also known as Carol I of of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (b. 20 April 1839, Sigmaringen, d. 10 October 1914, Sinaia)

Image description

The bust image presents a man over 45 years old, with short hair, beard and a moustache, a long and straight nose, full lips, prominent eyebrows and ears and dressed in a military uniform.

The slightly curved texture represents the slicked back hair.

The short and stuffy beard is represented by the compact and dense texture, and for the elongated moustache curved parallel lines overlap each other.

The tunic is represented by a texture made out of a multitude of dots and it ends at the base of the neck with a collar that has a texture made up of small right triangles placed very close together.

On the shoulders, the epaulettes are made out of a curly texture.

On the chest, tied to the collar there is a medal in the form of a sharp cross and on the right side there are another two embossed military medals.

The mess dress uniform also contains the sash which starts from his right shoulder and goes all the way over his chest. It stands out because of its compact texture of short oblique lines intersecting one another.

In the image that shows him standing he is dressed in a military uniform and is holding a sword.

The tunic here is represented by the curly texture and the collar by dots.

On his shoulders he is wearing epaulettes made to stand out by the use of thickened lines which end in clubs towards the exterior.

On his chest his wearing two embossed medals, the cross with the sharp points pinned to the collar and a rectangular band represented by parallel lines which is meant to signify military distinctions.

The buttons are made to stand out by the use of thickened circles. The pants are represented by a a texture made out of dots and the shoes are highlighted by short oblique lines that intersect each other.

The sword’s hilt is represented by a texture made out of plus signs.


Historical information

Carol I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was born on 20 April 1839 in Sigmaringen. After finishing his studies in Dresden in 1856 he enrolled in the Cadet School in Munster. He graduated with the mark “Bine” (B, Good) and became a second lieutenant dragoon. Afterwards, he attended the courses of the Artillery School in Berlin. [Bibliography 1]

After the overthrow of Alexandru Ioan Cuza by a coup d’état on the night of 11 February 1866, Romanian politicians wanted to bring to the Romanian throne a foreign ruler. The first choice was Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders the brother of Leopold II of Belgium, who refused being named the new Romanian sovereign. So, the Romanian politicians turned their eye to the Hohenzollern family. Ioan C. Bratianu the representative of the coalition holding the power obtained the consent of Carol, the second son of Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern. Soon afterwards on 20 april 1839 Carol was elected Domnitor (“Reigning Prince”). [Bibliography 2].

From that moment onward began the journey of the man who was to become the longest reigning monarch of the Romanian state. Due to political conflict between Prussia and the Austrian Empire, Karl travelled incognito by railroad, through Switzerland. Officially he was travelling to Odessa. [Bibliography 3]. He stopped in Baziaș for a couple of days where he stayed in a “dirty inn”. [Bibliography 4]. From there he travelled by boat to Turnu Severin.  On May 10, 1866 he entered the capital Bucharest where he was welcomed by Dimitrie Brătianu, the mayor, who gave him the keys to the city. [Bibliography 5].

In the 1934 book The Three Kings by Cezar Petrescu we are shown Carol’s reaction upon seeing the royal palace:

“On a short building, with a single floor, a flag was flapping in the wind, a guard of honour was keeping watch. The prince asked his companion:

“What can be found in this house?

General Golescu responded

“The palace…”

“I don’t understand. What palace?

“The royal palace, your highness.”

Carol’s amazement, real or imagined by Petrescu represents a clue as to how the situation of the Romanian Principalities was when he took the throne.  Politically speaking the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia were still under Ottoman suzerainty so Carol went to Istanbul to get the sultan’s firman. He was officially recognized as hereditary prince on 20 October 1866. [Bibliography 6].

