Ion Ghica

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For the village in Ialomița County, see Ciulnița.
Ion Ghica
Ion Ghica 02.jpg
Prime Minister of Romania
In office
February 11, 1866 – May 10, 1866
Monarch Carol I
Preceded by Nicolae Crețulescu
Succeeded by Lascăr Catargiu
In office
July 15, 1866 – February 21, 1867
Monarch Carol I
Preceded by Lascăr Catargiu
Succeeded by Constantin A. Crețulescu
In office
1870–1871
Monarch Carol I
Preceded by Manolache Costache Epureanu
Succeeded by Lascăr Catargiu
Prince of Samos
In office
1854–1859
Preceded by Alexandros Kallimachis
Succeeded by Miltiadis Aristarchis
Personal details
Born (1816-08-12)August 12, 1816
Bucharest, Wallachia, Ottoman Empire
Died May 7, 1897(1897-05-07) (aged 80)
Ghergani, Dâmbovița County
Political party National Liberal Party (Romania)
Profession Diplomat
Religion Romanian Orthodox

Ion Ghica (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈon ˈɡika]; August 12, 1816 – May 7, 1897) was a Romanian revolutionary, mathematician, diplomat and politician, who was Prime Minister of Romania five times.[1] He was a full member of the Romanian Academy and its president many times (1876-1882, 1884-1887, 1890-1893 and 1894-1895). He was the older brother and associate of Pantazi Ghica, a prolific writer and politician.

Early life and Revolution[edit]

Ion Ghica - Foto01.jpg

He was born in Bucharest, Wallachia, to the prominent Ghica boyar family, and was the nephew of both Grigore Alexandru Ghica (who was to become Prince of Wallachia in the 1840s and 1850s) and Ion Câmpineanu, a Carbonari-inspired radical. Ion Ghica was educated in Bucharest and in Western Europe, studying engineering and mathematics in France from 1837 to 1840.

After finishing his studies in Paris, he left for Moldavia and was involved in the failed Frăția ("Brotherhood") conspiracy of 1848, which was intended to bring about the union of Wallachia and Moldavia under one native Romanian leader, Prince Mihai Sturdza. Ion Ghica became a lecturer on mathematics at the Academy which was founded by the same Prince Sturdza in Iași (future University of Iași).

He joined the Wallachian revolutionary camp, and, in the name of the Provisional Government then established in Bucharest, went to Istanbul to approach the Ottoman Imperial government; he, Nicolae Bălcescu, and General Gheorghe Magheru were instrumental in mediating negotiations between the Transylvanian Romanian leader Avram Iancu and the Hungarian Revolutionary government of Lajos Kossuth.

In Samos and Romania[edit]

Ghica (seated) and Alecsandri, in Istanbul (1855)

While in Istanbul, he was appointed Prince of Samos (1854 - 1859), where he proved his leadership skills by extirpating local piracy (most of which was aimed at transports supplying the Crimean War). After completing the task, Ghica was awarded the honorary title of Prince of Samos by Sultan Abd-ul-Mejid I in 1856.

In 1859, after the union of Moldavia and Walachia had been effected, Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza asked Ion Ghica to return. Later (1866), despite being trusted by Prince Cuza, Ghica took active part in the secret grouping that secured Cuza's overthrow. He was the first prime minister under Prince of Romania (afterwards King of Romania) Carol of Hohenzollern.

Ghica is also noted as one of the first major Liberal figures in the Kingdom of Romania, and one of the leaders of the incipient Liberal Party. His group's radicalism, with its boyar leadership that had engineered the defunct Revolution, surfaced as republicanism whenever Carol approached the Conservatives; Ghica joined the anti-dynastic movement of 1870-1871 that had surfaced with the Republic of Ploiești. The matter of the Liberals' loyalty was ultimately settled 1876, with the exceptionally long Liberal Ministry of Ion Brătianu. In 1881, Ghica was appointed Romanian Minister in London, an office he retained until 1889; he died in Ghergani, Dâmbovița County.

Works[edit]

Beside his political distinction, Ion Ghica earned a literary reputation by writing his Letters, addressed to Vasile Alecsandri, his lifelong friend. Conceived and written during his residency in London, the letters depict the ancestral stage of Romanian society, as it appeared to be fading away.

He was also the author of Amintiri din pribegie ("Recollections from Exile"), in 1848, and of Convorbiri Economice ("Conversations on Economy"), dealing with major economic issues. He was the first to advocate the favoring of local initiatives over foreign investments in industry and commerce - to a certain extent, this took the form of protectionism (a characteristic of the Liberal Party throughout the coming period, and until World War II).

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Three times after 1862 and twice between 1859 and 1862, when the United Principalities of Moldova and Wallachia had two parallel governments albeit being one single vassal state.

References[edit]

  • (Romanian) Mamina, Ion; Bulei, Ion (1994), Guverne și guvernanți (1866 - 1916), București: Silex Publishing 
  • (Romanian) Neagoe, Stelian (1995), Istoria guvernelor României de la începuturi - 1859 până în zilele noastre - 1995, București: Machiavelli Publishing 
Political offices
Preceded by
Alexandros Kallimachis
Prince of Samos
1854 – 1859
Succeeded by
Miltiadis Aristarchis
Preceded by
Vasile Sturdza
Prime Minister of Romania
Moldovan Government

March 8, 1859 - April 27, 1859
Succeeded by
Manolache Costache Epureanu
Preceded by
Nicolae Crețulescu
Prime Minister of Romania
Wallachian Government

October 11, 1859 - May 28, 1860
Succeeded by
Nicolae Golescu
Preceded by
Nicolae Crețulescu
Prime Minister of Romania
February 11, 1866 - May 10, 1866
Succeeded by
Lascăr Catargiu
Preceded by
Lascăr Catargiu
Prime Minister of Romania
July 15, 1866 - February 21, 1867
Succeeded by
Constantin A. Crețulescu
Preceded by
Manolache Costache Epureanu
Prime Minister of Romania
December 18, 1870 - March 11, 1871
Succeeded by
Lascăr Catargiu