The Transylvanian Saxons (Romanian: Sasi, German: Siebenbürger Sachsen) are a population of ethnic Germans who established in Transylvania around the 12th century.
In the 12th century, King Géza II of Hungary (reigned 1141–1162) invited Germans to settle in Transylvania to protect and keep the territory. The first group of immigrants fixed their households in southern Transylvania, in the region of Nagyszeben known today as Sibiu.
After the first wave of Germans, followed the second strong movement , which started after the Hungarian king Andrew II that reigned from 1205 to 1235 granted the Barcasag area. In our days the location is named Brasov.
After a short period of emigration, the king Andrew II, wanted to win the Saxons’ favors against the Teutonic Knights, and granted the Saxons a wide range of privileges in his decree of 1224, called the Andreanum. As a result the Saxons were connected as one nation under the leadership of the crown lieutenant and they received new territories.
Saxons received free elections for priests and local leaders, together with exemption from customs duties and taxes, except for an annual payment to the king for the lands they had received from him. They were indebted to provide soldiers for his majesty army, members of their patrician class.
After the end of World War I, many Saxons sustained the unification of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania. They were promised full minority rights, but many wealthy Saxons lost their properties during the land reform process that was implemented in Romania after this devastating was. Taking into consideration the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, many Transylvanian Saxons became staunch supporters of National Socialism, and the Church very lost its influence in the community.
In the 50’s the Saxons represented around 8 percent of the population of Transylvania, but in the late 70’s the number had decreased to less than 5 percent.
Under the Nicolae Ceausescu communist dictatorship (1965 to 1989), most of the Saxons migrated to West Germany. The great majority of Transylvanian Saxons now live in Germany.
Today, in Romania, are more than 20,000 Saxons, constituting less than 1 percent of he country’s population. They are represented by the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania, the political party that gave Romania its fifth president, Klaus Iohannis. Before he was elected president of Romania in November 2014 , Iohannis was the mayor of Sibiu from 2000 to 2014.