Did Romania Steal Transylvania? Romania vs Hungary

did romania steal transylvania

Transylvania, a region nestled in the Carpathian Mountains, has long been a subject of discord between Romania and Hungary. The question looms: did Romania steal Transylvania, or are they the rightful owners? To fully grasp the situation, understanding the complex history of these neighboring countries and their relations is essential.

Did Romania steal Transylvania? No, Romania did not steal Transylvania. The region’s transfer to Romania followed World War I and was formalized in the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, reflecting the ethnic composition and post-war geopolitical changes in Europe.

Different perspectives exist, particularly when reviewing key historical events like World War I, where Bucharest played a significant role, and the Treaty of Trianon, which led to a redefinition of national borders. Additionally, the ethnic groups in the area, including Transylvanian Hungarians and Croatians, contribute to the complexity of the issue.

To understand the various viewpoints, delving into the history of Transylvania as well as the formation of Romania and Hungary is crucial. Croatia, though not directly involved, serves as another example of shifting borders and ethnic tensions in the region, providing a broader context for the ongoing debate.

Key Takeaways:

  • The ownership of Transylvania is a point of controversy between neighboring countries Romania and Hungary.
  • Understanding the historical events that have affected Transylvania is vital to comprehending the situation.
  • The occupation of Transylvania during the First World War, the Treaty of Trianon, and the ethnic groups residing in the region all contribute to the controversy.
  • Reviewing the history of Transylvania and the formation of Romania and Hungary is important to understand the multiple perspectives on this topic.

The History of Transylvania

Located in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania has a long and complex history. Originally part of the Kingdom of Hungary, the region came under Ottoman rule in the 16th century. Later, it was incorporated into the Habsburg Empire, then the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

During the 19th century, Transylvania was one of the most prosperous and culturally diverse regions of the Hungarian Kingdom. The area was home to not only Hungarians but also significant populations of Romanians, Germans, Jews, and Roma.

Following World War I and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Transylvania became part of the newly formed Romanian state. The region had been a contentious issue in negotiations at the 1920 Treaty of Trianon in Budapest, which resulted in Hungary ceding Transylvania to Romania.

Throughout its history, Transylvania has been home to many ethnic groups and played a pivotal role in the development of central Europe. The region has also been a site of conflict and conquest, changing hands multiple times between different empires and states. Today, Transylvania remains a diverse and culturally rich part of Romania, with strong historical ties to neighboring Moldavia and the Hungarian Kingdom.

The Treaty of Trianon and Transylvania

The Treaty of Trianon, signed in Budapest in 1920, was a peace treaty that ended World War I between the Allies and Hungary. The treaty addressed the political reconfiguration of Europe, and resulted in the transfer of Transylvania from Hungary to Romania. The treaty was a significant moment in the history of the region, and its impact is still felt today.

Romania and Hungary have long-standing disputes over Transylvania. The controversy begins with its history; the territory has been part of both the Carpathian Kingdom of Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. Later, the Hungarian Kingdom regained control, but in 1918 the Romanian state, together with Moldavia, occupied the area.

The Treaty of Trianon addressed the ethnic makeup of the region, which was a significant factor in the transfer of Transylvania from Hungary to Romania. The treaty recognized the national sovereignty of the two countries, and granted territorial changes that reflected the ethnic composition of the populations concerned.

The Ethnic Groups of Transylvania

Transylvania is a region with a diverse population, consisting of both ethnic Hungarians and Romanians, as well as other ethnic minorities. According to the 2011 Romanian census, the population of Transylvania was approximately 6.7 million people, of which about 73% were Romanians and 19% were Hungarians. The remaining 8% consisted of ethnic minorities, including Germans, Roma, Ukrainians, and others.

The Hungarian Population in Transylvania

The Hungarian population in Transylvania is largely concentrated in the central and western parts of the region. These areas were historically part of the Kingdom of Hungary before Transylvania was transferred to Romania following World War I. The presence of a significant Hungarian population has been a source of tension between Romania and Hungary for many years.

After World War I, the Hungarian population in Transylvania found itself living in a new country, which they did not consider their own. This led to a long history of discrimination and even persecution, especially during the communist era. Many Hungarians in Transylvania still feel that their rights are not fully respected, and there have been occasional tensions between the Hungarian and Romanian communities.

