The Macedonians From Bailesti Region

 excerpt Below are described a few aspects of the settlement of the ethnics who came from south of the Danube to Bailesti. It is a known fact that, starting with the first half of the 19th century, new administrative units appeared in the Romanian principalities, especially in Walachia – the so-called slobozii (colonies of peasants, usually runaways, which were exempted from taxes). What did that mean? First of all, it meant a helping hand for the landowners, for boyars, but also for the royal treasury; when the peasants ran away, leaving the estates because of the hardships of their lives, the boyars and the voivode created these "slobozii", in order to populate their estates (because it was common knowledge that the value of an estate was measured by the number of workers, not by its area), which were also a way to attract a labor force. For example, Prince Stirbei once said: "Whoever comes and settles in Bailesti will receive a free plot of land (and he was talking about more than 200 square stinjeni (fathoms) of land (a stinjen is almost two meters long, and that is why in Bailesti people's yards are so large), he won't have to pay taxes whatsoever for three years, and for the following seven years he will only have to pay half of the taxes". Obviously, people began coming and settling in search of a better place to live and work. Who came to Bailesti? This "slobozie" was born in the western part of Bailesti, an area or neighborhood known as "Serbians". But this name is inappropriate, because there also lived Greeks, Romanians from south of the Danube, Macedonians, Serbians and Bulgarians. Around 1829, when Bailesti was moved to its new hearth, due to the cholera epidemic that broke out, it only had 99 families. In 1930 it had 307 families, and in 1938 – 390. In 1831 alone, 298 foreigners came and settled in that "slobozie" from the "Serbian" neighborhood. One of the factors that made these minorities from Bailesti vanish from the records and lose their national identity was the fact that when the Turks concluded peace treaties with one of the Romanian voivodes, they usually requested their refugees back, because the Turks also needed labor force. In order to get away, and not be sent back, these Macedonians, Serbians, Bulgarians tried to melt into the great Romanian majority. That is why most of them don't even know their mother tongue anymore. Only now are they beginning to rediscover customs or traditions which in time were lost, forgotten or altered.

by I. Constantin