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Kingdom of Romania

Romanian Royal Family and the Romanian Kingdom (1867-1947)

To put an end to the internal struggles for power, Romanian politicians appointed the German prince Carol of Sigmaringen-Hochenzollern as prince of Romania in 1866. He continued the independence policy of his predecessor and declared 1877 (after the Turkish defeat in the Crimean War) the independency from the Ottoman Empire which was recognized one year later by the Peace Treaty of Berlin (following the Russian-Romanian-Turkish war). Romania also gained Dobruja but lost Bessarabia to Russia . 1881 Carol I was crowned King of Romania.

During WWI Romania joined the Entente because of the strong relationships to France (even today's legislation and military organization as well as large part of Romanian culture are based on the French model) and also in order to gain back Transylvania from the Austrian-Hungarian empire and Bessarabia from Russia . 1918 Carol II (second king of Romania ) celebrated the unification of all Romanian speaking territories - Greater Romania was formed.

Social, cultural, educational life reached a level as never before, Bucharest being even called "Little Paris". Though, the government was far from being a real constitutional monarchy. The nationalist extremist movement "The Iron Guard" gained a major political role, especially due to the fact that within 10 years ('30-'40) over 25 governments were changed. In order to prevent this nationalistic party which was supported by Hitler to lead the government, Carl II dismissed the parliament and started a short term dictatorship (1938). In 1939 Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact and left Bessarabia to the Russians.

As a compromise in order to save the country of being occupied by the Germans, Romania joined Hitler during WWII. This way, only a minimum of German troops were located in Romania and the power was still in Romanian hands: king Michael I - only as the image of royalty, all decisions being actually taken by General Ion Antonescu. Although 1944 Romania turned the weapons against Hitler and fought to the end of the war against him, it was not admitted at the peace negotiations and fell under Russian influence, loosing also part of Dobrogea and the Cadrilater to Bulgaria , eastern Moldova to Russia and part of the Danube Delta to the Ukraine .

1947 king Michael I was forced to abdicate and went into exile, and the communist party took over power.

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