Map of the Balkans with regions inhabited by Romanians/Vlachs (Eastern Romance speakers) highlighted
The word Vlach/Wallachian (and other variants such as Vlah, Valah, Valach, Voloh, Blac, oláh, Vlas, Ilac, Ulah, etc.) is etymologically derived from the ethnonym of a Celtic tribe, adopted into Proto-Germanic*Walhaz, which meant "stranger", from *Wolkā- (Caesar's Latin: Volcae, Strabo and Ptolemy's Greek: Ouolkai). Via Latin, in Gothic, as *walhs, the ethnonym took on the meaning "foreigner" or "Romance-speaker", and was adopted into Greek Vláhoi (Βλάχοι), Slavic Vlah, Hungarian oláh and olasz, etc. The root word was notably adopted in Germanic for Wales and Walloon, and in Switzerland for Romansh-speakers (German: Welsch), and in Poland Włochy or in Hungary olasz became an exonym for Italians. The Slovenian term Lahi has also been used to designate Italians.
Historically, the term was used primarily for the Romanians. Testimonies from the 13th to 14th centuries show that, although in Europe (and beyond) they were called Vlachs or Wallachians (oláh in Hungarian, Vláchoi (Βλάχοι) in Greek, Volóxi (Воло́хи) in Russian, Walachen in German, Valacchi in Italian, Valaques in French, Valacos in Spanish), the Romanians used for themselves the endonym "Rumân/Român", from the Latin "Romanus" (in memory of Rome). Vlachs are referred in late Byzantine documents as Bulgaro-Albano-Vlachs ("Bulgaralbanitoblahos"), or Serbo-Albano-Bulgaro-Vlachs
Vlach Herdsmen in Greece (Amand von Schweiger-Lerchenfeld [de], 1887)
Via both Germanic and Latin, the term started to signify "stranger, foreigner" also in the Balkans, where it in its early form was used for Romance-speakers, but the term eventually took on the meaning of "shepherd, nomad". The Romance-speaking communities themselves however used the endonym (they called themselves) "Romans". Term Vlach can denote various ethnic elements: "Slovak, Hungarian, Balkan, Transylvanian, Romanian, or even Albanian". According to historian Sima Ćirković, the name "Vlach" in medieval sources has the same rank as the name "Greek", "Serb" or "Latin".
During the early history of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, there was a military class of Vlachs in Serbia and Ottoman Macedonia, made up of Christians who served as auxiliary forces and had the same rights as Muslims, but their origin is not entirely clear. Some Greeks used "vlachos" as a pejorative term. In Žumberak members of the Greek Catholic Church were called Vlachs, in Carniola residents of Žumberak in general were Vlachs. In Posavina and Bihać area Muslims called Vlachs as Christians (both Orthodox and Catholics) while Catholics under that name consider Orthodox Christians. For residents of the Dalmatian islands population of immigrants (either Croats or Serbs) were called as Vlachs. The name Vlach in Dalmatia also has negative connotations as "newcomer", "peasant", "ignorant" while in Istria the ethnonym Vlach is used to make a distinction between the native Croats and newly settled Istro-Romanian old catholic Vlachs and Slavic population which was coming in the 15th and 16th century.
Nowadays, the term Vlachs (also known under other names, such as "Koutsovlachs", "Tsintsars", "Karagouni", "Chobani", "Vlasi", etc.) is used in scholarship for the Romance-speaking communities in the Balkans, especially those in Greece, Albania and North Macedonia. In Serbia the term Vlach (Serbian Vlah, plural Vlasi) is also used to refer to Romanian speakers, especially those living in eastern Serbia. Aromanians themselves use the endonym "Armãn" (plural "Armãni") or "Rãmãn" (plural "Rãmãni"), etymologically from "Romanus", meaning "Roman". Megleno-Romanians designate themselves with the Macedonian form Vla (plural Vlaš) in their own language.
The Jireček Line between Latin- and Greek-language Roman inscriptions
Chroniclers John Skylitzes and George Kedrenos wrote that in 971, during battles between Romans (Byzantines) and Rus' people led by Sveinald (Sviatoslav I), the dwellers of the north side of Danube came to Emperor John I Tzimiskes and they handed over their fortresses and the Emperor sent troops to guard the fortresses. During those times, Northern part of Danube were dwelled by sedentary Vlachs and tribes of nomad Pechenegs who lived in tents.