The Romanian Population in Transylvania

The Romanian population in Transylvania is concentrated in the southern and eastern parts of the region. These areas were historically part of the Romanian state, and the majority of the population in these areas identify themselves as Romanian.

While the Romanian population in Transylvania has historically been in the majority, there has been a significant Hungarian presence in the region for centuries. Over time, the two communities have developed distinct cultures and traditions, with the Hungarian population maintaining strong ties to their Hungarian roots and language.

Ethnic Minorities in Transylvania

Aside from the Romanian and Hungarian populations, there are also a significant number of ethnic minorities in Transylvania. These include Germans, Roma, Ukrainians, and others. The German population in Transylvania has long been established, with many families having lived in the region for generations.

The Roma population in Transylvania has had a more troubled history, with discrimination and marginalization being common experiences. In recent years, efforts have been made to address these issues and improve the situation for the Roma in Transylvania and throughout Romania.

Overall, the presence of these different ethnic groups has contributed to the rich cultural diversity of Transylvania, which continues to be celebrated and appreciated by many today.

The Occupation of Transylvania during the First World War

During the First World War, the Romanian army occupied Transylvania, which was then under Hungarian rule. The Romanian troops launched an offensive on August 27, 1916, with the aim of taking control of the region. The Hungarian forces fought back, but were eventually defeated by the Romanian army.

The occupation of Transylvania was a significant event in the history of the region. It marked the end of Hungarian rule and the beginning of a new era for the people of Transylvania. The region was now under Romanian control and the Romanian authorities began to implement policies that would shape the future of the region.

The occupation of Transylvania was not without its challenges. The Hungarian forces were not willing to give up the region without a fight and the Romanian troops faced strong resistance. The occupation also led to the displacement of many Hungarian civilians who were forced to leave their homes and move to Hungary.

Despite the challenges, the Romanian army was able to maintain its control over Transylvania. The occupation had a significant impact on the region and its people, and it played a key role in shaping the future of Transylvania.

The Formation of Romania and Hungary

The Carpathian Basin, which includes Transylvania, was a region coveted by many neighboring countries throughout history. In 1867, the Kingdom of Hungary was established as a constitutional monarchy within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, during World War I, Hungary was aligned with the Central Powers, and suffered a crushing defeat in 1918.

Following the war, the Hungarian government lost control over several territories previously held, including Transylvania. The Kingdom of Romania, with the support of the Allied Powers, seized control of Transylvania. The Romanian authorities then declared it part of the Kingdom of Romania. In December 1918, the Romanian troops marched into Transylvania, and the Hungarian rule was officially over.

As a consequence of the Treaty of Trianon signed in Budapest in 1920, Hungary lost nearly two-thirds of its territory and population. Transylvania was now part of the Romanian state, and thus the Carpathian Basin was forever changed. The Hungarian government was outraged and saw this as a huge injustice to the Hungarian population in Transylvania.

The formation of Romania and Hungary was seen as a crucial turning point in Central European history. The consequences of both World War I and the Treaty of Trianon significantly shaped the relations between Romania and Hungary. The legacy of this controversial period is still being felt today.

Romania’s Claim to Transylvania

Transylvania has been a controversial topic for many years, with Romania and Hungary being at odds over its ownership. The Romanian national view is that Transylvania was historically part of the Hungarian Kingdom, but became part of Romania after Romanian troops occupied southern Transylvania during World War I.

Romania claims that the southern part of Transylvania had a majority Romanian population and that the area was given to Romania as part of the Treaty of Trianon in 1920. This treaty was signed in Budapest and officially ended World War I between Romania and Hungary. However, Hungary claims that the treaty was unfair and did not take into account the ethnic Hungarian population in Transylvania.

Hungary’s Perspective on Transylvania

For Hungary, losing Transylvania to Romania in the aftermath of World War I was a significant blow to national identity. Transylvania had been a part of the Hungarian Kingdom since the 11th century and was considered by many to be an integral part of Hungarian culture and heritage. Today, the Hungarian population in Transylvania remains one of the largest ethnic minorities in Romania, with a cultural and linguistic identity that is distinct from the majority Romanian population.

The Hungarian army played a crucial role in the region during the First and Second World Wars, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences heavily researched and documented the history and culture of Transylvania. For many Hungarians, the loss of Transylvania represented a significant setback in the country’s efforts to preserve its national identity and cultural heritage.

