In ancient times the territory of present day Romania was inhabited mainly by Dacian tribes, who had a remarkable, although not very well known, culture. The Dacian kingdom reached its peak in the 1st century BC, when their king Burebista ruled from his power base in the Carpathian Mountains over a vast territory stretching from Central Europe to the Black Sea. The intriguing network of fortifications and shrines built around the historical Dacian capital Sarmizegetusa, in today's south-western Transylvania, has been relatively well preserved through the ages and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In 106 AD the Dacians were defeated by the Romans, most of their homeland becoming a province of the Roman Empire. Being quite rich in natural resources including gold, silver, salt, etc., the region prospered under the Roman administration: cities developed rapidly, imperial roads were built and people from all over the Empire settled there. That's why, despite the fact that Roman administration lasted in Dacia less than 200 years, a population with a distinctive Latin character and language emerged there. Naturally, later on they were influenced by the neighbouring Slavic peoples with whom they were in contact.
In the Early Middle Ages Hungarians began settling in the area today known as Transylvania, which would eventually become after years a part of the Kingdom of Hungary. German Saxons also settled in that area in several waves, starting from the 12th century. In order to protect themselves from frequent Tartar or Turkish invasions, they set about building fortified cities and castles, many of which remained to this day. South and east of the Carpathians, the two Romanian speaking principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia were created in the 14th century. Starting with the 15th century, both of them and for a while Transylvania too fell under the domination of the Ottoman Empire.
For a short period in 1600, Michael The Brave Mihai Viteazul ruled over all three principalities, thus briefly becoming historically the first de-facto ruler of a unified Romania. The international scene, however, was not ready yet to accept and recognize a unified Romania, thus his union fell a short while later.
A Romanian national revival movement started in Transylvania in the late 1700's and swept across the Carpathians, inspiring the 1859 unification of Moldavia and Wallachia, thus creating modern national Romania. In 1917-1919 Transylvania and Eastern Moldavia today part of the Republic of Moldova were united with Romania "Greater Romania".
"Soviet occupation following World War II led to the formation of a Communist "people's republic" "R.P.R" in 1947 and the abdication of the king. Between 1947 and 1965, Romania was led by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej with a pro-Soviet stance throughout most of his administration. In 1965, he was succeeded by Nicolae Ceauşescu who was less enthusiastic towards the Soviet Union and maintained a more neutral foreign policy than his predecessor alongside a harsh internal terror regime. During the 1980s, his notorious Securitate secret police became a strong force. The leader was overthrown and executed in late 1989."CIA World Factbook. Former Communists, regrouped around the Front of National Salvation and the Romanian Party for Social Democracy dominated the government until the 1996 elections, when they were swept from power by a fractious coalition of centrist parties, after failed reforms were replaced by the Social Democratic Party. Both groups attempted to amend ties with Hungary, which were deeply fractured back in the 1980s, when Ceausescu either encouraged the large Hungarian community to leave the country or exiled them outright 5.000 Hungarians left Romania anually. The 2004 elections brought to power an alliance formed by the National Liberal and Democratic parties. They currently govern the country with the support of most minority parties in Romania. In 2008 Romania held its legislative elections with the right wing party of the PDL Democratic Liberal Party winning the national elections by a small margin against the PSD Social Democratic Party. The current Prime Minister is Victor Ponta while the Deputy Prime Minister is Dan Nica of the Social Democratic Party.
As of the year 2009 the Romanian Government has decided to implement a massive infrastructure investment programme which will benefit the whole country. The Romanian Government hopes to successfully implement the massive infrastructure program by the end of their mandate in 2012.
When the economic, social and political development is concerned Romania is doing well in comparison to other countries in the Western Balkans region and other surrounding countries in Eastern Europe such as Ukraine and Moldova. However when compared to Western Europe, Romania still has some ways to go to reach that level of development that is enjoyed by the Western Europeans. However Romania's membership in the European Union will help in closing the gap in the years to come.
With a Black Sea coast to the south-east, it is bordered by Bulgaria to the south, Serbia to the southwest, Hungary to the northwest, Moldova to the northeast and Ukraine in both the north and the east. While its southern regions are usually seen as part of South-east European Balkans, Transylvania, its central and largest region, has a more western-central European look.
The country - which joined the European Union in January 2007 - is currently enjoying a higher life standard than in Communist times, with foreign investments on the rise, and an improved internal road infrastructure.