Romania: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, size, population, and government of the land Romania.



Location--Southeastern Europe, in the Balkan peninsula, straddling the Carpathian Alps. Shares a 900-mi. border with the U.S.S.R. Also bordered by Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and the Black Sea; the southern boundary mostly follows the course of the Danube River.

How Created--Known in ancient times as Dacia, it was a province of the Roman Empire (106-271 A.D.). Withdrawal of Roman legions led to nearly 1,000 years of barbarian invasions by tribes pouring out of the Mongolian steppes. It was part of the Turkish Empire for the next 500 years. With the warning of Turkish power in the 19th century, the 2 "Old Principalities"--Moldavia and Wallachia--were united and granted limited autonomy (1859), then full independence following the Treaty of Berlin (1878). The historically disputed territory of Transylvania was annexed in 1918 due to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in W.W.I.

Size--91,699 sq. mi. (237,500 sq. km.), roughly the size of Oregon.

Population--21,500,000: Romanian, 87.7%; Hungarian, 8.5%; German, 2%; other, 1.8%. 80% Romanian Orthodox, 10% Greek Catholic (uniate), 9% Roman Catholic, 1% Jewish and other.

Who Rules--The "supreme organ of State power" and "sole legislative body" of the Romanian Socialist Republic is the Grand National Assembly. Members chosen from the ranks of the GNA comprise the State Council, the true center of power, whose president is also Chief of State. This post has been occupied since 1965 by Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHESS-koo). Day-to-day administration is carried out by the Council of Ministers, which supervises the activities of the People's Councils. Participation in the power structure is limited to members of the Romanian Communist party.

Who REALLY Rules--Ceausescu (who is also General Secretary of the RCP) and his trusted inner circle of advisers. The Soviet Union exercises a degree of influence that is major but nowadays mainly diplomatic, though members of the Soviet secret police are known to operate inside the country alongside their Romanian counterparts.

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