] The term also became a synonym in the Balkans for the social category of shepherds,Vlachs (English: /ˈvlɑːk/ or /ˈvlæk/, or rarely /ˈvlɑːx/), also Wallachians (and many other variants[1]), is a historical term from the Middle Ages that designates an exonym mostly for Romance-speaking peoples who lived north and south of the Danube.[2]

As a contemporary term, in the English language, the Vlachs are the Balkan Romance-speaking peoples who live south of the Danube in what are now eastern Serbia, southern Albania, northern Greece, North Macedonia, and southwestern Bulgaria, as native ethnic groups, such as the Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians (Macedoromanians), and Macedo-Vlachs.[3] The term also became a synonym in the Balkans for the social category of shepherds,[4] and was also used for non-Romance-speaking peoples, in recent times in the western Balkans derogatively.[5] There is also a Vlach diaspora in other European countries, especially Romania, as well as in North America and Australia.[3]

"Vlachs" were initially identified and described during the 11th century by George Kedrenos. According to one origin theory, modern Romanians, Moldovans and Aromanians originated from Dacians.[6] According to some linguists and scholars, the Eastern Romance languages prove the survival of the Thraco-Romans in the lower Danube basin during the Migration Period[7] and western Balkan populations known as "Vlachs" also have had Romanized Illyrian origins.[8]

Nowadays, Eastern Romance-speaking communities are estimated at 26–30 million people worldwide (including the Romanian diaspora and Moldovan diaspora).[9]