History of Transylvania

History of Transylvania

Transylvania is a region of present-day Romania. The region now known as Transylvania was once part of Dacia, and became part of the Roman Empire. Transylvania (Erdély in Hungarian Language) was part of the Hungarian Kingdom from approximately 900 A.D. During High Middle Ages, local political power was shared on a territorial basis between nobility (mostly Hungarian), German burghers, and the seats of the Székely people (a Hungarian ethnic group), while the population was divided between Hungarians (including Szeklers), and Germans The population was mixed (Hungarian, German, slavic and other small minorities) in the 9th-13th Century. Rumanians appeared in Transylvania from the 13th Century, mostly small groups arrived from the Balkan. ("See also Kingdom of Hungary.") The Ottoman Turks held power in the area after the Battle of Mohacs, but then lost it to the Habsburg Empire which held it until 1918 (as part of Transleithania/Kingdom of Hungary after the Ausgleich). Transylvania was a part of the Hungarian Kingdom until 1920. Transylvania was incorporated to Romania at the end of World War I. In 1940, portions of Transylvania belonged once again to Hungary, but were given back to Romania at the end of World War II.

Due to its complex history, the population of Transylvania is quite diverse from an ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural point of view. The majority of the population consists of Romanians, but large minorities (mainly Hungarian and Roma) preserve their traditions. However, as recently as the Communist era, ethnic minority relations in Romania remained an issue of international contention. This has abated, but not disappeared, since the Revolution of 1989 restored democracy in Romania. Notably, Transylvania retains a significant Hungarian-speaking minority, slightly less than half of which identify themselves as being Székely. [ [http://www.recensamant.ro/ Population census of 2002] ro icon - recensamant 2002 --> rezultate --> 4. POPULATIA DUPA ETNIE] Ethnic Germans in Transylvania (known collectively as "Saxons") now form only about 1% of the population. However, ancient Austrian and German influences remain obvious in the architecture and urban landscape of many parts of Transylvania.

The region's history can partly be traced through the religions of its inhabitants. Most Romanians in Transylvania are of Eastern Orthodox faith. Hungarians mainly belong to either the Roman Catholic or the Reformed Churches, while a smaller number are Unitarians. Ethnic Germans in Transylvania have mostly been Lutheran since the Reformation. The Baptist Union of Romania is the second-largest such body in Europe, Seventh-day Adventists are long-established, and other Evangelical churches have been a growing presence since 1989. No Islamic communities remain from the era of Ottoman invasions. As elsewhere, anti-Semitic 20th century politics saw Transylvania's once sizable Jewish population greatly reduced, firstly in the Holocaust and then through emigration.

Ancient History: Transylvania as part of the Dacian state

Herodotus gives an account of the Agathyrsi, who lived in Transylvania during the 5th century BC. He described them as a luxurious people who enjoyed wearing gold ornaments. [cite book
last = Gündisch
first = Konrad
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title = Siebenbürgen und die Siebenbürger Sachsen
publisher = Langen Müller
year = 1998
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url = http://www.sibiweb.de/geschi/7b-history.htm
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] He also claimed that they held their wives in common, so that all men would be brothers. [cite web
last = Lendering
first = Jona
authorlink =
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title = Herodotus of Halicarnassus
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url = http://www.livius.org/he-hg/herodotus/herodotus06.html
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A kingdom of Dacia was in existence at least as early as the beginning of the 2nd century BC under a king, Oroles. Under Burebista, the greatest king of Dacia and a contemporary of Julius Caesar, the Dacian kingdom reached its maximum extent. The area now constituting Transylvania was the political center or heartland of Dacia.

The Dacians are often mentioned under Augustus, according to whom they were compelled to recognize Roman supremacy. However, they were by no means subdued, and in later times seized every opportunity of crossing the frozen Danube during winter and ravaging the Roman cities in the recently acquired Roman province Moesia.

The Dacians built several important fortified cities, among them Sarmizegetusa, near today's Hunedoara.

The Roman Empire expansion in the Balkans brought the Dacians into open conflict with Rome. During the reign of Decebalus, the Dacians were engaged in several wars with the Romans (from 85 to 89). After two severe reverses, the Romans gained an advantage, but were obliged to make peace owing to the defeat of Domitian by the Marcomanni. As a result, the Dacians were left independent, but had to pay an annual tribute to the Emperor.

In 101-102 Trajan began a military campaign (Dacian Wars) against the Dacians which included the siege of the Dacian capital Sarmizegetusa and the occupation of part of the country. Decebalus was left as a client king under a Roman protectorate. Three years later, the Dacians rebelled and destroyed the Roman troops in Dacia. The second campaign (105-106) ended with the suicide of Decebalus and the conversion of parts of Dacia into the Roman province Dacia Trajana. The history of the Dacian Wars is given in Dio Cassius, but the best commentary upon it is the famous Column of Trajan in Rome.

Dacians were divided into two classes: the aristocracy ("tarabostes") and the common people ("comati"). Following his subjugation, Decebalus complied with Rome for a time, but was soon inciting revolt among tribes against them and pillaging Roman colonies across the Danube. Intrepid and optimistic, Trajan rallied his forces once more in 106 for a second war against the Kingdom of Dacia.

Unlike the first conflict, the second war involved several skirmishes that proved costly to the Roman military, who, facing large numbers of allied tribes, struggled to attain a decisive victory. Eventually, however, Rome prevailed and took Dacia. An assault against the capital Sarmizegethusa proved successful and it was burned to the ground. Decebalus fled, but soon committed suicide rather than face capture.

The battle for Sarmizegetusa Regia took place at the beginning of the summer of 106 BC with the participation of the Adriutix II and Flavia Felix legions and of a detachment ("vexillatio") from the Ferrata VI Legion. The Dacians repelled the first attack, but the water pipes from the Dacian capital were destroyed. The city was on fire, all of the pillars of the sacred sanctuaries were cut down, and the entire fortification system was destroyed. But the war went on. By the treason of Bacilis (a confidant of the Dacian king) the Romans found Decebalus' treasure in the river of Sargesia (evaluated by Jerome Carcopino at 165,500 kg of gold and 331,000 kg of silver). The last battle with the army of the Dacian king took place at Porolissum (Moigrad).

