Wallachia

Summary

Wallachia or Valahia or Muntinia (ValahiaValachia or Ţara RomâneascăTsara Romaneasca in Romanian, ValachiaValachia in Latin, VlachföldVlachfeld, OláhországOlahorszag or HavasalföldHavasalföld in Hungarian) is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is located north of the Danube River and south of the Southern Carpathian Mountains. It consists of two geographic areas, Mountainia (Great Wallachia), a name by which it is often referred to, and Oltenia (Little Wallachia). It has an area of 76 583 km2 and a population of 4 500 000 inhabitants.

It was founded as a principality in the 14th century AD. by Basarab I (from the House of Basarabs (Basarabs) Bessarabia took its name), following a rebellion of the native population against Charles I of Hungary, although the first mention of Wallachia”s territory west of the Olte River dates back to a grant given to the voivode Seneslau from Bella IV of Hungary. In 1417, Wallachia came under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire and remained under this status until the 19th century, with brief periods of Russian occupation in between between 1768 and 1854. In 1859, it was united with Moldavia (as the United Dominions) and formed the basis of the modern Romanian state, which evolved into the independent Kingdom of Romania in 1881, to which the region (principality) of Transylvania was added in 1918 after the end of the Great War.

At the time of the Ottoman suzerainty, several Greek Phanariotes became its rulers. The capital of Romania, Bucharest, is located in Wallachia.

The name Wallachia, which was generally not used by the Romans themselves (but appears in some texts as B(a)lachia), comes from the word “Valcha”, which was used by Germanic peoples to describe the Celts and later the Romanized Celts and all peoples who spoke Romance languages. In north-western Europe it gave rise to Wales, Cornwall and Wallonia, among others, while in south-eastern Europe it evolved into the surname Valach, used to identify the Romance-speaking neighbours of German-speaking people, and eventually adopted by Slavic speakers as a reference to Romanians, with variants such as Blach, Bloch, Bloch, Bloch, Boloch, etc.

In the early Middle Ages, in Slavonic texts, the name Землѧ Ѹгровлахїиска (Ζέμλια Magyarországρο-Βλαχίσка – Hungarian-Blachiszka – Hungarian-Blachisch Chora) was also used as a local designation. The term, translated into Romanian as “Hungarovlachia”, remained in use until modern times in a religious text, referred to as the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan Metropolis of Hungarovlachia, as opposed to Thessalian or Great Wallachia, or Mikra Wallachia in Etoloakarnania. The official names of the state were Mountainia (Mountain Country) and Țara Românească (Tzara Romaneasca – Romanian Country).

For long periods after the 14th century Wallachia was referred to as Vlasko by Bulgarian sources, Vlaska by Serbian sources and Valakhai by German-speaking (Transylvanian Saxon) sources. The traditional Hungarian name for Wallachia is “Havasalfeld” or literally “Snowy Plains” (the older form is “Havaselve”, meaning “Land behind the snowy mountains”, whose Latin translation – Transalpine – was used in the official royal documents of the Kingdom of Hungary). In Turkish, “Eflak” (also meaning “sky” or “heavens”), a word derived from “Vlah”, is used.

Montenegro

Montenegro is another name of Moldova. Black Belarusians is another name of Balkan Vlachs or Armenians. Both names may come from a confusion : “Kara Iflak”, the Turkish name of Wallachia, means “country of the Vlachs”, but later “Kara”=”country” was mistranslated as “Kara”=”black”. Later the Turks renamed Moldova and Wallachia to Kara Iflak (Moldavia) and Ak Iflak (Wallachia) according to the Turkish colour symbolism of the points of the horizon : north is represented by black and west by white. Ugarovlachia was the name of Transylvania, and Kara Iflak (“Northern Wallachia”) either Wallachia, the northern Balkan territories inhabited by Vlachs, hence Moldavia (north of Wallachia). The second explanation is typologically better.

