Nicholas I of Russia
Overview
Nicholas I ( – ) was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary
Reactionary
The term reactionary refers to viewpoints that seek to return to a previous state in a society. The term is meant to describe one end of a political spectrum whose opposite pole is "radical". While it has not been generally considered a term of praise it has been adopted as a self-description by...

 of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers (20 square kilometres (7.7 sq mi) million square miles). In his capacity as the emperor he was also the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland.

Nicholas I was born in Gatchina
Gatchina
Gatchina is a town and the administrative center of Gatchinsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located south of St. Petersburg by the road leading to Pskov...

 to Emperor Paul I
Paul I of Russia
Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He also was the 72nd Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta .-Childhood:...

 and Empress Maria Feodorovna.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Nicholas I ( – ) was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary
Reactionary
The term reactionary refers to viewpoints that seek to return to a previous state in a society. The term is meant to describe one end of a political spectrum whose opposite pole is "radical". While it has not been generally considered a term of praise it has been adopted as a self-description by...

 of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers (20 square kilometres (7.7 sq mi) million square miles). In his capacity as the emperor he was also the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland.

Nicholas I was born in Gatchina
Gatchina
Gatchina is a town and the administrative center of Gatchinsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located south of St. Petersburg by the road leading to Pskov...

 to Emperor Paul I
Paul I of Russia
Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He also was the 72nd Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta .-Childhood:...

 and Empress Maria Feodorovna. He was a younger brother to Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 and Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia
Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia
Constantine Pavlovich was a grand duke of Russia and the second son of Emperor Paul I. He was the Tsesarevich of Russia throughout the reign of his elder brother Alexander I, but had secretly renounced his claim to the throne in 1823...

.

Early life and road to power

Nicholas was not brought up to be the Emperor of Russia; he had two elder brothers before him. As such, in 1825, when Alexander I suddenly died of typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

, Nicholas was caught between swearing allegiance to his second-eldest brother Constantine Pavlovich
Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia
Constantine Pavlovich was a grand duke of Russia and the second son of Emperor Paul I. He was the Tsesarevich of Russia throughout the reign of his elder brother Alexander I, but had secretly renounced his claim to the throne in 1823...

 and accepting the throne for himself.
The interregnum lasted until Constantine Pavlovich
Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia
Constantine Pavlovich was a grand duke of Russia and the second son of Emperor Paul I. He was the Tsesarevich of Russia throughout the reign of his elder brother Alexander I, but had secretly renounced his claim to the throne in 1823...

, who was in Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 at that time, confirmed his refusal. Additionally, on 25 December (13 Old Style) Nicholas issued the manifesto claiming his accession to the throne. That manifesto retroactively named 1 December (19 November Old Style), the date of Alexander I's death, as the beginning of his reign. During this confusion a plot was hatched by the military to overthrow Nicholas and to usurp power. This led to the Decembrist Revolt
Decembrist revolt
The Decembrist revolt or the Decembrist uprising took place in Imperial Russia on 14 December , 1825. Russian army officers led about 3,000 soldiers in a protest against Nicholas I's assumption of the throne after his elder brother Constantine removed himself from the line of succession...

 on 26 December (14 Old Style) 1825, an uprising Nicholas was successful in suppressing.

Emperor and principles

Nicholas completely lacked his brothers' spiritual and intellectual breadth; he saw his role simply as one paternal autocrat
Tsarist autocracy
The Tsarist autocracy |transcr.]] tsarskoye samoderzhaviye) refers to a form of autocracy specific to the Grand Duchy of Muscovy . In a tsarist autocracy, all power and wealth is controlled by the tsar...

 ruling his people by whatever means were necessary. Nicholas I was crowned on 14 December 1825, which fell on a Monday; Russian superstition held that Mondays were unlucky days. This particular Monday dawned as a very cold day with temperatures of -8 degrees Celsius. This was regarded by the Russian people as a bad omen for the coming reign. Coincident with the accession of Nicholas I was a demonstration of 3,000 young Imperial Army officers and other liberal-minded citizens. This demonstration was an attempt to force the government to accept a constitution and a representative form of government. Nicolas ordered the army out to smash the demonstration. This "revolt" was quickly put down and became known as the Decembrist Revolt
Decembrist revolt
The Decembrist revolt or the Decembrist uprising took place in Imperial Russia on 14 December , 1825. Russian army officers led about 3,000 soldiers in a protest against Nicholas I's assumption of the throne after his elder brother Constantine removed himself from the line of succession...