Did Romania Steal Transylvania? The Legacy of the Romania vs Hungary Controversy

The history between Hungary and Romania has been marked by controversy over the years, with the issue of Transylvania being a major point of contention. The conflict has left a lasting impact on the relationship between the two countries and has shaped their respective histories.

The history of Hungary and Romania is archived from the original sources and is rich and complex. The peace treaty that ended the First World War and the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 have had a profound impact on the region.

The History of Hungary

Hungary has a long and storied history, dating back to the 9th century. The Kingdom of Hungary was established in the 11th century and went on to become a major power in Central Europe. The Ottoman Empire occupied Hungary for over a century, before it was liberated by the Habsburgs. In 1867, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was formed, which lasted until the end of the First World War.

The History of Romania

Romania’s history is equally as complex, with the Carpathian Mountains playing a key role in shaping the region’s culture and identity. The country gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century and went on to become a constitutional monarchy. After the First World War, the Kingdom of Romania expanded its territory and Transylvania became part of the country.

The legacy of the Romania vs Hungary controversy continues to be felt today, with ethnic minorities in both countries feeling the effects of the dispute. While the focus on the issue has diminished over time, it remains an important part of the region’s history and serves as a reminder of the complexity of relations between nations.

The Importance of Ethnic Minorities in Transylvania

Transylvania has a rich history of diverse ethnic groups and cultures living together. The region has been home to significant populations of Romanians, Hungarians, and Germans, among others. Today, it remains one of the most ethnically diverse regions in Europe, with significant minorities such as the Croats also present.

The Romanian population is the largest in Transylvania, making up around 70% of the region’s inhabitants. Hungarians make up around 20% of the population, with other ethnic groups making up the remaining 10%. Despite the majority of Romanians living in Transylvania, the Hungarian population is still significant and has played an important role in the region’s cultural heritage and history.

The Hungarian population in Transylvania has its roots in the Kingdom of Hungary. Hungarian rule over Transylvania lasted for centuries until Ottoman invasions sowed the seeds of change. After the Ottoman Empire’s decline, the Hungarian Kingdom and the Romanian state began to assert their authority in the region.

The Croats are another significant minority in Transylvania, and their presence goes back to the early Middle Ages. Their culture and traditions have contributed significantly to Transylvania’s rich heritage. Despite their relatively small population, the Croats have played an important role in shaping the region’s identity, and their influence can still be seen today.

It is crucial to recognize and celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of Transylvania’s ethnic minorities. Each group has its unique traditions, beliefs, and customs that contribute to the region’s history and identity. It is essential to ensure that all ethnic groups in Transylvania are treated equally and fairly, and their rights are protected.

Romania and Hungary: A Complex Relationship

The relationship between Romania and Hungary has been complex and at times contentious. Both countries are located in central Europe and their histories have been intertwined with each other for centuries. The controversy over Transylvania has been a major source of tension between the two countries.

Romania and Hungary have had a long history of relations, often marked by political tensions and cultural differences. The relationship between the two countries has been shaped by a number of factors, including their geographic proximity, their shared history, and their differing political and economic systems.

Over the years, Romania and Hungary have had many disputes and disagreements. Perhaps the most significant of these disputes has been the controversy over Transylvania. The ownership of Transylvania has been disputed by Romania and Hungary for many years.

Despite these long-standing tensions and disagreements, Romania and Hungary have also had periods of cooperation and collaboration. Both countries have sought to work together on issues such as economic development, security, and regional stability.

The Future of Romania-Hungary Relations

The future of Romania-Hungary relations is uncertain. While the two countries have a shared history and a number of common interests, they also have many differences and disagreements. It will be important for Romania and Hungary to find ways to work together to address these differences and build a more stable and productive relationship in the future.

One potential area of cooperation for Romania and Hungary is their shared interest in promoting economic development and regional stability. Both countries have significant economic potential and could benefit from increased trade and investment. They could also work together to promote regional security and stability, particularly given the ongoing challenges posed by geopolitical tensions and territorial disputes in the region.

Ultimately, the success of Romania-Hungary relations will depend on the ability of both countries to build trust and understanding, and to work together to address the many challenges that they face. By doing so, they can build a stronger, more stable, and more prosperous future for their people and for the region as a whole.


As we can see, the controversy surrounding Transylvania’s ownership is a complex issue with a rich and fascinating history. Both Romania and Hungary have strong claims to the region, rooted in deep cultural and historical ties. While the Treaty of Trianon settled the matter on paper, the legacy of the dispute lives on.

