Nicholas I of Russia

Emperor of Russia from 1825 to 1855 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Nicholas I[pron 1] (6 July [O.S. 25 June] 17962 March [O.S. 18 February] 1855) was Emperor of Russia, King of Congress Poland and Grand Duke of Finland. He was the third son of Paul I and younger brother of his predecessor, Alexander I. Nicholas's reign began with the failed Decembrist revolt. He is mainly remembered in history as a reactionary whose controversial reign was marked by geographical expansion, centralisation of administrative policies and repression of dissent. Nicholas had a happy marriage that produced a large family; all of their seven children survived childhood.[1]

Quick facts: Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia, Reign, Coronat...
Nicholas I
Portrait by Georg von Bothmann, 1855
Emperor of Russia
Reign1 December 1825 – 2 March 1855
Coronation3 September 1826
PredecessorAlexander I
SuccessorAlexander II
Born(1796-07-06)6 July 1796
Gatchina Palace, Gatchina, Russian Empire
Died2 March 1855(1855-03-02) (aged 58)
Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Peter and Paul Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
(m. 1817)
  • Nicholas Pavlovich Romanov
  • Russian: Никола́й Па́влович Рома́нов
FatherPaul I of Russia
MotherSophie Dorothea of Württemberg
ReligionRussian Orthodox
SignatureNicholas I's signature

Nicholas's biographer Nicholas V. Riasanovsky said that he displayed determination, singleness of purpose, and an iron will, along with a powerful sense of duty and a dedication to very hard work. He saw himself as a soldier—a junior officer totally consumed by spit and polish. A handsome man, he was highly nervous and aggressive. Trained as a military engineer, he was a stickler for minute detail. In his public persona, stated Riasanovsky, "Nicholas I came to represent autocracy personified: infinitely majestic, determined and powerful, hard as stone, and relentless as fate."[2]

Nicholas I was instrumental in helping to create an independent Greek state, and resumed the Russian conquest of the Caucasus by seizing Iğdır Province and the remainder of modern-day Armenia and Azerbaijan from Qajar Iran during the Russo-Persian War (1826–1828). He ended the Russo-Turkish War (1828–1829) successfully as well. Later on, however, he led Russia into the Crimean War (1853–1856), with disastrous results. Historians emphasize that his micromanagement of the armies hindered his generals, as did his misguided strategy. William C. Fuller notes that historians have frequently concluded that "the reign of Nicholas I was a catastrophic failure in both domestic and foreign policy."[3] On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its geographical zenith, spanning over 20 million square kilometers (7.7 million square miles), but had a desperate need for reform.