Ancient times

During the Second Dacian War (105 AD) western Oltenia became part of the Roman province of Dacia, while parts of Wallachia were included in the province of Lower Moesia. The Roman limes were originally erected along the River Olt (119), before being moved slightly further east in the 2nd century – a time when they stretched from the Danube to Rutskar in the Carpathians. The Roman defensive line retreated to the Alt in 245 and in 271 the Romans withdrew from the area.

The region was also variegated during the Great Migrations, when most of present-day Romania was invaded by Goths and Sarmatians, followed by waves of other nomadic peoples. In 328 the Romans built a bridge between Susidava and Oescu, showing that there was considerable trade with the peoples north of the Danube. A brief period of Roman rule in the region is attested under Emperor Constantine, following his attack on the Goths (who had settled north of the Danube) in 332. The period of Gothic rule ended when the Huns reached the Pannonian Basin and under Attila attacked and destroyed some 170 settlements on both sides of the Danube.

Early Middle Ages

Byzantine influence is evident in the 5th and 6th centuries, as in the Ipotesti-Kandesti site, but from the second half of the 6th century and the 7th century Slavic peoples crossed the territory of Wallachia and settled there during their war with Byzantium, occupying the southern bank of the Danube. In 593 the Byzantine commander-in-chief Priscus defeated the Slavs, the Avars and the Gepis in the later Vlachian territory, and in 602 the Slavs suffered a severe defeat in the region. Flavius Maurice Tiberius, who ordered his army to deploy north of the Danube, faced strong opposition from his troops.

Wallachia remained under the control of the First Bulgarian Empire from its foundation in 681 until around the time of the Hungarian conquest of Transylvania at the end of the 10th century. With the decline and subsequent subordination of the Bulgarian state to Byzantium (the second half of the 10th century until 1018) Wallachia came under the control of the Pechenegs (Turkish people), who extended their rule westward and were defeated in 1091, when the Kumans of southern Russia gained control of the Wallachian lands. Beginning in the 10th century Byzantine, Bulgarian, Hungarian and later Western sources mention the existence of small states inhabited, among others, by Vlach-Romanians, under the leadership of knyaz or voevods.

In 1241, during the Mongol invasion of Europe, the rule of the Cumans ended – no direct Mongol rule over Wallachia is attested, but it is speculated. In the period that followed, part of Wallachia was probably briefly claimed by the Hungarian Kingdom and the Bulgars, but it seems that the weakening of Hungarian power during the Mongol invasions contributed to the establishment of new and stronger states that appeared in Wallachia in the following decades.

One of the earliest known records of local voevodes is that of Litovoi (1272), who ruled the country from both sides of the Carpathians and refused to pay tribute to the Hungarian King Ladislaus IV of Hungary. He was succeeded by his brother Barbat (1285-1288). The continued weakening of the Hungarian state by further Mongol invasions (1285-1319) and the fall of the Árpád dynasty paved the way for the unification of the Vlach states and independence from Hungarian rule.

The founding of Wallachia, which according to local tradition was carried out by Radu Negru (Black Radu), is historically linked to Vasarab I (1310-1352), who rebelled against Charles I of Hungary and gained control of both sides of the Old River, establishing his residence in Kibulug as the first leader of the House of Vasarab. Vassarava refused to cede to Hungary the territories of Figueras, Almas and the Banat of Severin, defeated Charles at the Battle of Posada (1330), and extended his territories eastward to Kilja (in Bunzak) as the beginning of Bessarabia. Sovereignty over the latter was not maintained by the princes who followed, as Kilia fell to the Nogais (Turkish tribe in 1334.

Vassarava was succeeded by Nicolae Alexandru and Vladislav I. Vladislav attacked Transylvania when Louis I conquered territory south of the Danube, agreed to recognize him as absolute ruler in 1368, but rebelled again in the same year. It was also during his reign that Wallachia”s first conflict with the Ottoman Turks (a battle in which Vladislav allied himself with Ivan Sisman of Bulgaria) took place. Under Radu I and his successor Dan I the lands of Transylvania and Severin to be the subject of a claim with Hungary.

