The Kingdom of Romania
was the old Romanian state
based on a form of parliamentary monarchy between 13 March 1881 and
30 December 1947, specified by the first three Constitutions of
). Thus, the
Kingdom of Romania began with the reign of King
Carol I of Romania who gained
Romanian's independence in the Romanian War of Independence,
and ended with the abdication of King Michael I of Romania in 30 December
1947, imposed by the Soviet Union with the tacit and secret,
implicit consent of its allies (as a result of the Yalta
Conference and secret
As such, it is quite distinct from the Romanian Old Kingdom
, which refers
strictly to the reign of King Carol I of Romania, between 13 March
1881 and 10 October 1914.
to 1877, Romania evolved from
a personal union of two vassal
principalities (Moldavia and Wallachia) under a single prince to a full-fledged
independent kingdom with a Hohenzollern
monarchy. In 1918, at the end of World War I, Transylvania, Eastern Moldavia (Bessarabia), and Bukovina united with
the Kingdom of Romania, resulting in a "Greater Romania". In 1940, at the
beginning of World War II, Northern
Transylvania, Basarabia and Cadrilater were ceded
to Hungary, the
Union and Bulgaria
respectively, only Northern Transylvania being recovered after
World War II ended.
In 1947 the last king was compelled to
abdicate and a republic
the Romanian Communist
replaced the monarchy.
Unification and monarchy
The 1859 ascendancy of Alexander
as prince of both Moldavia and Wallachia under the
of the Ottoman Empire
united an identifiably
Romanian nation under a single ruler. On 5 February 1862 (24
January Old Style) the
two principalities were formally united to form Romania, with
Bucharest as its capital.
On 23 February 1866 a so-called Monstrous coalition
composed of Conservatives and radical Liberals, forced Cuza to
abdicate. The German prince Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was
appointed as Prince of Romania, in a move to assure German backing to
unity and future independence.
His clansmen were to rule as
the kings of Romania
until the rise
of the communists in 1947.
Romanian Kingdom Proclamation
In 1877, following a Russian-Romanian-Turkish
, Romania was recognized as independent by the Treaty of Berlin, 1878
, and acquired
, although she was forced to
surrender southern Bessarabia (Budjak
Russia. Charles was crowned as Carol, the first King of Romania, in
state, squeezed between the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, with Slavic populations on its
southwestern, southern and northeastern borders, the Black Sea due
east, and Magyar neighbors on its western
and northwestern borders, looked to the West, particularly France, for its
cultural, educational and administrative models.
Abstaining from the Initial Balkan
against the Ottoman Empire, Romania entered the Second Balkan War
in June 1913 against
Bulgaria. 330,000 Romanian troops moved across the Danube and into
Bulgaria. One army occupied Southern Dobrudja and another moved
into northern Bulgaria to threaten Sofia, helping to bring an end
to the war. Romania thus acquired the ethnically-mixed territory of
Southern Dobrudja, which it had desired for years.
In 1916 Romania entered World War I
side, but was quickly
defeated and occupied by German and Austro-Hungarian forces.
Romania engages in a conflict against Bulgaria but as a result
Bulgarian forces, after a series of successful battles, regain
Dobruja that was previously taken from Bulgaria by the treaty of
Bucharest and the Berlin congress. Although the Romanian forces did
not fare well militarily, by the end of the war the Austrian and
Russian empires were gone; governing bodies created in
Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina chose union with Romania,
upheld in 1919 the Treaty of
and in 1920 by the Treaty of Trianon
Romanian Old Kingdom (1881–1918)
1901 German map of the Old
The Romanian Old Kingdom
( or just Regat
or ) is a colloquial term referring to the territory covered by the
first independent Romanian nation
, which was composed of the Danubian Principalities
and Moldavia. It was achieved when, under the auspices of the
Treaty of Paris
ad hoc Divans
of both countries -
which were under Imperial Ottoman
at the time - voted for
Alexander John Cuza
prince, thus achieving a de facto
unification. The region itself is defined by the result of that
political act, followed by the inclusion of Northern Dobruja
in 1878, the proclamation
of the Kingdom of Romania in 1881, and the annexation of Southern Dobruja
The term came into use after World War I, when the Old Kingdom was
opposed to Greater Romania
included Transylvania, Banat
, Bessarabia, and
Bukovina. Nowadays, the term mainly has a historical relevance, and
is otherwise used as a common term for all regions in Romania
included in both the Old Kingdom and present-day borders (namely:
Wallachia, Moldavia, and Northern Dobruja).
