Rouma'nia, a kingdom in SE. Europe, lying mainly between the Carpathians, the Pruth, and the Danube (the Dobrudja being south of the Danube), and bordering on Hungary, Russia, Bulgaria, and Servia. It is crescent-shaped, its average length being 358 and its breadth 190 miles; area, 49,250 sq. m., and pop. (1900) 5,956,690, including 5 1/2 millions of Orthodox Greek Christians, 266,650 Jews, and many gypsies. There are besides some 4,000,000 Roumanians outside the Roumanian kingdom - in Hungary (especially Transylvania), Bukowina, Bessarabia, and adjoining Russian provinces, Servia, and Bulgaria. Rou-mania is an irregular inclined plane, sloping down from the Carpathian Mountains (3000 to 9000 feet) to the northern bank of the Danube, and it is traversed by numerous watercourses (many of which are dry in summer). Roumania is divided into the two provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia, the first bordering on the Danube, the second on the Pruth, and formerly distinct principalities. The capital of Roumania is Bucharest in Wallachia, about 30 miles from the Danube; and the chief town of Moldavia is Jassy, near the Pruth. Other towns are the seaports of Galatz and Ibrail (or Braila) at the mouth of the Danube, Craiova (Krajova), Botoshani, Ploiesti (Plojeschti), Pitesti, and the ancient capital Curtea d'Ardges. The principal industries of Roumania are agriculture, salt-mining, and petroleum-making. Maize and cereals are largely exported, and amongst the fruits are gourds, plums, peaches, walnuts, apples, pears, and grapes. The manufacturing industries, which are greatly handicapped by the cheap productions of Germany and Austria, include flour and saw milling, match-making, and petroleum-distillation, tanning, boot and shoe making, and cement manufacture. The peasantry are mainly clothed in garments made by themselves of homespun, woven, and dyed fabrics, and they possess much skill in the ornamentation of cloth, gauze, and muslin. Before 1864 the whole of the land was practically held by the boyards or inferior nobles, who were frequently absentees, or by the state. But when the government became democratic it was determined to restore one-third of it to its original owners at moderate prices fixed by the state. The result was that there exist over 406,000 holdings, averaging about 10 acres each. The government is a hereditary limited monarchy, and the constitution provides for a council of ministers, a senate, and a chamber of deputies. The revenue is over £9,000,000, and more than balances the expenditure; the debt, £54,350,000. The value of imports varies from £10,000,000 to £13,000,000, and of exports from £10,000,000 to £14,000,000. Nearly half of the exports (chiefly cereals and seed) goes to Britain; a third of the imports is from Germany.
The Roumanians are descended from the ancient inhabitants - probably Thracians or Dacians - of the country, modified by elements derived from the Roman, Gothic, Bulgarian, and Slavonic invaders. Dacia was a Roman colony from 101 a.d. till 274, when it became the prey of successive swarms of wandering tribes. Out of numerous small states, two, Wallachia and Moldavia, had become dominant, when they had to bow to the Turkish yoke, and became tributary to the Porte. They were governed by voivodes and hospodars nominated by the Porte, who were generally extortionate Fanariots, Greeks of Constantinople. Russian intervention during the 18th century somewhat improved the condition of the down-trodden principalities, which at times were wholly under Russian influence. In 1859 they elected the same prince Couza. He ruled till he was deposed for misgovernment in 1866, and was succeeded by Prince Charles of Hohenzollern. The Roumanians fought bravely on the Russian side in the Turkish war of 1877-78, and at the end obtained complete independence, though they had to give Russia Bessarabia in exchange for the Dobrudja. In 1881 the prince was recognised as a king. The Roumanian language is derived mainly from Latin, with Slavonic, Hungarian, and other elements. See Samuelson, Roumania, Past and Present (1882).