Seventy years ago Professor Ion Conea, a famous Romanian geographer and toponymist, suggested that, when not modified by officials, place-names are like ´some condensed description of the country’ (Conea 1928). In Romania there are, broadly speaking, three types of place-names: first, traditional placenames which are unchanged; second, traditional place-names which have been slightly changed so that they conform with the modern Romanian language; and third, new place-names which have been imposed by the authorities. In Romania, as in other regions of Europe, there are many settlement names (oikonymes) which fall into this third category and these form the focus of the paper. There are two periods of Romanian modern history during which place names have been changed on a wide scale. The first was in the decades following independence in 1878 and continuing up to the Second World War. The second, when the replacement of traditional place names was most widespread, was during the communist period (1948-1989).
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