World War I
The Romanian military
ended in disaster for Romania as the Central Powers
conquered two-thirds of the
country and captured or killed the majority of its army
within four months. Nevertheless, Moldova remained in
Romanian hands after the invading forces were stopped in
Since by the war's end, Austria-Hungary and the
Russian Empire had collapsed, Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania
were ceded to the Kingdom of Romania in 1918.
Union with Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina
Territories inhabited by
After World War I, during 1918, Transylvania, part of Banat,
Bessarabia (Eastern Moldavia between Prut and Dniester rivers) and
Bukovina unite with Romania. Except for some territories across the
river, all these territories were united in a single
1920 Treaty of Trianon, Hungary renounced in
favour of Romania all the claims of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy over
The union of
Romania with Bukovina
was ratified in 1919
in the Treaty of Saint
, and with Bessarabia in 1920 by the Treaty of Paris
The interregnum years
The Romanian expression România Mare (literal translation "Great
Romania", but more commonly rendered "Greater Romania") generally
refers to the Romanian state in the interwar period
, and by extension, to the
territory Romania covered at the time (see map). Romania achieved
at that time its greatest territorial extent (almost
300,000 km² ). At the 1930 census, there were over 18 million
inhabitants in Romania.
Kingdom of Romania 1939,
Administrative map of Greater
Administrative map of Greater Romania
with historical provinces
The resulting "Greater Romania" did not survive World War II. Until
1938, Romania's governments maintained the form, if not always the
substance, of a liberal constitutional monarchy. The National Liberal Party
dominant in the years immediately after World War I, became
increasingly clientelist and nationalist, and in 1927 was
supplanted in power by the National Peasant Party
. Between 1930
and 1940 there were over 25 separate governments; on several
occasions in the last few years before World War II, conflict
between the Iron Guard
political groupings approached the level of a civil war.
Upon the death in 1927 of his father Ferdinand
, Prince Carol
was prevented from
succeeding him because of previous marital scandals that had
resulted in his renunciation of rights to the throne. After serving
three years in exile, with his brother Nicolae serving as regent
and his young son Michael
king, Carol changed his mind and with the support of the ruling
National Peasant Party he returned and proclaimed himself king.
, leader of the National
Peasant Party, engineered Carol's return on the understanding that
he would forsake his mistress Magda
, and Lupescu herself had agreed to the arrangement.
However, it became clear upon Carol's first re-encounter with Elena
that she had no interest in a reconciliation, and Carol soon
arranged for Lupescu's return to his side. Her unpopularity in
Romania, no doubt due in large part to her having a Jewish
father, was to be a millstone around Carol's neck
for the rest of his reign, particularly because she was widely
viewed as his closest advisor and confidante.
The 1929 economic crisis
affected Romania and the early 1930s were marked by social unrest,
high unemployment, and strikes. In several instances, the Romanian
government violently repressed strikes and riots, notably the 1929
miners' strike in Valea Jiului
strike in the Griviţa
railroad workshops. In
the mid-1930s, the Romanian economy recovered and the industry grew
significantly, although about 80% of Romanians were still employed
As the 1930s progressed, Romania's already shaky democracy slowly
deteriorated toward fascist
The constitution of 1923 gave the king free rein to dissolve
parliament and call elections at will; as a result, Romania was to
experience over 25 governments in a decade.
Increasingly, these governments were dominated by any of a number
and mostly at least quasi-fascist parties. The National Liberal Party
steadily became more nationalistic than liberal, but nonetheless
lost its dominance over Romanian politics. It was eclipsed by
parties like the (relatively moderate) National Peasant Party and
its more radical Romanian Front
offshoot, the League of
(LANC) and the Iron Guard
. In 1935 LANC merged with the National Agrarian Party
to form the
National Christian Party
(NCP). The quasi-mystical fascist Iron Guard was an earlier LANC
offshoot that, even more than these other parties, exploited
nationalism, fear of communism, and resentment of alleged foreign
domination of the economy.
Already, the Iron Guard had embraced the politics of assassination
and various governments had reacted more or less in kind. On
December 10, 1933, Liberal prime minister Ion
"dissolved" the Iron Guard, arresting thousands; 19 days
later he was assassinated by Iron Guard legionnaires.
