HISTORY MEME → [2/4] Families/Dynasties: House of Romanov
The House of Romanov was the second dynasty, after the House of Rurik, to rule over Russia, and reigned from 1613 until the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on March 15, 1917, as a result of the February Revolution.
The Romanovs achieved prominence as boyars of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, later the Tsardom of Russia. In 1613, following years of interregnum, the zemsky sobor offered the Russian crown to Mikhail Romanov. He acceded to the throne as Michael I, becoming the first Tsar of Russia from the House of Romanov. His grandson Peter I established the Russian Empire and transformed the country into a continental power through a series of wars and reforms.
The direct male line of the Romanovs came to an end when Elizabeth of Russia died in 1762. After an era of dynastic crisis, the House of Holstein-Gottorp, a cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg which reigned in Denmark, ascended the throne in 1762 with Peter III, a grandson of Peter I. All rulers from the middle of the 18th century to the revolution of 1917 were descended from that branch. Though officially known as the House of Romanov, these descendants of the Romanov and Oldenburg dynasties are sometimes referred to as Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov.
In early 1917 the Romanov dynasty had 65 members, 18 of whom were killed by the Bolsheviks. The remaining 47 members went into exile abroad. In 1924, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, the senior, surviving male-line descendant of Alexander II of Russia by primogeniture, claimed the headship of the defunct Imperial House of Russia. Since 1991, the succession to the former Russian throne has been in dispute, largely due to disagreements over the validity of dynasts’ marriages.