1400 – 1600

As the entire Balkan Peninsula became an integral part of the emerging Ottoman Empire (a process completed with the fall of Constantinople by Sultan Mohammed II in 1453), Wallachia became involved in many conflicts and, in the last years of the reign of Mircea the Elder, became a tributary of the Ottomans. Mircea (reigned 1386-1418) initially defeated the Ottomans in several battles (including that of Rovinj in 1394), driving them out of Dobruja and briefly extending his power to the Danube Delta, Dobruja and Silistra (1400-1404). He vacillated between alliances with Sigismund of Hungary and Poland (participating in the Battle of Nicopolis) and accepted a peace treaty with the Ottomans in 1417, when Muhammad I gained control of the Turkish Magurel and Giurgiu. These two ports remained part of the Ottoman state, with brief breaks, until 1829. In 1418-1420 Michael I defeated the Ottomans at Severin, but was killed in battle by a counterattack. In 1422 the danger was briefly averted when Dan II achieved a victory over Murat II with the help of Pippo Spano (an Italian contortionist).

The peace signed in 1428 ushered in a period of internal crisis, as Dan was forced to confront Radu Pranaglava, who led the first of a series of boyar coalitions against the ruling princes (who in time became openly pro-Ottoman in reaction to oppression). After they were defeated in 1431 (the year the boyar-supported Alexander I Aldea took the throne), the boyars were dealt successive blows by Vlad II Drakul (1436-1442 and 1443-1447), who tried to balance the balance between the Porte and the Holy Roman Empire.

The following decade was marked by the conflict between the rival houses of Danesti and Draculesti, the influence of John Uniadis, Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary and, after the colourless reign of Wladislaw II, the accession to the throne of Vlad III Dracula, better known as Vlad the Revisor, during whose reign Bucharest was first mentioned as a princely residence and who terrified the rebellious boyars, broke off all relations with the Ottomans and in 1462 victoriously confronted the attack of Mohammed II, before being forced to retreat to Tirgoviste and accept an increased tribute tax. His parallel conflict with his Muslim cousin Radu III the Fair and Laiota Vassarava led to the capture of Wallachia by Radu III, who ruled it for 11 years until his death. Radu the Great (1495-1508) reached a compromise with the boyars, ensuring a period of internal stability, in contrast to his conflict with Bogdan the Monophthalmian of Moldavia.

At the end of the 15th century the powerful Krajovesti family appeared, essentially independent rulers of the vanadian Oltenia, who sought Ottoman support in their rivalry with Minea chel Rau (1508-1510) and replaced him with Vladut. When the latter proved to be hostile to the bans (nobles) the House of Vasarawa officially ended with the ascension of Neagoe Vasarawa of Krajovesti. Neagoe”s peaceful reign (1512-1521), notable for its cultural aspects (the construction of the Cathedral of Courtais de Arges and Renaissance influences), also saw an increase in the influence of Saxon merchants in Brasov and Sibiu and the alliance of Wallachia with Louis II of Hungary. Under Theodosius the country was again under four months of Ottoman occupation, a military administration that appeared to be an attempt to create a Vlach Pashalik. This danger rallied all the boyars in support of Radu of Afumati (four reigns between 1522 and 1529), who lost the battle after a Krajovesti agreement with Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Eventually Prince Radu confirmed Suleiman”s position as suzerain and agreed to pay an even higher tax.

