1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sturdza

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[ 1051 ]

STURDZA, or Sturza, the name of an ancient Rumanian family, of unknown origin, which probably came from Trebizond and settled in Moldavia. The Sturdza family has been long and intimately associated with the government first of Moldavia and afterwards of Rumania. Its members belong to two main divisions, which trace their descent respectively from John (Ioan) or from Alexander (Sandu), the sons of Kirak Sturdza, who lived in the 17th century, and may be regarded as the founder of the family.

1. To the first division belongs Michael [Michail] Sturdza (1795-1884), who was prince of Moldavia from 1834 to 1849. A man of liberal education, he established the first high school, a kind of university, in Jassy. He brought scholars from foreign countries to act as teachers, and gave a very powerful stimulus to the educational development of the country. In 1844 he decreed the emancipation of the gipsies. Until then the gipsies had been treated as slaves and owned by the Church or by private landowners; they had been bought and sold in the open market. Michael Sturdza also attempted the secularization of monastic establishments, which was carried out by Prince Cuza in 1864, and the utilization of their endowments for national purposes. He quelled the attempted revolution in 1848 without bloodshed by arresting all the conspirators and expelling them from the country. Under his rule the internal development of Moldavia made immense progress; roads were built, industry developed, and Michael is still gratefully remembered by the people.

See Michel Stourdza et son administration (Brussels, 1834); Michel Stourdza, ancien prince regnant de Moldavie (Paris, 1874); A. A. C. Sturdza, Règne de Michel Sturdza, prince de Moldavie 1834-1849 (Paris, 1907).

2. Gregory [Grigorie] Sturdza (1821-1901), son of the above, was educated in France and Germany, became a general in the Ottoman army under the name of Muklis Pasha, and afterwards attained the same rank in the Moldavian army. He was a candidate for the Moldavian throne in 1859, and subsequently a prominent member of the Russophil party in the Rumanian parliament. He wrote Lois fondamentales de l'univers (Paris 1891).

3. John [Ioan] Sturdza, prince of Moldavia (1822-1828), was the most famous descendant of Alexander Sturdza. Immediately after the Greek revolution, Prince John Sturdza took an active part in subduing the roving bands of Greek Hetairists in Moldavia; he transformed the Greek elementary schools into Rumanian schools and laid the foundation for that scientific national development which Prince Michael Sturdza continued after 1834. In 1828 the Russians entered the country and took Prince John prisoner. He died in exile.

4. Alexander [Alexandru] Sturdza (1791-1854), Russian publicist and diplomatist, was a member of the same family, born in Bessarabia and educated in Germany. After entering the Russian diplomatic service, he wrote Betrachtungen über die Lehre und den Geist der orthodoxen Kirche (Leipzig, 1817). His Mémoire sur l'état actuel de l'Allemagne, written at the request of the tsar during the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, was an attack on the German universities, repeated in Coup d'œil sur les universites de l'Allemagne (Aix, 1818). His other important works are La Grèce en 1821 (Leipzig, 1822) and Œuvres posthumes religieuses, historiques, philosophiques et littéraires (5 vols., Paris, 1858-1861).

5. Demetrius [Dimitrie] Sturdza, Rumanian statesman, was born in 1833 at Jassy, and educated there at the Academia Michaileana. He continued his studies in Germany, took part in the political movements of the time, and was private secretary to Prince Cuza. Demetrius afterwards turned against Cuza, joined John Bratianu, and became a member of the so-called Liberal government. In 1899 he was elected leader of the party in succession to Bratianu and was four times prime minister (see Rumania: History). Though a man of great capacity for work, he represented the narrowest nationalism, and through his enmity to all that was “alien” did more than any other man to retard the political and industrial development of the country. He was appointed permanent secretary of the Rumanian Academy, and became a recognized authority on Rumanian numismatics. As secretary of the academy he was instrumental in assisting the publication of the collections of historic documents made by Hurmuzaki (30 vols., Bucharest, 1876-1897), and other acts and documents (Bucharest, 1900 sqq.), besides a number of minor political pamphlets of transitory value. (M. G.)