IntroductionWalachia or Wallachia (both: wälāˈkēə, wə–) [key], historic region (29,568 sq mi/76,581 sq km), S Romania. The Transylvanian Alps separate it in the NW from Transylvania and the Banat; the Danube separates it from Serbia in the west, Bulgaria in the south, and N Dobruja in the east; in the northeast it adjoins Moldavia. Bucharest, the Romanian capital, is its chief city. The Oltul River, a tributary of the Danube, divides Walachia into Muntenia or Greater Walachia (20,265 sq mi/52,486 sq km) in the east and Oltenia or Lesser Walachia (9,303 sq mi/24,095 sq km) in the west.
With the rich Ploieşti oil fields and the industrialized area near Bucharest, Walachia is economically the most developed region of Romania. Its industries (notably chemicals, heavy machinery, and shipbuilding) provide employment for about half of the country's labor force. Walachia is also a rich agricultural area and the "breadbasket" of Romania. The overwhelming majority of the population is Romanian, but there are also Bulgarians and Serbs. The pre–World War II Jewish population of about 600,000 was reduced to about 18,000 by 1990, with the numbers still declining.
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