Karl Friedrich Benz was a German engine designer and automobile engineer. His Benz Patent Motorcar from 1885 is considered the first practical automobile, he received a patent for the motorcar on 29 January 1886. Karl Benz was born Karl Friedrich Michael Vaillant, on 25 November 1844 in Mühlburg, now a borough of Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, part of modern Germany, to Josephine Vaillant and a locomotive driver, Johann Georg Benz, whom she married a few months later. According to German law, the child acquired the name "Benz" by legal marriage of his parents Benz and Vaillant; when he was two years old, his father died of pneumonia, his name was changed to Karl Friedrich Benz in remembrance of his father. Despite living in near poverty, his mother strove to give him a good education. Benz was a prodigious student. In 1853, at the age of nine he started at the scientifically oriented Lyceum. Next he studied at the Poly-Technical University under the instruction of Ferdinand Redtenbacher. Benz had focused his studies on locksmithing, but he followed his father's steps toward locomotive engineering.
On 30 September 1860, at age 15, he passed the entrance exam for mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe, which he subsequently attended. Benz graduated 9 July 1864 aged 19. Following his formal education, Benz had seven years of professional training in several companies, but did not fit well in any of them; the training started in Karlsruhe with two years of varied jobs in a mechanical engineering company. He moved to Mannheim to work as a draftsman and designer in a scales factory. In 1868 he went to Pforzheim to work for a bridge building company Gebrüder Benckiser Eisenwerke und Maschinenfabrik, he went to Vienna for a short period to work at an iron construction company. In 1871, at the age of twenty-seven, Karl Benz joined August Ritter in launching the Iron Foundry and Mechanical Workshop in Mannheim renamed Factory for Machines for Sheet-metal Working; the enterprise's first year went badly. Ritter turned out to be unreliable, the business's tools were impounded; the difficulty was overcome when Benz's fiancée, Bertha Ringer, bought out Ritter's share in the company using her dowry.
On 20 July 1872, Karl Bertha Ringer married. They had five children: Eugen, Clara and Ellen. Despite the business misfortunes, Karl Benz led in the development of new engines in the early factory he and his wife owned. To get more revenues, in 1878 he began to work on new patents. First, he concentrated all his efforts on creating a reliable petrol two-stroke engine. Benz finished his two-stroke engine on 31 December 1878, New Year's Eve, was granted a patent for it in 1879. Karl Benz showed his real genius, through his successive inventions registered while designing what would become the production standard for his two-stroke engine. Benz soon patented the speed regulation system, the ignition using sparks with battery, the spark plug, the carburetor, the clutch, the gear shift, the water radiator. Problems arose again when the banks at Mannheim demanded that Bertha and Karl Benz's enterprise be incorporated due to the high production costs it maintained; the Benzes were forced to improvise an association with photographer Emil Bühler and his brother, in order to get additional bank support.
The company became the joint-stock company Gasmotoren Fabrik Mannheim in 1882. After all the necessary incorporation agreements, Benz was unhappy because he was left with five percent of the shares and a modest position as director. Worst of all, his ideas weren't considered when designing new products, so he withdrew from that corporation just one year in 1883. Benz's lifelong hobby brought him to a bicycle repair shop in Mannheim owned by Max Rose and Friedrich Wilhelm Eßlinger. In 1883, the three founded a new company producing industrial machines: Benz & Companie Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik referred to as Benz & Cie. Growing to twenty-five employees, it soon began to produce static gas engines as well; the success of the company gave Benz the opportunity to indulge in his old passion of designing a horseless carriage. Based on his experience with, fondness for, bicycles, he used similar technology when he created an automobile, it featured wire wheels with a four-stroke engine of his own design between the rear wheels, with a advanced coil ignition and evaporative cooling rather than a radiator.
