How Did Romania Get Its Name?

By Sharon Omondi on October 21 2019 in World Facts

The Romanian passport.
The Romanian passport.

Romania is a country in Europe that encompasses an area of 238,397 km2 and has an estimated population of 19,401,658. Located near the intersection of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, Romania is situated within the Balkans, and its neighboring states include Ukraine, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Serbia. Bucharest is Romania's capital and largest city, and has been fondly nicknamed "Little Paris" due to the presence of a building similar in appearance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, called the Arcul de Triumf. The country's official language is Romanian, which is a Romance language, and dates back approximately 1,700 years.

Romania's Etymology

The country’s name, Romania, is believed to have originated from the Latin word romanus, which means "citizen of Rome." The words rumân and roman were used interchangeably until the 17th century, when the meaning of rumân became "bondsman." Today, the term is used to refer to the land area occupied by the nation.

Historical Records of Romania's Name

The oldest document known written in the Romanian language was the Letter of Neacsu from Campulung, which dates back to 1521. Additionally, the first reference of Romanians referring to themselves as Romans is traced to the 16th century, as noted by Italian humanists who traveled through the regions of Moldova, Transylvania, and Wallachia. Geographically, the term Romania historically referred the region around Ravenna, which is now part of the Italian region of Romagna, as early as the 7th century. However, use of the term to refer to the current nation of Romania was first recorded in the early 19th century, and its official use began in 1861.

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