In 1859, the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia united into what became the country of Romania. Although Romania joined the Allied Powers in World War I, the country opted to join the Axis Powers in World War II. After the war, Romania became part of the Soviet bloc of nations and came under the domination of the tyrannical Nicolae Ceausescu from 1965 until his overthrow and execution in 1989. Since that time, a state of widespread underdevelopment, in part a product of state capture by elites, has prevented Romania from prospering financially and from joining the European Union (EU).

Bordering on the Black Sea, Romania has 225 miles (362 kilometers) of coastline. The climate is temperate, with cold, cloudy, and snowy winters and foggy, sunny summers ...

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