However, it is important to remember that the real heart of Transylvania lies not in ownership disputes, but in its diverse population of ethnic minorities. Romanians, Hungarians, and Croats all call Transylvania home, and each group brings their unique traditions and cultures to the region. It is this diversity that truly makes Transylvania a special and cherished part of Central Europe.

Ultimately, the relationship between Romania and Hungary is a complex one, shaped by decades of history and political maneuvering. As both countries continue to navigate their shared past and present, it is our hope that they will come to a greater appreciation of the role that Transylvania plays in their shared heritage.

Is Transylvania a Part of Romania or Hungary?

Transylvania, a historical region in Europe, is commonly associated with Romania. However, it does have a complex past and was under Hungarian rule for centuries. Today, Transylvania is an integral part of Romania. It offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking and trekking in the carpathian mountains, attracting adventurers from around the world.


Q: Did Romania Steal Transylvania? Romania vs Hungary

A: No, Romania did not steal Transylvania. The issue of Transylvania’s ownership has been a subject of controversy and dispute between Romania and Hungary for many years.

Q: What is the history of Transylvania?

A: Transylvania has a rich history dating back to ancient times. It was originally inhabited by various tribes before becoming part of the Carpathian Kingdom of Hungary. It later came under Ottoman rule before eventually becoming part of the Romanian state of Moldavia.

Q: What is the significance of the Treaty of Trianon in relation to Transylvania?

A: The Treaty of Trianon, signed in Budapest in 1920, determined the borders between Romania and Hungary after World War I. It resulted in Transylvania becoming part of Romania, despite the presence of various ethnic groups.

Q: What are the main ethnic groups in Transylvania?

A: Transylvania is home to a significant Hungarian population, as well as a large Romanian population. There are also several ethnic minorities, including Germans, Roma, and other groups.

Q: What happened during the occupation of Transylvania in the First World War?

A: During the First World War, the Romanian army occupied Transylvania, which was previously under Hungarian rule. This led to clashes between Romanian troops and Hungarian forces.

Q: How did Romania and Hungary come into existence?

A: Romania and Hungary have complex histories. The Carpathian Basin, including Transylvania, was part of the Kingdom of Romania, while the Kingdom of Hungary had its origins in the Hungarian Kingdom. Over time, these territories came under the control of Romanian authorities and the Hungarian government, respectively.

Q: What is Romania’s claim to Transylvania?

A: Romania claims that Transylvania has historically been part of the Romanian national territory and that its occupation during the First World War solidified this claim. They argue that it is an integral part of the country and should not be considered a separate entity.

Q: How does Hungary view Transylvania?

A: Hungary sees Transylvania as an important region with a significant Hungarian population. They believe that historical and cultural ties between Transylvania and Hungary make it a natural part of their country.

Q: What is the legacy of the Romania vs Hungary controversy?

A: The Romania vs Hungary controversy has had a profound impact on the histories of both countries. It has shaped their relations and continues to be a topic of debate and discussion. The peace treaty, including the Treaty of Trianon, remains a significant factor in understanding this complex relationship.

Q: What is the importance of ethnic minorities in Transylvania?

A: Ethnic minorities play a crucial role in the cultural and social fabric of Transylvania. The region is home to significant populations of both Romanians and Hungarians, as well as other ethnic groups such as Croats. Their presence adds diversity and richness to the region.

Q: What is the nature of the relationship between Romania and Hungary?

A: Romania and Hungary have a complex relationship, characterized by both cooperation and tension. As neighboring countries in central Europe, they have shared histories and common interests, but they have also experienced disagreements and disputes over various issues, including the ownership of Transylvania.

Q: Do you have any concluding remarks on the Romania vs Hungary controversy?

A: The Romania vs Hungary controversy over Transylvania is a complex and deeply rooted issue. Understanding the historical, political, and cultural context is essential in appreciating the perspectives and motivations of both countries. It remains a topic of ongoing debate and continues to shape the relationship between Romania and Hungary.

Q: When will Romania return Transylvania to Hungary and other territories?

A: The question presupposes that Romania should return Transylvania to Hungary, which is a matter of significant debate and is not universally accepted. Currently, there is no international or bilateral agreement that stipulates Romania will return Transylvania to Hungary. The ownership of Transylvania, as well as other territories like Dobruja and Western Moldavia, has historical roots and is a subject of ongoing diplomatic discussion between the countries involved. As of now, Transylvania is a part of Romania, and there are no immediate plans or mandates for its return to Hungary or for the transfer of other territories.

