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The union of December 1, 1918, at Alba Iulia

What challenges lie ahead of Romania upon its 100th anniversary?

Delia Budurca recommended by Delia Budurca NewsMavens, Romania

On December 1, 1918 the modern state of Romania was established. Hundred years later, the leading national politicians voice their concerns about the future. According to the president, 2018 may be the most difficult year so far. 

Romania Signs of the Times

Why this story matters:


The year 2018 marks Romania’s centennial anniversary. On December 1, 1918, at Alba Iulia, three regions in western Romania -- which were inhabited by Romanians from ancient times -- Transylvania, Banat and Crisana joined the Romanian Kingdom. Previously that year, in March, Basarabia (current day Republic of Moldova) also became a part of the country.

Then, 1228 deputies of the Great National Assembly passed the Alba Iulia Resolution, which sealed the union.

This day has been celebrated as Romania’s National Day since the 1989 Revolution. Prior to that, the communists marked the National Day on August 23, commemorating the moment when Romania joined the Allies during the II World War, after the head of the pro-nazi Government, Marshal Ion Antonescu, was arrested.

“2018 is a special year, maybe the most difficult one that we, Romanians, have to go through, because it is the year of the centenary. (…) For each of us politicians it will be a difficult test -- not in the eyes of our colleagues but other Romanians, the public. They expect us to do our job well, to shape a bright future for the country. (…)

We must prove that we have learned our lessons, that we’ve earned the mandate and now we can give people hope,”

declared the President, Klaus Iohannis, in early January 2018, at a meeting at the Supreme Council of Magistracy.

He alluded to the 2017 governance of the Social Democratic Party, marked by unpopular economic and justice reforms widely considered to be an attempt to subordinate justice to politics.

As for the Prime Minister, Mihai Tudose -- in his New Year’s speech, he expressed a desire that Romanians have the power to turn each individual achievement into a group one, as their forefathers did.

To celebrate Romania’s Centennial, the government is expected to organize large-scale events, in varied cultural and social areas. The Minister of Culture, Lucian Romascanu, announced that 2,170 projects for the celebration of the event were submitted for financing.

Details from the story:

  • Romania obtained international recognition of the 1918 union two years later. The new borders were formally established by the Treaty of Trianon on June 4, 1920.
  • The 1918 union is referred to as the “Great Union”, to differentiate it from the 1859 Union, called the Little Union, when the other two main Romanian provinces (Moldavia and Tara Romaneasca) unified. The three main historical provinces (Transylvania, Moldova and Tara Romaneasca) surround the Carpathian Mountain Range and have been inhabited by Romanians since ancient times.  
  • The photos that captured the atmosphere of the Great National Assembly on December 1, 1918 were taken by Samoil Mârza. He purchased his camera with the money obtained from the sale of a pair of oxen. Due to limited technology and unfavorable weather he could only take five pictures.
  • Samoil Mârza's photos from Alba Iulia were used by the Romanian delegation at the Versailles Peace Conference so that the Allies clearly see the popular support of the event. It is also possible that they have influenced the decision of the key states to recognize the union.

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