Etymology of Romania

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Etymology of Romania

Post  kosovohp on Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:13 am

The name of Romania (Romanian: România) comes from Romanian: român which is a derivative of the Latin: Romanus (Roman).[6] The fact that Romanians call themselves a derivative of Romanus (Romanian: Român/Rumân) is first mentioned in the 16th century by Italian humanists travelling in Transylvania, Moldavia and Wallachia.[7][8][9][10] The oldest surviving document written in the Romanian language is a 1521 letter known as "Neacşu's Letter from Câmpulung".[11] This document is also notable for having the first occurrence of "Rumanian" in a Romanian written text, Wallachia being here named The Rumanian Land – Ţeara Rumânească (Ţeara from the Latin: Terra land).[citation needed]

In the following centuries, Romanian documents use interchangeably two spelling forms: român and rumân.[note 1] Socio-linguistic evolutions in the late 17th century led to a process of semantic differentiation: the form "rumân", presumably usual among lower classes, got the meaning of "bondsman", while the form român kept an ethno-linguistic meaning.[12] After the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the form "rumân" gradually disappears and the spelling definitively stabilises to the form "român", "românesc".[note 2] Tudor Vladimirescu, a revolutionary leader of the early 19th century, used "Rumânia" to refer exclusively to the principality of Wallachia, the southern part of modern Romania.[13]

The name "România" as common homeland of all Romanians is documented in the early 19th century.[note 3] This name has been officially in use since December 11, 1861.[14] English-language sources still used the terms "Rumania" or "Roumania", borrowed from the French spelling "Roumanie", as recently as World War II,[15] but since then those terms have largely been replaced with the official spelling "Romania".

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