. Having experienced the trauma of the Decembrist Revolt on the very first day of his reign, Nicholas I was determined to restrain Russian society. The Third Section of the Imperial Chancellery
His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery
His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancery or H.I.M. Own Chancery began as personal chancery of Pavel I and grew into a kind of regent's office, run by Count Arakcheyev from 1815 and until the death of Alexander I of Russia....

 ran a huge network of spies and informers with the help of Gendarmes
Special Corps of Gendarmes
The Special Corps of Gendarmes was the uniformed security police of the Russian Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its main responsibilities were law enforcement and state security....

. The government exercised censorship and other controls over education, publishing, and all manifestations of public life.

He abolished several areas of local autonomy. Bessarabia's
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

 autonomy was removed in 1828, Poland's in 1830 and the Jewish cahal was abolished in 1843.
Russia's first railway was opened in 1838, a 16 mile line between St. Petersburg and the palace at Tsarskoye Selo
Tsarskoye Selo
Tsarskoye Selo is the town containing a former Russian residence of the imperial family and visiting nobility, located south from the center of St. Petersburg. It is now part of the town of Pushkin and of the World Heritage Site Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.-History:In...

. The second was the Moscow – Saint Petersburg Railway, built 1842-51. Nevertheless, by 1855 there was only 570 miles of Russian railways.

In 1833 the minister of education, Sergey Uvarov
Sergey Uvarov
Count Sergey Semionovich Uvarov was a Russian classical scholar best remembered as an influential imperial statesman....

, devised a program of "Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality" as the guiding principle of the regime. The people were to show loyalty to the unlimited authority of the tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

, to the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

, and, in a vague way, to the Russian nation. These romantic and conservative principles outlined by Uvarov were also espoused by Vasilii Zhukovskii, one of the tutors of the Grand Duke Alexander. The results of these conservative principles led, broadly speaking, to repression in general and to suppression of non-Russian nationalities and religions in particular. For example, the government suppressed the Greek-Catholic Churches in Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 in 1839. See also Cantonist
Cantonist
Cantonists were underage sons of Russian conscripts who from 1721 were educated in special "canton schools" for future military service .-Cantonist schools during the 18th and early 19th centuries:Cantonist...

s.

Nicholas disliked serfdom
Serfdom
Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted to the mid-19th century...

 and toyed with the idea of abolishing it in Russia, but did not do so for practical reasons of state. He feared the landowners and believed they might turn against him if he abolished serfdom. However, he did make some efforts to improve the lot of the state peasants (serfs owned by the government) with the help of the minister Pavel Kiselev. During most of his reign he tried to increase his control over the landowners and other influential groups in Russia. In 1831 Nicholas restricted the votes in the Noble Assembly to those with over 100 serfs, leaving 21,916 voters. In 1841, landless nobles were banned from selling Serfs separate from the land. In 1845 you had to attain the 5th rank in the Table of Ranks (out of 14) to be ennobled, previously it had been the 8th rank.

Culture

The official emphasis on Russian nationalism
Russian nationalism
Russian nationalism is a term referring to a Russian form of nationalism. Russian nationalism has a long history dating from the days of Muscovy to Russian Empire, and continued in some form in the Soviet Union. It is closely related to Pan-Slavism...

 contributed to a debate on Russia's place in the world, the meaning of Russian history, and the future of Russia. One group, the Westernizers, believed that Russia remained backward and primitive and could progress only through more Europeanization. Another group, the Slavophiles, enthusiastically favored the Slavs and their culture and customs, and had a distaste for westerners
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 and their culture and customs.

