Caracal (Romanian pronunciation: [kaˈrakal] (listen)) is a city in Olt county, Romania, situated in the historic region of Oltenia, on the plains between the lower reaches of the Jiu and Olt rivers. The region's plains are well known for their agricultural specialty in cultivating grains and over the centuries, Caracal has been the trading center for the region's agricultural output. Caracal has a population of approximately 31,000 and is the second largest city in the region.
While 19th century historians thought that the name of Caracal is linked to Roman EmperorCaracalla, the current accepted etymology is that city's name is derived from the Cuman languagekara kale meaning "Black fortress" (kara, meaning "black", and kal, either from the Turkishkale, or the Arabicqal'at, both meaning fortress).
The end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century saw Caracal experience significant growth and the region become one of the most important agricultural regions in Romania. Caracal was this region's capital and seat of Romanaţi County. World War II and the communist regime brought changes to this region and to the city of Caracal. The communist government, which disestablished Romanaţi County, instituted industrialization plans and Caracal experienced continued economic growth through the establishment of industrial plants in the textile industry sector.