In 1866, as mentioned by Ioan Scurtu, Romania was only at the beginning of the modernization process. The image of the capital was sad, with small dilapidated buildings and constructions realized without a plan. There were no paved roads. [Bibliography 7]. Romania still had no railroad a problem which determined Carol to declare that “I will not leave the country unless it’s on a Romanian railroad.” His dream came to fruition in 1869 when the Bucharest-Giurgiu railroad was officially opened. [Bibliography 8]. However, the industry was almost non-existent. [Bibliography 9].  But, at the same time, another problem arose: Bucharest’s bridges were hotspot of infection. The sanitation of the city was provided by the river Dâmbovița who “touched by Bucharest’s filth, swung itself from its river bed and washed everything in its path.” [Bibliography 10].

Ever since the beginning of his reign we can observe some objectives that Carol took upon himself to resolve: organizing and instructing the army, the construction of a railway system and the development of Danubian ports. At the same time we could also see him move towards a legislative activity. The first constitution of the Romanian United Principalities was adopted 1 July 1866. Laws concerning the creation of a national currency and a coat of arms for the country are passed (1st of March 1867). This is all made to encourage the national industry, the modernization of the ports, the construction of railways, the organization of the army and of the military education system. Between these same years the first coins bearing Carol I’s likeness and the inscription Carol I Prince of Romanians (1868). In 1869 Carol marries Elisabeth of Wied. [Bibliography 11].

One of his main concerns was gaining independence from the Ottoman Empire. [Bibliography 12]. The occasion would arise during the Russo-turkish war from 1877. Its obtaining was preceded by a treaty with Russian signed either on 3 or 15 of April 1977 which stipulated that Romania would allow the Russian troops to pass through the country while Russia would swear to respect the political rights and the territorial integrity of Romania.  [Bibliography 13]. On either 9 or 21 of May (sources vary) 1877 Kogălniceanu declared in Parliament:”We are independent, we are a stand-alone nation.’’ Although initially Russia denied the military help of Romania it soon found itself forced to accept due to the resistance of the Turkish people, and so it asked Carol to intervene.

And so with Carol leading the way the Romanian army crossed the Danube river through the village of Corabia on either 20 august or 1 of September 1877. [Bibliography 14]. Upon hearing the sound of the canons Carol declared:”This is the music that I like”, a statement that was to remain ingrained in people’s minds.  [Bibliography 15]. Finally, Romania’s independence was recognized by the Berlin Treaty (13 July 1878). However, the recognition was dependant on several conditions that had to be met: Romania was to give southern Basarabia to Russia. In exchange Romania was given the Danube Delta, the Serpent Island and Dobrogea region. [Bibliography 16].

After the recognition of Romania’s independence as a state, Carol received the title of Royal Highness on 21 September 1878. Carol did not have any male heirs so to resolve the problem of who would come to the throne, he signed a ”family pact” on 17th of May 1881 by which he declared his nephew Ferdinand to be heir.  Romania was proclaimed a kingdom and Carol was made king on 10th of May of 1881.

Major changes also took place in the 1866 Constitution and in the political life of the kingdom following the founding of the political parties: PNL in 1875 and the Conservative Party in 1880 which lead to King Carol I to adopt a system in which the two parties would take turns governing every four years. The constitution was also modified. Electoral colleges were also reduced from 4 to 3 and the right to vote was also given to more people.  

During King Carol I’s reign multiple institutions appeared among them the National Bank of Romania (1880), ”Domeniile Coroanei” (1884) a group of proprieties owned by the state whose income is used to finance the activities of the Romanian Royal Familiy.

Multiple industrial undertakings are established now (Buhuși, Letea). Bucharest also suffered changes during that time. In 1888 the first sidewalks made out of artificial basalt appeared in Bucharest and in 1890 street lighting was introduced. [Bibliography 17].

However, Carol I’s reign was not without its delicate moments and problems. In 1870 the self proclaimed Republic of Ploiești asked for Carol’s abdication. To make matters worse the peasants also revolted several times because of the socio-economic situation in which they found themselves. By far one of the worse revolts, in his 48 year reign, was the one in 1907 when the liberal government lead by Dimitrie Sturdza, with Ion I.C. Brătianu serving as minister of internal affairs and Alexandru Averescu as ministry of war, crushed the revolt violently with the help of the Romanian Army. Following this, some 11.000 peasants were killed. [Bibliography 18]. The conflict was described afterwards as being one of useless aggression.