The Slavophiles viewed Slavic philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 as a source of wholeness in Russia and were skeptical of Western rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

 and materialism
Materialism
In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance...

. Some of them believed that the Russian peasant commune, or Mir, offered an attractive alternative to Western capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 and could make Russia a potential social and moral savior representing thus a form of Russian messianism
Messianism
Messianism is the belief in a messiah, a savior or redeemer. Many religions have a messiah concept, including the Jewish Messiah, the Christian Christ, the Muslim Mahdi and Isa , the Buddhist Maitreya, the Hindu Kalki and the Zoroastrian Saoshyant...

.

Despite the repressions of this period, Russia experienced a flowering of literature and the arts. Through the works of Aleksandr Pushkin
Aleksandr Pushkin
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was a Russian author of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature....

, Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol was a Ukrainian-born Russian dramatist and novelist.Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol's work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism...

, Ivan Turgenev
Ivan Turgenev
Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His first major publication, a short story collection entitled A Sportsman's Sketches, is a milestone of Russian Realism, and his novel Fathers and Sons is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century...

, and numerous others, Russian literature gained international stature and recognition. Ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 took root in Russia after its importation from France, and classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 became firmly established with the compositions of Mikhail Glinka
Mikhail Glinka
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka , was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, and is often regarded as the father of Russian classical music...

 (1804–1857).

Foreign policy

In foreign policy, Nicholas I acted as the protector of ruling legitimism and as guardian against revolution. It has often been noticed that such politicies were linked with the Metternich counter-revolutionary system, indeed Austrian
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 special ambassador
Ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 Count Karl Ludwig von Ficquelmont
Count Karl Ludwig von Ficquelmont
Karl Ludwig Graf von Ficquelmont was an Austrian aristocrat, statesman and general of the Austrian Imperial army of French noble origin.-French nobleman:He was born Gabriel-Charles-Louis-Bonnaventure, Count de Ficquelmont at the Castle of...

 was well-known for his wide influence
Influence
Influence may refer to:In science and technology:*Sphere of influence , the region around a celestial body in which it is the primary gravitational influence on orbiting objects...

 over the tsar of whom he was a close friend. His offers to suppress revolution on the European continent, trying to follow the trends of his eldest brother, Tsar Alexander I, earned him the label of gendarme of Europe. In 1825 Nicholas I was crowned and began to limit the liberties of constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 in Congress Poland
Congress Poland
The Kingdom of Poland , informally known as Congress Poland , created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, was a personal union of the Russian parcel of Poland with the Russian Empire...

. In return, after the November Uprising
November Uprising
The November Uprising , Polish–Russian War 1830–31 also known as the Cadet Revolution, was an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland against the Russian Empire. The uprising began on 29 November 1830 in Warsaw when the young Polish officers from the local Army of the Congress...

 broke out, in 1831 the Polish parliament
Sejm
The Sejm is the lower house of the Polish parliament. The Sejm is made up of 460 deputies, or Poseł in Polish . It is elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the Marshal of the Sejm ....

 deposed Nicholas as king of Poland in response to his repeated curtailment of its constitutional rights. The Tsar reacted by sending Russian troops into Poland. Nicholas crushed the rebellion, abrogated the Polish constitution, and reduced Poland to the status of a province, Privislinsky Krai, and embarked on a policy of repression towards Catholics. In the 1840s Nicholas reduced 64,000 Polish nobles to commoner status.

In 1848, when a series of revolutions
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

 convulsed Europe, Nicholas was in the forefront of reaction. In 1849 he intervened on behalf of the Habsburgs to suppress the uprising in Hungary, and he also urged Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 not to accept a liberal constitution.

While Nicholas was attempting to maintain the status quo in Europe, he adopted an aggressive policy toward the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Nicholas I was following the traditional Russian policy of resolving the so-called Eastern Question
Eastern Question
The "Eastern Question", in European history, encompasses the diplomatic and political problems posed by the decay of the Ottoman Empire. The expression does not apply to any one particular problem, but instead includes a variety of issues raised during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, including...

 by seeking to partition the Ottoman Empire and establish a protectorate over the Orthodox population of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

, still largely under Ottoman control in the 1820s.