Ottoman suzerainty remained virtually unchallenged for the next 90 years. Radu Paisiye, deposed by Suleiman in 1545, ceded the port of Vraila to Ottoman administration in the same year. His successor Mircea Ciobanul (the Bosco) (1545-1554 and 1558-1559), a prince without any mention of noble lineage, was placed on the throne and agreed to restrict autonomy (by raising taxes and carrying out armed intervention in Transylvania – supporting the Philoturian Janos Zapolya. Conflicts between the boyar families intensified after the reign of Patrascu chel Boone, and the superiority of the boyars over the rulers was evident under Peter the Younger (1559-1568, reign dominated by his mother Doamna Chiana and excessive increases in taxes), Minea Turchitul (Turkified) and Peter Cherchel (Scularika).

The Ottoman Empire increasingly relied on Wallachia and Moldavia for the supply and maintenance of its military forces. But the local army was quickly eliminated due to increased costs and the much more obvious effectiveness of mercenary troops.

17th century

Initially taking advantage of Ottoman support, Michael the Brave ascended the throne in 1593 and attacked Murat III”s troops north and south of the Danube in alliance with Sigismund Batori of Transylvania and Aron Voda of Moldavia. He immediately placed himself under the suzerainty of Rudolph II of the Holy Roman Empire and, in 1599-1600, intervened in Transylvania against the King of Poland Sigismund III Vasa, bringing the region under his rule. His brief rule also extended to Moldavia later that year. For a brief period Michael the Brave united all the territories where Romanians lived, reestablishing the country of the ancient Kingdom of Dacia. After Michael”s fall, Wallachia was occupied by the Polish-Moldavian army of Simion Mowla, which held it until 1602 and suffered Nogai attacks in the same year.

The last stage of the expansion of the Ottoman Empire caused increased pressure on Wallachia. Political control was accompanied by Ottoman economic hegemony, the abandonment of the capital in Tirgoviste in favour of Bucharest (closer to the Ottoman border and a rapidly growing commercial centre), the introduction of serfdom under Michael the Brave as a measure to increase the income of landowners, and the diminishing importance of the lower boyars (threatened with extinction, they participated in a mercenary rebellion in 1655). Furthermore, the increasing importance of appointment to high office in relation to land ownership brought about an influx of Greek and Levantine families, a process that had already been received with resentment by the locals during the reign of Radu Minea in the early 17th century. Matei Vasarava, appointed boyar, brought a long period of relative peace (1632-1654), with the notable exception of the Battle of Fida in 1653, between the Vlachs and the troops of Moldavian Prince Vasile Lupu – which resulted in the latter”s defeat and his replacement by Matei”s favourite, George Stefan, on the throne of Iasi. The close alliance between George Stefan and Matei”s successor, Constantine Serban, was strengthened by George II Rakozi of Transylvania, but their plans for independence from Ottoman rule were crushed by the troops of Mohammed IV in 1658-1659. The reigns of George Gika and Gregory I Gika, favourites of the Sultan, marked efforts to prevent such episodes, but they were also the beginning of a violent conflict between the Baleanu and Kantakouzene boyar families, which marked the history of Wallachia until 1690. Threatened by the alliance of the Baléanou and Gika families, the Kantakouzenes supported their own choice of the princes Antonius Voda d”Popesti and George Duke before advancing themselves – with the rise of Serban Kantakouzen (1678-1688).

Russo-Turkish Wars and Phanariots

Wallachia was the target of Habsburg invasions during the latter stages of the Austro-Ottoman War around 1690, when the ruler Constantine Brancoveanu secretly and unsuccessfully negotiated an anti-Ottoman coalition. Brancoveanu”s reign (1688-1714), known for its cultural achievements of the late Renaissance (Brancoveanu style or Vlach or Romanian Renaissance), coincided with the rise of Imperial Russia, under Tsar Peter the Great – he was approached by the latter during the Russo-Turkish War of 1710-1711 and lost his throne and his life shortly afterwards, when Sultan Ahmed III was informed of the negotiations. Despite his disavowal of Brancoveanu”s policies, Stephen Kantakouzenos agreed to the Habsburg plans and opened the country to the armies of Prince Eugene of Savoy, resulting in his capture by the Ottomans and his execution in Constantinople with his father and uncle by order of the Sultan in 1716.

