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European Kingdoms

Eastern Europe


Principality of Wallachia (Vlachs)

The name 'Wallachia' derives from the same Germanic base word as the English name for the Romano-Britons: 'Wealas'. Situated to the mountainous region immediate south of the Carpathian Mountains, Wallachia is effectively the 'land of the foreigners'. In this instance, the word arrived via the Goths who ventured down toward the Balkans. A local derivative, or evolution, of the word is the Slavic 'Vlach'. The principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia were the first Vlach (Romance-language) states that formed north of the Danube. They appeared once the incursions by nomadic Steppe people (the Huns, the Mongols) ceased. They were never subject to the Byzantine emperors in Constantinople, and they occupied territories that had only been partially occupied and then swiftly abandoned by the Roman empire in the third century.

During the fourteenth century, while Byzantium was steadily weakening, the principalities of Wallachia (about the size of Luxembourg) and Moldavia gained a degree of self-rule which ended with the Ottoman occupation and rule of the Balkans. They used the Tartars of Crimea as a mobile defensive force which ensured that Wallachia and also Transylvania were largely untroubled by attempts at renewing independence or conquest by European kingdoms.

Edward Dawson is of the opinion that 'Wealas' and its cognates in Germanic languages probably derives from an earlier form of the name that the Celts used for themselves. The ancient Greeks recorded that the northern barbarians were Keltoi, and Julius Caesar reported that the Gauls called themselves Celtae in their own language. Recorded tribal names of Galati and Galaci existed. So how did 'Celt' become 'Wal'? The Celtic habit was to take a 'w' sound and stick a 'g' in front of it (G and K are usually interchangeable). This occurred before the first century AD at least once with another word, that for forest (wood in English, coed in Welsh). This first shift apparently placed a 'k' instead of a 'g'; possibly due to regional dialects. If one postulates that the original name of the Celts was 'Walt', then the Celts placed a 'k' in front of it to produce 'Kwalt', which was shortened to 'Kelt'. The Germans would have continued using the original Walt, softening the 't' to a 'th', then dropping it entirely to produce 'Wal'. If so the Wallachians were not 'foreigners' as such but were remnant Celtic tribes in Wallachia who were gradually absorbed by Germans and Slavs.

Wallachian cultural costume

(Additional information by Edward Dawson, and Aurel Vilcu (historian at the Institute for Cultural Memory, Bucharest, Romania), from Istoria Romaniei (Bucharest, 1971), from Istoria Romaniei (Bucharest, 1962), from Din istoria Transilvaniei, Bucharest, 1963, and from External Link: Institute for Cultural Memory.)

1299 - 1300

The power struggle between Toqta of the Golden Horde and Nogai Khan of the Nogai Horde flares up into open conflict, and Toqta is the eventual victor. With the threat of a break-away khanate ended, the Golden Horde is fully under the control of one khan again. Nogai's territories, which reach from the Crimea and the southern Rus principalities to parts of Wallachia, are divided by Toqta between Nogai's brother, Sareibugha, and his sons.

1310 - 1354

Basarab I


Lithuania defeats the boyars of the Muscovite Rus and occupies Kyiv and its surrounding territory. The loss of this vassal state by the Golden Horde removes not only it from their control, but also cuts off Wallachia. Basarab I effectively becomes an independent ruler, although this has increasingly been the case for five or six years. However, despite this setback, Ozbeg Khan is still able to threaten the Bulgars, Byzantium, and the Lithuanians themselves.

Poenari Castle, Wallachia
Wallachia was the home of Vlad III Tepes, known to history as Vlad the Ipaler, with the formidable thirteenth century Poenari Castle being his main base of operations (now part of Romania)

1354 - 1364

Nicolae Alexandru / Nicholas Alexander

1364 - 1377

Vladislav I Vlaicu

1377 - 1385

Radu I

1385 - 1386

Dan I

1386 - 1396

Mircea the Old

1395 - 1396

Vlad I


1396 - 1418

Mircea the Old

1418 - 1420

Mihail I

1420 - 1422

Radu II Prasnaglava

1422 - 1424

Dan II

1424 - 1426

Radu II Prasnaglava


1426 - 1431

Dan II


1431 - 1436

Alexandru Aldea

1436 - 1442

Vlad II Dracul

Father of Vlad the Impaler.

1442 - 1444

Basarab II

1444 - 1447

Vladc II Dracul


1447 - 1456

Vladislav II

1456 - 1462

Vlad III Tepes / the Impaler (Dracul)

Not a Transylvanian, which is north of the Carpathians.

1462 - 1475

Radu III the Beautiful

1475 - 1477

Basarab III Laiota

1477 - 1481

Basarab IV

1481 - 1495

Vlad IV the Monk

1495 - 1508

Radu IV the Great

1508 - 1509

Mihnea cel Rau

1509 - 1510


1510 - 1512


1512 - 1521

Neagoe Basarab

1521 - 1522


1522 - 1523

Radu de la Afumati


Vladislav III

1523 - 1524

Radu Badica

1524 - 1525

Radu de la Afumati



Vladislav III


1525 - 1529

Radu de la Afumati


1529 - 1530


1530 - 1532

Vlad Inecatul

1532 - 1535

Vlad Vintila

1535 - 1545

Radu Paisie

1545 - 1552

Mircea Ciobanul

1552 - 1553

Radu Ilie

1553 - 1554

Mircea Ciobanul

1554 - 1557

Patrascu cel Bun (the Kind)

1557 - 1559

Mircea Ciobanul

1559 - 1568

Petru cel Tanar

1568 - 1574

Alexandru II Mircea



1574 - 1577

Alexandru II Mircea

1577 - 1583

Mihnea Turcitul

1583 - 1585

Petru Cercel

1585 - 1591

Mihnea Turcitul

1591 - 1592

Stefan Surdul

1592 - 1593

Alexandru cel Rau

1593 - 1599

Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave)

1599 - 1600

Nicolae Patrascu


1600 - 1601

Simion Movila

1600 - 1601

Michael the Brave of Transylvania briefly unites the three principalities that later form Rumania - Moldavia, Transylvania, and Wallachia.