The Dacians had a very powerful custom which encouraged them not to be afraid of death. This is why it was said that they left for war merrier than for any other journey. In his retirement in the mountains, Decebalus was followed by the Roman cavalry led by Tiberius Claudius Maximus. The Dacian religion of Zalmoxis admitted suicide as a last resort by those who were in pain and misery. The Dacians who listened Decebalus' last speech spread and commit suicide. Only the unkneeled king tried to retreat from the Romans, hoping that he could find in the mountains and in the unwalked woods the means to prepare the recommencement of the battle and to seek revenge. But the Roman cavalry followed him closely. They almost caught him, and at that point the great Decebal committed suicide by slashing his his throat with his sword (falx). The great scene of his death may be found on Trajan's Column in Rome.

Early Middle Ages: From Dacia to the Great Migrations

The Romans exploited the gold mines in the province extensively, building access roads and forts, such as Abrud to protect them, The region developed a strong infrastructure and economy, based on agriculture, cattle farming and mining. Colonists from Thracia, Moesia, Macedonia, Gaul, Syria, and other Roman provinces were brought in to settle the land, developing cities like Apulum (now Alba Iulia) and Napoca (now Cluj Napoca) into municipiums and colonias.

The Dacians rebelled frequently, with the biggest rebellion occurring after the death of Trajan. Sarmatians and Burs were allowed to settle in Dacia Trajana after repeated clashes between the native Dacians and the Roman administration. During the 3rd century increasing pressure from the free Dacians (Carpians) and Visigoths forced the Romans to abandon exposed Dacia Trajana.

In 271, the Roman emperor Aurelian removed the army and the administration from Dacia Trajana and reorganised a new Dacia Aureliana inside former Moesia Superior. The abandonment of Dacia Trajana by the Romans is mentioned by Eutropius in his Breviarum, Liber IX.

The province of Dacia, which Trajan had formed beyond the Danube, he gave up, despairing, after all Illyricum and Moesia had been depopulated, of being able to retain it. Roman citizens, removed from the town and lands of Dacia, he settled in the interior of Moesia, calling that Dacia which now divides the two Moesiae, and which is on the right hand of the Danube as it runs to the sea, whereas Dacia was previously on the left.

The first wave of the Great Migrations, (300 to 500 AD) brought the influence of migratory tribes, especially the Germanic ,Hun and Avar tribes. The Visigoths established a kingdom Fact|date=February 2007 north of Danube and Transylvania between 300-380. The region was known by Romans as Guthiuda and included the region between the Alutus (Olt) and the Ister (Danube). It is unclear whether they used the term Kaukaland (land of the mountains) for Transylvania proper or the whole Carpathians Fact|date=February 2007. The Visigoths were unable to preserve the region's Roman era infrastructure. The goldmines of Transylvania were ruined and unused during the Early Middle Age.
Ulfilas carried (around 340) Homoean Arianism to the Goths living in Guthiuda, and the Visigoths and other Germanic tribes became staunch Arians.

In 380 a new power reached the borders of Europe, the Huns. They expelled every Germanic tribe from the Carpathian Basin except the Gepids. The Alans, the Vandals, and the Quads left the region toward the Roman Empire. The Huns extended their rule over Transylvania after 420 AD. After the disintegration of Attila's empire, Transylvania was inhabited by the remnants of various Hunnic peoples and the remaining Germanic tribe, the Gepids.

The rule of Gepids was crushed by an attack by the Langobards and Avars in year 567 AD. The Gepids were almoost completely exterminated from the region. Very few Gepid sites from after 600 remain , such as cemeteries in the Banat region. In Transylvania there are no traces of Gepid presence after 567.By 568, the Avars under the capable leadership of their Kagan, Bayan, established an empire in the Carpathian Basin that lasted for 250 years. During this period the Slavs were allowed to settle inside Transylvania. The Avars met their demise with the rise of Charlemagne's Frankish empire. After a fierce seven year war and civil war between the Kagan and Yugurrus which lasted from 796-803 A.D., the Avars were defeated.The Transylvanian Avars were subjugated by the Bulgars under Khan Krum at the beginning of the 9th century and Transylvania, along with eastern Pannonia, was incorporated into the First Bulgarian Empire.

thumb|left|Magyars in Transylvania (10-11th century)In 862 Prince Rastislav of Great Moravia rebelled against the Franks, and, after hiring Magyar cavalry, won his independence; this was the first time that Magyar expeditionary cavalry entered the Carpathian Basin. [Kosáry Domokos, "Bevezetés a magyar történelem forrásaiba és irodalmába 1", p. 29] After a devastating Bulgar and Pecheneg attack the Magyar tribes crossed the Carpathians around 896 and occupied the basin without significant resistance. According to the Gesta Hungarorum they entered Transylvania first, where High Prince Álmos was killed. The precise date of the conquest of Transylvania is not known; the earliest Magyar artefacts found in the region are dated to the first half of the tenth century [cite book |last= Madgearu |first= Alexandru |title= Românii în opera Notarului Anonim |year= 2001 |isbn= 973-577-249-3 ] . A coin, minted under Berthold, Duke of Bavaria, found near Turda indicates that Transylvanian Magyars participated in western military campaigns [Citation |last = Bóna | first = István | contribution = II. From Dacia to Erdoelve: Transylvania in the Period of the Great Migrations (271-896) | editor-last = Köpeczi
editor-first = Béla | title = History of Transylvania. Volume I. From the Beginnings to 1606 | publisher = Columbia University Press | place = New York | publication-date = 2001 | contribution-url = http://mek.oszk.hu/03400/03407/html/21.html
] . Although the defeat in the Battle of Lechfeld in 955 stopped the Magyar raids against western Europe, the raids on the Balkan Peninsula continued for another decade. Linguistic evidence suggests that after their conquest, the Magyars inherited the local social structures of the conquered Pannonian Slavs [Citation | last=Madgearu | first=Alexandru | title=Were the Zupans Really Rulers of Some Romanian Early Medieval Polities? | journal= Revista de Istorie Socială | volume=4-7 | year=1999-2002| pages=15–25 | url= http://www.geocities.com/amadgearu/jupani.PDF] and, furthermore, that in Transylvania there was intermarriage between the Magyar ruling class and the Slavs' élites [Citation |last = Bóna | first = István | contribution = II. From Dacia to Erdoelve: Transylvania in the Period of the Great Migrations (271-896) | editor-last = Köpeczi
editor-first = Béla | title = History of Transylvania. Volume I. From the Beginnings to 1606 | publisher = Columbia University Press | place = New York | publication-date = 2001 | contribution-url = http://mek.oszk.hu/03400/03407/html/21.html
] .

