MAREA UNIRE ȘI POPULAȚIA SĂSEASCĂ DIN TRANSILVANIA
The Great Union and the Transylvanian Saxons
The study analyses the situation of the ethnic Germans in Transylvania before and during the Great Union of this province with Romania. Throughout Transylvania’s history, the Saxons constituted one of the „three nations” enjoying administrative and religious autonomy over a territory called the Royal Lands (Romanian: Pământul crăiesc). In 1867 was signed the dual compromise between Hungary and the Austrian representatives of the House of Habsburg. Therefore, Transylvania became part of Hungary. If initially the Hungarian authorities abrogated only the legislative and judicial autonomy of the Transylvanian Saxons, nine years later they also abrogated their administrative autonomy. As a consequence, the territory of the Royal Lands was divided into the counties of Sibiu, Târnava Mare, Brașov and Bistrița. Due to the local administration legislation, the Saxons managed to maintain their authority over their old settlements in the Royal Lands. However, they also suffered due to the forced Hungarization carried out by the Hungarian authorities in Budapest. The union of Transylvania with Romania, at the end of the First World War, somehow took the Saxons by surprise. Approximately 40 days after the Great National Assembly in Alba Iulia, the Saxons held an extraordinary gathering in Medias (on the 8th of January 1919), where they voted in favour of the union with Romania. The resolution was presented to King Ferdinand of Romania on the 30th of January 1919.