The principalities of
Wallachia and Moldavia – for centuries under
the suzerainty of the Turkish Ottoman Empire – secured their autonomy
in 1856; they were de facto linked in 1859 and formally united in 1862
under the new name of Romania. The country gained recognition of its
independence in 1878. It joined the Allied Powers in World War I and
acquired new territories – most notably Transylvania – following the
conflict. In 1940, Romania allied with the Axis powers and participated
in the 1941 German invasion of the USSR. Three years later, overrun by
the Soviets, Romania signed an armistice. The post-war Soviet
occupation led to the formation of a Communist “people’s republic” in
1947 and the abdication of the king. The decades-long rule of dictator
Nicolae CEAUSESCU, who took power in 1965, and his Securitate police
state became increasingly oppressive and draconian through the 1980s.
CEAUSESCU was overthrown and executed in late 1989. Former Communists
dominated the government until 1996 when they were swept from power.
Romania joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.
Location – South eastern
Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Ukraine