Romania and Moldova; key historical events

Page last modified 15/6/2020


See also Eastern Europe, Germany, Russia, Turkey


2006, Transdniestria backed independence from Moldova.

2/2000, Former Communists won 70% of the seats in the Moldovan Duma (Parliament) in elections.

6/3/1994, A referendum in Moldova showed the electorate opposed to possible unification with Romania.

26/12/1990, Exiled King Michael of Romania, who fled his country in 1947 at gunpoint for Switzerland, attempted to return to Romania. He landed at Bucharest Airport in a private jet with his wife and daughter. However he was stopped by police who disputed the validity of his travel documents, and sent back to Geneva. The Romanian authorities did not wish to see a Royalist revival, and said Michael could return after the forthcoming elections.

18/11/1990, In Romania the Socialist Party of Labour, a recreated Communist Party, was launched.

28/10/1990. In Moldavia, troops kept ethnic Moldavians and Gaugaz Turks apart.

2/9/1990, Transdnistria declared its independence from the Moldovan SSR; no other country recognised this. Transdnistria has many ethnic Russians and Russia retains a small military force there (2015).

14/6/1990, In Bucharest, Romania, street battles erupted between students demanding democracy and miners supporting the interim regime of Ilescu.

21/5/1990, Ion Iliescu elected President of Romania, in Romania’s first post-Communist free elections.

18/2/1990, Demonstrators in Romania stormed the headquarters of the provisional government, demanding the resignation of President Ion Iliescu and Prime Minister Petre Roman.

2/1/1990. All 40 members of the Romanian Politburo were arrested.

1/1/1990, A week after the death of the Ceausescus, Romania officially abolished the death penalty

25/12/1989, President Ceausescu and his wife were tried and shot. On 27/12/1989 the Romanian press was freed.

22/12/1989. A Romanian revolution overthrew President Nicolae Ceausescu. Ceausescu’s son Nicu was arrested, and the Queen cancelled Nicolae’s honorary knighthood. Ion Iliescu took over as President.

20/12/1989. President Nicolae Ceausescu declared a state of emergency. His last public appearance with his wife Elena was in Bucharest on 21/12/1989. As he addressed the crowd of 100,000, in University Square, there were catcalls of ‘murderers of Timisoara’. Ceausescu was hustled back indoors and Romanian television ceased broadcasting the event. This was the signal for a general uprising that afternoon, and the Securitate began firing indiscriminately into the crowd. Many were wounded or killed but the crowd sensed the army was now with them, except for diehard factions of the Securitate.

17/12/1989. In the town of Timisoara, in Transylvania, Romania, troops fired on 10,000 demonstrators, killing 2,000. Ethnic Hungarians within Romania were protesting against the suppression of the Hungarian language in schools, also books in Hungarian.

24/11/1989. President Ceausescu was re-elected as leader of Romania. However in Czechoslovakia the Communist leadership resigned.

14/4/1988, President Caesescu of Romania announced plans to demolish 8,000 villages and forcibly resettle their population in urban areas.

9/12/1967. Nicolae Ceausescu became President of Romania.

1964, Construction work began on the Iron Gates Dam on the Danube, between Yugoslavia and Romania.

24/9/1952, Romania adopted a revised Constitution, making the Workers Party the only legitimate one.

18/3/1950, Former engine factory foreman Nicolae Ceausescu, the protege of Romanian General Secretary Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, was made a Major General of the Romanian Army, despite having no prior military experience. Ceausescu would continue his rise to power and succeed Gheorghiu-Dej in 1965.

13/4/1948, The Romanian Constitution was redrafted, on Soviet lines.

30/12/1947. King Michael of Romania abdicated, and a Communist republic was set up.

28/7/1947, In Romania the National Peasant Party, the most popular Party, was dissolved.

1/6/1946. Antonescu was shot as a war criminal, see 23/8/1944.

2/3/1945, At Soviet insistence, Petru Groza was appointed Prime Minister of Romania and formed a pro-Soviet government.

7/12/1944, General Radescu formed a Romanian government.

