Talk:Slavery in Romania

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US abolitionism[edit]

I saw that image on US slavery and I realized that Achim noted another link to the US abolitionist movement: in 1853, Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in Iaşi, (Coliba lui Moşu Toma sau Viaţa negrilor în sudul Statelor Unite din America), translated by Theodor Codrescu (it was the first American novel to be translated to Romanian) and with a foreword study on slavery by Mihail Kogălniceanu. bogdan (talk) 23:25, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

By all means, add it! I think this tidbit goes best under "Legacy", somewhere after the original works written around this. We could also use this in the MK article, methinks. Dahn (talk) 23:31, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Hancock's book[edit]

Ian F. Hancock, Pariah Syndrome: An Account of Gypsy Slavery and Persecution, Karoma Publishers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1987, ISBN 0897200799

is found online at and it has a couple of chapters on the issue of slavery in Romania. bogdan (talk) 00:28, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Right on! I was just looking over some other google books resources. Btw, the article does not mention a very important fact. Namely that, except for the Byzantine precedent, the two principlaities were the only part of the world to enslave the Roma. I suppose Achim mentions this too. Dahn (talk) 00:33, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Achim says that in both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, the Roma had a situation similar to the one of ţiganii domneşti in Romania. He also notes that the Roma slaves in Corfu were turned into serfs by the Venetians when they occupied the island.
Nevertheless, I found on google a book talking about "Gypsy slavery in Britain", arguing that it has "New research into the forcible export of Gypsies from Britain during the 17th and 18th centuries and of their sale in the slave markets of the Western colonies." Not sure how reliable is such a book, which appears to be self-published, too...
bogdan (talk) 00:55, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Hm. Then I guess the authors who say "alone in C and E Europe" mean to say "alone in C and E Christian Europe". Though i have to say that Venetian serfdom may be racially biased, but it presumably is a different kind of institution, while the Ottomans (and rulers of Muslim world in general) were enslaving everybody and anybody, without favoring any. Oh and, yeah, that last book is most likely not a WP:RS. Dahn (talk) 01:09, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Also, Ian Hancock also talks about Roma slavery in England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal and Russia:
While the enslavement of Roma in the Balkans is the most extensively documented, Gypsies have also been enslaved at different times in other parts of the world. In Renaissance England King Edward VI passed a law stating that Gypsies be "branded with a V on their breast, and then enslaved for two years," and if they escaped and were recaptured, they were then branded with an S and made slaves for life. During the same period in Spain, according to a decree issued in 1538, Gypsies were enslaved for perpetuity to individuals as a punishment for escaping. Spain had already begun shipping Gypsies to the Americas in the 15th century; three were transported by Columbus to the Caribbean on his third voyage in 1498. Spain's later solucion americans involved the shipping of Gypsy slaves to its colony in 18th century Louisiana. An Afro-Gypsy community today lives in St. Martin's Parish, and reportedly there is another one in central Cuba, both descended from intermarriage between the two enslaved peoples. In the 16th century, Portugal shipped Gypsies as an unwilling labor force to its colonies in Maranhão (now Brazil), Angola and even India, the Romas' country of origin which they had left five centuries earlier. They were made Slaves of the Crown in 18th century Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great, while in Scotland during the same period they were employed "in a state of slavery" in the coal mines. England and Scotland had shipped Roma to Virginia and the Caribbean as slaves during the 17th and 18th centuries; John Moreton, in his West India Customs and Manners (1793), describes seeing "many Gypsies (in Jamaica) subject from the age of eleven to thirty to the prostitution and lust of overseers, book-keepers, negroes, &c. (and) taken into keeping by gentlemen who paid exorbitant hire for their use."
bogdan (talk) 01:17, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Hm. Yes, we should add from that source two. Perhaps confront what Guy says with Hancock's study? "However, Roma slavery is also attested in other parts of the world between the 16th and 18th centuries etc." Dahn (talk) 01:31, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Someone big[edit]

It just dawned on me that this article is missing a big name: Ştefan Răzvan! Dahn (talk) 01:14, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Ah, of course! :-) bogdan (talk) 01:17, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
You know, I never noticed: a Wallachian Rom freed from slavery gets to rule over Moldavia... I'm sure Anittas would find this the most unnerving tidbit of all. Ah, I so miss his speeches... not. Dahn (talk) 01:42, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
As I know it he was not Wallachian but Turkish. It says so in Wikipedia's article on him too. para15000 (talk) 01:42, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

