Galați (Romanian pronunciation: [ɡaˈlat͡sʲ]) is a city in Romania near Brăila. It is the county seat of Galați County. Galati is part of Moldavia region (not to be mistaken with Bessarabia region which is actually the independent state Republic of Moldova). Galati is also the largest port town on the Danube River. In 2011, the Romanian census recorded 231,204 residents, making it the seventh most populous city in Romania. Galați is a major economic centre based around the Port of Galați, naval shipyard, the ArcelorMittal Galaţi steel plant and mineral exports.
Archeological evidence points to occupation of the region in the neolithic period. For example, north west of the town of Galați, on the eastern shores of the Malina marshes, fragments of ceramic-type Stoicani Aldeni, stilex and tools made of bone have been found. A stone sceptre, from the late Bronze Age, belonging to the Coslogeni culture was found on the marshes’ southern bank. Galați town itself developed from an ancient Dacian settlement of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE where there was a ford across the Danube river. In 101 to 102 and 105 to 106, the Dacians fought wars against the Romans and the area became part of the Roman empire. From the 300s a Daco-Roman settlement developed at a ford south of the site of the Church of the Virgin.
There is evidence of continuous inhabitation of Galați since the 600s. A treasure hoard consisting of 12 silver coins issued between 613 and 685 was found in a Byzantine tomb near the Church of the Virgin. Western and Byzantine coins from the time of Emperor Michael IV (1034–1041) were also found. At one time, the city became part of the Republic of Genoa Territories and was called «Caladda». In 1445, a document signed by Stephen II of Moldavia mentions Galați. In 1484, Chilia was conquered by Ottomans. Galați township remained Moldova’s only port, not only for domestic trade but also for trade with Turkey and Poland. In 1590, the Galati Jewish cemetery was opened.
The Ukranian folk hero, Ivan Stepanovich Mazeppa was born in 1644 in Podolia Palatinate. He became a Hetman in 1687. He died on October 2, 1709 in Varna, (then in Bessarabia, Turkey) and was buried in Galați. This came about because Mazeppa’s family had obtained a firman (a decree) for Mazeppa’s body to be taken to Jerusalem. However, when his body reached Galați, Mazeppa was buried at the St George church. (A local merchant had built the St George church reusing Roman masonry and it was dedicated to the Church of the holy sepulchre in Jerusalem.) The St George church is inscribed,
«Hagi Mihalachi osârdia during his Istrati Dabija voivode, in 7172.»
dating it to 1 April 1664. Hetman Mazeppa was buried in a brick tomb. The traces of Its inscription containing an eagle with one head[clarification needed] indicate Mazeppa and the Unkraine. The church was later plundered in Tartar raids but two Galați suburbs, «Mazeppa 1 and 2» are named for this man.
In 1775, Russia established a consulate in Galati. However, in 1789, during the Russo-Turkish war of 1789-1791, Galați was burned by the armies of the Russian general Mikhail Kamensky.
Due to unrest in this part of Europe, Galati port became a site for the construction of large warships. Abbot Boskov, a Romanian traveller, stated:
«I saw a large boat, the way those who say Turks caravels, which is on site, ready to be launched into the water. He was commissioned by Isaac-aga, big tax collector of Constantinople. The ship was huge, seventeen seventy steps, and loaded with eighty-four bronze cannons.»
Massacre of 1821
In the Greek-Turkish war of 1821, Ottoman subjects were killed in Galați (and in other towns). This was the result of a series of rebellions by members of the port workers’ association and city clerks.[clarification needed]
Despite the wars and unrest, Galati developed based on trade (especially grain exports). In 1805, France and England established vice-consulates. In 1832, the School of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel is founded. Two years later, in 1834, Austrian ships were having scheduled arrivals and in 1837, Galați was declared a free port (this was revoked in 1882). In 1850, James Buchanan, the U.S. president, sent a vice-consul to Galați and the U.S. opened a consulate in 1858. Galați was also a trading port for German lands. When the Crimean War (1854-1856) finished, Galați became a seat of the Danube European Commission. In 1869, the Mihai Eminescu municipal park opened and by 1870, factories were opening. By, 1908 they numbered 41. On 13 September 1872, the King Charles I railway station and northern city rail tunnel opened. The River station opened shortly after on 24 September 1880. In 1889, the V. A. Urechia library opened.
After the union of the Romanian principalities in 1859, with Alexandra Ioan Cruza as leader, development in Galați increased. Zeletin wrote,
«The birth of the modern Romanian state must distinguish two main currents — one exuberant but superficial, based on liberal ideas which depart from Paris to Bucharest and Iași. The other is quieter but deep, leaving from London to Galați and Brăila: English is the current capitalist economy.» (Romanian Bourgeoisie, Zeletin, Stephen.)
1900 — 1945
Between 1900 and the beginning of World War I, Galati continued its trade in grain and timber with sixteen consulates. Galați was part of Covurlui County. In 1907, social unrest among the peasant classes precipitated intervention by the Romanian army. In 1911, a statue of the poet Mihai Eminescu was erected.
World War I
Galati remained in the Romanian control during World War I. Romanian soldiers fought with those of Russia against the army of the central axis.
In 1919, a high school for Jewish students opened. A first air race between Galati and Bucharest was held in 1926. The 1930 Romanian census recorded approximately 112,000 residents in Galati. After Bucharest, Chișinău, Iași and Chernivtsi, Galați was Romania’s fifth city. In 1938, The County of Galait was established and in 1938 the LCMHF.[clarification needed]
During World War II, Galați was bombed by the Luftwaffe. One building, inaugurated on 13 September 1872, was destroyed as were many other historic buildings and most of the old town.
Before World War II Galati hosted 22 synagogues and in 1926, it was the base for the Zionist Revisionist Organization of Romania. Although Galati’s Jewish community suffered persecution by the pro-Nazi authorities during World War II, the community was not destroyed in the Holocaust. Since the 1940s the community has gradually diminished through emigration.
After world war II, Galati was rebuilt along communist lines. The town’s population was about 80,000. In 1952, Galati became «resident».[clarification needed] In 1956, a proposal to join Brăila and Galați was made and the building of a speed tram pier was planned with a Swiss company. Construction of the Galati steel plant began in 1965 and the plant opened in 1967. The population at this time was 156,000. In 1971, the Făurei — Galați railway capacity was increased.
On September 11, 1989, a Bulgarian ship collided with a cruise ship near Galati. All but sixteen passengers and crew perished.
On 14 July 2005, Galati was affected by widespread flooding. The Siret river reached record levels and across Romania, the death toll reached 21. In 2010, broken flood barriers caused flooding of the Valley City area of Galati.