Russia fought a successful war against the Ottomans in 1828 and 1829. In 1833 Russia negotiated the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi with the Ottoman Empire. The major European parties mistakenly believed that the treaty contained a secret clause granting Russia the right to send warships through the Bosporus
Bosporus
The Bosphorus or Bosporus , also known as the Istanbul Strait , is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with the Dardanelles...

 and Dardanelles
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

 straits. By the London Straits Convention
London Straits Convention
In the London Straits Convention concluded on July 13, 1841 between the Great Powers of Europe at the time - Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Austria and Prussia - the "ancient rule" of the Ottoman Empire was re-established by closing the Turkish straits , which link the Black Sea to the...

 of 1841, they affirmed Ottoman control over the straits and forbade any power, including Russia, to send warships through the straits. Based on his role in suppressing the revolutions of 1848 and his mistaken belief that he had British diplomatic support, Nicholas moved against the Ottomans, who declared war on Russia October 8, 1853. On November 30, 1853, Russian Admiral Nakhimov caught the Turkish fleet in the harbor at Sinope and destroyed the Turkish fleet.

In 1854, fearing the results of an Ottoman defeat by Russia, Britain, France, the Kingdom of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

, and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 joined forces in the conflict known as the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 to the Ottomans and Western Europeans, but known in Russia as the Eastern War, Russian: Восточная война, Vostochnaya Vojna (March 1854–February 1856). In April 1854, Austria signed a defensive pact with Prussia.
Thus, Russia found herself in a war with the whole of Europe allied against her.

Austria offered the Ottomans diplomatic support, and Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 remained neutral, thus leaving Russia without any allies on the continent. The European allies landed in Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

 and laid siege to the well-fortified Russian base at Sevastopol
Sevastopol
Sevastopol is a city on rights of administrative division of Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 . Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine, after the Port of Odessa....

. The Russians lost battles at Alma in September 1854. This loss was followed by losses in battles at Balaklava and Inkerman. After a Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855) the base fell, exposing Russia's inability to defend a major fortification on its own soil. After the death of Nicholas I, Alexander II became Tsar. On January 15, 1856 the new tsar took Russia out of the war on very unfavorable terms which included the loss of a military fleet on the Black Sea.

Death

Nicholas died on 2 March 1855, during the Crimean War. He caught a chill; refusing to rest and recuperate, he persisted with his usual heavy workload, leading to pneumonia and death.

Legacy

There have been many damning verdicts on Nicholas' rule and legacy. At the end of his life, one of his most devoted civil servants, A.V. Nikitenko, opined that, "The main failing of the reign of Nicholas Pavlovich was that it was all a mistake." However, from time to time, some efforts are made to revive Nicholas' reputation. He believed, it is said, in his own oath and in respecting other people's rights as well as his own; witness Poland before 1831 and Hungary in 1849. It is also said that he hated serfdom at heart and would have liked to destroy it, as well as detesting the tyranny of the Baltic squires over their "emancipated" peasantry. Shortly before his death he made his son Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 promise to abolish serfdom.

According to Igor Vinogradov, Nicholas and his Minister of Public Education Uvarov
Sergey Uvarov
Count Sergey Semionovich Uvarov was a Russian classical scholar best remembered as an influential imperial statesman....

 spread education through the Empire at all levels.

The Kiev University
Kiev University
Taras Shevchenko University or officially the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv , colloquially known in Ukrainian as KNU is located in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It is the third oldest university in Ukraine after the University of Lviv and Kharkiv University. Currently, its structure...

 was founded in 1834 by Nicholas.

As a traveler in Spain, Italy, and Russia, the Frenchman Marquis de Custine
Marquis de Custine
Astolphe-Louis-Léonor, Marquis de Custine was a French aristocrat and writer who is best known for his travel writing, in particular his account of his visit to Russia in 1839 Empire of the Czar: A Journey Through Eternal Russia...

 said in his widely read book Empire of the Czar: A Journey Through Eternal Russia that, inside, Nicholas was a good person, and behaved as he did only because he believed he had to. "If the Emperor, has no more of mercy in his heart than he reveals in his policies, then I pity Russia; if, on the other hand, his true sentiments are really superior to his acts, then I pity the Emperor."