Power was transmitted by means of two roller chains to the rear axle. Karl Benz finished his creation in 1885 and named it "Benz Patent Motorwagen", it was the first automobile designed as such to generate its own power, not a motorized stage coach or horse carriage, why Karl Benz was granted his patent and is regarded as its inventor. The Motorwagen was patented on 29 January 1886 as DRP-37435: "automobile fueled by gas"; the 1885 version was difficult to control, leading to a collision with a wall during a public demonstration. The first successful tests on public roads were carried out in the early summer of 1886; the next year Benz created the Motorwagen Model 2, which had several modifications, in 1889, the definitive Model 3 with wooden wheels was introduced, showing at the Paris Expo the same year. Benz began to sell the vehicle in the late summer of 1888, making it the first commercially available automobile in history; the second customer of the Motorwagen was a Parisian bicycle manufacturer Emile Roger, building Benz engines under license from Karl Benz for several y
Lorraine-Dietrich was a French automobile and aircraft engine manufacturer from 1896 until 1935, created when railway locomotive manufacturer Société Lorraine des Anciens Etablissements de Dietrich et Cie de Lunéville branched into the manufacture of automobiles. The Franco-Prussian War divided the company's manufacturing capacity, one plant in Niederbronn-les-Bains, the other in Lunéville, Lorraine. In 1896, managing director of the Lunéville plant, Baron de Turckheim, bought the rights to a design by Amédée Bollée; this used a front-mounted horizontal twin engine with sliding clutches and belt drive. It had a folding top, three acetylene headlights, unusual for the period, plate glass windshield. While the company started out using engines from Bollée, de Dietrich produced the entire vehicle themselves. In 1898, de Dietrich debuted the Torpilleur racer, which featured a four-cylinder engine and independent suspension in front, for the Paris-Amsterdam Trial; the response was substantial. The 1899 torpilleur was less successful, despite underslung chassis, a rear-mounted monobloc four, twin carburettors.
The Bollée-inspired design was supplanted by a licence-built Belgian Vivinus voiturette at Niederbronn and a Marseilles-designed Turcat-Méry at Lunéville, following a 1901 deal with that cash-strapped company. In 1902, de Dietrich hired 21-year-old Ettore Bugatti, who produced prize-winning cars in 1899 and 1901, he designed an overhead valve 24 hp four-cylinder with four-speed transmission to replace the Vivinus, he created their 30/35 of 1903, before quitting to join Mathis in 1904. The same year, management at Niederbronn quit car production, leaving it to Lunéville, with the Alsace market being sold a Turcat-Méry badge-engineered as a de Dietrich. At the time, this was seen with some disdain, Lunéville put the cross of Lorraine on the grille to distinguish them. Under the skin they were little different, nor would they be until 1911. For all that, the Lorraine-Dietrich was a prestige marque, ranking with Crossley and Itala, while attempting to break into the "super-luxury" market between 1905 and 1908 with a handful of ₤4,000 six-wheeler limousines de voyage.
Like Napiers and Mercedes, Lorraine-Dietrich's reputation was built in part on racing, "consistent if not distinguished", including Charles Jarrott's third in the 1903 Paris-Madrid Rally and a 1-2-3 in the 1906 Circuit des Ardennes, led by ace works driver Arthur Duray. De Dietrich bought out Isotta Fraschini in 1907, producing two OHC cars to Isotta Fraschini designs, including a 10 hp created by Bugatti; that year, Lorraine-Dietrich took over Ariel Mors Limited of Birmingham, for the sole British model, a 20 hp four, shown at the Olympia Motor Show in 1908, offered as bare chassis, Salmons & Sons convertible, Mulliner cabriolet. For 1908, de Dietrich offered a line of chain-driven touring fours, the 18/28 hp, 28/38 hp, 40/45 hp, 60/80 hp, priced between ₤550 and ₤960, a 70/80 hp six at ₤1,040; the British version differed. That year, the names of the aero-engine divisions were changed to Lorraine-Dietrich. By 1914, all de Dietrichs were shaft-driven, numbered a 12/16, an 18/20, a new 20/30 tourers, a sporting four-cylinder 40/75, all built at Argenteuil, Seine-et-Oise.
After World War I, with Lorraine restored to France, the company restarted manufacture of automobiles and aero-engines. Their 12-cylinder aero-engines were used by Breguet, IAR, Aero, among others. In 1919, new technical director Marius Barbarou introduced a new model in two wheelbases, the A1-6 and B2-6, joined three years by the B3-6, with either short or long wheelbase. All fell in the 15 CV fiscal horsepower category, sharing the 3,445 cc six cylinder engine, which had overhead valves, hemispherical head, aluminium pistons, four-bearing crankshaft; the performance was such in 1923, three tourers "put up a passable showing" at the first 24 Hours of Le Mans, leading to the creation for 1924 of the 15 Sport, with twin carburetion, larger valves, Dewandre-Reprusseau servo-assisted four-wheel brakes. The 15 CV Sport did better in 1925, winning Le Mans, followed home by a sister in third, while in 1926, Bloch and Rossignol won at an average 106 km/h, leading a 1-2-3 sweep by Lorraines. Lorraine-Dietrich thus became the first marque to win Le Mans twice and the first to win in two consecutive years.
