Transylvania (Romanian: Transilvania or Ardeal, Hungarian: Erdély, German: Siebenbürgen, Polish: Siedmiogród, Latin: Transsilvania, Turkish: Erdel) is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical regions of Crișana, Maramureș, and Romanian part of Banat. The region of Transylvania is known for the scenic beauty of its Carpathian landscape and its rich history. In the English-speaking world it has been commonly associated with vampires, chiefly due to the influence of Bram Stoker's famous novel Dracula as well as the many later film adaptations.
Historical flag and coat of arms of Transylvania
Transylvania has been dominated by several different peoples and countries throughout its history. It was once the nucleus of the Kingdom of Dacia (82 BC–106 AD). In 106 AD the Roman Empire conquered the territory, systematically exploiting its resources. After the Roman legions withdrew in 271 AD, it was overrun by a succession of various tribes, bringing it under the control of the Carpi (Dacian tribe), Visigoths, Huns, Gepids, Avars, Slavs and Bulgarians. It is a subject of dispute whether elements of the mixed Daco–Roman population survived in Transylvania through the Dark Ages (becoming the ancestors of modern Romanians) or the first Vlachs/Romanians appeared in the area in the 13th century after a northward migration from the Balkan Peninsula. There is an ongoing scholarly debate over the ethnicity of Transylvania's population before the Hungarian conquest (see Origin of the Romanians).
The Magyars conquered much of Central Europe at the end of the 9th century. According to Gesta Hungarorum, Transylvania was ruled by Vlach voivode Gelou after the Hungarians arrived. The Kingdom of Hungary established a partial control over Transylvania in 1003, when king Stephen I, according to legend, defeated the prince named Gyula. Transylvania was occupied by Hungarians in several stages between the 10th and 13th centuries Between 1003 and 1526, Transylvania was a voivodeship in the Kingdom of Hungary, led by a voivode appointed by the King of Hungary. After the Battle of Mohács in 1526, Transylvania became part of the Kingdom of János Szapolyai which, in 1571, was transformed into the Principality of Transylvania ruled primarily by Calvinist Hungarian-speaking princes. However, ethnic groups that lived in this principality also included numerous Romanians and Germans. For most of this period, Transylvania, maintaining its internal autonomy, was under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.
The Habsburgs acquired the territory shortly after the Battle of Vienna in 1683. In 1687, the rulers of Transylvania recognized the suzerainty of the Habsburg emperor Leopold I, and the region was officially attached to the Habsburg Empire. The Habsburgs acknowledged Principality of Transylvania as one of the Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen, but the territory of principality was administratively separated from Habsburg Hungary and subjected to the direct rule of the emperor's governors. In 1699 the Turks legally conceded their loss of Transylvania in the Treaty of Karlowitz; however, some anti-Habsburg elements within the principality submitted to the emperor only in the 1711 Peace of Szatmár. After the Ausgleich of 1867, the Principality of Transylvania was abolished and its territory was absorbed into Transleithania or the Hungarian part of the newly established Austro-Hungarian Empire.