George Kedrenos mentioned about Vlachs in 976. The Vlachs were guides and guards of Roman (Byzantine) caravans in Balkans. Between Prespa and Kastoria they met and fought with a Bulgarian rebel named David. The Vlachs killed David in their first documented battle.
Mutahhar al-Maqdisi, "They say that in the Turkic neighbourhood there are the Khazars, Russians, Slavs, Waladj, Alans, Greeks and many other peoples".
Byzantine writer Kekaumenos, author of the Strategikon (1078), described a 1066 revolt against the emperor in Northern Greece led by Nicolitzas Delphinas and other Vlachs.
The names Blakumen or Blökumenn is mentioned in Nordic sagas dating between the 11th–13th centuries, with respect to events that took place in either 1018 or 1019 somewhere at the northwestern part of the Black Sea and believed by some to be related to the Vlachs.
In the Bulgarian state of the 11th and 12th century, Vlachs live in large numbers, and they were equals to the Bulgarian population.
The Russian Primary Chronicle, written in ca. 1113, wrote when the Volochi (Vlachs) attacked the Slavs of the Danube and settled among them and oppressed them, the Slavs departed and settled on the Vistula, under the name of Leshi. The Hungarians drove away the Vlachs and took the land and settled there.
Byzantine historian John Kinnamos described Leon Vatatzes' military expedition along the northern Danube, where Vatatzes mentioned the participation of Vlachs in battles with the Magyars (Hungarians) in 1166.
The uprising of brothers Asen and Peter was a revolt of Bulgarians and Vlachs living in the theme of Paristrion of the Byzantine Empire, caused by a tax increase. It began on 26 October 1185, the feast day of St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki, and ended with the creation of the Second Bulgarian Empire, also known in its early history as the Empire of Bulgarians and Vlachs.
At the end of the 13th century, during the reign of Ladislaus the Cuman, Simon of Kéza wrote about the Blacki people and placed them in Pannonia with the Huns. Archaeological discoveries indicate that Transylvania was gradually settled by the Magyars, and the last region defended by the Vlachs and Pechenegs (until 1200) was between the Olt River and the Carpathians.
Shortly after the fall of the Olt region, a church was built at the Cârța Monastery and Catholic German-speaking settlers from Rhineland and Mosel Valley (known as Transylvanian Saxons) began to settle in the Orthodox region. In the Diploma Andreanum issued by King Andrew II of Hungary in 1224, "silva blacorum et bissenorum" was given to the settlers. The Orthodox Vlachs spread further northward along the Carpathians to Poland, Slovakia, and Moravia and were granted autonomy under Ius Vlachonicum (Walachian law).
The biggest caravan shipment between Podvisoki in Bosnia and Republic of Ragusa was recorded on 9 August 1428, where Vlachs transported 1500 modius of salt with 600 horses. In the 14th century royal charters include and some segregation policies declaring that "a Serb shall not marry a Vlach." Although this could be related to the term of the same origin, used for dependent shepherds of that time, like in the Dušan's Code, since the dependent population was encouraged to switch to agriculture, it being of more worth to the crown.
Bolohoveni territory, according to V. A. Boldur
In addition to the ethnic groups of Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, and Istro-Romanians who emerged during the Migration Period, other Vlachs could be found as far north as Poland, as far west as Moravia and Dalmatia. In search of better pasture, they were called Vlasi or Valaši by the Slavs.
States mentioned in medieval chronicles were:
Moldavia – between the Carpathians and the Dniester river (Bogdano-Wallachia; Bogdan's Wallachia, Moldo-Wallachia or Maurovlachia; Black Wallachia, Moldovlachia or Rousso-Vlachia in Byzantine sources); Bogdan Iflak or Wallachia in Polish sources;[which?]L'otra Wallachia (the other Wallachia) in Genovese sources[which?] and Velacia tertia on Spanish maps[which?]