This publicity contributed to touring 15s being bodied by Gaston Grummer Argenteuil's director, who produced coachwork for the likes of Aurora, Olympia and Chiquita. The 15 CV was joined by the 12 CV, a 2,297 cc four-cylinder car, the 30 CV, with a 6,107 cc six cylinder engine, while the 15 CV survived until 1932; the de Dietrich family sold its share in the company, which became known as Lorraine from 1928 on. The 15 CV was supplanted by the 20 CV, which had a 4,086 cc engine, of which just a few hundred were made. Automobile production b
A camshaft is a shaft to which a cam is fastened or of which a cam forms an integral part. The camshaft was described in Turkey by Al-Jazari in 1206, he employed it as part of his automata, water-raising machines, water clocks such as the castle clock. The camshaft appeared in European mechanisms from the 14th century. Among the first cars to utilize engines with single overhead camshafts were the Maudslay designed by Alexander Craig and introduced in 1902 and the Marr Auto Car designed by Michigan native Walter Lorenzo Marr in 1903. In internal combustion engines with pistons, the camshaft is used to operate poppet valves, it consists of a cylindrical rod running the length of the cylinder bank with a number of oblong lobes protruding from it, one for each valve. The cam lobes force the valves open by pressing on the valve, or on some intermediate mechanism, as they rotate. Camshafts can be made out of several types of material; these include: Chilled iron castings: Commonly used in high volume production, chilled iron camshafts have good wear resistance since the chilling process hardens them.
Other elements are added to the iron before casting to make the material more suitable for its application. Billet Steel: When a high quality camshaft or low volume production is required, engine builders and camshaft manufacturers choose steel billet; this is a much more time consuming process, is more expensive than other methods. However, the finished product is far superior. CNC lathes, CNC milling machines, CNC camshaft grinders will be used during production. Different types of steel bar can be used, one example being EN40b; when manufacturing a camshaft from EN40b, the camshaft will be heat treated via gas nitriding, which changes the micro-structure of the material. It gives a surface hardness of 55-60 HRC; these types of camshafts can be used in high-performance engines. The relationship between the rotation of the camshaft and the rotation of the crankshaft is of critical importance. Since the valves control the flow of the air/fuel mixture intake and exhaust gases, they must be opened and closed at the appropriate time during the stroke of the piston.
For this reason, the camshaft is connected to the crankshaft either directly, via a gear mechanism, or indirectly via a belt or chain called a timing belt or timing chain. Direct drive using gears is unusual because of the cost; the reversing torque caused by the slope of the cams tends to cause gear rattle which for an all-metal gear train requires further expense of a cam damper. Rolls-Royce V8 used gear drive as, unlike chain, it could be made silent and to last the life of the engine. Where gears are used in cheaper cars, they tend to be made from resilient fibre rather than metal, except in racing engines that have a high maintenance routine. Fibre gears have a short life span and must be replaced much like a timing belt. In some designs the camshaft drives the distributor and the oil and fuel pumps; some vehicles may have the power steering pump driven by the camshaft. With some early fuel injection systems, cams on the camshaft would operate the fuel injectors. Honda redesigned the VF750 motorcycle from chain drive to the gear drive VFR750 due to insurmountable problems with the VF750 Hi-Vo inverted chain drive.
An alternative used in the early days of OHC engines was to drive the camshaft via a vertical shaft with bevel gears at each end. This system was, for example, used on the pre-World War I Mercedes Grand Prix cars. Another option was to use a triple eccentric with connecting rods. O. Bentley-designed engines and on the Leyland Eight. In a two-stroke engine that uses a camshaft, each valve is opened once for every rotation of the crankshaft. In a four-stroke engine, the valves are opened only half as often; the timing of the camshaft can be advanced to produce better low RPM torque, or retarded for better high RPM power. Changing cam timing moves the overall power produced by the engine down or up the RPM scale; the amount of change is little, affects valve to piston clearances. Refer to this video. Duration is the number of crankshaft degrees of engine rotation during which the valve is off the seat. In general, greater duration results in more horsepower; the RPM at which peak horsepower occurs is increased as duration increases at the expense of lower rpm efficiency.
Duration specifications can be misleading because manufacturers may select any lift point from which to advertise a camshaft's duration and sometimes will manipulate these numbers. The power and idle characteristics of a camshaft rated at a.006" lift point will be much different from one with the same rating at a.002" lift point. Many performance engine builders gauge a race profile's aggressiveness by looking at the duration at.020".050" and.200". The.020" number determines how responsive the motor will be and how much low end torque the motor will make. The.050" number is used to estimate where peak power will occur, the.200" number gives an estimate of the power potential. A secondary effect of increased duration can be increased overlap, the number of crankshaft degrees during which both intake and exhaust valves are off their seats, it is overlap which most affects idle quality, inasmuch as the "blow-through" of the intake charge back out thru the exhaust valve which occurs during overlap reduces engine efficiency, is greatest during low RPM operation.
