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phanariote

In 18th century, knowledge of foreign languages allowed the Phanariotes to obtain important diplomatic positions at Constantinople. And they ended up acquiring the thrones of the Rumanian principalities as reimbursement for their services.

But they had to pay for it. To make matters more profitable, the Turks devised the ingenious method of transferring the princes from one province to another, each transfer being considered as a new nomination. From 1730 to 1741, the two reigning princes interchanged thrones in this way three times. They acquired the throne by gold, and they could only keep it by gold.

They were squeezing this gold from the inhabitants of the country.

The princes soon became masters in the art of money squeezing. They put taxes upon chimneys, causing the starving peasants to pull their cottages down and go live in mountain caves.

They taxed the animals. Unable to pay, the peasants preferred to kill the few beasts they had. But this often would not help. One prince, Prince Constantin Mavrocordato, levied a tax on domestic animals. But since it was a time when an epidemic had broken out amongst the animals, he ordered the tax to be levied on corpses.

The Administrative régime during the Phanariote period was, in general, nothing less than organized robbery. In fact, the Phanariote rule was filled with corruption, luxury, and intrigue.

Though individually some of them may not deserve blame, yet considering what the Phanariotes took out of the country, what they introduced into it, and to what extent they prevented its development, their era was the most devastating in Rumanian history.

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