Country, northeastern Balkan Peninsula, southeastern Europe. Area: 92,043 sq mi (238,391 sq km). Population (2005 est.): 21,602,000. Capital: Bucharest. Most of the people are Romanian; a minority are Hungarian. Language: Romanian (official). Religion: Christianity (predominantly Eastern Orthodox; also Protestant, Roman Catholic). Currency: leu. The land is dominated by the great arc of the Carpathian Mountains, whose highest peak, Moldoveanu, reaches an elevation of 8,346 ft (2,544 m).
The Danube River forms most of the southern boundary with Bulgaria. Under communist rule (1948–89), Romania had a centrally planned economy that was transformed from an agricultural into an industrial economy. From 1991 the postcommunist government began returning industrial and commercial enterprises to the private sector.
Romania is a republic with two legislative houses; its chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. Romania was formed in 1859 by the de facto unification of Moldavia and Walachia (for earlier history, see Dacia).
During World War I it sided with the Allies and doubled its territory in 1918 with the addition of Transylvania, Bukovina, and Bessarabia. Allied with Germany in World War II, Romania was occupied by Soviet troops in 1944 and became a satellite of the U.S.S.R. in 1948. During the 1960s Romania's foreign policy was frequently independent of the Soviet Union's.
The communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown in 1989, and free elections were held in 1990. In the 1990s Romania struggled with rampant corruption, but it entered the 21st century with a stabilizing economy. In 2004 it joined NATO.