I only wanted to point out that this webpage is suprisingly unavailable in Romanian! I frequently wish to educate people about this history, as many people here in Romania do not seem to know about this history of Gypsy Enslavement. I will see if I can help to translate the page, if possible. If anyone has suggestions or can give advice or support, I would greatly appreciate it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:03, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Proposal for renaming[edit]

I think a renaming would be quite necessary, since the slavery never existed in a country called Romania, but in Wallachia and Moldavia. My proposal is: "Slavery in Wallachia and Moldavia". --Olahus (talk) 10:19, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

It's something to consider, but how will section 3 of the article fit in with the rest? Dahn (talk) 10:40, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not strongly opposed, but sometimes slightly anachronistic titles, if the fact they are anachronisms is well-explained in the text, are OK. For instance Stone Age Poland: no one was calling it Poland back then, but it's the simplest way of referring to that entity. Plus, as Dahn notes, slavery extended well beyond the borders of what would become the Old Kingdom. Maybe "Slavery in the Romanian Lands"? - Biruitorul Talk 14:47, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I believe that the actual title is anachronistic since they are regions in present-day Romania where slavery never really existed (Banat, Satu Mare and Maramures) and even in Transylvania slavery was very less developped (maybe a special article about Transylvania would be a good solution). But if we take into account that mediaval Moldavia included 90% of present-day Moldova and that some territories belong also to Ukraine today ... I really don't know what to say. Maybe "Slavery in the Romanian Lands" would be a good idea, but we must watch out on users like Xasha ... you know what I mean. In the case of Stone Age Poland things are a little bit different - the term "Poland" desigantes a geographical space here, not a country, because during the stone age no states existed at all. In the case of the the territory of present-day Romania, some states already existed in the 1840s and 1850s. --Olahus (talk) 15:29, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, if we don't just leave the article as is, then I suppose the [next-]best terminology is still "Slavery in Wallachia and Moldavia". We could then rephrase parts of section 3 to more clearly show that it's about "annexed" phenomenons. I consider a special "in Transylvania" article overkill, as least as long as most of the info is in some relation to this phenomenon. If it should happen that we need a separate article for that (and note that we don't even seem to need one on slavery in the Habsburg Monarchy, or in Hungary - probably for just cause, as the notable phenomenon of serfdom is not quite the same thing), then we would still need section 3 here for the "gray area" between Wallachian/Moldavian customs and whatever it is that may or may not have happened otherwise in Hungary.
In any case, I would recommend waiting for Bogdan to state his view before considering the move (it was he who originally named it). I see he was notified, but he probably hasn't been following this yet. Dahn (talk) 11:22, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
How about "Slavery in Romanian Principalities"?Kenshin (talk) 07:46, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
You're touching a nerve here. We have consistently used Danubian Principalities for the concept - I supported the name, precisely because it seems traditional reference in English (and it's non-ambiguous), but some nationalist POV pusher went against both common sense and wikipedia rulings, hijacked the redirect and created a duplicate article (which is an oasis for original research and grotesque absurdities). Finally, if we merge both into a "Romanian Principalities" article is more or less indifferent to me at this stage, but it would require deleting that monstrosity - and, given that the user in question has been known to stalk me, curse me, and organize other users against me, I was not keen to raise that issue again after I noticed what had happened. Dahn (talk) 08:40, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Dahn, tou mean User:Bonaparte? Sure, we can rename the article into "Slavery in Danubian Principalities" too. --Olahus (talk) 16:12, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Nah, that's not him. But again, renaming the article may be validated, it's just that duplication is not the way to do it. So whichever of the two, but no matter how much variety within the individual articles (which may exist, provided the synonymous redirects point to the same place), I feel we should go with just one in titles.
