King Carol was the first independent modern king of Romania. Carol grew up in Germany and served in the Prussian army. He was appointed Prince of Romania after considerable international discussions while Romania was still nominally a part of the Ottoman Empire. Russia was driving into the Balkans as the Ottoman Empire weakened which concerned the Great Powers. Thus it was finally agreed to install a member of the Catholic branch of the Prussian royal family as Prince of Romania. His father was Charles Anthony Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen who when his son was begame king was made Prince of Romania. I do not yet know who his father was. Carol's mother was Josephine Zähringen. Her father was Karl Ludwig of Baden Zähringen, Grand Duke of Baden (1786- ). Her mother was Vicomtesse Stephanie de Beauharnais (1789- ). Carol became king after the Russians defeated the Ottomans in the Russo-Turkish War and Romania declared its independence. King Carol died in 1914 at the age of 75 at Sinaia, Romania without leaving a male heir.
Carol or Charles in English was a memember of the Catholic branch of the Hohenzollern family. His father was Charles Anthony Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen who when his son was begame king was made Prince of Romania. I do not yet know who his father was. Carol's mother was Josephine Zähringen. Her father was Karl Ludwig of Baden Zähringen, Grand Duke of Baden (1786- ). Her mother was Vicomtesse Stephanie de Beauharnais (1789- ).
King Carol had five brothers and sisters:
Leopold (1835-1905) was the oldest son. Leopold was offered the throne of Spain and accepted at Bismarck's urging. His father declined for him when Napoleon III, fearful of Hohenzollerns on two borders rejected. The chain of events led to the Franco Prussian War (1870-71). I am not sure why he was not chosen to be king of Romania instead of his younger brother Carol. It was, however, Leopold's son Ferdinand who was to suceed King Carol who did not have a male heir.
Stephanie born in 1837 was the oldest girl.
Carol himself born in 1839 was the third child.
The other children were: Anthony (1841- ), Frederick (1843- ) and Marie (1845- ). Marie featured on the list of royals that Queen Victoria and Crown Princess Victiria discussed as possible wives for the Prince of Wales (future Edward VII). While she was found to be "quite lovely", she was rejected because she was Catholic.
Carol I (1839-1914), Carol Eitel Frederick Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was born at Sigmaringen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.
Carol was educated at Dresden and the University of Bonn.
Carol as a young man served in the Prussian army.
Carol mairred Elizabeth of Wied in 1869 at the age of 26.
Carol and Elizabeth had only one child, Marie Hohenzollern. She was born in 1870, bit died as a small child in 1874.
Romania at the turn of the century was in a period of transition from the predominant feudal relationships to capitalism. Manufacturing and industrialization developed, but the country still remained one predominantly agrarian. The local authorities and "boieri" were reluctant to the wind of change blowing all over Europe, and they were imposing big taxes, wouldn't allow the free of movement between properties, etc. So 1907 marks a very important moment in the Romanian history - "the peasants' riot". Tens of thousands of peasants from all over the country reacted at once. Even though the riot was drown in blood it had beneficial effects on the country, the boiari and local authorieties deciding now that they should change their way of treating peasants.
Knowing that none of the local nobels were ready to become the Prince of Romania, the Boieri looked to the European Royal families. Following heavy international discussions and a local plebiscite, Carol prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (relative of he royal family of Prussia and supported by Napoleon III and Bismark) on May 10, 1866 was proclaimed ruling prince of Romania, with the name of Carol I, (Charles I). Many would think that was the worst selection a country could have made, but as we will see down below, this selection turned out to be the best solution that could have possible been taken.
With his proclamation as a Prince a new Constitution was adopted and Romania became a Constitutional Monarchy. Carol was a Prince because Romania at the time was notfully independent, still noiminally a part pf the Ottoman Empire.
A new oriental crisis broke out in the late 1870, and another Russian-Turkish war began in 1877. This was the opportunity that the Romanians were waiting for a long time. We may say a lifetime opportunity. Romania declared his Independence from the Ottoman Empire and joined forces with the Russians in attacking (Crossing the Danube at Corabia) the Turkish armies. There were three famous battles faught by the Romanians - Pleven, Grivitza (Grivitza uder the attack of the Romanians army)and Smirdan all won by the Romanians who were led by their Prince Carol I. Carol's words after the first shootings "This is the kind of music that I like" are famous in Romania. The Turkish army was forced to surrender and the war was finally won by the Russian-Romanian armies.
The peace treaty signed by the two major beligerants (March 1878) recognized the independence on Romania and was also ratified by the International Peace Congress (July 1878). According to these two treaties Romania was recognized as an independent state and Dobrogea was reunited with the rest of the country. The Russian Empire though, violated the same treaties forcing Romania to cede the Southern Bassarabia. Romania 3 years after the war, proclaimed itself an independent kingdom. Following recognition by the great powers, Carol the I became the first modern king of the country.
Romania as elsewhere in the Balkans faced serious problems with internal non-Romanian populations as well as Romanians living in neighboring countries. Rhe Romanian Government viewed the latter as other Romanian territories under foreign occupation and gave credence to reports that Romanian citizens were abused and depraved of their rights. Some neighboring countries considered them immigrants and tried to be forcefully assimilate them. Legislation passed in Hungary after 1867, for example, proclaimed that there existence only one nationality- the Magyar nationality. Romanians couldn't vote, they couldn't be elected to serve in any governmental functions.
Romania at the end of King Carol's reign participated in the second Balkan War in 1913 against Bulgaria. This resulted in the reunification of Southern Dobrogea with the rest of the Romania.
King Carol I died in 1914 at the age of 75 at Sinaia, Romania without leaving a male heir. He was succeeded by Ferdinand I (1865-1927) was born Ferdinand Victor Albert Meinrad Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. His parents were Leopold Hohenzollern, King Carol's older brother, and Antonia Saxe-Coburg. He was born at Sigmaringen, Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany.
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