23/8/1944. Following a coup d’etat in Bucharest, in which pro-Nazi dictator General Ion Antonescu was overthrown (born 1882, acceded 1940), Romania changed sides and declared war on Germany and Soviet troops entered Rumania as allies. Germans had entered Bucharest as allies in September 1940, after Antonescu seized power, forcing King Carol II into exile after Carol had surrendered Romanian territory to Hungary, Bulgaria and Russia. Romania then supported Germany when it invaded Russia in June 1941, and assisted in the Nazi capture of Odessa, which was then renamed ‘Antonescu’, with areas of south-west Ukraine annexed to Romania. However the Soviets began to force back the Romanians, and other Axis forces, in the winter in 1942/3. On this day, 23/8/1944, Carol II’s 23-year-old son, King Michael, had Antonescu arrested. Antonescu was subsequently charged with war crimes in May 1946 and on 1/6/1946, after a brief trial, was condemned to death and shot. Meanwhile, French forces took Marseilles, then advanced up the Rhone Valley.

For more events of World War Two in Europe see France-Germany

7/9/1940, The Germans imposed the Treaty of Craiova on Romania, by which southern Dobruja was ceded to Bulgaria.  This frontier was reconfirmed by Treaty in February 1947.

6/9/1940, King Carol II of Romania abdicated in favour of his son Michael, by pro-Nazi Ion Antonescu.

18/7/1938, Marie, Queen of Romania, died.

16/2/1933, Fearing German aggression, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia formed the Little Entente, with a Permanent Council,

8/6/1930, King Carol II returned from exile to take the throne of Romania.

20/7/1927, King Ferdinand of Romania died, aged 61. He was succeeded by his nephew, 5-year old Michael I.

25/10/1921, King Michael of Romania was born, son of King Carol II.

23/4/1921, Czechoslovakia and Romania formed an alliance.

3/3/1921, Poland signed an alliance with Romania. This resulted in a decline in previously-close Hungarian-Polish relations.

4/8/1919, Romanian forces occupied Budapest, Hungary (until 14/11/1919).

11/1/1919. Romania annexed Transylvania.

26/1/1918, Nicolae Ceausescu, dictator of Romania, was born (died 1989).

6/12/1915. Germany occupied Bucharest, capital of Rumania, ending Rumania’s war effort against Germany. See 30/11/1918.

For main European events of World War One see France-Germany

3/1907, Romania brutally suppressed a revolt in Moldova.

11/4/1899, Lascar Catargiu, Romanian politician, died (born 1823).

16/5/1891, Ion Bratianu, Romanian statesman, died (born 2/6/1821).

28/10/1888, Dumitru Carlaonț, Romanian General, was born.

15/5/1873, Alexander Cuza, former Prince of Romania, died in Heidelberg.

20/7/1868, Miron Cristea, Prime Minister of Romania, was born.

22/2/1866, After a period of financial mismanagement, Alexander Cuza was compelled to abdicate, and give safe conduct out of the country.

23/12/1861, The two states of Moldavia and Walachia (the Danubian Principalities) were united as Romania.

5/2/1859, Alexander Cuza was nominated as Prince of Walachia by the Assembly at Bucharest See 17/1/1859. This united the two principalities with Cuza as Prince Alexander John I; however such a union was forbidden by the Congress of Paris (18/10/1858). The Sultan of Turkey did not recognise this Union until 23/12/1861, when the State of Romania was formally proclaimed.

17/1/1859, Alexander Cuza was nominated as Prince of Moldavia by the Assembly at Jassy. See 5/2/1859.

1857, Oil was first struck near Ploesti.

20/4/1839, Charles King of Romania was born.

2/6/1821, Ion Bratianu, Romanian statesman, was born (died16/5/1891).

20/3/1820, Alexander Cuza, First Prince of Romania, was born.

28/5/1812, The Treaty of Bucharest was signed.

29/12/1606, Stephen Bocksay, Transylvanian Prince, was poisoned by his Chancellor, Mihaly Katay.

6/5/1600, Prince Sigismund Bathory of Transylvania lost the city of Suceava to Michael the Brave of Hungary.  The districts of Transylvania, Moldovia, and Wallachia became united for the first time as Romania, but the union dissolved a year later when Michael the Brave was killed.

26/10/1595, Hungary defeated Ottoman Turkey at Giurgiu, Wallachia (modern-day Romania).

17/6/1462, Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula, massacred an Ottoman army, killing 15,000, near Targoviste, capital of Wallachia.

20/8/1456, Vlad III ‘The Impaler’ became King of Romania. His cruelty gave rise to the legend of Dracula.


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