In 1547 the 16 year old Ivan the Terrible, son to the Grand Duke of Muscowy, was wed to the Tsardom of Russia. This notion he borrowed from the Rus state which was destroyed by the Tatar Invasion of 1237. He would proceed to annex the Khanates of Astrakhan, Kazan and Sibir leaving only Crimea of what was left from the Golden Horde.
In 1721 Peter the Great proclaimed himself the Emperor of Russia to celebrate his victory in the Great Northern War. The Russian Empire thus entered European politics at the expense of the Kingdom of Sweden.
The last date on this map, 1725, is the year of his death.
“On these difficult days, a boy was brought on a sledge across the dirty March roads to the charred walls of Moscow – a plundered and ravaged heap of ashes, only freed at great cost from the Polish occupants. A frightened boy elected tsar of Muscovy, at the advice of the patriarch, by impoverished boyars, empty-handed merchants and hard men from the north and the Volga. The boy prayed and wept, looking out of the window of his coach in fear and dejection at the ragged, frenzied crowds who had come to greet him at the gates of Moscow. The Russian people had little faith in the new tsar, but life had to go on.”
“His Imperial Majesty is a goodly person….of a sanguine complexion, light brown hair, his beard uncut, he is tall and fat, of a majestical Deportment, severe in his anger, bountiful, chastely uxorious, very kind to his Sisters and Children, of a strong memory, strict in his Devotions, and a favourer of his Religion.” - Samuel Collins of England, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich’s personal physician.
7.9.15 // getting ahead of history as level by making notes on the oppositions to tsardom in 1900s Russia. Also had my photograph taken today for the local newspaper for my gcse results which was pretty cool
In 1613, the Romanov family gained power over their country as the young teenage Michael Romanov reluctantly accepted the position of the tsar, which finally ended a long tumultuous period called the Time of Troubles. The immediate task of the new dynasty was to restore peace and the Romanovs were popular during most of the first century.
Summer: Russia’s Golden Age (1714-1814)
The second century saw the monumental reigns of the two Greats, Peter I and Catherine II. Through a number of successful wars, Emperor Peter I expanded the Tsardom into a much larger empire that became a major European power. Peter led a cultural
revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political systems with ones that were modern, scientific,
westernized, and based on The Enlightenment. His successors (daughter Empress Elizabeth I and granddaughter-in-law Catherine II) followed his steps in bettering Russia.
Autumn: Turmoils and Decline (1815-1917)
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, after the death of Catherine the Great a few years earlier, the Russian Empire began its decline. In 1801, Catherine’s son and only legitimate child, Emperor Paul, was assassinated in his bedroom in his palace. In December 1825, a confusion regarding the succession caused a revolt and it was only among the first of many successive revolts and unrest that would later plague the Romanovs.
Despite one Emperor’s efforts to better Russia with life-changing reforms (one of them freeing serfs), the assassination of that Emperor shook Imperial Russia to its core. It ultimately caused the final blow and doomed his descendants.
You love me. Yes. Only me. No. Apart from Frou-Frou? Yes. But me more than your horse? Yes. Are you happy? Yes. And you love me? Yes. How much? This much. This much? Yes. This much? Yes. And this much? Yes. This much? Yes. This much? And this much?
The three-hundred-year-old Romanov Dynasty was easily the wealthiest royal family at the beginning of the twentieth century. Despite the majestic flamboyance of their clothes and the never-ending parade of diamonds, gold, pearls, and ermines, many members of the family turned out to be very grounded. Some even disliked the idea of their sometimes suffocating life at the court, preferring a quiet life in the country with modest means.
Regardless of many political faults, the last Tsar, Nicholas II, and his immediate family were kind, thoughtful, compassionate, and gentle people who just happened to be born to inherit the most important positions and ranks of the largest country in the world without even wanting them. Like the young and shy teenage Michael Romanov who was given the Tsardom in 1613, Nicholas was a reluctant but dutiful ruler. Nicholas’s children hated to be called their rank, Imperial Highness, and instead preferred their first and patronymic names. The children cared so much about the Russian people that they gave up much of their allowances and even downtime to help the sick and poor. Yet, it was because of their rank and position, even their last name alone, that they were mercilessly murdered.
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia, the youngest child of Tsar Alexander III, had said that even though she was exiled from her beloved home country after the Russian Revolution, she was at her happiest when she was creating art and living humbly with her commoner husband and children in Canada. When Olga was invited to see the British Queen and her husband, she went shopping in Toronto, buying a new dress and hat for the occasion, joking, “All this fuss, just to go see Lilibet and Philip!”
“The tsar was consecrated last Sunday according to the manners and customs of this country. The people and the courtiers were all superbly turned out, dressed in cloth of gold and silver; a number of them had their coats and tall hats very richly embroidered, decked with a quantity of pearls. Prince Mikhail Dolgoruky threw liberal handfuls of gold and silver pieces to the people. There was present a teeming mass of people of all sorts, shouting at the tops of their voices, wishing the prince all kinds of prosperity. However certain of them, over eager to gather up the money, were trampled under foot.” - Van Zeller, a Dutch statesman present at the coronation of Feodor III
“Tsar Ivan is very infirm and congenitally blind, with a growth of skin right over his eyes. So one can well imagine that the dual monarchy will not last long. It’s true that Peter has the greater support from the boyars and magnates, but sister Sophia, who is about 26 and said to possess great wit and judgement, has promoted the elder brother. But it should be evident to anyone that such a feeble-minded and sickly man is by nature unfit to rule.” - Johann Eberhardt Hövel, Austrian envoy to the Russian court
“I believe that Sophia has been not rendered the justice due to her. She conducted the affairs of the Empire for many years with all the sagacity that anyone would have desired.” - Catherine the Great Memoirs
“… The next poor idiot to hit the Russian throne was Michael Romanov, whose descendants held onto it with an iron fist until the Communists shot them. The Romanov dynasty was uneventful until Peter the Great, who decided to copy the west and forced all the nobles to shave and learn French. He also pwned the Church. Everybody hated him. His grandson was a drunk and let his wife Catherine rule the country. She was called ‘The Great,’ too. This is because Russian historieans aren’t very imaginative. They could have called her 'Catherine the Slut.’”