The Romanians, 1774-1866

Keith Hitchins

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


The century from the 1774 Treaty of Kuchuk Kainardji (between Russia and the Ottoman Empire) to the end of Prince Alexandru Cuza's reign in 1866 stands as a distinct era in the development of modern Romania. It marks the transition from long-established agrarian economic and social structures, and medieval political forms, to a society moulded by urban and industrial values and held together by allegiance to the nation-state.

This initial period of nation-building was characterized by dramatic shifts of mentality and significant changes in economic and social life. The principal changes included: the freeing of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia from Ottoman Turkish dominion and their union to form the core of modern Romania; the cultivation of the idea of the ethnic nation as the foundation of community; the emergence of new ways of producing goods and doing business, notably the advance of capitalism in agriculture and industry; and the relentless advance of Western political forms, economic models and cultural acheivements. As a consequence, by the 1860s a united, and for all practical purposes, an independent Romania had come into being, and the institutions and ideologies that were to guide the countrie's development down to the Second World War were in place. In the process the Romanians had experienced a fundamental shift in their mental outlook away from the traditions of the Eastern Orthodox world towards the innovations and experiments of the West. Yet the creators of the new state could never forget that they and their countrymen remained as always at the crossroads between east and west.

This original and ground-breaking work is the first attempt to treat the period 1774-1866 as a distinct stage in the evolution of modern Romania and is a fascinating analysis of the building of a European nation-state.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherClarendon Press
Number of pages350
ISBN (Print)9780198205913
StatePublished - Jun 6 1996


  • Romania
  • nation-building
  • mentality
  • economic
  • social life
  • Eastern Orthodox
  • West


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