|COMMENTARY: When did Romania become known as the country by that name?
by Dan Dimancescu
Editorial Note: There is confusion regarding the origin of the name Romania given that it long appeared as Rumelia (or Romania or Romaio) in history books and on maps in reference to an area currently encompassed by Bulgaria. The name Byzantium for this same area was derived from the Greek "Basileia Romaion" [Empire of the Romaioi or Romans]. For a cogent explanation of the evolution of the name see.
The "name" question is interesting if only because the factual answer is not widely known. I tried the same question once in England. When did the country first get officially named England? Few people knew, though many knew that in ancient times the main Isle was widely known as Albion and that until 1000 A.D. a long lineage of Welsh Kings preceded the current Royal lineage.
TO READERS: If anyone can forward the date of the first map to have the name ROMANIA appear on it, please email the details and a digital copy if possible. Thank you to Razvan Palalau (Michigan) for updates. And to Prof. Ion Ciortan (National Museum of Maps and Old Books)
|More useful and current information on Romania
|Click to enlarge (1869)|
|Click to enlarge (1870)|
|NAMES as they appear in old atlases and old maps
150 AD - Marinus: Map references "Dacia"
1450 - Anonymous: Map showing Moldavia and Valachia
1508 - Marco Beneventano: Map showing Valachia Magna (but no reference to Moldavia)
1548 - Ioan Honterus: Map showing Dacia, Valachia, and Moldavia
1659 - PH. Cluver: "Moesiae et Daciae"
A map showing Dacia Alpestris Moldavia Walachia
1683 - William Berry: "Empire of the Turks"
A map showing Principality of Transylvania, Principality of Moldavia and Principality of Valachia
1690 - John Seller: "Atlas Terrestris"
A map entitled The North Part of Turkey in Europe: Transilvania Moldavia Walachia Bessarabie
1740 - Matthias Seutter: "Atlas Novus"
A map of Transylvaniae, Moldaviae, Walachiae, Bulgariae
1782 - D. F. Sotzmann: Map showing only the joined boundaries of "Principati di Moldavia e Vallachia" and no external areas
1816 - Dimitrie Danül Philippide: "Geografia Romaniei" (Vol I - Part 2)
In Greek, shows all provinces on one map as Rumunia from Tisa River to Nistru River.
1829 - Anonymous Russian: Map shows Moldavia and Walachia as single unit with only a faintly demarked boundary line
1831 - Grigorie Plesoianu: "Postile si carantinele Tarii Romanesti" (Romanian Lands) printed in Sibiu (Transylvania); smaller version in 1836 by Zaharia
1833 and 1844 - Valbaum: various "Harta Tarii Romanesti" (Romanian Lands)
1850 - P. Miller and Partners: "Harta generala a Moldovei cu invecinatele teri: Romania, Transilvania, Bucovina si Basarabia..." (Romania used for Wallachia region); printed in Iasi (Moldavia).
1854 - Robert Bielitz: "Principatul Romaniei" (Romanian Principalities); printed in Wallachia
1855 - Cesar Bolliac: "Carta Romaniei" (Romania Map); printed in Bucharest (Wallachia)
1864 - F. Filipescu-Dubau and Anton Parteni-Antoniu: "Harta Principatelor Unite a Romaniei cu circumvecinele tarii romane" (United Principats of Romania...)
1865 - Dimitri Pappasoglu: "Atlasu Geograficu allu Romaniei"
Atlas shows the country divided into 32 districts.
1864 - W. and R. Chambers: "Turkey in Europe and Greece"
A map showing a large area with the name 'Roumania' showing over Wallachia and Moldavia.
1877 - Geo F. Cram - Map shows the name ROMANIA overlayed on Moldavia and Wallachia [Note AUSTRIA is overlayed onto Transylvania]
1877 - O. W. Gray - Map shows the name ROMANIA overlayed on Moldavia and Wallachia [Note AUSTRIA-HUNGARY is overlayed onto Transylvania]