20 Lei, 1890

6.4516 g., .900 GOLD, .1867 oz ASW.

Carol I REGE (King)

Brilliant Uncirculated.

Carol I, original name KARL EITEL FRIEDRICH, PRINZ VON HOHENZOLLERN-SIGMARINGEN (b. April 20, 1839, Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen--d. Oct. 10, 1914, Sinaia, Rom.), first king of Romania, whose long reign (as prince, 1866-81, and as king, 1881-1914) brought notable military and economic development along Western lines but signally failed to confront the basic problems of an overwhelmingly rural nation.

Originally the German prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Carol was educated at Dresden and Bonn and in 1864 served as an officer of the Prussian Army in the war against Denmark. With the tacit approval of his cousin, the French emperor Napoleon III, he was offered the throne of Romania after the deposition of the reigning prince, Alexandru Cuza (February 1866), and in April 1866 was elected prince by plebiscite. In 1869 he married the princess Elizabeth of Wied, who later gained fame as the poetess Carmen Sylva. His Germanophile sentiments caused him to be domestically unpopular during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), and in 1871 a local revolution almost forced his abdication; but he regained popular support for his military leadership at the Battle of Plevna during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78), and, with Romania's complete independence from the Ottoman Empire, he was finally crowned king (May 1881). In 1883 he concluded an alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, which remained a closely guarded state secret until the outbreak of World War I. He fostered the development of urban industrial and financial interests with a large measure of success and significantly built the national military establishment; but his neglect of festering rural problems--especially peasant land hunger--found its issue in the bloody peasant rebellion of 1907, which claimed perhaps 10,000 lives. His rule brought a great measure of dignity and stability to the administration of government, but his opportunistic manipulation of political parties also perpetuated some of the worst features of Romanian public life.

"Carol I," Encyclopedia Brintanica 1999.
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