1. Introduction

The problem of the origin and formation of the Rumanian nation has always provided matter for keen disputation among historians, and the theories which have been advanced are widely divergent. Some of these discussions have been undertaken solely for political reasons, and in such cases existing data prove conveniently adaptable. This elastic treatment of the historical data is facilitated by the fact that a long and important period affecting the formation and the development of the Rumanian nation (270-1220) has bequeathed practically no contemporary evidence. By linking up, however, what is known antecedent to that period with the precise data available regarding the following it, and by checking the inferred results with what little evidence exists respecting the obscure epoch of Rumanian history, it has been possible to reconstruct, almost to a certainty, the evolution of the Rumanians during the Middle Ages.

A discussion of the varying theories would be out of proportion, and out of place, in this essay. Nor is it possible to give to any extent a detailed description of the epic struggle which the Rumanians carried on for centuries against the Turks. I shall have to deal, therefore, on broad lines, with the historical facts - laying greater stress only upon the three fundamental epochs of Rumanian history: the formation of the Rumanian nation; its initial casting into a national polity (foundation of the Rumanian principalities); and its final evolution into the actual unitary State; and shall then pass on to consider the more recent internal and external development of Rumania, and her present attitude.