1601 - 1602

Radu Mihnea

1602 - 1611

Radu Serban


The Ottomans take control of Wallachia. Subjected to Ottoman suzerainty, the level of direct control varies. The princes continue to rule (if sometimes in name only).

1611 - 1616

Radu Mihnea

1616 - 1618

Alexandru Ilias

1618 - 1620

Gavril Movila

1620 - 1623

Radu Mihnea

1623 - 1627

Alexandru Coconul

1627 - 1629

Alexandru Ilias

1629 - 1632

Leon Tomsa

1632 - 1654

Matei Basarab

1654 - 1658

Constantin Serban

1658 - 1659

Mihnea III Radu

1659 - 1660

Gheorghe Ghica

1660 - 1664

Grigore Ghica

1664 - 1669

Radu Leon

1669 - 1672


1672 - 1673

Grigore Ghica

1673 - 1678

Gheorghe Duca

1678 - 1688

Serban Cantacuzino

1688 - 1714

Constantin Brancoveanul

Phanaroits (Tax Farmer Princes) in Wallachia
AD 1711 - 1821

In occupied Wallachia and Moldavia, the Ottomans began the destructive practice of appointing Greek tax farmers, known as the Phanariots (from the Phanar section of Istanbul), as princes. They were placed in power simply to get as much money out of the land as possible.

(Additional information from Security Dynamics in the Former Soviet Bloc, Graeme P Herd & Jennifer D P Moroney (2003), Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe, Jan Zielonka (2001), Russia - Continuity and Change, Gerald Hinteregger & Hans-Georg Heinrich (Eds), European Yearbook 2000, Francis Rosenstiel, Edith Lejard, Jean Boutsavath & Jacques Martz, De Facto States: The Quest for Sovereignty, Barry Bartmann, T Bahcheli (2004), and from External Link: BBC Country Profiles.)

1716 - 1717

Nicholas Mavrocordat

Tax Farmer of Moldavia (1711-1714).

1719 - 1730

Nicholas Mavrocordat

1735 - 1741

Constantine Mavrocordat

Tax Farmer of Moldavia (1741-1743, ?-1769).

1741 - 1744

Michael Racovita

Tax Farmer of Moldavia (1717-?).

1744 - 1748

Constantine Mavrocordat


The Russian right of intervention is established in the Treaty of Kuchuk Karinarji.

1775 - 1782

Alexander Ypsilanti

Later prince of Moldavia (1786-1788).

1796 - 1797

Alexander Ypsilanti

Restored. His grandson led the Greek Revolt in 1821.

1802 - 1806

Constantine Ypsilanti

1806 - 1812

The Russians take Wallachia and Moldavia from the Ottomans in battle and occupy the region. Upon the advance into Russia of the French empire under Napoleon Bonaparte, they sign a quick treaty and evacuate their troops northwards.

1812 - 1818

John Caragea

1818 - 1821

Alexander Sutu

1828 - 1834

Russia re-occupies both principalities and controls the area under Governor Count Kisselev, with Fyodor Yakovlevich Mirkovich as military administrator (later to be governor of Vilnius from 1840). In 1834, Moldavia and Wallachia adopt a unified basic constitution, the Reglamentul Organic, which provides for their eventual unification.

1834 - 1842

Alexander Ghica

1842 - 1848

Georghe Bibescu


In a year of revolutions (France, Galicia, Hessen-Darmstadt, Ireland, Liechtenstein, and Lombardy-Ventia also experience problems), Wallachia also experiences grave difficulties.

1848 - 1851

Russia occupies both principalities.

1853 - 1854

Russia occupies both principalities again, but is preoccupied by fighting the Crimean War (1853-1856).

1854 - 1857

Russia is weakened after losing the Crimean War. Austria occupies the principalities.


Effectively united with Moldavia as a single principality, the country is now under autonomous rule.

1859 - 1866

Alexander John Cuza of Moldavia

Ruled both Moldavia and Wallachia. Abdicated.


The personal union of the two Danubian principalities is consolidated into a new state which is called Rumania. Prince Cuza (known by the local form of his name, Alexandru Ioan Cuza) launches an ambitious policy of economic, political, military, educational and social reform, encompassing a parliament, land reform and the adoption of a civil code.


Landed interests and disgruntled liberal politicians force the increasingly authoritarian Prince Cuza to abdicate. Parliament invites the Prussian Prince Karl (Charles) Eitel Frederick of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen to succeed him.

1866 - 1881

Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen

Prussian prince invited to rule both principalities.


When the Ottomans are defeated in the Russo-Turkish War (1876-1878). Russia invades the area and Rumania is proclaimed independent. As in Greece and Bulgaria, a European prince heads the new monarchy. Charles / Karl of Hohenzollern is recognised by the Congress of Berlin, and Wallachia and Moldavia are officially united to form Rumania.


The kingdom of Rumania is officially proclaimed, with Charles as its first monarch. Romanians in the Hungarian province of Transylvania form a National Party to campaign for their rights, but meet with repression by the Hungarian authorities.

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