Wallachia

Principality of Wallachia

Цѣра Рȣмѫнѣскъ
Țara Românească
1330–1859
Coat of arms
Wallachia in 1812
Wallachia in 1812
Wallachia in the late 14th century
Wallachia in the late 14th century
StatusVassal of the Ottoman Empire (1417–1859)
(under Russian protection 1774–1856)
Capital
Common languages
Religion
Eastern Orthodox
GovernmentElective absolute monarchy with hereditary lines
Prince 
• c. 1290 – c. 1310
Radu Negru (first)
• 1859–62
Alexandru Ioan Cuza (last)
Historical eraMiddle Ages/Early modern period/Modern history
1290[7]
1330
• Ottoman suzerainty
1417[8]
• Long and Moldavian Magnate wars
1593–1621
21 July [O.S. 10 July] 1774
14 September [O.S. 2 September] 1829
1834–1835
5 February [O.S. 24 January] 1859
Succeeded by
United Principalities

Wallachia or Walachia (Romanian: Țara Românească pronounced [ˈt͡sara romɨˈne̯askə], literally The Romanian Country; archaic: Țeara Rumânească, Romanian Cyrillic alphabet: Цѣра Рȣмѫнѣскъ) is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Lower Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians. Wallachia is traditionally divided into two sections, Muntenia (Greater Wallachia) and Oltenia (Lesser Wallachia). Wallachia as a whole is sometimes referred to as Muntenia through identification with the larger of the two traditional sections.

Wallachia was founded as a principality in the early 14th century by Basarab I, after a rebellion against Charles I of Hungary, although the first mention of the territory of Wallachia west of the river Olt dates to a charter given to the voivode Seneslau in 1246 by Béla IV of Hungary. In 1417, Wallachia accepted the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire;[8] this lasted until the 19th century, albeit with brief periods of Russian occupation between 1768 and 1854. In 1859, Wallachia united with Moldavia to form the United Principalities, which adopted the name Romania in 1866 and officially became the Kingdom of Romania in 1881. Later, following the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the resolution of the elected representatives of Romanians in 1918, Bukovina, Transylvania as well as parts of Banat, Crișana, and Maramureș were allocated to the Kingdom of Romania, thereby forming the modern Romanian state.

Etymology

The name Wallachia is an exonym, generally not used by Romanians themselves who used the denomination "Țara Românească/Rumânească" – Romanian Land. The term "Wallachia" (however present in some Romanian texts as Valahia or Vlahia) is derived from the term walhaz used by Germanic peoples to describe Celts, and later romanized Celts and all Romance-speaking people. In Northwestern Europe this gave rise to Wales, Cornwall, and Wallonia, among others, while in Southeast Europe it was used to designate Romance-speakers, and subsequently shepherds generally.

In the Early Middle Ages, in Slavonic texts, the name Zemli Ungro-Vlahiskoi (Земли Унгро-Влахискои or "Hungaro-Wallachian Land") was also used as a designation for its location. The term, translated in Romanian as "Ungrovalahia", remained in use up to the modern era in a religious context, referring to the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan seat of Hungaro-Wallachia, in contrast to Thessalian or Great Vlachia in Greece or Small Wallachia (Mala Vlaška) in Serbia.[9] The Romanian-language designations of the state were Muntenia (The Land of Mountains), Țara Românească (the Romanian Land), Valahia, and, rarely, România[10]

For long periods after the 14th century, Wallachia was referred to as Vlaško (Bulgarian: Влашко) by Bulgarian sources, Vlaška (Serbian: Влашка) by Serbian sources, Voloschyna (Ukrainian: Волощина) by Ukrainian sources and Walachei or Walachey by German-speaking (Transylvanian Saxon) sources. The traditional Hungarian name for Wallachia is Havasalföld, literally "Snowy Lowlands", the older form of which is Havaselve, meaning "Land beyond the snowy mountains" ("snowy mountains" refers to the – Southern Carpathians (the Transylvanian Alps)[11][12]); its translation into Latin, Transalpina was used in the official royal documents of Kingdom of Hungary. In Ottoman Turkish, the term Eflâk Prensliği, or simply ''Eflâk افلاق, appears. (Note that in a turn of linguistic luck utterly in favor of the Wallachians' eastward posterity, this toponym, at least according to the phonotactics of modern Turkish, is homophonous with another word, افلاک, meaning "heavens" or "skies".)

Arabic chronicles from the 13th century had used the name of Wallachia instead of Kingdom of Bulgaria. They gave the coordinates of Wallachia and specified that Wallachia was named al-Awalak and the dwellers ulaqut or ulagh.[13]

The area of Oltenia in Wallachia was also known in Turkish as Kara-Eflak ("Black Wallachia") and Kuçuk-Eflak ("Little Wallachia"),[14] while the former has also been used for Ottoman Moldova.[15]