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Carol I (1839–1914) Prince of Romania (1866–81); first king (1881–1914). He aided Russia in the first Russo-Turkish War (1877–78). The Congress of Berlin (1878) recognized Romanian independence and Carol's sovereignty. By 1913 Romania had become the strongest power in the Balkans. He preserved the neutrality of Romania at the start of World War I, but sympathized with Germany.