The history of Transylvania during the Early Middle Ages is difficult to ascertain due to the scarcity of reliable written or archeological evidence. One of the most important primary sources is the Gesta Hungarorum.

Gyalu is a figure in the Gesta Hungarorum. He is portrayed as a leader of the Hungarians in Transylvania. Duke Gyalu the Hungarian was ruling over Transylvania and had his capital at Doboka.

He was defeated by the warriors of chieftain Tétény (also called Töhötöm) sometime during the 10th century.

Another ancient leader of Transylvania was Glad. He was, according to the Gesta Hungarorum, a voivod (dux) from Bundyn (Vidin), ruler of the territory of Banat, during the 9th and 10th centuries. He also ruled part of south Transylvania, and Vidin region, and was a local governor or vassal of the First Bulgarian Empire under Bulgarian tsar Simeon. Glad had authority over the Slavs and Magyars, which consisted most of the population of mentioned regions at the time.

Glad was defeated by the Hungarians during the 10th century. The Hungarians sent an army against duke Glad and subdued the population between the Morisio (Maros) and Temes rivers. When they tried to pass the Temes river Glad came against them with a great army including Cuman, Bulgarian support. [1] On the following day Glad was defeated by the glorious Hungarians. The Hungarian attack against the duke Glad in Banat is dated in 934.

Menumorut ruled the lands between the River Tisza and the Ygfon Forest in the direction of Ultrasilvania (Transylvania), from the Mureş river to the Someş river. He declined the request of the Magyar ruler Árpád (907) to cede his territory between the Someş river and the Meses Mountains, and in the negotiations with the ambassadors Usubuu and Veluc of Árpád he invoked the sovereignty of the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise.

The ambassadors of Árpád crossed the Tisza and came to the capital fortress of Biharia, demanding important territories on the left bank of the river for their duke. Menumorut replied:

"Tell Arpad, duke of Hungary, your lord: Indebted we are to him as a friend to a friend, with all requisite to him, since he is a stranger and lacks many. Yet the territory he asked from our good will never will we bestow as long as we will be alive. And we felt sorry that duke Salanus conceded him a very large territory out either of love, which it is said, or out of fear, which is denied. Ourself on the other hand, neither out of love nor out of fear, we will ever concede him land, not even if spanning only a finger, although he said he has a right on it. And his words do not trouble our heart that he stressed he descends from the strain of king Attila, which was called the scourge of God. And if that one raped this country from my ancestor, now thanks to my lord the emperor of Constantinople, nobody can snatch it from my hands." "See also: The original text in Latin"

The Magyars first besieged the citadel of Zotmar (Hungarian: Szatmár) and then Menumorut's castle in Bihar, and were able to defeat him.

The Gesta Hungarorum then retells the story of Menumorut. In the second telling, he married his daughter into the Árpád dynasty. Her son Taksony, the grandson of Menumorut, became ruler of the Magyars and father of Mihály and Géza, whose son Vajk became the first King of Hungary in 1001 under the Christian baptismal name Stephen and became King Stephen I of Hungary.

However, there are two major conflicting theories concerning whether or not the Romanized Dacian population (the ancestors of the Romanians) continued to live in Transylvania after the withdrawal of the Romans, and therefore whether or not the Romanians were present in Transylvania at the time of the Great Migrations, particularly at the time of the Magyar migration; see: Origin of Romanians. These conflicting hypotheses are often used to back competing claims by chauvinistic Hungarian and Romanian nationalists.

Late Middle Ages: Transylvania as part of the Kingdom of Hungary

In 1000 Vajk, chieftain of the Magyars swore allegiance to Rome, and became King Stephen I, adopting Catholicism and bringing about the Christianization of the Magyars. Some chieftains from Transylvania antagonized the new king which led to wars (eg the [according to Jóannész SzkülitzészVerify source|date=April 2007] Gyula(Prokuj [Thietmar's Chronicle] /regem Iulum [Stephanus rex Ungaricus (Szent István magyar király) super avunculum suum regem Iulum cum exercitu venit; quem cum comprehendisset cum uxore et filiis duobus, regnum eius vi ad christianitatem compulit] ), the ruler of Northern Transylvania and Stephen maternal uncle; Kean, the duke of Bulgarians and Slavs [Chronicon Pictum] , the Orthodox Ahtum, the ruler of the Banat) or were resolved through diplomacy [eg Stephen's sister married one of the Hungarian nobile Aba Samuel. in return Aba was baptised; Vatha was allowed to keep his estates] (dux Vatha in Crisana region [hu icon [http://www.korosladany.hu/helytortenet1.php Körösladány Online ] ] ). In 1003, Stephen led an army into Transylvania and Gyula surrendered without a fight. This made possible the organization of the Transylvanian Catholic episcopacy which was finished in 1009 when the bishop of Ostia as the legate of the Pope paid a visit to Stephen; together they approved the division of the dioceses and their boundaries.

The Szeklers, a Hungarian ethnic community of likely Hun - origin, entered Transylvania before the Magyars conquered the Carpathian basin. By the 11th century the Szeklers were established in eastern and southeastern Transylvania as border guards.

In the 12th and 13th centuries, certain areas in the south and northeast were settled by German colonists called (then and now) Saxons. "Siebenbürgen", the German name for Transylvania, derives from the seven principal fortified towns founded by these Transylvanian Saxons. The German influence became more marked when, early in the 13th century, King Andrew II of Hungary called on the Teutonic Knights to protect Transylvania in the Burzenland from the Cumans. After the Order began expanding their territory outside of Transylvania and acting independently, Andrew expelled the knights in 1225.