Terra Prodnicorum (or Terra Brodnici), mentioned by Pope Honorius III in 1222. Vlachs led by Ploskanea supported the Tatars in the 1223 Battle of Kalka. Vlach lands near Galicia in the west, Volhynia in the north, Moldova in the south and the Bolohoveni lands in the east were conquered by Galicia.[neutrality is disputed]
Bolokhoveni was Vlach land between Kiev and the Dniester in Ukraine. Place names were Olohovets, Olshani, Voloschi and Vlodava, mentioned in 11th-to-13th-century Slavonic chronicles. It was conquered by Galicia.[neutrality is disputed]
As national states appeared in the area of the former Ottoman Empire, new state borders were developed that divided the summer and winter habitats of many of the pastoral groups. During the Middle Ages, many Vlachs were shepherds who drove their flocks through the mountains of Central and Eastern Europe. Vlach shepherds may be found as far north as southern Poland (Podhale) and the eastern Czech Republic (Moravia) by following the Carpathians, the Dinaric Alps in the west, the Pindus Mountains in the south, and the Caucasus Mountains in the east.
According to Ilona Czamańska "for several recent centuries the investigation of the Vlachian ethnogenesis was so much dominated by political issues that any progress in this respect was incredibly difficult." Migration of the Vlachs may be the key for solving the problem of ethno genesis, but the problem is that many migrations were in multiple directions during the same time. These migrations were not just part of the Balkans and the Carpathians, they exist and in the Caucasus, the Adriatic islands and possibly over the entire region of the Mediterranean Sea. Because of this, our knowledge concerning primary migrations of the Vlachs and the ethnogenesis is more than modes.
^Fine 1991, p. ?: "Traditionally scholars have seen the Dacians as ancestors of the modern Rumanians and Vlachs."
^According to Cornelia Bodea, Ştefan Pascu, Liviu Constantinescu: "România: Atlas Istorico-geografic", Academia Română 1996, ISBN 973-27-0500-0, chap. II, "Historical landmarks", p. 50 (English text), the survival of the Thraco-Romans in the Lower Danube basin during the Migration Period is an obvious fact: Thraco-Romans haven't vanished in the soil & Vlachs haven't appeared after 1000 years by spontaneous generation.
^Badlands-Borderland: A History of Southern Albania/Northern Epirus [ILLUSTRATED] (Hardcover) by T. J. Winnifruth, ISBN 0-7156-3201-9, 2003, page 44: "Romanized Illyrians, the ancestors of the modern Vlachs".
^"Council of Europe Parliamentary Recommendation 1333 (1997)". Assembly.coe.int. 24 June 1997. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
^Ringe, Don. "Inheritance versus lexical borrowing: a case with decisive sound-change evidence." Language Log, January 2009.
^ abcJuhani Nuorluoto; Martti Leiwo; Jussi Halla-aho (2001). Papers in Slavic, Baltic, and Balkan studies. Dept. of Slavonic and Baltic Languages and Literatures, University of Helsinki. ISBN 978-952-10-0246-5.
^Kelley L. Ross (2003). "Decadence, Rome and Romania, the Emperors Who Weren't, and Other Reflections on Roman History". The Proceedings of the Friesian School. Retrieved 13 January 2008. Note: The Vlach Connection
^Entangled Histories of the Balkans: Volume One: National Ideologies and Language Policies. BRILL. 2013. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-90-04-25076-5.
^Thomas M. Wilson; Hastings Donnan (2005). Culture and Power at the Edges of the State: National Support and Subversion in European Border Regions. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 122–. ISBN 978-3-8258-7569-5.
^Noel Malcolm; (1996) Bosnia: A Short History p. 101; NYU Press, ISBN 0814755615
^H. C. Darby (1957). "The face of Europe on the eve of the great discoveries". The New Cambridge Modern History. Vol. 1. p. 34.
^Jan Gawron; (2020) Locators of the settlements under Wallachian law in the Sambor starosty in XVth and XVIth c. Territorial, ethnic and social origins. p. 274-275; BALCANICA POSNANIENSIA xxVI, 
^Ćirković, Sima (2020). Živeti sa istorijom. Belgrade: Helsinški odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji. p. 309.