In general, increasing a camshaft's duration increases the overlap, unless the intake and exhaust lobe centers are m
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Aberdeen is a city in northeast Scotland. It is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 37th most populous built-up area, with an official population estimate of 196,670 for the city of Aberdeen and 228,800 for the local council area. During the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries, Aberdeen's buildings incorporated locally quarried grey granite, which can sparkle like silver because of its high mica content. Since the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s, Aberdeen has been known as the off-shore oil capital of Europe; the area around Aberdeen has been settled since at least 8,000 years ago, when prehistoric villages lay around the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don. The city has a long, sandy coastline and a marine climate, the latter resulting in chilly summers and mild winters. Aberdeen received Royal burgh status from David I of Scotland; the city's two universities, the University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495, Robert Gordon University, awarded university status in 1992, make Aberdeen the educational centre of the north-east of Scotland.
The traditional industries of fishing, paper-making and textiles have been overtaken by the oil industry and Aberdeen's seaport. Aberdeen Heliport is one of the busiest commercial heliports in the world and the seaport is the largest in the north-east of Scotland. Aberdeen hosts the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, a major international event which attracts up to 1000 of the most talented young performing arts companies. In 2015, Mercer named Aberdeen the 57th most liveable city in the world, as well as the fourth most liveable city in Britain. In 2012, HSBC named Aberdeen as a leading business hub and one of eight'super cities' spearheading the UK's economy, marking it as the only city in Scotland to receive this accolade. In 2018, Aberdeen was found to be the best city in the UK to start a business in a study released by card payment firm Paymentsense; the Aberdeen area has seen human settlement for at least 8,000 years. The city began as two separate burghs: Old Aberdeen at the mouth of the river Don.
The earliest charter was granted by William the Lion in 1179 and confirmed the corporate rights granted by David I. In 1319, the Great Charter of Robert the Bruce transformed Aberdeen into a property-owning and financially independent community. Granted with it was the nearby Forest of Stocket, whose income formed the basis for the city's Common Good Fund which still benefits Aberdonians. During the Wars of Scottish Independence, Aberdeen was under English rule, so Robert the Bruce laid siege to Aberdeen Castle before destroying it in 1308, followed by the massacring of the English garrison; the city was rebuilt and extended. The city was fortified to prevent attacks by neighbouring lords, but the gates were removed by 1770. During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms of 1644 to 1647 the city was plundered by both sides. In 1644, it was taken and ransacked by Royalist troops after the Battle of Aberdeen and two years it was stormed by a Royalist force under the command of the Marquis of Huntly. In 1647 an outbreak of bubonic plague killed a quarter of the population.
In the 18th century, a new Town Hall was built and the first social services appeared with the Infirmary at Woolmanhill in 1742 and the Lunatic Asylum in 1779. The council began major road improvements at the end of the 18th century with the main thoroughfares of George Street, King Street and Union Street all completed at the beginning of the 19th century; the expensive infrastructure works led to the city becoming bankrupt in 1817 during the Post-Napoleonic depression, an economic downturn after the Napoleonic Wars. The increasing economic importance of Aberdeen and the development of the shipbuilding and fishing industries led to the construction of the present harbour including Victoria Dock and the South Breakwater, the extension of the North Pier. Gas street lighting arrived in 1824 and an enhanced water supply appeared in 1830 when water was pumped from the Dee to a reservoir in Union Place. An underground sewer system replaced open sewers in 1865; the city was incorporated in 1891. Although Old Aberdeen has a separate history and still holds its ancient charter, it is no longer independent.