In 1241 Transylvania suffered greatly during the Mongol invasion of Europe. Güyük Khan invaded Transylvania from the Oituz Pass, while Subutai attacked to the south from the Mehedia Pass toward Orşova. [Chambers, James. "The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe". Atheneum. New York. 1979. ISBN 0-689-10942-3] While Subutai advanced northward to meet up with Batu Khan, Güyük attacked Sibiu to prevent the Transylvanian nobility from aiding King Béla IV of Hungary. Beszterce, Kolozsvár, and the Mezőség region were all ravaged by the Mongols, as was the Hungarian king's silver mine at Rodna. A separate Mongol force destroyed the western Cumans near the Szeret(Siret) River in the Carpathian region and annihilated the Cuman Bishopric of Milcov. Estimates of population decline in Transylvania owing to the Mongol invasion range from 15-20% to 50%.

The Western and Eastern Cumans converted to Roman Catholicism, and, after they were defeated by the Mongols, looked for refuge in central Hungary; Erzsebet, a Cumanian princess, married Stephen V of Hungary in 1254.

The administration of Transylvania was in the hands of a voivod appointed by the King. The word "voivod" or "voievod" first appeared in historical documents in 1193. Prior to that, the term "ispán" was used for the chief official of the County of Alba. The whole historical territory of Transylvania came under the rule of the voievod after 1263, when the functions of Count of Szolnok (Doboka) and Count of Alba were terminated. The voivod controlled seven comitatus. According to Chronica Pictum, Transylvania's first voivod was Zoltán Erdoelue, King Stephen's relative.

The three most important dignitaries of the 14th century were the voivod, the Bishop of Transylvania and the Abbot of Kolozsmonostor (outskirt of present day Kolozsvár - Cluj-Napoca).

Transylvania was organized according to the system of Estates. Transylvanian Estates were privileged groups or "universitates" (the central power acknowledged some collective or communal "liberties") with power and influence in socio-economic and political life; nevertheless they were organized according to certain ethnic criteria as well.

As in the rest of the Hungarian kingdom, the first Estate was the aristocracy (lay and ecclesiastic), ethnically heterogeneous, but undergoing a process of homogenization around its Hungarian nucleus. The basic document that granted privileges to the entire aristocracy was the Golden Bull issued by king Andrew II in 1222. The other Estates were Saxons, Szeklers and Romanians, all with an ethnic and ethno-linguistic basis. The Saxons, who had settled in southern Transylvania in the 12th-13th centuries, were granted privileges in 1224 by the Golden Bull of 1224, also called the Andreanum. Szeklers and Romanians were not regarded as newcomers (colonists) in Transylvania, thus they were not granted general but partial privileges. Nevertheless, in the 13th-14th centuries, when the king or the voivod summoned the general assembly of Transylvania ("congregatio"), this was attended by the four Estates: noblemen, Saxons, Szeklers, Romanians ("Universis nobilibus, Saxonibus, Syculis et Olachis in partibus Transiluanis").

The main reason was religion: during Louis I's proselytizing campaign, privileged status was deemed incompatible with that of "schismatic" in a state endowed with an "apostolic mission" by the Holy See: through the Decree of Torda/, in 1366, the king redefined nobility in terms of membership in the Roman Catholic Church, thus excluding the Eastern Orthodox "schismatic" Romanians. After 1366 the status of nobility was determined not only by ownership of land and people, but also by the possession of a royal donation certificate.

In 1437 Hungarian peasants, the petty nobility and burghers from "Kolozsvár/Klausenburg" under the leadership of Budai Nagy Antal upraised against their feudal masters and proclaimed their own Estate (see: Bábolna revolt). In order to suppress the revolt, the Transylvanian nobility, the Saxon burghers and the Székely formed the Unio Trium Nationum ("The Union of the Three Nations"), an alliance of mutual aid against the peasants, jointly pledging to defend their privileges against any power except that of Hungary's king. By 1438, the rebellion was crushed. From 1438 onwards the political system was based on the Unio Trium Nationum and the society was led by these three privileged nations (Estates): the nobility (mostly Magyars), the Szeklers and the Saxon burghers. These nations, however, corresponded more to social and religious rather than ethnic divisions.

Several examples of legal decisions taken by the three nations (Hungarian, Szekely,Saxon) some hundred years after Unio Trium Nationum (1542-1555). After the diversionary manoeuvre led by Sultan Murad II, personally, it became clear that the goal of the Ottomans was no more simply to consolidate their grip on the Balkans and intimidate the Hungarians, but to conquer Hungary.

A key figure to emerge in Transylvania in these hard times was János Hunyadi (cca 1387 or 1400-1456). Hunyadi was a native Hungarian and cared deeply for his homeland Kingdom of Hungary.

János Hunyadi himself was awarded numerous estates (he became one of the greatest landowners in Hungarian history) and a seat in the royal council for his services to Sigismund of Luxemburg. After supporting the candidature of Ladislaus III of Poland to the throne of Hungary, he was rewarded in 1440 with the captaincy of the fortress of Nándorfehérvár (Belgrade) and the voivodship of Transylvania (with his fellow voivode Miklos Újlaki). His subsequent military exploits (he is considered one of the most talented generals of Middle Ages) against the Ottoman Empire brought him further status as the regent of Hungary in 1446 and papal recognition as the Prince of Transylvania in 1448.

Transylvania as a semi-independent principality

When the main Hungarian army and King Louis II Jagiello were slain by the Ottomans in the Battle of Mohács (1526), John Zápolya, governor of Transylvania, took advantage of his military strength and put himself at the head of the nationalist Hungarian party, which opposed the succession of Ferdinand of Austria (later Emperor Ferdinand I) to the Hungarian throne. As John I was elected king of Hungary, another party recognized Ferdinand. In the ensuing struggle Zápolya received the support of Sultan Suleiman I, who after Zápolya's death in 1540 overran central Hungary on the pretext of protecting Zápolya's son, John II. Hungary was now divided into three sections: West Hungary, under Austrian rule; central Hungary, under Turkish rule; and semi-independent Transylvania under Ottoman suzerainty, where Austrian and Turkish influences vied for supremacy for nearly two centuries. The Hungarian magnates of Transylvania resorted to policy of duplicity in order to preserve independence.