Incidentally (and this probably blurs any sense of urgency), let me note the existence of articles such as Romania in the Early Middle Ages, which (for reasonable cause), don't seem to be affected by the rationale. I'm not saying that the proposal to rename is wrong, and I'm not saying "we should also do it in x article", but I am proposing that we leave no stone unturned in assessing the merits and faults of each argument. Dahn (talk) 19:50, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Incidentally, the Google Books test gives 56 hits for "slavery in Romania"; even discounting about 10 spurious or unclear mentions, that's still nearly 50. Other variants give fewer hits, though still respectable numbers. - Biruitorul Talk 17:51, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Since I've been mentioned, I'll spend my short break from RL to speak my opinion. I think the current title is OK, however the content is wrong, specifically the paragraph that reads "Slavery in Romanian territories under foreign rule". 1) There were no free "Romanian territories" before 1877, thus about 15 years after slavery was abolished in the territories of present day Romania. 2) Bessarabia is not part of present day Romania, so it's inclusion is just irredentist original synthesis (WP:SYNTH). Hope my opinion helps.Xasha (talk) 21:40, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I'm having deja vu, but that's okay. While reading (and adding to) the article, I noticed that myself, and, while I have to reject as inflammatory the comment about irredentism, and guess that the wording most likely follows the sources, I have to say that the text does invite this sort of comments, and there's nothing that I want to avoid more than this type of sterile debates about secondary issues.
That said, the inclusion, as opposed to the wording, is relevant here not just for being discussed in the sources (an in toto discussion which, incidentally, makes the claim about WP:SYNTH completely inappropriate), but for being a common-source and closely related phenomenon, particularly since, as I'm sure Xasha knows well by now, the Bessarabian boyardom (call them Moldavians, Bessarabians or Romanians) was a social category closely related to and originating from Moldavian boyardom, and in many cases owned property (human property included) on both sides of the Prut and answered to two sovereigns. Nothing uncommon about about that - feudalism does that for you, and similar things occurred in Transylvania and Bukovina. In every region cited, slavery was present only because the boyars transported it, or because it existed before other countries took over and regulated as a result of that. The inclusion of mentions about those other regions is therefore strictly in connection with that: wording changed or kept, the info is still important because it tells the reader what happened (next door, later, in parallel etc). Dahn (talk) 22:31, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
@Xasha: do you think that the name "Slavery in Romania and Moldova" would be more accutare? The point is that slavery never existed in states called "România" or "Republica Moldova". Slavery existed in states called "Principatul Moldovei", "Ţara Rumâneasca" and Transylvania. The territory of those states in the period when they practiced slavery covered most of present-day Romania and Moldova and parts of Ukraine, Hungary and Slovakia. --Olahus (talk) 09:09, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I didn't know I would touch a sensible chord when I said Romanian Principalities, I haven't been involved in this problems. In fact, by Romanian Principalities I meant all the political/territorial entities that preceded modern Romania, Transylvania included. But it is clear that this title would not be very good, so I think I'll sustain the current title. Olahus is right that strictly speaking Romania didn't exist back then, but Romania didn't appear just out of the blue in 1859 (or 1918), there is a continuity between those political/territorial entities that existed on the Romanian land in the middle ages and present day Romania. Much of the article History of Romania deals with them. Somebody that is not familiar with these issues might not understand this continuity and Wallachia and Moldavia might appear as they have not much to do with present day Romania. Kenshin (talk) 12:21, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Kenshin, you are perfectly right, but as you can see, wikipedia describes the historical articles in accordance to the territories where they belong now. See for example History of Moldova - the country Moldova didn't exist until the 20th century. And slavery existed in Bessarabia too, I reccomend you to see Ion Nistor, Istoria Basarabiei, Humanitas, Bucuresti, 1991, page 204-205. --Olahus (talk) 14:56, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I think the primary consideration for an article's name is how it enables someone to locate the information they are looking for. The current name enables that link for general readers in a way that the proposed alternative does not. It should be made clear early in the article that the State of Romania did not exist at the time of slavery in Wallachia and Moldavia, but a change of name would not mark an improvement to Wikipedia in my opinion. RashersTierney (talk) 21:47, 8 April 2009 (UTC)


