Romania in the Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages in Romania started with the withdrawal of the Roman troops and administration from Dacia province in the AD 270s. In the next millennium a series of peoples, most of whom only controlled two or three of the nearly ten historical regions that now form Romania, arrived. During this period, society and culture underwent fundamental changes. Town life came to an end in Dacia with the Roman withdrawal, and in Scythia Minor – the other Roman province in the territory of present-day Romania – 400 years later. Fine vessels made on fast potter's wheels disappeared and hand-made pottery became dominant from the 450s. Burial rites changed more than once from cremation to inhumation and vice versa until inhumation became dominant by the end of the 10th century.The East Germanic Goths and Gepids, who lived in sedentary communities, were the first new arrivals. The Goths dominated Moldavia and Wallachia from the 290s, and parts of Transylvania from the 330s. Their power collapsed under attacks by the nomadic Huns in 376. The Huns controlled Eastern and Central Europe from around 400, but their empire disintegrated in 454. Thereafter the regions west of the Carpathian Mountains – Banat, Crişana, and Transylvania – and Oltenia were dominated by the Gepids. Within a century, the lands east of the mountains became important centers of the Antes and Sclavenes. Hydronyms and place names of Slavic origin also prove the one-time presence of Early Slavs in the regions west of the Carpathians.The nomadic Avars subjugated the Gepids in 568 and dominated the Carpathian Basin up until around 800. The initially Turkic-speaking Bulgars also established a powerful empire in the 670s which included Dobruja and other the territories along the Lower Danube. Bulgaria officially adopted the Eastern Orthodox variant of Christianity in 864. An armed conflict between Bulgaria and the nomadic Hungarians forced the latter to depart from the Pontic steppes and began the conquest of the Carpathian Basin around 895. Their invasion gave rise to the earliest reference, recorded some centuries later in the Gesta Hungarorum, to a polity ruled by a Romanian duke named Gelou. The same source also makes mention of the presence of the Székelys in Crişana around 895. The first contemporaneous references to Romanians – who used to be known as Vlachs – in the regions now forming Romania were recorded in the 12th and 13th centuries. References to Vlachs inhabiting the lands to the south of the Lower Danube abound in the same period.Banat, Crişana and Transylvania were integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary in the 11th century. These regions were subject to plundering raids by the nomadic Pechenegs and Cumans, who dominated the lowlands east of the mountains. Hungarian monarchs promoted the immigration of Western European colonists to Transylvania from the 1150s. The colonists' descendants, who were known as Transylvanian Saxons from the early 1200s, received collective privileges in 1224. Because of the settlement of the Saxons in their former territories, the Székelys were moved to the easternmost zones of the kingdom. The emergence of the Mongol Empire in the Eurasian Steppes in the first decades of the 13th century had lasting effects on the history of the region. The Mongols subjugated the Cumans in the 1230s and destroyed many settlements throughout the Kingdom of Hungary in 1241 and 1242, bringing the Early Middle Ages to an end.