”The measures taken by Averescu crush the revolt in only a few days but the repression is becoming an act of useless aggression.” [Bibliography 19]

Politically speaking, Carol chose to ally himself with the Central Powers, a fact made official by the signing of treaties with Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1883, treaties which were kept secret at the time out of fear of a negative reaction from the general public. [Bibliography 20]. Towards the end of his life, Carol has one big disappointment: losing Basarabia following the treaties of San Stefano and Berlin. According to Ioan Scurtu, King Carol declared:”There’s only one thing I’d like before I die: to see the return of the three counties lost by the country during my reign” [Bibliography 21].

In the context of the First World War starting, Carol would have wanted to enter the war against Russia, taking the side of his original motherland Germany. ”The very possible perspective of gaining back Bessarabia”, ”the pan-Slavism threat, the faith in the invincibility of Germany and the treaty from 1883 were some of the arguments which Carol invoked for entering the war [Bibliography 22]. But at the Crown Council of Romania from 21 July 1914 the point of view of the government was accepted and neutrality was chosen with a huge majority [Bibliography 23].

King Carol I died on 10 October 1914 in Sinaia and was buried in Curtea de Argeș Cathedral [Bibliography 24].



  1. Paul Lindenberg, Regele Carol I al României, București, Humanitas, 2016.
  2. Nicolae Iorga, Regii României. Carol I, Ferdinand, Carol al II-lea, Mihai I. O istorie adevărată, București, Tex Express, 1998, p. 7, Keith Hitchins, România. 1866-1947, Ivth edition, București, Humanitas, 2013, p. 27.
  3. Ioan Scurtu, Istoria Românilor în timpul celor patru regi. Regele Carol I, vol. I, București, Editura Enciclopedică, 2010, p. 42.
  4. Cezar Petrescu, Cei trei regi, IIIrd edition, București, RAI, [1997], pp. 9-19.
  5. Nicolae Iorga, op. cit., p. 10.
  6. Keith Hitchins, op. cit., p. 29.
  7. Ioan Scurtu, op. cit., pp. 54-55.
  8. V. Vâlcovici, Inginerii noștri și opera lor, in Revista Fundațiilor Regale, an. I, nr. 1/ianuarie 1934, p. 111.
  9. Scurtu, 55.
  10. V. Vâlcovici, Inginerii noștri și opera lor, in Revista Fundațiilor Regale, an. I, nr. 1/ianuarie 1934, p. 105.
  11. Ioan Scurtu, op. cit., pp. 55, 58, 63, 88.
  12. Idem, Portrete Politice, Chișinău, Editura Prut Internațional, 2006, p. 12.
  13. Dan Berindei, Secolul al XIX-lea, în Stephen Fischer-Galați, Dinu Giurescu, Ioan Aurel-Pop (coordonatori), O istorie a românilor studii critice, Cluj-Napoca, Fundația Culturală Română, 1998, p. 213, Ioan Scurtu, Carol, p. 103.
  14. V. Vâlcovici, art. cit., pp. 105-106.
  15. Ioan Scurtu, Portrete…, p. 14,
  16. Keith Hitchins, op. cit. pp. 62-63.
  17. Ioan Scurtu, Regele Carol I, pp. 90, 127-131, 133, 138, 139, 155.
  18. Ibidem, p. 68-70, 199.
  19. Nicolae Iorga, op. cit., p. 25.
  20. Ioan Scurtu, op. cit., pp. 183,184
  21. Ioan Scurtu, op. cit., p. 234.
  22. Sterie Diamandi, Galeria oamenilor politici, București, Editura Gessa, [1991], 61.
  23. Keith Hitchins, op. cit., p. 94.
  24. Regele Carol, available online at http://www.familiaregala.ro/istorie/regele-carol-i[august 2018].


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