Throughout the 1930s, these nationalist parties had a mutually
distrustful relationship with King Carol II. Nonetheless, in
December 1937, the king appointed LANC leader (and poet) Octavian Goga
as prime minister. Around this
time, Carol met with Adolf Hitler
expressed his wish to see a Romanian government headed by the Iron
Guard. Instead, on 10 February 1938 King Carol II used the occasion
of a public insult by Goga toward Lupescu as a reason to dismiss
the government and institute a short-lived royal dictatorship,
sanctioned seventeen days later by a new constitution under which
the king named not only the prime minister but all
On 10 February 1938, in order to prevent the formation of a
government that would have included Iron Guard ministers, and in
direct confrontation to Adolf Hitler's expressed support of the
Iron Guard, King Carol II dismissed the government and instituted a
short-lived royal dictatorship, raising the stakes on both sides.
In April 1938, Carol had Iron Guard leader Corneliu Zelea Codreanu
imprisoned. On the night of 29-30 November1938, Codreanu and
several other legionnaires were killed while purportedly attempting
to escape from prison. It is generally agreed that there was no
such escape attempt, but that they were murdered in retaliation for
a series of assassinations by Iron Guard commandos.
The royal dictatorship was brief. On 7 March 1939 a new government
was formed with Armand
as prime minister; on 21 September 1939, three weeks
after the start of World War II, Călinescu, in turn, was
assassinated by legionnaires avenging Codreanu.
Germany and the Soviet
Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which
stipulated, among other things, the Soviet "interest" in
Timeline (1859 - 1939)
||Alexander John Cuza unites
Moldavia and Wallachia under his personal rule.
||Formal union of Moldavia and Wallachia to form principality of
||Cuza forced to abdicate and a foreign dynasty is established.
Carol I signed the first modern Constitution.
||April 16. Treaty by which the Russian troops are allowed to
pass through Romanian territoryApril 24. Russia declares war to the
Ottoman Empire and its troops enter Romania
May 9. Romanian independence declared by the Romanian parliament,
start of Romanian War of
May 10. Carol I ratifies
||Under Treaty of Berlin,
Ottoman Empire recognizes Romanian independence. Romania ceded
southern Bessarabia to Russia.
||Carol I was proclaimed King of
Romania on March 26.
||Leaders of the Transylvanian Romanians who sent a Memorandum to the Austrian
Emperor demanding national rights for the Romanians are found
guilty of treason.
revolts crushed throughout Romania, thousands of persons
||Death of Carol I, succeeded by his nephew Ferdinand.
||(August) Romania enters World War I
on the Entente side.
(December) Romanian Treasure sent
to Russia for safekeeping, but was not returned after the war.
||Greater Romania is created.
||By the Treaty of
Versailles, Romania agreed to grant citizenship to the former
citizens of Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires living in the new
||A military conflict occurs between Romania and Hungarian Soviet
led by Béla Kun. The Romanian Army
takes over Budapest on 4 August 1919. The city is ruled by a
military administration until 16 November 1919.
||The Treaty of Trianon upholds
||A major and radical agrarian
||The 1923 Constitution is adopted based on a National Liberal
Defense League (LANC) founded.
member (later Iron Guard founder)
Corneliu Zelea Codreanu
assassinates the Prefect of Police in Iaşi, but is
||Liberal Electoral Law adopted.
"Little Entente" with Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and Franco-Romanian Treaty.
||The National Peasant Party takes over the government from the
National Liberal Party.
The Legion of the Archangel Michael, later the Iron Guard, splits
Michael (Mihai) becomes king under
a regency regime.
||Beginning of the Great
||Carol II crowned King.
||First ban on Iron Guard.
||(16 February) Griviţa Railcar Workshops strike violently put
down by police.
(10 December) Prime Minister Ion Duca
"dissolves" the Iron Guard, arresting thousands; 19 days later he
is assassinated by Iron Guard legionnaires.
||LANC and National Agrarian Party merge to form the fascist
National Christian Party (NCP).
||Electoral "non-aggression pact" between National Peasant Party
and Iron Guard, later adding the Agrarian Union. Romanian Communist
Party denounces pact, but, in practice, supports the
LANC forms government, but is rapidly in conflict with Carol II
over his Jewish mistress.
||10 February. Royal dictatorship declared. New constitution
adopted 27 February.
(29-30 November) Iron Guard leader Codreanu and other legionnaires
shot on the King's orders.
||7 March. Armand Călinescu
23 August. Molotov-Ribbentrop
Pact stipulates Soviet "interest" in Bessarabia.
1 September. Germany invades Poland. Start of World War II.
21 September. Călinescu assassinated by Iron Guard
- STATUL NATIONAL UNITAR (ROMÂNIA MARE 1919 - 1940)