House of Oldenburg
The House of Oldenburg is a European dynasty of North German origin. It is one of Europe's most influential royal houses, with branches that rule or have ruled in Denmark, Greece, Russia, Schleswig and Oldenburg; the current Queen of Denmark and King of Norway, the former King of Greece, the consort of the monarch of the United Kingdom, as well as the first thirteen persons in the line of succession to the British throne, are all patrilineal members of the Glücksburg branch of this house. The dynasty rose to prominence when Count Christian I of Oldenburg was elected as King of Denmark in 1448, of Norway in 1450 and of Sweden in 1457; the house has occupied the Danish throne since. Marriages of medieval counts of Oldenburg had paved the way for their heirs to become kings of various Scandinavian kingdoms. Through marriage with a descendant of King Valdemar I of Sweden and of King Eric IV of Denmark, a claim to Sweden and Denmark was staked, since 1350. At that time, its competitors were the successors of Margaret I of Denmark.
In the 15th century, the Oldenburg heir of that claim married Hedwig of Schauenburg, a descendant of Euphemia of Sweden and Norway and a descendant of Eric V of Denmark and Abel of Denmark. Since descendants better situated in genealogical charts died out, their son Christian became the king of all three kingdoms of the whole Kalmar Union; the House of Mecklenburg was its chief competitor regarding the Northern thrones, other aspirants included the Duke of Lauenburg. Different Oldenburgine branches have reigned in several countries; the House of Oldenburg was poised to claim the British thrones through the marriage of Queen Anne and Prince George of Denmark and Norway. Kings of Denmark Kings of Norway Kings of Sweden Counts of Oldenburg Dukes of Schleswig and Counts of Holstein Dukes of Schleswig and Holstein, ruling only part of the Duchies Dukes of Schleswig Dukes of Holstein Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, extinct in male line in 1931 Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein Kings of Denmark King of Iceland Kings of the Hellenes Mountbatten-Windsor line: although Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, his children and his sons' children are patrilineally descended from this branch, his male-line descendants bearing the style of "Royal Highness" are de jure members of the House of Windsor, by declaration of the British monarch.
Kings of Norway Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp Emperors of Russia Holstein-Gottorp, extinct Kings of Sweden King of Norway Holstein-Gottorp Dukes of Oldenburg Media related to House of Oldenburg at Wikimedia Commons Marek, The House of Oldenburg, Genealogy. EU
Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI Carl was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death in a period of Swedish history known as the Swedish Empire. He was the only son of Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp, his father died when he was five years old, so Charles was educated by his governors until his coronation at the age of seventeen. Soon afterward, he was forced out on military expeditions to secure the acquired dominions from Danish troops in the Scanian War. Having fought off the Danes, he returned to Stockholm and engaged in correcting the country's neglected political and economic situation, he managed to sustain peace during the remaining 20 years of his reign. Changes in finance, national maritime and land armaments, judicial procedure, church government and education emerged during this period. Charles XI was succeeded by his only son Charles XII, who made use of the well-trained army in battles throughout Europe; the fact that Charles was crowned as Charles XI does not mean that he was the 11th king of Sweden who had the name Charles.
His father's name was due to his great-grandfather, King Charles IX of Sweden, having adopted his own numeral by using a mythological History of Sweden. This ancestor was the 5th King Charles; the numbering tradition thus begun still continues, with the present king of Sweden being Carl XVI Gustaf. Charles was born in the Stockholm Palace Tre Kronor in November 1655, his father, Charles X of Sweden, had left Sweden in July that year to fight in the war against Poland. After several years of warfare, the king returned in the winter of 1659, gathered his family and the Riksdag of the Estates in Gothenburg. Here he beheld his four-year-old son for the first time. Only a few weeks in mid-January 1660, the king fell ill. Charles X Gustav's will and testament left the administration of the Swedish Empire during Charles XI's minority to a regency led by Queen Dowager Hedwig Eleonora as both formal regent and chair of a six-member Regency Council with two votes and a final say over the rest of the council.
