This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (February 2011)
|Barbu Dimitrie ?tirbei|
Barbu ?tirbei, portrait by
|Prince of Wallachia|
|Reign||June 1848 - 29 October 1853|
|Prince of Wallachia|
|Reign||5 October 1854 - 25 June 1856|
|Successor||Alexandru Ioan Cuza|
|Born||17 August 1799|
|Died||13 April 1869|
Barbu Dimitrie ?tirbei (['barbu di'mitri.e ?tir'bej]), also written as Stirbey, (17 August 1799 in Craiova – April 13, 1869 in Nice), a member of the Bibescu boyar family, was a Prince of Wallachia on two occasions, between 1848-1853 and between 1854-1856.
Born to Dumitrache Bibescu and his wife, he was adopted by his maternal grandfather, the last of the ?tirbei family who left him heir to his wealth and family name.
He studied philosophy and law in Paris, at the beginning of Louis XVIII's reign, in 1815. After the return in Wallachia, in 1821 he took refuge in Bra?ov, Transylvania (part of the Austrian Empire at the time) from the Wallachian uprising of 1821. He married Elisabeta Cantacuzino in 1821.
In 1825, he returned to Bucharest and took on several offices with the administration of Grigore IV Ghica. After Wallachia was occupied by Imperial Russia following the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, general Pavel Kiseleff promoted him to the central government, where he served as president of the Wallachian commission charged with drafting the Organic Regulation, the first form of constitutional law ever implemented in Wallachia.
In 1836, he was given the administration of the Justice Department, where he set up a new commercial code, based on the Napoleonic model, and improved the criminal and civil procedures. After Grigore IV Ghica was removed from the throne, ?tirbei was a candidate for the office in the only elections carried under the Regulations' provisions, but renounced his votes in favour of his brother, Gheorghe Bibescu.
After the 1848 Wallachian Revolutionary Government was overthrown by Ottoman troops, and a new hospodar was to be named, Sultan Abdülmecid I supported Barbu ?tirbei for the office, and he was awarded the throne for a seven-year term (under the provisions of the 1849 Convention of Balta-Liman). His reign began under the common occupation of Ottoman Empire and Imperial Russia, occupation which ended in 1851, when Barbu ?tirbei was awarded the Order of St. Anna by the Russian Emperor Nicholas I.
During his reign, ?tirbei pushed moderate reforms, such as a slight reform of the judiciary system which led to an increase in the number of solved legal disputes. He took steps to enforce a (still very conservative) land reform, by passing a law, in 1851, in which the peasants were referred to as "tenants", and which allowed them to more easily move between boyar properties. In the matter Roma slavery, ?tirbei began by limiting the internal trading in slaves, forbade the separation of families through the latter, and ultimately abolished the institution altogether.
At the beginning of the Crimean War, in 1853, Wallachia was once again occupied by Imperial Russian troops. Barbu ?tirbei stayed in Bucharest until the formal declaration of war from the Ottoman Empire, after which he fled to Vienna, only to return the following year, in the autumn of 1854, after the Russian withdrawal, when the country was under Austrian and Ottoman occupation.
In 1856, after the end of the war, at the Treaty of Paris, the question of the unification of Moldavia and Wallachia, the two Danubian Principalities, became in order. ?tirbei supported the union, although not very strongly, as he hoped to become prince of the resulting state. However, in early summer, as his term had ended, he stepped back as hospodar and left for Paris.
In 1857, he was elected deputy in the Ad hoc divan, an assembly charged with giving Wallachia a new constitutional framework. After the divans confirmed the union of the two countries by electing Alexander John Cuza as Domnitor, he returned to Paris together with his brother Gheorghe Bibescu.
He temporarily returned to the country in 1866, in support of the newly elected prince Carol of the Principality of Romania. Barbu ?tirbey spent his last years in France, where he died in 1869, in Nice, after visiting Bucharest one last time in 1868.