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Cuza, Alexandru Ioan (1820-1870)

CUZA, ALEXANDRU IOAN (1820-1870) Son of a lesser Moldovan noble and high-level administrator, born in 1820. He was educated in Iasi, along with Mihail Kogãlniceanu, Vasile Alecsandri, and other future Romanian national leaders. In 1835, he went to Paris, where he complete a degree in letters at the Sorbonne and also studied law. He was active in Romanian student circles, which included Alecsandri, the Golescu brothers, Ion Ghica, Al. G. Golescu, Cezar Boliac, and others. Upon his return to Moldova in 1839, he served in the army briefly and then entered the judicial system. In the later 1840s, h e frequently attended meetings of young Moldovan nationalists and reformers at the Mînjina estate of Costache Negri, along with Alecsandri and Kogãlniceanu.

Ten days after the flight of Metternich from Vienna, Romanian reformers, including Cuza, were meeting in Iasi to plan for the future. He was present at the assembly at the Petersburg Hotel in Iasi in March, which drew up a reform program for Moldova. He promptly arrested by Prince Mihail Sturdza and exiled along with a d ozen of the most "dangerous" reformers. Though wounded in the arrest, he managed to escape, winding up in Blaj for the May Romanian National Assembly. In that same month, he signed the Brasov program of the Moldovan revolutionaries. Subsequently, he was in Bucovina and a member of the Moldovan revolutionary committee organized in June 1848. He served as a member of the executive committee and one of the principal fund raisers.

Following the defeat of the revolutions, Cuza remained in exile in Paris and Constantinople, refusing to accept an amnesty from Prince Sturdza. When Grigore Ghica (who had secretly supported and sheltered many Moldovan revolutionaries in 1848) became Moldovan prince in April 1849, Cuza accompanied him and became involved in Moldovan administration and reform. In 1857, he was elected to the unionist Divan ad hoc in Moldova and active in the National Party. This culminated in 1859, when he was elected Prince of Moldova and then Muntenia, bringing about the de fa cto and then (1861) actual unification of the Romanian principalities into a Romanian national state. Ousted in a coup in 1866, Alexandru Ioan Cuza is remembered as one of the primary founders of modern Romania.

Gerald J. Bobango and Paul E. Michelson


C. C. Giurescu, Viata si opera lui Cuza Vodã, 2nd edition [Bucuresti, 1970]

Leonid Boicu, Gh. Platon, and Al. Zub, ed., Cuza Vodã icircn memoriam [Iasi, 1973]

Gerald J. Bobango, The Emergence of the Romanian National State [Boulder, 1979]

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