Parents: Leopold and Antónia of Portugal
Date of Birth: 24 August 1865
Royal House: Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Spouse: Marie, daughter of Alfred, duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, and Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
Predecessor: Carol I
Reign: 1914 – 1927
Summary: Like many of the monarchs of the late 1880s and early 1900s, Ferdinand was not born to rule a country. He was born in Germany to the royal family of the kings of Prussia, which would soon rule all of Germany. In 1886, the twenty-one-year-old man was appointed heir-presumptive to the throne of Romania when it was assumed that his uncle, King Carol I, would have no children. He was related through his mother to both the tsar of Bulgaria and the Austrian emperor, and both would provide unceasing problems for Ferdinand. After an affair with a Romanian noblewoman, Ferdinand married Marie, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, in 1898. This marriage added relatives in Russia, the United Kingdom, and numerous German states. In the months immediately prior to the start of World War I, King Carol I died and Ferdinand was thrust into the position of king without any real knowledge or experience in running a country.
When the war began, Romania joined the Allies against the Central Powers. Emperor Wilhelm II saw this as a personal betrayal and erased his name from the Hohenzollern house register. Romanians fought hard against German and Austrian aggression, losing large portions of Wallachia and Dobruja but keeping the Germans out of Moldavia. When Russia dropped out of the war in early 1918, Romania was surrounded and was forced to conclude a separate peace with the Treaty of Bucharest. But Ferdinand refused to sign the treaty and soon after the Allies defeated Bulgaria. Ferdinand immediately ordered the re-mobilization of Romania's army. The war ended soon after and Romania reaped the benefits. Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transylvania were all added from Austro-Hungarian possessions, doubling the size of Romania. In 1922, Ferdinand underwent a second coronation ceremony at Alba Iulia, the princely seat of the ancient Roman province in Transylvania. The merger of Transylvania into Romania increased the peasant population greatly and the conservatives were pushed out in favor of a the National Peasant Party. Ferdinand died before having to deal with the Great Depression or the rise of communism in Romania. He was succeeded by his grandson, Michael I, under a regency led partially by his second son, Nicholas.
Date of Death: 20 July 1927
Successor: Michael I
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