Transylvania was now beyond the reach of Catholic religious authority, allowing Lutheran and Calvinist preaching to flourish. In 1563, Giorgio Blandrata was appointed as court physician, and his radical religious ideas increasingly influenced both the young king John II and the Calvinist bishop Francis David, eventually converting both to the Anti-Trinitarian (Unitarian) creed. In a formal public disputation, Francis David prevailed over the Calvinist Peter Melius; resulting in 1568 in the formal adoption of individual freedom of religious expression under the Edict of Turda (the first such legal guarantee of religious freedom in Christian Europe, however only for Lutherans, Calvinists, Unitarians and of course Catholics, with the Orthodox Christian confession being explicitly banned).

The Báthory family, which came to power on the death of John II in 1571, ruled Transylvania as princes under the Ottomans, and briefly under Habsburg suzerainty, until 1602.

The younger Stephen Báthory, a Hungarian Catholic who later became King Stephen Bathory of Poland, undertook to maintain the religious liberty granted by the Edict of Turda, but interpreted this obligation in an increasingly restricted sense. The latter period of Báthory rule saw Transylvania under Sigismund Bathory enter the Long War, which started as a Christian alliance against the Turks and became a four-sided conflict in Transylvania involving the Transylvanians, the Austrians, the Ottomans, and the Romanian voivod of Wallachia, Prince Michael the Brave.

Michael gained control of Transylvania in 1599 after the Battle of Şelimbăr in which he defeated Andrew Báthory's army. Báthory was killed by Szeklers who hoped to regain their old privileges with Michael's help. In May 1600 Michael also gained control of Moldavia, uniting the three principalities of Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania (the three main parts of present-day Romania). Michael installed Wallachian boyars in certain offices, but even so, he did not interfere with the Transylvanian Estates, and sought support from the Hungarian nobility. The union did not last long, however, as Michael was assassinated by Walloon mercenaries under the command of the Habsburg general Giorgio Basta in August 1601. The rule of Michael the Brave was marred by the pillaging of Wallachian and Serbian mercenaries as well as Székelys avenging the Szárhegy Bloody Carnival of 1596. After the defeat of Michael at Miriszló, the Transylvanian Estates swore allegiance to the Habsburg Emperor, Rudolph. As Basta finally subdued Transylvania in 1604 and initiated a reign of terror in which he was authorised to appropriate the land of noblemen, Germanize the population, and reclaim the principality for Catholicism through the Counter Reformation.

The period between 1601 (assassination of Michael the Brave) - and 1604 (fall of gen. Basta) was the most tragic for Transylvania since the Mongol invasion. "Misericordia dei quod non consumti sumus" (only God's merciful save us from annihilation) characterised this period an anonymous Saxon writer.From 1604-1606, the Calvinist magnate of Bihar county István Bocskay led a successful rebellion against Austrian rule. Bocskay was elected Prince of Transylvania on 5 April 1603 and prince of Hungary two months later. The two main achievements of Bocskay's brief reign (he died 29 December, 1606) were the Peace of Vienna (June 23, 1606), and the Peace of Žitava (November 1606). By the Peace of Vienna, Bocskay obtained religious liberty and political autonomy, the restoration of all confiscated estates, the repeal of all "unrighteous" judgments, and a complete retroactive amnesty for all Hungarians in Royal Hungary, as well as his own recognition as independent sovereign prince of an enlarged Transylvania. Almost equally important was the twenty years Peace of Žitava, negotiated by Bocskay between Sultan Ahmed I and Emperor Rudolf II.

Under Bocskay's successors Transylvania had its golden age Fact|date=July 2008, especially under the reigns of Gabriel Bethlen and György I Rákóczi. Gabriel Bethlen, who reigned from 1613 to 1629, perpetually thwarted all efforts of the emperor to oppress or circumvent his subjects, and won reputation abroad by championing the Protestant cause. Three times he waged war on the emperor, twice he was proclaimed King of Hungary, and by the Peace of Nikolsburg (December 31, 1621) he obtained for the Protestants a confirmation of the Treaty of Vienna, and for himself seven additional counties in northern Hungary. Bethlen's successor, George I Rákóczi, was equally successful. His principal achievement was the Peace of Linz (September 16, 1645), the last political triumph of Hungarian Protestantism, in which the emperor was forced to confirm again the articles of the Peace of Vienna. Gabriel Bethlen and George I Rákóczi also did much for education and culture, and their era has justly been called the golden era of Transylvania. They lavished money on the embellishment of their capital Alba Iulia ("Gyulafehérvár", "Weißenburg"), which became the main bulwark of Protestantism in Eastern Europe. During their reign Transylvania was also one of the few European countries where Roman Catholics, Calvinists, Lutherans, and Unitarians lived in mutual tolerance, all of them belonging to the officially accepted religions - "religiones recaepte", while Orthodoxs, however, were only tolerated.

This golden age and relative independence of Transylvania ended with the reign of George II Rákóczi. The prince, coveting the Polish crown, allied with Sweden and invaded Poland in 1657 in spite of the Turkish Porte clearly prohibiting any military action. Rákóczi was defeated in Poland, his army taken hostage by the Tatars. Chaotic years followed, with a quick succession of princes fighting one another and a Rákóczi unwilling to resign, despite Turkish threat of all-out military attack. To resolve the political situation, the Turks finally resorted to military power; the successional invasions of Transylvania by the Turks and their Crimean Tatar allies, the ensuing loss of territory (particularly, the loss of the most important Transylvanian stronghold, Várad in 1660) and diminishing manpower led to Prince Kemény proclaiming the secession of Transylvania from the Ottomans (April 1661) and appealing for help to Vienna. A secret Habsburg-Ottoman agreement, however, prevented the Habsburg court from intervening, and the defeat of Prince Kemény by the Turks, and the Turkish instalment of the insipid Mihály Apafi on the throne marked the complete subordination of Transylvania, which now became a powerless vassal of the Ottoman Empire.

