Ottoman Expansion

Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries Wallachia and Moldavia offered strong resistance to the Ottoman's northward expansion. Mircea eel Batran (Mircea the Old; r 1386-1418), Vlad Tepe? ('The Impaler'; r 1448, 1456-62, 1476), and Ā§tefan eel Mare (Stephen the Great; r 1457-1504) were legendary figures in this struggle.

When the Turks conquered Hungary in the 16th century, Transylvania became a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, retaining its autonomy by paying tribute to the sultan. Catholicism and Protestantism were recognised as official state religions; the Orthodox faith of many Romanians remained an unofficial religion. Later, attempts were made to force them to convert to Catholicism.

After the Ottoman victory in Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldavia also paid tribute to the Turks but maintained their autonomy (this indirect control explains why the only Ottoman buildings seen in Romania today are in Northern Dobrogea).

In 1600 Wallachia and Moldavia were briefly united with Transylvania under Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave; r 1593-1601) at Alba Iulia. In order to fight Ottoman rule, he joined forces in 1594 with the ruling princes of Moldavia and Transylvania against the Turks, attacking strongholds and massacring Turks. In 1595 the Turks called a truce with Viteazul.

The Transylvanian prince, Andrew Bathory, subsequently turned against the Wallachian prince and, on 28 October 1599, Mihai Viteazul defeated and killed Bathory's troops near Sibiu. Viteazul declared himself the new prince of Transylvania, then in spring 1600 invaded Moldavia where he was also crowned prince. This first political union of the three


the Magyars settle in the Carpathian Basin; a century later Stephen The Mongols Invade Transylvania and go on a year-long rampage, I, their king, integrates Transylvania into his Hungarian kingdom. | plundering the region and slaying much of the local populace.

Romanian principalities lasted just over a year: Viteazul was defeated liy a joint Habsburg-Transylvanian noble army just months later and in August 1601 he was captured and beheaded.

In 1683 the Turks were defeated at the gates of Vienna and in 1687 Transylvania came under Habsburg rule.

The 18th century marked the start of Transylvanian Romanians' light for political emancipation. Romanian peasants constituted 60% ol the population yet continued to be excluded from political life. In 1784 three serfs called Horea, Cloaca and Cri$an led a major uprising. It was quashed, and its leaders were crushed to death on what is today a favoured tourist site (pl65). But on 22 August 1785 the Habsburg emperor, Joseph II, abolished serfdom in Transylvania.

The 17th century in Wallachia was marked by the lengthy reign of Constantin Brancoveanu (r 1688-1714), a period of relative peace and prosperity characterised by a great cultural and artistic renaissance. In 1775 part of Moldavia's northern territory - Bucovina - was annexed by Austria-Hungary. This was followed in 1812 by the loss of its eastern territory - Bessarabia (most of which is in present-day Moldova) - to Kussia. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29, Wallachia and Moldavia became Russian protectorates while remaining in the Ottoman Empire.

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