Historical names of Transylvania are:
In Romanian, the region is known as Ardeal () or Transilvania (); in Hungarian as Erdély (); in German as Siebenbürgen ( ( listen)); and in Turkish as Transilvanya () but historically as Erdel or Erdelistan; see also other denominations.
Transylvania has been dominated by several different peoples and countries throughout its history. It was once the nucleus of the Kingdom of Dacia (82 BC–106 AD). In 106 AD the Roman Empire conquered the territory, systematically exploiting its resources. After the Roman legions withdrew in 271 AD, it was overrun by a succession of various tribes, bringing it under the control of the Carpi, Visigoths, Huns, Gepids, Avars and Slavs. From 9th to 11th century Bulgarians ruled Transylvania. It is a subject of dispute whether elements of the mixed Daco–Roman population survived in Transylvania through the Post-classical Era (becoming the ancestors of modern Romanians) or the first Vlachs/Romanians appeared in the area in the 13th century after a northward migration from the Balkan Peninsula. There is an ongoing scholarly debate over the ethnicity of Transylvania's population before the Hungarian conquest (see Origin of the Romanians).
The Magyars conquered much of Central Europe at the end of the 9th century. According to Gesta Hungarorum, the Vlach voivode Gelou ruled Transylvania before the Hungarians arrived. The Kingdom of Hungary established partial control over Transylvania in 1003, when king Stephen I, according to legend, defeated the prince named Gyula. Some historians assert Transylvania was settled by Hungarians in several stages between the 10th and 13th centuries, while others claim that it was already settled, since the earliest Hungarian artifacts found in the region are dated to the first half of the 10th century.
Between 1003[dubious ] and 1526, Transylvania was a voivodeship in the Kingdom of Hungary, led by a voivode appointed by the King of Hungary. After the Battle of Mohács in 1526, Transylvania became part of the Kingdom of János Szapolyai. Later, in 1570, the kingdom transformed into the Principality of Transylvania, which was ruled primarily by Calvinist Hungarian princes. During that time, the ethnic composition of Transylvania transformed from an estimated near equal number of the ethnic groups to a Romanian majority. Vasile Lupu estimates their number already more than one-third of the population of Transylvania in a letter to the sultan around 1650. For most of this period, Transylvania, maintaining its internal autonomy, was under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.