Austrian Rule and the Austro-Hungarian Empire

After the defeat of the Ottomans at the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the Habsburgs gradually began to impose their rule on the formerly autonomous Transylvania. Apart from strengthening the central government and administration, the Habsburgs also promoted the Roman Catholic Church, both as a uniting force and also as an instrument to reduce the influence of the Protestant nobility. By creating a conflict between Protestant and Catholic elements, the Habsburgs hoped to weaken the estates. In addition, they tried to persuade Orthodox clergymen to join the Uniate (Greek Catholic) Church, which accepted four key points of Catholic doctrine and acknowledged papal authority, while still retaining Orthodox rituals and traditions. In 1699 and 1701, Emperor Leopold I decreed Transylvania's Orthodox Church to be one with the Roman Catholic Church, by joining the newly created Romanian Greek-Catholic Church. Many, but not all, priests converted, although it was not clear to them what the difference was between the two denominations. As a response to the Habsburg policy of converting all Romanian Orthodox to Greek-Catholics, several peaceful movements of the Romanian Orthodox population advocated for freedom of worship for all the Transylvanian population, most notably being the movements led by Visarion Sarai, Nicolae Oprea Miclăuş and Sofronie of Cioara. From 1711 onward, Austrian control over Transylvania was consolidated, and the princes of Transylvania were replaced with Austrian governors. The proclamation (1765) of Transylvania as a grand principality was a mere formality. The pressure of Austrian bureaucratic rule gradually eroded the traditional independence of Transylvania. In 1791 the Romanians petitioned Emperor Leopold II for recognition as the fourth "nation" of Transylvania (Supplex Libellus Valachorum) and for religious equality, but the Transylvanian Diet rejected their demands, restoring the Romanians to their old marginalised status.

In early 1848, the Hungarian Diet took the opportunity presented by the revolution to enact a comprehensive legislative program of reforms, referred to as the April laws, which also included provision for the union of Transylvania and Hungary. The Romanians of Transylvania initially welcomed the revolution believing that they would benefit from the liberal reforms. However, their position changed due to the opposition of Transylvanian nobles to reforms such as emancipation of the serfs, and the failure of the Hungarian revolutionary leaders to recognise Romanian national interests. A Romanian national assembly at Blaj in the middle of May, produced its own revolutionary program calling for proportionate representation of Romanians in the Transylvanian Diet and an end to social and ethnic oppression. The Saxons were worried from the start about the idea of union with Hungary, fearing the loss of their traditional privileges. When the Transylvanian Diet met on 29 May the vote for union was pushed through despite the objection of many Saxon deputies. On June 10, the Emperor sanctioned the union vote of the Diet. Military executions, the arrest of revolutionary leaders and other activities which followed the union hardened the position of the Saxons. In September 1848, another Romanian assembly in Blaj denounced union with Hungary and called for an armed rising in Transylvania. Warfare erupted in November with both Romanian and Saxon troops, under Austrian command, battling the Hungarians led by the Polish general Józef Bem. Within four months, Bem had ousted the Austrians from Transylvania. However, in June 1849, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia responded to an appeal from Emperor Franz Joseph to send Russian troops into Transylvania. After initial successes against the Russians, Bem's army was defeated decisively at the Battle of Temesvár (Timişoara) on 9 August; the surrender of Hungary followed.

The Austrians clearly rejected the October demand that the ethnical criteria become the basis for internal borders, with the goal of creating a province for Romanians (Transylvania grouped alongside the Banat and Bukovina), as they did not want to replace the threat of Hungarian nationalism with the potential one of Romanian separatism. Yet they did not declare themselves hostile to the rapid creation of Romanian administrative offices within Transylvania, one which prevented Hungary from including the region in all but name.

The territory was organized in "prefecturi" ("prefectures"), with Avram Iancu and Buteanu as two prefects in the Apuseni. Iancu's prefecture, the "Auraria Gemina" (a name charged with Latin symbolism), became the most important one as it took over from bordering areas that were never really fully organized.

In the same month, the administrative efforts were put to a halt, as Hungarians under Józef Bem carried out a sweeping offensive through Transylvania. With the discreet assistance of Imperial Russian troops, the Austrian army (except for the garrisons at Alba Iulia and Deva) and the Austrian-Romanian administration retreated to Wallachia and Wallachian Oltenia (both were, at the time, under Russia's occupation). Avram Iancu's remained the only resistance force: he retreated to harsh terrain, mounting a guerrilla campaign on Bem's forces, causing severe damage and blocking the route to Alba Iulia. He was, however, challenged by severe shortages himself: the Romanians had few guns and very little gunpowder. The conflict dragged on for the next months, with all Hungarian attempts to seize the mountain stronghold being overturned.

In April 1849, Iancu was approached by the Hungarian envoy Ioan Dragoş (in fact, a Romanian deputy in the Hungarian Parliament). Dragoş appeared to have been acting out of his own desire for peace, and he worked hard to get the Romanian leaders to meet him in Abrud and listen to the Hungarian demands. Iancu's direct adversary, Hungarian commander Imre Hatvany, seems to have taken profit on the provisoral armistice to attack the Romanians in Abrud. He did not, however, benefit from a surprise, as Iancu and his men retreated and then encircled him. In the interval, Dragoş was lynched by the Abrud crowds, in the belief that he was part of Hatvany's ruse.

Hatvany also angered the Romanians by having Buteanu captured and murdered. While his position became weaker, he was permanently attacked by Iancu's men, until the major defeat of May 22. Hatvany and most of his armed group were massacred by their adversaries, as Iancu captured their cannons, switching the tactical advantage for the next months. Kossuth was angered by Hatvany's gesture (an inspection of the time dismissed all of Hatvany's close collaborators), especially since it made future negotiations unlikely.

However, the conflict became less harsh: Iancu's men concentrated on taking hold of local resources and supplies, opting to inflict losses only through skirmishes. The Russian intervention in June precipitated things, especially since the Poles fighting in the Hungarian revolutionary contingents wanted to see an all-out resistance to the Tsarist armies. People like Henryk Dembiński mediated for an understanding between Kossuth and the Wallachian émigré revolutionaries. The latter, understandably close to Avram Iancu (especially Nicolae Bălcescu, Gheorghe Magheru, Alexandru G. Golescu, and Ion Ghica) were also keen to inflict a defeat on the Russian armies that had crushed their movement in September 1848.

Bălcescu and Kossuth met in May 1849, in Debrecen. The contact has for long been celebrated by Romanian Marxist historians and politicians: Karl Marx's condemnation of everything opposing Kossuth had led to any Romanian initiative being automatically considered "reactionary". In fact, it appears that the agreement was in no way a pact: Kossuth meant to flatter the Wallachians, by getting them to champion the idea of Iancu's armies leaving Transylvania for good, in order to help Bălcescu in Bucharest. While agreeing to mediate for peace, Bălcescu never presented these terms to the fighters in the Apuseni. His personal documents (commented by Liviu Maior) show that the un-realistic assumptions of Kossuth had made him view the Hungarian leader as a "demagogue".

