The King Carol I Bridge (later renamed Anghel Saligny Bridge) was built between 1890 and 1895 in Romania over the Danube and Borcea and when it was completed it then became the longest bridge in Europe and the third longest in the world.
The bridge has a length of 4,037 metres of which 1662 m over the Danube and 920 m over Borcea and was designed by Romanian engineer Anghel Saligny. It is 30 metres above the water, allowing tall ships to pass under it. The bridge has four spans of 140 metres and one of 190 metres.
The two cities on the banks of the river which was built were Feteşti on the left side and Cernavodă on the right side. The bridge was used for almost a century, until it was replaced in 1987 with the new bridge built next to it. The bridge was inaugurated on 26 September 1895 and as a test on the opening, a convoy of 15 locomotives sped at 85 km/h.
Carol I of Romania, original name Prince Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrinus Ludwig of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, later simply of Hohenzollern (20 April 1839 - 27 September 1914 (O.S.) / 10 October 1914 (N.S.), German prince, was elected Domnitor (Prince) of Romania on 20 April 1866 following the overthrow of Alexander John Cuza by a palace coup; following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War he was proclaimed King of Romania on 26 March 1881. He was the first ruler of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty, which ruled the country until the proclamation of a republic in 1947.
During his reign, he personally led Romanian troops during the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78 and assumed command of the Russo/Romanian army during the siege of Pleven. The country achieved full independence from the Ottoman Empire (Treaty of Berlin, 1878) and acquired the southern part of the Dobruja from Bulgaria in 1913. Domestic political life, still dominated by the country's wealthy landowning families organised around the rival Liberal and Conservative parties, was punctuated by two widespread peasant uprisings, in Walachia (the southern half of the country) in April 1888 and in Moldavia (the northern half) in March 1907.
He married Elisabeth of Wied in Neuwied on 15 November 1869. They only had one daughter, Maria, who died aged three.
Carol's childlessness left his elder brother Leopold next in line to the throne. In October 1880 Leopold renounced his right of succession in favour of his son William, who in turn surrendered his claim eight years later in favour of his younger brother, the future king Ferdinand.
Domnitor of Romania (1866 - 1881)
King of the Romanians (1881 - 1914)
King Carol I of Romania
Reign 10 May 1866 (O.S.) / 22 May 1866 (N.S.) - 27 September 1914 (O.S.) / 10 October 1914 (N.S.)
Coronation 10 May 1881 (O.S.) / 22 May 1881 (N.S.)
Predecessor Alexandru Ioan Cuza (Domnitor)
Successor Ferdinand I
Spouse Elisabeth of Wied
Princess Maria of Romania
Full name : Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrinus Ludwig von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Father Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Mother Princess Josephine of Baden
Born 20 April 1839
Died 27 September 1914 (O.S.) / 10 Octomber 1914 (N.S.)
Burial Curtea de Argeş, Romania
1. Early life
Carol was born in Sigmaringen as Prince Karl von Hohenzollern Sigmaringen. He was the second son of Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and his wife, Princess Josephine of Baden. After finishing his elementary studies, Karl entered the Cadet School in Münster. In 1857 he was attending the courses of the Artillery School in Berlin. Up to 1866 (when he accepted the crown of Romania) he was a German officer. He took part in the Second Schleswig War, particularly at the assault of the Fredericia citadel and Dybbøl, experience which would be very useful to him later on in the Russian-Turkish war.
Although he was quite frail and not very tall, prince Karl was reported to be the perfect soldier, healthy, disciplined, and also a very good politician with liberal ideas. He was familiar with several European languages. His family being closely related to the Bonaparte family (one of his grandmothers was a Beauharnais, Joséphine's niece-in-law, and the other a Murat, Joachim's niece Marie Antoinette Murat), they enjoyed very good relations with Napoleon III of France. Romania was, at the time, under the influence of French culture and Napoleon's recommendation of Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen weighed heavy in the eyes of Romanian politicians of the time, as did his blood relation to the ruling Prussian family. Ion Brătianu was the Romanian politician sent to negotiate with Karl and his family the possibility of installing Karl on the Romanian throne.