From Academic Kids

Vlachs (also called Wlachs, Wallachs, Olahs) is a blanket term covering several distinct modern Latin peoples descending from the Latinised population in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Groups that have historically been called Vlachs include modern-day Romanians, Aromanians, Meglenites and Istro-Romanians, but since the creation of the Romanian state, the term has mostly been used for those living south of the Danube river.

The Vlachs' origins are disputed, as is the notion that all Vlach groups have common origins. Most scholars contend that they are descendants of the Roman colonists and/or of the Romanised Dacian, Thracian and Illyrian local population (see Origin of Romanians for more about the dispute about the origin). Some scholars also include the Greeks, Paeonians and Dardanians among their possible ancestors.



Main article: Etymology of Vlach

The origin of the word Vlach is disputed, some say it is possibly Germanic: the same origin led to the words "Welsh" and "Walloons" in other parts of Europe. The word Vlach could also come from the Greek peoples word "Vlahoi" which means Shepard/Goat herder. Slavic peoples initially used the name Vlachs when referring to Romanic peoples in general. Later on, the meaning got narrower or just different. For example Italy is called Włochy in Polish, and Olaszország in Hungarian. The term was originally an exonym, as the Vlachs used various words derived from romanus to refer to themselves (români, rumâni, rumâri, aromâni, arumâni etc). Only the Meglenites adopted the term Vlashi to describe themselves.


Many Vlachs were shepherds and they always looked for better pastures. This explains the pockets of Vlachs that could be found all over the Balkans and as far north as Poland and as far west the Czech Republic, and Croatia. These regions inhabited by Vlachs were called "Wallachia" or "Vlashka" by the Slavs.


Romanians (speaking Romanian language; also known as Daco-Romanians due to their supposed Dacian origin) are living in:

and as a minority in:

Aromanians (speaking Aromanian), living in:

Note: the Greek government does not recognise any ethnic divisions, so there are no exact statistics. See Demographics of Greece.

Meglenites (speaking Meglenitic language), living in northern Greece.

Istro-Romanians (speaking Istro-Romanian language) are living in Croatia, with a population of 1,200.


Just like the language, the cultural links between the Northern Vlachs (Romanians) and Southern Vlachs (Aromanians) were broken by the 10th century, and since then, there were different cultural influences:

  • Romanian culture was influenced by the Slavs and later by the Hungarians and Germans (mainly in Transylvania). The 19th century saw an important opening toward Western Europe and cultural ties with France.
  • Aromanian culture developed initially as a pastoral culture, later to be greatly influenced by the Byzantine and Greek culture.


The religion of the Vlachs is predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christianity, but there are some regions where they are Catholics and Protestants (in Transylvania) and a few are even Muslims (former converts from Greece, living in Turkey since the 1923 exchange of populations).


(to be written)

See also

External links

de:Walachen nl:Vlachen pl:Wołosi ro:Vlah sr:Власи


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