Even more contradictory, the only thing Avram Iancu agreed to (and which no party had asked for) was his forces' "neutrality" in the conflict between Russia and Hungary. Thus, he secured his position as the Hungarian armies suffered defeats in July, culminating in the Battle of Segesvár, and then the capitulation of August 13.

After quashing the revolution, Austria imposed a repressive regime on Hungary and ruled Transylvania directly through a military governor, with German again becoming the official language. Austria abolished the Union of Three Nations and granted citizenship to the Romanians. Although the former serfs were given land by the Austrian authorities, it was often barely sufficient for subsistence living. These poor conditions obliged many Romanian families to cross into Wallachia and Moldavia searching for better lives. However, in the compromise (Ausgleich) of 1867 which established the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the special status of Transylvania ended and it became a province under Hungarian control. While part of Austria-Hungary, Transylvania's Romanians were oppressed by the Hungarian administration through Magyarization; the German Saxons were also subject to this policy, but not as heavily as were Romanians.

During the time of Austria-Hungary, Hungarian-administered "Transylvania proper" consisted of a 15-county ( _hu. megye) region, covering 54,400 km² in the southeast of the former Kingdom of Hungary. The Hungarian counties at the time were Alsó-Fehér, Beszterce-Naszód, Brassó, Csík, Fogaras, Háromszék, Hunyad, Kis-Küküllő, Kolozs, Maros-Torda, Nagy-Küküllő, Szeben, Szolnok-Doboka, Torda-Aranyos, and Udvarhely.

Transylvania as part of Romania

Although Kings Carol I and Ferdinand I were of the German Hohenzollern dynasty, the Kingdom of Romania refused to join the Central Powers and stayed neutral when the First World War began. In 1916 Romania joined the Triple Entente by signing the Military Convention with the Entente, which recognised Romania's rights over Transylvania. King Ferdinand's wife Queen Marie, who was of British and Russian parentage, was highly influential during these years. [cite book | last = Easterman | first = Alexander | title = King Carol, Hitler, and Lupescu | publisher = Victor Gollancz Ltd., London | year = 1942]

As a consequence of the Convention, Romania declared war against the Central Powers on 27 August 1916, and crossed the Carpathian mountains into Transylvania, thus forcing the Central Powers to fight on yet another front. A German-Bulgarian counter-offensive began the following month in Dobruja and in the Carpathians, driving the Romanian army back into Romania by mid-October and eventually leading to the capture of Bucharest. The exit of Russia from the war in March 1918 in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk left Romania alone in Eastern Europe, and a peace treaty between Romania and Germany was negotiated in May 1918. However, the resulting Treaty of Bucharest, never ratified in Romania, was denounced in October 1918 by the Romanian government, which then re-entered the war on the Allied side. The Romanian Army advanced to the Mureş river in Transylvania.

By mid-1918 the Central Powers were losing the war, and the Austro-Hungarian empire had begun to disintegrate. The nations living inside Austria-Hungary proclaimed their independence from the empire during September and October 1918. The leaders of Transylvania's National Party met and drafted a resolution invoking the right of self-determination (Woodrow Wilson's 14 points) of Transylvania's Romanian people, and proclaimed the unification of Transylvania with Romania. In November, the Romanian National Central Council, which represented all the Romanians of Transylvania, notified the Budapest government that it was going to assume control of twenty-three Transylvanian counties and parts of three others, and requested a Hungarian response by 2nd November. The Hungarian Government, after negotiations with the Council, rejected the proposal, claiming that it failed to secure rights of the ethnic Hungarian and German population. A mass assembly of ethnic Romanians on 1 December in Alba Iulia passed a resolution calling for unification of all Romanians in a single state. The National Council of the Germans from Transylvania approved the Proclamation, as did the Council of the Danube Swabians from the Banat. In response, the Hungarian General Assembly of Cluj reaffirmed the loyalty of Hungarians from Transylvania to Hungary on December 22, 1918.

The Romanian Army, representing the Entente powers, entered Transylvania from the east on 12 November. In December 1918 they entered Southern Transylvania as well, and reached, then crossed, the demarcation line on the Mureş River by mid-December and advanced up to Cluj and then up to Sighet, after making a request to the Powers of Versailles on the grounds of protecting the Romanians in Transylvania. In February 1919, to prevent armed clashes between the Romanian and the withdrawing Hungarian troops, a Neutral Zone was created.

The Prime Minister of the newly proclaimed independent Republic of Hungary resigned in March 1919, refusing the territorial concessions (including Transylvania) demanded by the Entente powers. When the Communist Party of Hungary, led by Béla Kun, came to power in March 1919 it proclaimed the Hungarian Soviet Republic and after promising that Hungary would regain the lands that were under its control during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it decided to attack Czechoslovakia and Romania. The Hungarian Army began the offensive in Transylvania in April 1919 along the Someş, and Mureş rivers. A Romanian counter-offensive pushed forward to reach - and halt at - the Tisza River in May A new Hungarian offensive in July penetrated 60 km into Romanian lines before a further Romanian counter-offensive led to the occupation of the Hungarian capital Budapest in August, putting an end to the Hungarian Soviet Republic. The Romanian army withdrew from Hungary between October 1919 and March 1920.

The Treaty of Versailles, formally signed in June 1919, recognised the sovereignty of Romania over Transylvania. The Treaties of St. Germain (1919) and Trianon (signed on June 1920) further elaborated the status of Transylvania and defined the new border between the states of Hungary and Romania. King Ferdinand I of Romania and Queen Maria of Romania were crowned at Alba Iulia in the year 1922.

In August 1940, during the Second World War, Adolf Hitler gave the northern half of Transylvania to Hungary by the second Vienna Diktat. The Treaty of Paris (1947) after the end of the Second World War rendered the Vienna Diktat, and the territory of northern Transylvania was returned to Romania. The post-WWII borders with Hungary agreed on at the Treaty of Paris were identical with those set out in 1920.

