Romanians - Orientation


There is disagreement about the origin of the name "Romanian." It is generally thought to derive from the region's Roman conquerers. In 1965 the state's name was changed to Romania from Rumania to emphasize its Western origins.

Location. Romania is located between 44° and 48° N and 21° and 48° E. Romania is bordered by Bulgaria to the south, Yugoslavia to the southwest, Hungary to the west and Northwest, Moldova and Ukraine to the north and northeast, and the Black Sea to the east. The climate is central European with hot summers and cold winters. Romania is comprised of four geographic regions. South of the Carpathian massif is the fertile Wallachian Plain, which extends to the Danube River, the border between Romania and Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. East of the Carpathians is the Moldavian Steppe, a Region of rolling hills and fertile soil, which is duplicated by the Dobrogean Steppe that extends between the Danube and the Black Sea. The Transylvanian Plateau is an upland of small, low-lying, forested mountain ranges interspersed with river-cut valleys.

Demography. In 1989 the Romanian population was about 24,000,000, of which 75 percent was classified as Romanian ethnics. Other large Romanian populations live in the former republics of Yugoslavia, Moldova (formerly the Moldavian SSR and, prior to World War II, a Romanian province), Ukraine, the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Linguistic Affiliation. Romanian has a Latin grammar with a few Slavic elements. The vocabulary mixes Latin, Slav, and Turkic elements.

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