It is an integral part of the city, as is Woodside and the Royal Burgh of Torry to the south of the River Dee. During the Second World War Aberdeen was bombed quite badly on the 21 April 1943 when around 20 Luftwaffe bombers circled around Aberdeen; because there were no planes at RAF leuchars they were all fighting in the Battle of Britain this meant that the bombers would fly back and forth around Aberdeen. 98 people died on that night and 20,000 homes were destroyed during the bombing which caused severe damage to many different homes around the city. Aberdeen became Gaelic-speaking at some time in the medieval period. Old Aberdeen is the approximate location of the first settlement of Aberdeen; the Celtic word aber means "river mouth", as in modern Welsh. The Scottish Gaelic name is Obar Dheathain, in Latin, the Romans referred to the river as Devana. Mediaeval Latin has it as Aberdonia. Aberdeen is locally governed by Aber
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II or Nikolai II, known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer in the Russian Orthodox Church, was the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw the fall of the Russian Empire from one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse, he was given the nickname Nicholas the Bloody or Vile Nicholas by his political adversaries due to the Khodynka Tragedy, anti-Semitic pogroms, Bloody Sunday, the violent suppression of the 1905 Russian Revolution, the execution of political opponents, his perceived responsibility for the Russo-Japanese War. Soviet historians portrayed Nicholas as a weak and incompetent leader whose decisions led to military defeats and the deaths of millions of his subjects. Russia was defeated in the 1904–1905 Russo-Japanese War, which saw the annihilation of the reinforcing Russian Baltic Fleet after being sent on its round-the-world cruise at the naval Battle of Tsushima, off the coasts of Korea and Japan, the loss of Russian influence over Manchuria and Korea, the Japanese annexation to the north of South Sakhalin Island.
The Anglo-Russian Entente was designed to counter the German Empire's attempts to gain influence in the Middle East, but it ended the Great Game of confrontation between Russia and the United Kingdom. When all Russian diplomatic efforts to prevent the First World War failed, Nicholas approved the Imperial Russian Army mobilization on 30 July 1914, which gave Imperial Germany formal grounds to declare war on Russia on 1 August 1914. An estimated 3.3 million Russians were killed in the First World War. The Imperial Russian Army's severe losses, the High Command's incompetent management of the war efforts, lack of food and supplies on the home front were all leading causes of the fall of the House of Romanov. Following the February Revolution of 1917, Nicholas abdicated on behalf of himself and his son and heir, the Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, he and his family were imprisoned and transferred to Tobolsk in late summer 1917. On 30 April 1918, Nicholas and their daughter Maria were handed over to the local Ural Soviet council in Ekaterinburg.
Nicholas and his family were executed by their Bolshevik guards on the night of 16/17 July 1918. The remains of the imperial family were found, identified and re-interred with elaborate State and Church ceremony in St. Petersburg on 17 July 1998. In 1981, his wife, their children were recognized as martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in New York City. On 15 August 2000, they were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as passion bearers, commemorating believers who face death in a Christ-like manner. Nicholas was born in the Alexander Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, the eldest child of Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, he had five younger siblings: Alexander, Xenia and Olga. Nicholas referred to his father nostalgically in letters after Alexander's death in 1894, he was very close to his mother, as revealed in their published letters to each other. His paternal grandparents were Empress Maria Alexandrovna, his maternal grandparents were King Christian Queen Louise of Denmark.
Nicholas was of German and Danish descent, his last ethnically Russian ancestor being Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna of Russia, daughter of Peter the Great. Nicholas was related to several monarchs in Europe, his mother's siblings included Kings Frederick VIII of Denmark and George I of Greece, as well as the United Kingdom's Queen Alexandra. Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, German Emperor Wilhelm II were all first cousins of King George V of the United Kingdom. Nicholas was a first cousin of both King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway, as well as King Christian X of Denmark and King Constantine I of Greece. Nicholas and Wilhelm II were in turn second cousins-once-removed, as each descended from King Frederick William III of Prussia, as well as third cousins, as they were both great-great-grandsons of Tsar Paul I of Russia. In addition to being second cousins through descent from Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse and his wife Princess Wilhelmine of Baden and Alexandra were third cousins-once-removed, as they were both descendants of King Frederick William II of Prussia.
Tsar Nicholas II was the first cousin-once-removed of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich. To distinguish between them the Grand Duke was known within the imperial family as "Nikolasha" and "Nicholas the Tall", while the Tsar was "Nicholas the Short". In his childhood, his parents and siblings made annual visits to the Danish royal palaces of Fredensborg and Bernstorff to visit his grandparents, the king and queen; the visits served as family reunions, as his mother's siblings would come from the United Kingdom and Greece with their respective families. It was there in 1883, that he had a flirtation with one of his English first cousins, Princess Victoria. In 1873, Nicholas accompanied his parents and younger brother, two-year-old George, on a two-month, semi-official visit to England. In London and his family stayed at Marlborough House, as guests of his "Uncle Bertie" and "Aunt Alix", the Prince and Princess of Wales, where he was spoiled by his uncle. On 1 March 1881, following the assassination of his grandfather, Tsar Alexander II, Nicho