Romania - Country history and economic development

106 A.D. Roman troops defeat the local Dacians, and Dacia becomes a province of the Roman empire.

271. Goth attacks force the Romans to withdraw.

4TH CENTURY. Christianity arrives in the region and is adopted by the Latin-speaking Daco-Romans. The area gradually coalesces into 3 regions: Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania.

1415. The ruler of Wallachia is forced to recognize the suzerainty of the Ottomans, who go on to conquer and unite all 3 regions.

1686. Hapsburg forces from Austria-Hungary take over Transylvania and annex parts of Moldavia over the next 200 years.

1859. After the Turko-Russian war, Wallachia and Moldavia are united and become independent.

1878. Romanian independence is recognized by the UK, France, and Germany. The country later chooses Carol I of Prussia as its first king.

1916. Romania declares war on Hungary and invades Transylvania, which it eventually wins.

1919. The Treaty of Versailles, which ends the First World War, sees Romania double in size, taking over Bukovina and parts of Bessarabia as well as Transylvania. Even now, this Greater Romania is still seen as the country's rightful territory by some politicians, e.g. those in the Greater Romania Party.

1938. King Carol II declares a royal dictatorship to stem a wave of fascist terror sweeping through the country. At the onset of the Second World War, Romania loses many of its northern territories under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Germany and Russia. Carol II steps down.

1941. Under General Ion Antonescu, Romania forms a pact with Nazi Germany and fights to regain its territories. Thousands of Jews are deported.

1944. A royal coup topples Antonescu, and Romania fights the rest of the war on the Allied side.

1947. Romania is declared a People's Republic after communists gain 80 percent of the vote in rigged elections the previous year. Russia takes over northern Bukovina and Bessarabia.

1965. The country's first communist leader, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, dies. His successor, Nicolae Ceaucescu, continues to draw Romania away from Russian influence and towards the West.

1980s. Romania adopts a policy of isolationism and scrambles to pay off its US$10 billion in foreign debts. The clampdown on trade results in widespread shortages of goods, including gasoline. The debt is repaid by 1989.

1989. Nicolae Ceaucescu is overthrown and is shot, together with his wife, Elena. The National Salvation Front (NSF), headed by former Ceaucescu aide Ion Iliescu, takes over the government.

1990. Parliamentary elections are held, resulting in an overwhelming victory for the NSF. Iliescu becomes president. But he has to bus hundreds of miners into Bucharest to quell public demonstrations against the NSF.

1992. Parliamentary elections are won by Iliescu's National Democratic Salvation Front, an offshoot of the NSF. This later becomes the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR).

1993-95. Romania joins the Council of Europe and the World Trade Organization, and becomes an associated member of the European Union and a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace.

1996. Centrist opposition parties win a majority in parliamentary elections and come to power promising faster economic reforms. But the economy subsequently goes into a 3-year recession.

1997. Romania joins the Central European Free Trade Area.

1999. The European Union officially invites Romania, together with 6 other candidates, to negotiate for membership.

2000. The PDSR regains power and promises to continue Romania's progress towards EU and NATO membership.

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