Q: What was the status of Transylvania in the 10th century?

A: In the 10th century, Transylvania was part of the Hungarian state and kingdom. The Hungarians arrived and settled in the Carpathian Basin during this time, establishing control over Transylvania. It was an important part of the early Hungarian state.

Q: When did Romanians start settling in Transylvania in large numbers?

A: There was a significant migration of Romanians into Transylvania starting in the 12th century. This led to sizable Romanian populations living alongside Hungarians over the centuries. By the 1910 census, Romanians made up a majority of the population in Transylvania.

Q: How did Hungary lose control over Transylvania?

A: After 150 years of Hungarian control, Transylvania came under Ottoman occupation in the 16th century. It was later integrated into the Romanian state of Moldavia in the 17th century before being reclaimed by the Hungarian state. In the aftermath of World War I, Transylvania was formally united with Romania in the Treaty of Trianon, despite having a large Hungarian minority.

Q: What was the Hungarian elite’s stance towards Transylvania?

A: The Hungarian elite viewed Transylvania as an integral part of the Kingdom of Hungary and the Hungarian state. It was seen as the economic and cultural center of the country. Hungarian nationalism considered the region a core Hungarian territory, even after the dissolution of the Hungarian kingdom.

Q: How did Romania regain control over Transylvania after WWI?

A: The Romanian delegation argued for Transylvania’s union with Romania during the Versailles talks at the end of WWI. With Allied support, Transylvania was granted to Romania in the Treaty of Trianon, although Hungary protested this fiercely. This formalized the Romanian occupation of Transylvania from 1916 onward.

Q: What is the current situation of Hungarians living in Transylvania?

A: About 1.5 million ethnic Hungarians continue to live in Transylvania today. They form a sizable Hungarian minority within Romania. There are some tensions over language and cultural rights, but Hungarians participate actively in Romanian political and social life. Issues of Hungarian nationalism and identity remain complex.

Q: How does Transylvania relate to the wider history of Romania and Hungary?

A: Transylvania has played a central role in both Romanian and Hungarian history over the past millennium. Control over the region shifted between the two evolving states. The relationship between Romanians and Hungarians in Transylvania illustrates the interwoven histories of the two peoples. Debates over Transylvania’s status continue to influence bilateral relations.

Q: What is the current Romanian view regarding Transylvania?

A: The Romanian government and people view Transylvania as an integral part of Romania, both legally and culturally. There is pride in the region’s mixed heritage and its contributions to Romanian history. However, tensions around Hungarian minority rights persist. Overall, Romania sees Transylvania as Romanian territory and does not support territorial revisions.

Q: What was the significance of the Carpathians in the history of Transylvania?

A: The Carpathian mountains helped define Transylvania geographically. Located beyond the Carpathians, Transylvania was somewhat isolated from other regions. This enabled diverse groups like Hungarians, Romanians, and Saxons to develop distinct local cultures in Transylvania away from outside influence. The Carpathians were thus integral to the unique heritage of Transylvania.

Q: How did Romanians in Transylvania preserve their nationality over time?

A: Romanians resisted assimilation campaigns under Hungarian rule and retained their language and identity. The Romanian people maintained their Orthodox faith and strong village communities. Cultural societies promoted Romanian culture even when political rights were limited. This persistence allowed Romanians to claim Transylvania as their homeland later on.

Q: Who was the King of Hungary when Transylvania was lost?

A: The Ottoman conquest of Transylvania in the 16th century occurred during the reign of King Louis II of Hungary. Unable to stop the Ottoman advances, Hungary lost this territory that had been part of its medieval kingdom for centuries.

Q: What regions made up Northern Transylvania?

A: Northern Transylvania contained regions like Maramureș and Crișana which bordered Hungary. It had an ethnic Hungarian majority and was the site of Hungarian noble landowners. Control over this strategic northern area was a key concern for both Hungary and Romania.

Q: How did Hungarians view the Treaty of Trianon?

A: Hungarians saw the Treaty as a national tragedy which stripped Hungary of territories like Transylvania. This loss of over half of the pre-war Hungarian kingdom and people left deep wounds. Regaining this land remained an aim of Hungarian foreign policy and nationalism for decades after.