Immediately after the dethronement of Prince Stephen, the Ottomans abolished the purely symbolic electoral system (in which the importance of the Divan (Council) of the Boyars for the Sultan”s decisions had already been reduced) and the princes of the two Transdanubian Principalities were appointed by the Phanariots of Constantinople. After being inaugurated in Moldavia by Nicholas Mavrokordatos after Demetrius Kantimiris, the authority of the Phanariots was extended by him to Wallachia in 1715. The tense relations between the boyars and the princes brought about a reduction in the number of taxpayers (as a privilege won by the former), then an increase in total taxes and expanded powers of a circle of boyars in Divan.

At the same time Wallachia became the battlefield of a series of wars between the Ottomans on the one hand and Russia or the Habsburg Monarchy on the other. Mavrokordatos himself was deposed by a revolt of the boyars and captured by Habsburg troops during the Austro-Turkish War of 1716-18, as the Ottomans were forced to cede Oltenia to Charles VI of Austria (Treaty of Pazarovich). The region, under a regime of enlightened despotism, which soon disappointed the local boyars, was returned to Wallachia in 1739 (Treaty of Belgrade, after the end of the Austro-Turkish War (1735-1739)). Prince Constantine Mavrokordatos, who oversaw the new border change, also effectively abolished serfdom in 1746 (which put an end to the exodus of peasants to Transylvania). During this period the bann of Oltenia moved his residence from Craiova to Bucharest, marking, along with Mavrokordat”s order to merge his personal treasure with that of the country, a move towards centralization.

In 1768, during the Fifth Russo-Turkish War, Wallachia came under Russian occupation for the first time (with the contribution of the revolutionary Parv Kantakouzenos. The Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji (1774) gave Russia the right to intervene in favour of the Orthodox subjects of the Ottoman Empire, limiting Ottoman pressures – including the reduction of taxes – and over time relatively increasing internal stability and opening Wallachia to more Russian intervention.

Habsburg troops, under Prince Josiah of Coburg, re-entered the country during the Russo-Turkish-Austrian War, overthrowing Nicholas Mavrogenes in 1789. Oltenia was devastated by the campaigns of Osman Pasvanoglu, a powerful rebel pasha whose raids even caused the loss of Prince Constantine Haggerli”s life as a suspected traitor (1799), and the abdication of Alexander Muruzy (1801). In 1806, the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-1812 was partly instigated by the deposed Constantine Ypsilanti”s dethronement by the Porte in Bucharest – in conjunction with the Napoleonic Wars, instigated by the French Empire and also showed the effects of the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kaynarji (with its permissive nature towards Russian political influence in the Danubian Principalities. The war triggered the invasion of Mikhail Andreyevich Miloradovic (a Russian general of Serbian origin). After the Treaty of Bucharest (1812), the reign of John George Karadzha, although remembered for a major plague epidemic, was important for its cultural and industrial successes. During this period Wallachia increased its strategic importance for most European states interested in overseeing Russian expansion. Consulates were opened in Bucharest with an indirect but significant impact on Wallachia”s economy through the protection they extended to merchant communities (sudiţi), which soon successfully competed with local guilds.

From Wallachia to Romania

After the death of Prince Alexander Soutsos, which coincided with the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, a regency of boyars was formed, which attempted to prevent the arrival of Scarlatos Kallimachis on his throne in Bucharest. The parallel rebellion in Oltenia, led by the leader Tudor Vladimirscu, although aimed at overthrowing the rule of the Greeks, compromised with the rebels of the Society of Friends and allied himself with the regency, while asking for Russian support.

