Romanian ethnographical history

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Bronze age
Iron age
Roman empire
Age of migrations
Moldavia & Wallachia

These pages summarise the history of the space of Romania and the peoples who have lived there with the purpose of putting the Romanians and their folklore in context. Some elements of the folklore are part of recent fashions or events, but some have their roots far deeper in history.

Ethnographic zones

There is not a set number of ethnographic zones in Romania and each Romanian text will have a different combination presented, the total number being somewhere between 60 and 120. The Romanian ethnographic zones are defined  as:

"a large or small territory precisely delimitated which presents united ethnographic characteristics determined by the traditions of socio-history crystallised in the manner it is placed, and the occupations, costumes, popular art, habitations."

This section is arranged hieratically from the modern regions of Romania down to the ethnographic sub-zones and regional minorities.

  1. Moldavia (Moldova) - including Bucovina and historically the areas of the Republic of Moldova and Bugeac
  2. Wallachia (Ţara Românească) - including Oltenia and Muntenia plus Dobrogea
  3. Transylvania (Transilvania) - including Maramureş and the western Romanian regions of Crişana and Banat

Ancient history

The Balkans from Neolithic to modern times, in political development maps, timelines and past and present peoples can be found on our South East European history pages.

The Romanian peoples, although descended from early Balkan peoples, only emerge late in the politics of the Balkans with their history hidden and the subject of speculation, theories and national politics. Vlach peoples still inhabit areas of the Balkans beyond Romania and probably at one time were far more widespread.


Andronic, Mugur, Hutulii o minoritate din Bucovina,  Suceava

Cornell, Tim & Matthews, John (1982), Atlas of the Roman world, Andromedia

Filipascu, Alexandru (2002), Maramuresul, editura Echim

Giurescu, Constantin (1972), Chronological History of Romania, Bucharest

Goodman, Martin (1997), The Roman World, Routledge

Gostar, Nicolae (1969), Cetati Dacice din Moldova, Bucaresti

Ivanković, Ivica (2001), Hrvatske narodne nošnje, Zagreb

Musat, Mircea & Ardeleanu, Ion (1985), From ancient Dacia to modern Romania, Bucharest

Stefanko, Ondrej (1998), Ghid despre Slovacii din Romania, Nadlac

Stevenson, Victor., Words, Macdonald

Talbert, Richard (1985), Atlas of Classical history,  Croom Helm

Wace, Thompson (1913), The Nomads of the Balkans, Cambridge

Winnifrith (1987), The Vlachs - The History of a Balkan People, Duchworth

Barth, F.H. (1979), A Transylvanian legacy: The life of a Transylvanian Saxon, Transylvania, Utah

Boias, L. (1999, english version 2001), History and Myth in the Romanian consciousness, Ceupress, Budapest

Candea, V. (1977), An outline of Romanian History, Medidiane Press, Bucharest

Eliade, M. (1943, english version 1992), The Romanians: a concise history, Bucharest

Giurescu, C. (1972), Chronological History of Romania, Bucharest

Hitchins, K. (1988), The idea of nation: the Romanians of Transylvania, 1691-1849, Bucharest

Illyes, E (1988), Ethnic Continuity in the Carpatho-Danubian Area, Columbia University Press, New York

Kopeczi (1994), History of Transylvania, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Akademiai Kiado, Budapest 

MacKenzie, A. (1990), A journey into the past of Transylvania, Robert Hale, London

Milton, L. (1986), Transylvania, History and Reality, Bartleby Press, Maryland

Mitu, S. (1997, english version 2001), National Identity of Romanians in Transylvania, Ceupress, Budapest

Musat, M., Ardeleanu, I. (1985), From ancient Dacia to modern Romania, Bucharest

Pop, I. (1999), Romanian and Romania a brief History, Columbia University Press, New York

Treptow, K.W. (1999), A history of Romania, Iasi

Ciubotaru, Ion H. (1998), Catolicii din Moldova, Iasi

Giurescu, Constantin (1972) Chronological History of Romania, Bucharest

Guglielmino, C R, De Silvestri, A, Beres, J (2000), Probable ancestors of Hungarian ethnic groups: an admixture analysis, Ann. Human Genetics, 64, pp124-159

Kapalo, James A. (1996), The Moldavian Csángós: 'National Minority' or 'Local Ethnie'?

Martinas, Dumitru (1999), The Origins of the Changos, The Center for Romanian Studies, Iasi

Tánczos, Vilmos (1998), Hungarian in Moldavia, Teleki László Foundation,


© Eliznik2002, Last updated Feb-08