^Spicijarić Paškvan, Nina; (2014) Vlasi i krčki Vlasi u literaturi i povijesnim izvorima(Vlachs from the Island Krk in the Primary Historical and Literature Sources) p. 348; Studii şi cercetări – Actele Simpozionului Banat – istorie şi multiculturalitate, 
^Ilie Gherghel, Câteva considerațiuni la cuprinsul noțiunii cuvântului "Vlach", București: Convorbiri Literare, 1920, p. 4-8.
^G. Popa Lisseanu, Continuitatea românilor în Dacia, Editura Vestala, Bucuresti, 2014, p.78
^The Balkan Vlachs: Born to Assimilate? at culturalsurvival.org
^Ş. Papacostea, Românii în secolul al XIII-lea între cruciată şi imperiul mongol, București, 1993, 36; A. Lukács, Ţara Făgăraşului, 156; T. Sălăgean, Transilvania în a doua jumătate a secolului al XIII-lea. Afirmarea regimului congregaţional, Cluj-Napoca, 2003, 26-27
^G. Popa-Lisseanu, Izvoarele istoriei Românilor, IV, Bucuresti, 1935, p. .32
^K. HOREDT, Contribuţii la istoria Transilvaniei în secolele IV-XIII, București, 1958, p.109-131. IDEM, Siebenburgen im Fruhmittelalter, Bonn, 1986, p.111 sqq.
^I.M.Tiplic, CONSIDERAŢII CU PRIVIRE LA LINIILE ÎNTĂRITE DE TIPUL PRISĂCILOR DIN TRANSILVANIA(sec. IX-XIII)*ACTA TERRAE SEPTEMCASTRENSIS I, pp 147-164
^A. IONIŢĂ, Date noi privind colonizarea germană în Ţara Bârsei şi graniţa de est a regatului maghiar în cea de a doua jumătate a secolului al XII-lea, în RI, 5, 1994, 3-4.
^J. DEER, Der Weg zur Goldenen Bulle Andreas II. Von 1222, în Schweizer Beitrage zur Allgemeinen Geschichte, 10, 1952, pp. 104-138
^Stefan Pascu: A History of Transylvania, Wayne State Univ Pr, 1983, p. 57
^Pavel Parasca, Cine a fost "Laslău craiul unguresc" din tradiţia medievală despre întemeierea Ţării Moldovei [=Who was "Laslău, Hungarian king" of the medieval tradition on the foundation of Moldavia]. In: Revista de istorie şi politică, An IV, Nr. 1.; ULIM;2011 ISSN 1857-4076
^O. Pecican, Dragoș-vodă – originea ciclului legendar despre întemeierea Moldovei. În "Anuarul Institutului de Istorie și Arheologie Cluj". T. XXXIII. Cluj-Napoca, 1994, pp. 221-232
^D. CĂPRĂROIU, ON THE BEGINNINGS OF THE TOWN OF CÂMPULUNG, ″Historia Urbana″, t. XVI, nr. 1-2/2008, pp. 37-64
^Kurtović, Esad (January 2014). "Esad Kurtović, Konj u srednjovjekovnoj Bosni, Filozofski fakultet, Sarajevo 2014". Filozofski Fakultet, Sarajevo: 205.
^„Crainich Miochouich et Stiepanus Glegieuich ad meliustenendem super se et omnia eorum bona se obligando promiserunt ser Тhome de Bona presenti et acceptanti conducere et salauum dare in Souisochi in Bosna Dobrassino Veselcouich nomine dicti ser Тhome modia salis mille quingenta super equis siue salmis sexcentis. Et dicto sale conducto et presentato suprascripto Dobrassino in Souisochi medietatem illius salis dare et mensuratum consignare dicto Dobrassino. Et aliam medietatem pro eorum mercede conducenda dictum salem pro ipsius conductoribus retinere et habere. Promittentes vicissim omnia et singularia suprascripta firma et rata habere et tenere ut supra sub obligatione omnium suorum bonorum. Renuntiando" (09.08. 1428.g.), Div. Canc., XLV, 31v.
^Sima Ćirković; (2004) The Serbs p. 130; Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 0631204717
^Hammel, E. A. and Kenneth W. Wachter. "The Slavonian Census of 1698. Part I: Structure and Meaning, European Journal of Population". University of California.