On 21 March 1821 Vladimirescu entered Bucharest. In the following weeks his relations with his allies deteriorated, especially after his appeal to the Ottomans for an agreement. Company leader Alexander Ypsilanti, who had settled in Moldavia and, after May, in northern Wallachia, considered the alliance over – he executed Vladimirescu and faced Ottoman intervention without local or Russian support and thus suffered bitter defeats at Bucharest and Dragatsani (before returning under Austrian custody to Transylvania). These violent events, during which the majority of the Fanarians had sided with Ypsilanti, caused Sultan Mahmud II to place the Principalities under his occupation (which he withdrew at the request of several European powers) and to end Fanarian rule. Gregory IV Gikas was in Wallachia the first prince after 1715 to be considered a native. Although the new system was consolidated for the remainder of Wallachia”s existence as a state, Gikas” rule ended abruptly with the disastrous Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829.

The Treaty of Adrianople of 1829, without overturning Ottoman suzerainty, placed Wallachia and Moldavia under Russian military administration, granting them the first common institutions and the semblance of a constitution (Regulamentul Organic). Vraila, Giurgiu (which quickly developed into important trading centres on the Danube) and Turgu Magurele were returned to Wallachia. This treaty also allowed Moldavia and Wallachia to trade freely with countries outside the Ottoman Empire, which marked substantial economic and urban development, as well as an improvement in the situation of peasants. Many of the relevant provisions had been specialised by the 1826 Ackerman Convention between Russia and the Ottomans (which had not been fully implemented in the intervening three years). The duty of supervising the principalities was assigned to the Russian general Pavel Kiselyov. This period was marked by a number of important changes, such as the re-establishment of the Wallachian Army (1831), a tax reform (which nevertheless validated tax exemptions for the privileged) and major projects in the cities. In 1834 the throne of Wallachia was seized by Alexander II Gika – a move contrary to the Treaty of Adrianople, as he had not been elected by the new Legislative Assembly. He was removed by the overlords in 1842 and replaced by the elected Prince George Bibescu.

The opposition to Gikas”s arbitrary and very conservative policy, together with the rise of liberal and radical currents, was first felt in the protests expressed by Ion Kabineanou and quickly quelled. It then became increasingly conspiratorial and focused on secret societies founded by young officers such as Nicolae Balcescu and Mitika Filipescu. Frăţia, an illegal movement created in 1843 began planning a revolution to overthrow Biebescu and revoke the Regulamentul Organic in 1848 (inspired by the European Revolutions of that year). Their Pan-Blach coup was initially successful only near Turku Magurele, where crowds cheered the Declaration of Islam (9 June). Among other things, the declaration demanded civil liberties, independence, agrarian reform and the creation of a national guard. On 11-12 June the movement succeeded in overthrowing Bijbescu and installing a Provisional Government. Although sympathetic to the anti-Russian aims of the revolution, the Ottomans came under pressure from Russia to suppress it, and Ottoman troops entered Bucharest on 13 September. Russian and Turkish troops, present until 1851, put Barbu Dimitrios Stirbey on the throne and during this time most of the revolutionaries were exiled.

Briefly, under the new Russian occupation during the Crimean War, Wallachia and Moldavia were granted a new status with neutral Austrian administration (1854-1856) and the Treaty of Paris (1856): a joint guardianship of the Ottomans and a Total Great Powers (Britain, France, the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, the Austrian Empire, Prussia and, though never absolutely, Russia), with internal administration under a caimacam. The emerging movement for the unification of the Transdanubian Principalities (a demand first expressed in 1848 and consolidated by the return of the exiled revolutionaries) was supported by the French and their Sardinian allies, Russia and Prussia, but was rejected or considered suspicious by others of guardianship.

After an intense campaign, a formal union was finally granted. However, the 1859 elections for the ad hoc divan (special assemblies) suffered from legal ambiguity (the text of the final agreement specified two thrones, but did not prevent any one person from participating at the same time and winning the elections in both Bucharest and Iasi). Alexander Ioannis Kuzas, who ran with the united Partida Naţională (National Party) won the elections in Moldova on 5 January. Wallachia, which expected the Unionists to vote accordingly, elected an anti-Unionist majority in its divan.