Nicholas is involved in an urban myth about the railroad from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. When it was to be constructed, the engineers proposed to Nicholas that he draw the path of the future railroad on the map himself. So he is said to have taken a ruler and put one end at Moscow, the other at Saint Petersburg, and then drawn a straight line - but his finger was slightly sticking out, and this left the railroad with a small curve. In fact, this curve was added in 1877, 26 years after the railway's construction, to circumvent a steep gradient that lasted for 15 km, and interfered with the railway's functionality. This curving had to be rectified in the early 2000s when the speed of the trains running between the two cities had to be increased.

Ancestors



Issue

On 13 July 1817, Nicholas married Charlotte of Prussia
Alexandra Fyodorovna (Charlotte of Prussia)
Alexandra Feodorovna, born Princess Charlotte of Prussia , was Empress consort of Russia. She was the wife of Tsar Nicholas I, and mother of Tsar Alexander II.-Princess of Prussia:...

 (1798–1860), who thereafter went by the name Alexandra Feodorovna. Charlotte was daughter of Frederick William III of Prussia
Frederick William III of Prussia
Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel .-Early life:...

 and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Duchess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was Queen consort of Prussia as the wife of King Frederick William III...

. Nicholas and Charlotte were third cousins, as they were both great-great-grandchildren of Frederick William I of Prussia
Frederick William I of Prussia
Frederick William I of the House of Hohenzollern, was the King in Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg from 1713 until his death...

.
NameBirthDeathNotes
Emperor Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

17 April 1818 13 March 1881 married 1841, Marie of Hesse and by Rhine; had issue
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna 18 August 1819 21 February 1876 married 1839, Maximilian de Beauharnais; had issue
Stillborn Daughter 22 July 1820 22 July 1820
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna 11 September 1822 30 October 1892 married 1846, Karl of Württemberg
Stillborn Daughter 23 October 1823 23 October 1823
Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia
Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia
Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia, and his wife, Princess Charlotte of Prussia.-Biography:...

24 June 1825 10 August 1844 married 1844, Landgrave Friedrich-Wilhelm of Hesse-Kassel
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Nikolaevna of Russia 7 June 1826 c. 1829
Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaevich
Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich of Russia
Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich of Russia was the second son of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.During the reign of his brother Alexander II, Konstantin was an admiral of the Russian fleet and reformed the Russian Navy. He was also an instrumental figure in the emancipation of the serfs...

9 September 1827 13 January 1892 married 1848, Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg; had issue
Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich 27 July 1831 13 April 1891 married 1856, Alexandra of Oldenburg; had issue
Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich 13 October 1832 18 December 1909 married 1857, Cecilie of Baden; had issue

Illegitimate issue

Many sources state that Nicholas did not have an extramarital affair until after 25 years of marriage, in 1842, when the Empress's doctors prohibited her from having sexual intercourse, due to her poor health and recurring heart attacks. Many facts dispute this claim. Nicholas fathered three known children with mistresses prior to 1842, including one with his most famous and well documented mistress, Varvara Nelidova
Varvara Nelidova
Varvara Arkadyevna Nelidova was a mistress of Nicholas I of Russia from 1832 until his death in 1855. Her aunt Yekaterina Nelidova was a mistress of Nicholas's father Paul, and her maternal grandfather was Count Friedrich Wilhelm von Buxhoeveden.Nelidova's liaison with the Emperor was kept more or...

.

With Anna-Maria Charlota de Rutenskiold (1791–1856)
  • Youzia Koberwein (12 May 1825 – 23 February 1923)


With Varvara Yakovleva (1803–1831):
  • Olga Carlovna Albrecht (10 July 1828 – 20 January 1898)


With Varvara Nelidova (d. 1897):
  • Alexis Pashkine (17 April 1831 – 20 June 1863)
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