This article is full of deliberate errors, I did not know that can be no such thing on Wiky. The article uses only two sources! I am a historian, and I was shocked by this article! It is an attack against the Romanian people? How is it possible that one article contain so many errors? —Preceding unsigned comment added by VyckRo (talkcontribs) 03:26, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Nice Orthography! a.k.a. poster is a fake[edit]

Nice orthography there in that poster advertising the selling of slave. In fact it's so good that I can read it!!! The problem is, they didn't use the Latin Alphabet back then. The Latin Alphabet for Romanian was introduced in 1862. The poster is supposedly from 1852. Now between 1833 and 1860 several "transitional alphabets were used, but the first ones greatly resembled the Cyrilic and the first one that resembled the Latin was used starting with 1858. Basically before 1858 in Wallachia and Moldavia almost no one could have read that ad because everyone was spelling words in the Cyrillic alphabet and not in the Latin one.

So how come? Let me tell you, thatg poster is a fake and we SHOULD consider it a fake until someone can VERIFY IT'S ORIGIN. Is it sourced? I propose we remove it until we can verify it's source.

By the way, I'm not disputing any of the content of the article (1- I'm not a specialist on this particular topic in Romanian history; 2-Of course the legal status of the Gypsies in Wallachia and Moldavia was that of slavery or akin to slavery). I only noticed it because of my interest in writing systems and orthography But, if I'm right and that poster is a fake, then one must admit that it helps send a psychological message that might not be entirely accurate, it alters the apperception of the article. Omulurimaru (talk) 01:27, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

The poster is ref'd in Fraser. RashersTierney (talk) 01:35, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Actually, variants of the Latin alphabet were in use for writing Romanian since the 18th century Jesuits started writing Romanian in Latin. The poster itself is quaint, but there's nothing fake about it. What's more, it is widely supported by reliable sources, not just the one added by Rashers. Dahn (talk) 17:24, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, but were those variants in sufficient common use to be useful in writing an ad? Remember not even the transitional alphabets were any popular. Let's look into its source is it a source that at the time was abolitionist? I think it would be useful to know. Not that there is any doubt that something like that actually took place, but how should I put it, you're right it's quaint. Actually it looks so terribly out of place with the period and location it's supposed to be so that it made me think something's amiss. It does not look like something a Wallachian would come up with as an ad at the time. First of all it would have been certainly Cyrillic -- if he wanted anyone to be able to read it, and especially if he wanted many people to be able to read it. Anyway I'm just saying, let's look into it, it looks like something a Westerner would come up with.Omulurimaru (talk) 02:43, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Well, for now let's agree that it comes to us via reliable sources, which is what wikipedia settles for - if there is any suspicion and the researchers haven't noted it, we can't really make that judgment call ourselves (see WP:V). But, if we can speculate beyond that point, I might add that, Cyrillic or no Cyrillic, most of the intellectual class were already well-acquainted with the Latin alphabet in the spelling of other languages (Wallachia's elite was virtually diglossic). The endorsement of a Latin alphabet for Romanian came from within that class, which was already experimenting with it - the resistance came not from people who were illiterate in Latin, but from those who were conservative (they could read other alphabets, they just didn't want to); those who were illiterate were simply illiterate in any alphabet, and were probably not the target audience of such posters. Now, transitional Cyrillic, from what I remember about the point once made by Ştefan Cazimir, was not as much unpopular as it was superfluous, precisely for that reason, and ultimately ridiculous because it satisfied no one. And yes, it is true that a Westerner could indeed come up with it, but that's not necessarily suspicious: Westerners managed our few printing presses, stylized our writing in Cyrillic and Latin, experimented with our language knowing that the educated would understand either way. In any scenario, this was one source advertising a message to some tens or hundreds of others. At that level of microhistory, it might have been just a fab, an arbitrary decision, or an as yet unresearched phenomenon - true, it may also be a fake, but I'm sure you know about the tree and the forest. Dahn (talk) 08:51, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Revisiting the issue: there is a possibility that it's a fake.

  • using Latin instead of the official Cyrillic: rather common
  • using D-comma for amiad̦ă: common
  • using j for the /j/ semivowel: uncommon
  • using the word "sclavi" in addition to "robi" and "ţigani", the words commonly used at the time: using neologisms was quite common among the inteligentsia of the time, so it wouldn't be surprising.
  • St. Elias Monastery: using "Elias" instead of "Ilie" is strange, but I guess again it could be some cosmopolitanism. However, I cannot find any proof that there was any monastery called "Sf. Ilie" in either Bucharest or Iaşi.
  • using the "MDCCCLII" instead of 1852 is uncommon: at the time, Arabic numbers for years were used everywhere, including in Cyrillic script.

If it's a fake, it's one that is very well done.

However, my worry is this: File:200 de familie de țigani de vânzare.jpg. Another poster, also published by Ian F. Hancock in another book of his. Apart from the printing quality and font which don't seem to be consistent with the era, he says it was published in a newspaper called "Luna". I cannot find anywhere, in any book, on the internet or in any Library any proof that such a newspaper existed. bogdan (talk) 13:15, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

False poster[edit]

The poster is clearly false, forever, and should be clearly labelled so. Whether it was falsified by Hancock or somebody else is immaterial ; it is still false. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:19, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

see the debate above, it's probably not fake, and satisfies wikipedia's criteria.

Boynamedsue (talk) 09:34, 6 October 2017 (UTC)