^Vásáry, István (2005). Cumans and Tatars: Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185–1365. Cambridge University Press. pp. 142–143. ISBN 978-0-521-83756-9.
^A. Boldur, Istoria Basarabiei, Editura Victor Frunza, Bucuresti 1992, pp 98-106
^A. Boldur, Istoria Basarabiei, Editura Victor Frunza, Bucuresti 1992
^ abcSince Theophanes Confessor and Kedrenos, in : A.D. Xenopol, Istoria Românilor din Dacia Traiană, Nicolae Iorga, Teodor Capidan, C. Giurescu : Istoria Românilor, Petre Ș. Năsturel Studii și Materiale de Istorie Medie, vol. XVI, 1998
^Map of Yugoslavia, file East, sq. B/f, Istituto Geografico de Agostini, Novara, in : Le Million, encyclopédie de tous les pays du monde, vol. IV, ed. Kister, Geneve, Switzerland, 1970, pp. 290-291, and many other maps & old atlases – these names disappear after 1980.
^Mircea Mușat; Ion Ardeleanu (1985). From Ancient Dacia to Modern Romania. Editura Științifică și Enciclopedică. that in 1550 a foreign writer, the Italian Gromo, called the Banat "Valachia citeriore" (the Wallachia that stands on this side).
^Z. Konečný, F. Mainus, Stopami minulosti: Kapitoly z dějin Moravy a Slezska/Traces of the Past: Chapters from the History of Moravia and Silesia, Brno:Blok,1979
^Silviu Dragomir: "Vlahii din nordul peninsulei Balcanice în evul mediu"; 1959, p. 172
^Marian Wenzel, "Bosnian and Herzegovinian Tombstobes—Who Made Them and Why?" Sudost-Forschungen 21 (1962): 102–143
^Anca & N.S. Tanașoca, Unitate romanică și diversitate balcanică, Editura Fundației Pro, 2004
^Ilona Czamańska; (2015) The Vlachs – several research problems p. 14; BALCANICA POSNANIENSIA XXII/1 IUS VALACHICUM I, 
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George Murnu, Istoria românilor din Pind, Vlahia Mare 980–1259 ("History of the Romanians of the Pindus, Greater Vlachia, 980–1259"), Bucharest, 1913
Ilie Gherghel, Câteva consideraţiuni la cuprinsul noţiunii cuvântului "Vlach". Bucuresti: Convorbiri Literare, (1920).
Theodor Capidan, Aromânii, dialectul aromân. Studiul lingvistic ("Aromanians, Aromanian dialect, Linguistic Study"), Bucharest, 1932
Steriu T. Hagigogu, "Romanus şi valachus sau Ce este romanus, roman, român, aromân, valah şi vlah", Bucharest, 1939
Τ. Winnifrith, The Vlachs. The History of a Balkan People, Duckworth 1987
A. Koukoudis, Oi mitropoleis kai i diaspora ton Vlachon [Major Cities and Diaspora of the Vlachs], publ. University Studio Press, Thessaloniki 1999.
A. Keramopoulos, Ti einai oi koutsovlachoi [What are the Koutsovlachs?], publ 2 University Studio Press, Thessaloniki 2000.
Birgül Demirtaş-Coşkun; Ankara University. Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (2001). The Vlachs: a forgotten minority in the Balkans. Frank Cass.
Victor A. Friedman, "The Vlah Minority in Macedonia: Language, Identity, Dialectology, and Standardization" in Selected Papers in Slavic, Balkan, and Balkan Studies, ed. Juhani Nuoluoto, et al.Slavica Helsingiensa: 21, Helsinki: University of Helsinki. 2001. 26–50. full text Though focussed on the Vlachs of North Macedonia, has in-depth discussion of many topics, including the origins of the Vlachs, their status as a minority in various countries, their political use in various contexts, and so on.
Asterios I. Koukoudis, The Vlachs: Metropolis and Diaspora, 2003, ISBN 960-7760-86-7
Tanner, Arno (2004). The Forgotten Minorities of Eastern Europe: The History and Today of Selected Ethnic Groups in Five Countries. East-West Books. pp. 203–. ISBN 978-952-91-6808-8.