Romania profile - Timeline

  • 16 October 2016
  • From the section Europe

A chronology of key events:

1600-1601 - The three historic principalities of Romania - Transylvania, Moldavia and Wallachia - are briefly united under one ruler, Michael the Brave. They had been under Habsburg and Ottoman domination.

1657 - Transylvania falls under Ottoman rule, as Moldavia and Wallachia had already done.

1683 - The Habsburgs recapture Transylvania from the Ottoman Empire.

1711 - The Habsburgs make Transylvania a province of their Kingdom of Hungary.

1715 - Phanariot Greek governors begin to rule Moldavia and Wallachia on behalf of the Ottoman Empire, and launch administrative reforms.

1821 - After a century of Russian military incursions, the Ottoman Empire cedes Bessarabia - the eastern half of Moldavia - to Moscow and allows Russia to oversee the administration of Moldavia and Wallachia. Phanariot rule ends, and native Romanian rulers steadily gain influence.

1834 - Moldavia and Wallachia adopt a unified basic constitution, the Reglamentul Organic, which provides for their eventual unification.

1856 - Russian control over Moldavia and Wallachia ends with Moscow's defeat in the Crimean War.


1859 - Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza is proclaimed prince of both Moldavia and Wallachia.

1862 - The personal union of the two Danubian principalities is consolidated into a new state - Romania. Prince 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.

1866 - Landed interests and disgruntled liberal politicians force the increasingly authoritarian Prince Cuza's abdication. Parliament invites the German prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen to succeed him.

1877-1878 - Romania wins full independence from the Ottoman Empire by siding with Russia in the Russo-Turkish War. It also acquires a coastline on the Danube delta.

1881 - Romania becomes a kingdom. Romanians in the Hungarian province of Transylvania form a National Party to campaign for their rights, but meet with repression by the Hungarian authorities.

1904 - The Romanian oil industry takes off with the opening of the first refinery.

1907 - Mass revolt by poor peasants bloodily crushed.

1914 - King Carol's death ends Romania's alliance with the Central Powers - Germany and Austria. His nephew Ferdinand takes Romania into World War I on the Allied side in 1916.

1918 - As part of the peace settlement at the end of the war, Romania acquires several territories with resident Romanian populations - virtually doubling in size and population.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Green-shirted members of the fascist Iron Guard stand on parade in Bucharest

1930s - Rise of fascist "Iron Guard" mass movement.

1938 - King Carol II establishes dictatorship.

1940 - Romania cedes territory to Hungary and USSR after signing of German-Soviet pact. General Ion Antonescu forces King Carol to abdicate in favour of son Michael, but assumes power himself.

1941 - Romania fights on German side against Soviet Union.

1944 - Antonescu ousted. Romania switches sides as Soviet forces close in.

1945 - Soviet-backed government installed.

Communist takeover

1947 - Romania regains Transylvania under peace treaty but loses territory to Soviet Union. King Michael abdicates. Romanian People's Republic proclaimed.

1948-49 - Soviet-style constitution, purges of dissidents in the Communist Party.

1952 - Party leader Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej becomes prime minister.

1955 - Romania joins Warsaw Pact.

Ceausescu era

1965 - Nicolae Ceausescu becomes Communist Party leader after death of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej. He pursues foreign policy that often runs counter to Moscow's lead, while increasing repressive rule and personality cult at home.

1968 - Ceausescu denounces Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

1975 - United States grants Romania most-favoured-nation status.

1977 - Bucharest earthquake kills around 1,500 people.

1985-86 - Austerity programme aimed at reducing foreign debt leads to food shortages and widespread power cuts.

1987 - Army occupies power plants and crushes workers' demonstrations in Brasov.


1989 December - Demonstrations in city of Timisoara against the harassment of dissident priest Laszlo Tokes trigger bloody national uprising.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The people of Romania rose up against the government at a time of upheaval in the region

Ceausescu and his wife Elena try to flee but are caught and executed.

National Salvation Front established, headed by former Ceasescu ally Ion Iliescu.

1990 May - Elections confirm Iliescu as president. New government of Prime Minister Petre Roman embarks on economic and political reform programme.

June - Student and opposition protests against the ex-communist leadership are crushed when 20,000 coal miners are brought in to stage a counter demonstration.

1991 - Riots by miners on strike over soaring prices force Mr Roman's resignation. He is replaced by Theodor Stolojan, who sees through a new constitution.

1992 - National Salvation Front splits. Iliescu re-elected president. Nicolae Vacaroiu appointed prime minister of minority coalition government.

1994 - Members of ultra-nationalist Romanian National Unity Party appointed to government posts.

1996 - Centre-right election victory sweeps aside former communists. Emil Constantinescu elected president, Victor Ciorbea becomes prime minister.

1997 - Economic reform programme announced. Securitate Communist-era secret police files opened.

1998 - Ciorbea replaced by Radu Vasile after coalition tensions.

1999 January - Security forces prevent 10,000 miners striking over pay from entering Bucharest.

1999 December - Vasile replaced as prime minister by Mugur Isarescu.

2000 January - Toxic cyanide escapes from mining works in northern Romania and poisons rivers in Hungary and Yugoslavia.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ex-communist Ion Iliescu was president for four years after the fall of Ceausescu and again in 2000-4

2000 November-December - Ion Iliescu defeats far-right rival Corneliu Vadim Tudor to retake presidency. Leftist Adrian Nastase becomes prime minister in minority government.

