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Transylvania (Romanian: Ardeal or Transilvania; Hungarian: Erdély; German: About this sound Siebenbürgen ; Turkish: Erdel, see also other denominations) is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical regions of Crişana, Maramureş, and (Romanian) Banat.

Transylvania has been dominated by several different people and empires throughout its history. It was once the nucleus of the Kingdom of Dacia (82 BC–106 AD). In 106 AD the Roman Empire conquered the territory and after that its wealth was systematically exploited. After the Roman legions withdrew in 271 AD, it was overrun by a succession of tribes, which subjected it to various influences. During this time areas of it were under the control of the Carpi (Dacian tribe), Visigoths, Huns, Gepids, Avars and Bulgars. It is subject of controversy whether elements of the mixed Daco–Roman population survived in Transylvania through the Dark Ages (becoming the ancestors of modern Romanians) or the first Vlachs appeared in the area in the 13th century after a northwards migration from the Balkan Peninsula. There is an ongoing scholarly debate over the ethnicity of Transylvania's population before the Hungarian conquest (see Origin of the Romanians).

The Hungarians (Magyars) conquered the area at the end of the 9th century and firmly established their control over it in 1003, when king Stephen I, according to legend, defeated the native prince entitled or named Gyula.[1][2][3][4] Between 1003 and 1526, Transylvania was a voivodeship of the Kingdom of Hungary, led by a voivode appointed by the Hungarian King. After the Battle of Mohács in 1526, Transylvania became part of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom which, in 1571, was transformed into the Principality of Transylvania (1571–1711) ruled primarily by Calvinist Hungarian princes. For most of this period, Transylvania, maintaining its internal autonomy, was under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.

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