June 27, 2013

Transylvania and Romania: A History



Okay, now onto the topic of history connections between Transylvania and Romania. As most people already know, Transylvania is a part of Romania today. For the majority of history, it was a part of the Hungarian kingdom and populated by Germans. So the question is: how did Romania get its hands on Transylvania? And, how were they able to keep Transylvania? 

There were three treaties involved in this process. There was the Treaty of Versailles, the Treaty of St. Germain and the Treaty of Trianon. Each treaty played its own role in bringing Transylvania and Romania together. 

The Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1919, was the one that started things rolling. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was starting to fall apart, and the Empire had control of Transylvania at this time. The thing is that they did not make up the majority of the population. The majority of the population was actually Romanian. Within the Treaty of Versailles was the condition that Transylvania was now under the sovereignty of Romania. This went over pretty well with the general population, and especially the Romanian National Party. Romania was an ally of the Triple Entente, which was why they were granted Transylvania.
  

The Treaty of St. Germain, signed in 1919, was made in order to elaborate on what was stated in the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of St. Germain ordered the Austro-Hungarian Empire to be dissolved. Austria was forced to recognize the independence of other countries, including Hungary. This treaty redefined the borders specifically to Austria, and this would have included Transylvania. Unfortunately, Transylvania was not large enough to be independent, which was why it was given to Romania. That, and it already had a Romanian population and was already influenced by Romanian culture. 

The Treaty of Trianon, signed in 1920, was another treaty that specifically defined a country's borders. This time it was referring to Hungary, though, whereas the Treaty of St. Germain had referred to Austria. This meant that Transylvania was completely out of the hands of Hungary. Hungary was depleted to a fraction of its former size. It was forced to give up much of its lands, including Transylvania, despite the fact that they had controlled Transylvania since the Middle Ages. With the restriction set out in the Treaty of Trianon, Hungary would be able to try to take Transylvania back — they were somewhat successful and regained Northern Transylvania. After the end of the Second World War, Transylvania will forever be under the sovereignty of Romania.

I know this post did not actually talk much about Romania and really focussed on one main event. (Well, it was three events but they all came from the one event of the end of World War I.) The thing to consider is that this one short period in time completely changed Transylvania. They were no longer under the rule of Hungary or Austria-Hungary. They had been ruled by Hungary since the Middle Ages. To be put under the sovereignty of Romania was a huge deal to Transylvania.

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