The Romance languages are those languages derived from the Latin of the Roman Empire. Today, there are five major Romance languages: Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and do you know what the fifth Romance language is? It’s Romanian.
There are about 20 million speakers of Romanian today, almost all of them living in the nation of Romania. Romania is located in eastern Europe, on the Black Sea. A semicircle of mountains divides the nation into three regions: Moldavia in the north, Wallachia in the south, and mountainous Transylvania in between.
This part of Europe was part of the Roman Empire in ancient times. It was known as Dacia, and many Latin-speaking people settled there. Romania’s name, in fact, means “land of the Romans”.
The Moldavia and Wallachia regions later came under the control of the Turks, and Transylvania was ruled by Hungary for many centuries. In 1861, Wallachia and Moldavia joined to form Romania, which gained its independence from Turkey in 1878. After World War I, Transylvania also became part of Romania.
The delta of the Danube River lies in Romania, and this region is rich in oil. Romania was the largest producer of oil in Europe, after the Soviet Union, until the discoveries of oil in the North Sea in recent years.
Romania today is a world leader in another category, it has more movie theaters than any other nation on earth except the United States and the Soviet Union.