Rural Space of Harghita County. The Ethnic Structure of the Population
1 University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, Bucharest, ROMANIA
Abstract. The Hungarian population is concentrated in the upper ponds of the Mureş River and the Olt River, in the Eastern Carpathians and the Eastern border of the Intracarpathian Transylvanian Plateau. This area is situated 200 km far off Hungary and separated from its territory by the Apuseni Mountains, whosepopulation is almost 100% Romanian. Harghita County is composed of 67 localities, with a population of 304,969 inhabitants. A big amount of the Hungarian population that inhabits Romania is concentrated in Harghita County, which is part of the Central Development Region. The Region holds a percentage of 29.9 % of Hungarian population, whereas the county itself holds 85% of this population. The Romanian people represent 14% of the county population and they are concentrated in 9 administrative-territorial units, out of which 7 are communes. In these 7 communes the amount of Romanian population is over 70%.These are located in the North of the county, except for the Voşlăbeni commune, which is located in the centre of the area inhabited by Szekelys. There are other villages preponderantly inhabited by Romanians, like Livezi and Făgeţel, which are not part of the 7 communes with Romanian population in majority. According to the historian Ioan I. Russu, the Romanian population from the territory inhabited by Szekelys today, was assimilated in the Middle Ages. This process has been analysed in several studies and it is presumed that the Romanian people represented at first the majority in some parts of the territory inhabited by Szekelys, but a great amount of it was “szekelysed”. The paper focuses on the study of the ethnical structure and its evolution in the rural space of Harghita County, emphasizing the characteristics of the rural settlements according to the ethnical majorities and their distribution in the territory.
K e y w o r d s: Harghita County, ethnic structure, ethnic assimilation, majority, minority