History of Bucharest - 1840s and 1850s

1840s and 1850s

The new prince Gheorghe Bibescu completed a water supply network and works on public gardens, began constructing the National Theater of Romania building (1846; finished in 1852) and improved the chaussées linking Bucharest with other Wallachian centers. On March 23, 1847, a fire consumed around 2,000 buildings of Bucharest (about a third of the city).

Pressured by the revolutionary liberals who had issued the Islaz Proclamation attacking the conservative and increasingly abusive system of the Organic Statute, attacked in the street by a group of young men, and faced with the opposition of the Army, Prince Bibescu accepted cohabitation with a Provisional Government taking inspiration from the European Revolutions on June 12, 1848, and, just a day later, renounced the throne. The new executive, backed by popular shows of support on the Filaret field which reunited the Bucharester middle class with peasants from the surrounding area (June 27, August 25), passed a series of radical reformist laws that drew the animosity of Tsar Nicholas I, who pressured the Porte to crush the Wallachian movement; the proposed land reform also led a group of boyars, headed by Ioan Solomon, to attack and arrest the government on July 1 - the effects of this gesture were cancelled on the same day by the inhabitants' reaction and the Ana Ipătescu-led attack on the building occupied by conspirators.

Sultan Abdülmecid, sympathetic to the anti-Russian scope of the revolt, pressured the revolutionaries to accept a relatively minor change in the executive structure - the Provisional Government ceded position to a more moderate regency (Locotenenţa Domnească), which was, nevertheless, not recognized by Russia.

The potential threat of a war between the two powers led Abdülmecid to revise his position and send Fuat Pasha as his observer in Bucharest; at the same time, the city witnessed panic over the threat of a Russian invasion, and the briefly successful coup d'état carried out by Metropolitan Neofit against the Revolution. On September 18, revolutionary crowds swept into the Interior Ministry, destroyed the lists of assigned boyar ranks and privileges, and forced Neofit to cast an anathema over the Organic Statute: such measures made Fuat Pasha lead Ottoman troops into Bucharest, a move which only met resistance from a group of firemen stationed on Dealul Spirii (who engaged in a shootout after an incident which they perceived as provocation).

Bucharest remained under foreign occupation until late April 1851, and was again held by the Russian troops of Mikhail Dmitrievich Gorchakov during the Crimean War (between July 15, 1853 and July 31, 1854), being ceded to an interim Austrian administration which lasted until the 1856 Treaty of Paris. The three successive foreign administrations brought several improvements to the city (the Bellu cemetery and the Cişmigiu gardens, the telegraph and oil lamp lighting, the creation of new schools and academies, the Ştirbei Palace of Prince Barbu Dimitrie Ştirbei, and the comprehensive city map drawn by Rudolf Artur Borroczyn).

Read more about this topic:  History Of Bucharest