Those elected changed their minds after a mass demonstration of the crowds in Bucharest and Kuzas was voted Prince of Wallachia on February 5 (January 24 in the Old Calendar) and thus declared Domnitor of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia (of Romania since 1862). Internationally recognized only during his reign, the union became irreversible after the accession of Charles I in 1866 (coinciding with the Austro-Prussian War, it came at a time when Austria, the main opponent of this decision, was unable to intervene).

Slavery

Slavery (Romanian: robie) was an element of the social structure before the establishment of the Principality of Wallachia, until it was gradually abolished in the 1840s and 1850s; most slaves were of Roma (Gyfty) nationality. The first written source attesting to the presence of the Roma in Wallachia dates back to 1385 and refers to this group as aţigani (from the Greek aţigani, the origin of the Romanian term ţigani, a synonym for “Gyftoi”).

The exact origin of slavery is unknown. However, it was a common practice in Europe at the time and it is disputed whether the Roma came to Wallachia as free or as slaves. In the Byzantine Empire they were slaves of the state and it seems that the situation was the same in Bulgaria and Serbia, until their social organisation was destroyed by the Ottoman conquest, which means that they came as slaves who underwent a change of ”ownership”. The historian Nicolae Jorga linked the arrival of the Roma to the Mongol invasion of Europe in 1241 and considered their slavery as a remnant of that time, i.e. that the Romanians took the Roma from the Mongols, who had them as slaves, and maintained their status. Other historians claim that they became slaves when they were captured during the battles with the Tatars. The practice of enslaving captives may also have been adopted by the Mongols. Although it is possible that some Romanians were slaves or auxiliary troops of the Mongols or Tatars, the bulk of them came from south of the Danube at the end of the 14th century, shortly after the foundation of Wallachia. The arrival of the Roma made slavery a widespread practice.

Traditionally, Roma slaves were divided into three categories. The least of them were the property of the ospodars and were called in Romanian ţigani domneşti (“the lord”s cousins”). The other two categories included ţigani mănăstireşti (“bishops of the monasteries”), who were the property of Romanian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox monasteries, ţigani boiereşti (“bishops of the boyars”), who were slaves of the landowners.

The abolition of slavery came after a campaign of young revolutionaries who embraced the liberal ideas of the Enlightenment. The first law that freed a class of slaves was the March 1843 law that transferred control of the state”s slaves from the suffrage authorities to the local authorities, with the next step being to make them nomads or peasants. During the Wallachian Revolution of 1848 the Provisional Government”s agenda included the liberation (dezrobire) of the Roma as one of the main social demands. In the 1850s this movement gained the support of almost all of Romanian society and the law of February 1856 converted all slaves to the status of taxpayers (citizens).

Covering an area of about 77,000 square kilometres, Wallachia lies north of the Danube (and present-day Bulgaria), east of Serbia and south of the Southern Carpathians, and is traditionally divided into Mountainia in the east (as the political centre Mountainia is often considered synonymous with Wallachia) and Oltenia (a former vanat) in the west. Their border is the Old River.

The traditional border between Wallachia and Moldova coincided with the Miltsov River along its longest length. To the east, above the north-south bend of the Danube, Wallachia borders on Dobruja (Northern Dobruja). Above the Carpathians, Wallachia borders Transylvania. The princes of Wallachia have long held territories north of the line (Amlas, Cieciu, Feggeras, Hateg), which are generally not considered part of main Wallachia.

The capital has changed over the years from Kibulug, to Courtaya de Arges, to Tirgoviste and, after the end of the 17th century, to Bucharest.

History

Modern historians estimate the population of Wallachia in the 15th century at 500,000. In 1859 the population of Wallachia was 2,400,921 (1,586,596 in Mountainia and 814,325 in Oltenia).

Cities

The largest cities (according to the 2011 census) in the Wallachian region are :

Sources

  1. Βλαχία
  2. Wallachia
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