Greater Romania (România Mare)

The Romanian expression "România Mare" (literal translation "Great Romania") generally refers to the Romanian state in the years between the First and Second World Wars and, by extension, to the territory Romania covered at the time (see the map). Romania achieved at that time its greatest territorial extent, managing to unite almost all the historic Romanian lands (except northern Maramureş, Western Banat and some small areas of Partium / Crişana). Historically, "Great Romania" represented one of the ideals of Romanian nationalism. It is still seen by many as a "paradise lost"Fact|date=June 2007 , often by comparison with the "stunted" Communist Romania.

To exploit the nationalistic connotation of the term, a nationalist political party uses it as its name.

The Romanian term "România Mare" is sometimes translated as "Great Romania", both to refer to the historic notion, and to translate the name of the political party.

In 1918, at the end of World War I, Transylvania and Bessarabia united with the Romanian Old Kingdom, Transylvania united by a "Proclamation of Union" of Alba Iulia voted by the Deputies of the Romanians from Transylvania; Bessarabia, having declared its independence from Russia in 1917 by the Conference of the Country (Sfatul Ţarii), called in Romanian troops to protect the province from the Bolsheviks who were spreading the Russian Revolution. The union of the regions of Transylvania, Maramureş, Crişana and Banat with the Old Kingdom of Romania was ratified in 1920 by the Treaty of Trianon which recognised the sovereignty of Romania over these regions and settled the border between the independent Republic of Hungary and the Kingdom of Romania. The union of Bucovina and Bessarabia with Romania was ratified in 1920 by the Treaty of Versailles. Romania had also recently acquired the Southern Dobrudja territory called the Quadrilateral from Bulgaria as a result of its victory in the Second Balkan War in 1913.

Transylvania today

Today, "Transylvania proper" (bright yellow on the accompanying map) is included within the Romanian counties ("judeţe") of Alba, Bistriţa-Năsăud, Braşov, Cluj, Covasna, Harghita, Hunedoara, Mureş, Sălaj (partially) and Sibiu. In addition to "Transylvania proper", modern Transylvania includes Crişana and part of the Banat; these regions (dark yellow on the map) are in the counties of Arad, Bihor, Caraş-Severin, Maramureş, Sălaj (partially), Satu Mare, and Timiş.

Historical population

Official censuses with information on Transylvania's ethnical composition have been conducted since 1850. The data recorded in these censuses is presented in the table below. Note that the census system in Hungary (between 1880 and 1910) was based on native language. Before 1880 the Jews were counted as an ethnic group later they were counted according to their first language.

[Árpád Varga E., "Hungarians in Transylvania between 1870 and 1995", Original title: "Erdély magyar népessége 1870–1995 között", Magyar Kisebbség 3–4, 1998 (New series IV), pp. 331–407. Translation by Tamás Sályi, Teleki László Foundation, Budapest, 1999] , Rudolf Poledna, François Ruegg, Cǎlin Rus, "Interculturalitate", Presa Universitarǎ Clujeanǎ, Cluj-Napoca, 2002. p. 160.] , [http://varga.adatbank.transindex.ro/ Erdély etnikai és felekezeti statisztikája (1850-1992).] Retrieved 2007-05-17] [http://www.kia.hu/konyvtar/erdely/emnyar.htm Erdély népességének etnikai és vallási tagolódása a magyar államalapítástól a dualizmus koráig ] ]

Note: a The data from the 1850 Census refers to Transylvania proper only, namely the counties of Alba, Bistriţa-Năsăud, Braşov, Cluj, Covasna, Harghita, Hunedoara, Mureş, Sălaj and Sibiu. It therefore excludes the data from the counties of Arad, Bihor, Caraş-Severin, Maramureş, Satu Mare, and Timiş.

Historical coat of arms

The historical Transylvanian arms depicts:

* on a blue background, an eagle representing the medieval nobility, which was primarily Magyar
* the Sun and the crescent Moon above the eagle represent the Szeklers.
* a red dividing band
* seven red towers on a yellow background representing the seven castles of the Transylvanian Saxons

These symbols, representing the three privileged nations (estates) of Transylvania had been in use since the 16th century, usually together with the elements of the Hungarian coat of arms, because Transylvanian Princes maintained their claims for the throne of the Kingdom of Hungary. The Diet of 1659 codified the coat of arms considered to be the historical coat of arms until present day. While the Hungarians, Saxons, and Szeklers were represented in it, the Romanians were not, despite their proposal to include a representation of Dacia.

Regions are not legal administrative units in today's Romania, consequently the historical arms is now only used within the coat of arms of Romania. This officially recognised image is still based on the 1659 symbols, thus, includes only the traditional estates of Transylvania.

Another, relatively short-lived heraldic representation of Transylvania is found on the coat of arms of Michael the Brave. Besides the Walachian eagle and the Moldavian auroch, Transylvania is here represented by two afronted lions holding a sword (elements referring to the Dacian kingdom), standing upon seven hills.

The 1848 revolutionary movement proposed a revision of the Transylvanian coat of arms, aimed at offering representation to the Romanian majority too. Besides the 1659 representation, it introduced a central section, portraying a Dacian woman, symbolizing the Romanian nation, holding in her right hand a sickle, and in the left hand a Roman legion's flag, with the initials D.F. (Dacia Felix). On the woman's right there was an eagle with a laurel crown in its beak, and on its left side a lion. This representation of the Romanian nation was inspired by a coin issued by the Roman emperor Marcus Iulius Philippus at Ulpia Traiana Sarmisegetusa in honor of the province of Dacia.


The history of Transylvania has at times been subject to contestation between rival national historical narratives, especially those of Romania and Hungary. In November 2006, a Romanian newspaper reported that there is a project in the offing for a book on the history of Transylvania under the joint auspices of the Romanian Academy and the Hungarian Academy. [Delia Budurca, Magda Crisan, [http://www.adevarulonline.ro/2006-11-16/Prima%20Pagina/romania-si-ungaria-rescriu-istoria-ardealului_206829.html România şi Ungaria rescriu istoria Ardealului] ("Romania and Hungary rewrite the history of Transylvania"), "Adevărul", 16 November 2006.]

ee also

*Aftermath of World War I
*History of Hungary
*History of Romania
*List of Transylvanian rulers
*The Ancient History of Transylvania
*History of the Székely people


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