2001 January - Parliament approves a law aimed at returning to its original owners property nationalised during the Communist era.

2001 December - Ceausescu-era law criminalising homosexuality removed from statute book.

2002 November - Romania formally invited to join Nato at Prague summit.

Path to EU membership

2003 October - Romanians vote in a referendum on a new constitution meant to bring their country into line with members of the European Union.

2004 March - Romania admitted to Nato.

2004 October - President Iliescu ends decades of denial by admitting Romanian complicity in Nazi-driven Holocaust of World War II when hundreds of thousands of Jews and Gypsies were sent to their deaths by the country's fascist leadership.

2004 November-December - Centrist alliance leader Traian Basescu elected president. His ally Calin Tariceanu becomes prime minister. Both pledge to speed up EU-oriented reforms.

2005 April - Romania signs EU accession treaty, putting it on course to join in 2007 provided reforms are implemented in time.

2005 July - New leu currency introduced as four zeroes are stripped from old leu as part of preparations for EU entry.

2005 December - US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice visits, signs agreement which will allow US to use Romanian military bases.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Romania became an EU member in 2007

2006 February - Former prime minister Adrian Nastase is charged with corruption.

2006 December - Official report says up to two million people were killed or persecuted by Romania's former communist authorities.

2007 January - Romania and Bulgaria join the European Union, raising the EU membership to 27.

2007 May - President Basescu survives a parliamentary bid to impeach him when he wins the backing of voters in a referendum.


2007 October - EU threatens to withhold farm aid if Romania does not reform its agricultural payments system.

2007 December - Justice Minister Tudor Chiuariu resigns as investigation launched into allegations of corruption over land deal.

2008 February - European Commission warns Romania over high-level corruption, pointing to slow pace of investigations into activities of eight serving or former ministers. It gives the country six months to correct serious failings or face sanctions.

2008 February - Government overrules court decision that commission investigating Communist-era secret police is illegal.

2008 December - Democratic Liberal Party President and Mayor of Cluj-Napoca Emil Boc forms coalition government, following inconclusive general elections in November.

Financial crisis

2009 March - The International Monetary Fund and other lenders agree to provide Romania a rescue package worth 20bn euros.

2009 April - Romania condemns new measures brought against Romanian nationals in neighbouring Moldova following violent protests in Chisinau. Moldova accuses Romania of fomenting the unrest.

2009 October - Social Democrat Party pulls out of ruling coalition, leaving Prime Minister Emil Boc at head of minority government, which subsequently loses a confidence vote in parliament.

2009 December - Incumbent President Traian Basescu declared winner of run-off election by very narrow majority. Emil Boc forms new coalition government.

2010 February - Romanian Defence Council agrees to host missile interceptors as part of new US defence shield.


2010 May - Government announces package of austerity measures that includes large-scale cuts to public sector wages and pensions. Tens of thousands of public sector workers in Bucharest protest against the plans.

2010 June - After Constitutional Court rules that 15% cut to state pensions proposed by government is unconstitutional, Prime Minister Boc says alternative is to increase VAT to 24% in bid to trim deficit and secure IMF bail-out loan.

2010 July - Implementation of sweeping austerity measures - including 25% cuts to public sector wages - leads to wave of strikes and protests.

2010 September - EU repeats regular call to Romania to take urgent action to tackle crime and corruption.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Austerity measure prompted protests and clashes with the police

2010 December - France and Germany block Romania from joining Schengen passport-free zone, saying it still needs to make "irreversible progress" in fight against corruption and organised crime.

2011 October - Former King Michael addresses parliament for the first time since he was forced to abdicate in 1947.

Anti-austerity protests

2012 January-February - Protests against austerity measures and corruption lead to clashes with police and prompt the resignation of Prime Minister Emil Boc. Foreign Intelligence Service Chief Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu takes over as head of the same coalition.

2012 May - Victor Ponta becomes prime minister when his left-wing Social Liberal Union alliance topples the Ungureanu government in a confidence vote. He seeks to soften austerity terms in negotiations with the European Union, and begins a campaign to oust his political opponent President Basescu.

2012 July - President Basescu survives an impeachment referendum, as it fails to reach the minimum turnout figure of 50% of the electorate.

2012 December - Prime Minister Victor Ponta's government wins parliamentary elections by a comfortable margin.

Pressure on Ponta

2013 October - Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea is charged with trying to rig the 2012 referendum that failed to oust President Basescu. Another 74 others are accused of falsifying data to sway the vote's outcome.

2014 January - Transitional curbs on Romanians' right to work and receive benefits in some EU members in place since Romania joined in 2007 lapse.

2014 March - Prime Minister Victor Ponta forms a new coalition following the National Liberal Party departure from the government.

2014 November - Klaus Iohannis wins presidential election run-off, defeating Prime Minister Victor Ponta who was the favourite to win after the first round.

2015 June - Prosecutors in high-level corruption investigation question Prime Minister Victor Ponta on suspicion of forgery, tax evasion and money laundering, prompting President Iohannis to demand his resignation.

2015 November - Victor Ponta resigns as prime minister after months of scandal, culminating in mass street protests over lax safety regulations at a nightclub where 32 people died in a fire.

2016 May - A US missile defence system is installed, angering Russia, which sees it as a threat.