Per Brahe was one member of the council. In addition, Charles X Gustav left command of the army and a seat on the council to his younger brother, Adolph John I, Count Palatine of Kleeburg; these provisions among others led to the remainder of the council challenging the will. On 14 February, the day after King Charles X's death, Hedwig Eleonora sent a message to the council stating that she knew that they contested the will and that she demanded that it should be respected; the council answered that the will must first be discussed with the parliament, at the following council in Stockholm on 13 May, the council tried to keep her from attending. The parliament questioned whether it would be good for her health or suitable for a widow to attend council, that if not, it would be hard to keep sending a messenger to her quarters, her reply that the council would be allowed to meet without her and only inform her when they considered it necessary was met with satisfaction from the council. Hedwig Eleonora's ostensible indifference to politics came as a great relief to the lords of the guardian government.
His mother, Queen Hedvig Eleonora, remained the formal regent until Charles XI attained his majority on 18 December 1672, but she was careful not to embroil herself in political conflicts. During his first appearances in parliament, Charles spoke to the government through her, he would whisper the questions he had in her ear, she would ask them aloud and for him. As an adolescent, Charles devoted himself to sports and his favourite pastime of bear-hunting, he appeared ignorant of the rudiments of statecraft and illiterate. His main difficulties are now seen as evident signs of dyslexia, a disability, poorly understood at the time. According to many contemporary sources, the king was considered poorly educated and therefore not qualified to conduct himself in foreign affairs. Charles was dependent on his mother and advisors to interact with the foreign envoys since he had no foreign language skills apart from German and was ignorant of the world outside the Swedish borders. Italian writer Lorenzo Magalotti visited Stockholm in 1674 and described the teenage Charles XI as "virtually afraid of everything, uneasy to talk to foreigners, not daring to look anyone in the face".
Another trait was a deep religious devotion: he was God-fearing prayed kneeling and attended sermons. Magalotti otherwise described the king's main pursuits as hunting, the upcoming war, jokes; the situation in Europe was shaky during this time and Sweden was going through financial problems. Charles XI's guardians decided to negotiate an alliance with France in 1671; this would ensure that Sweden would not be isolated if there was a war, that the national finances would improve thanks to French subsidies. France directed its aggression against the Dutch in 1672, by the spring of 1674, Sweden was forced to take part by directing forces towards Brandenburg, under the lead of Karl Gustav Wrangel. Denmark was an ally of the Habsburg Holy Roman Empire, it was evident that Sweden was on the verge of yet another war with that country. A remedy was attempted by chancellor Nils Brahe, who traveled to Copenhagen in the spring of 1675 to try to get the Danish princess Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark engaged to the Swedish king.
In mid-June 1675, the engagement was proclaimed. However, when news arrived of the Swedish defeat at the Battle of Fehrbellin, Danish king Christian V declared war on Sweden that September; the Swedish Privy Council continued its internal feuds, the
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
Duchy of Schleswig
The Duchy of Schleswig was a duchy in Southern Jutland covering the area between about 60 km north and 70 km south of the current border between Germany and Denmark. The territory has been divided between the two countries since 1920, with Northern Schleswig in Denmark and Southern Schleswig in Germany; the region is called Sleswick in English. The area's traditional significance lies in the transfer of goods between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, connecting the trade route through Russia with the trade routes along the Rhine and the Atlantic coast. Roman sources place the homeland of the tribe of Jutes north of the river Eider and that of the Angles south of it; the Angles in turn bordered the neighbouring Saxons. By the early Middle Ages, the region was inhabited by three groups: Danes, who lived north of the Danevirke and the Eckernförde Bay, North Frisians, who lived in most of North Frisia, including on the North Frisian Islands, Saxons, who lived in the area south of the Danes and the Frisians.
During the 14th century, the population on Schwansen began to speak Low German alongside Danish, but otherwise the ethno-linguistic borders remained remarkably stable until around 1800, with the exception of the population in the towns that became German from the 14th century onwards. During the early Viking Age, Haithabu – Scandinavia's biggest trading centre – was located in this region, the location of the interlocking fortifications known as the Danewerk or Danevirke, its construction, in particular its great expansion around 737, has been interpreted as an indication of the emergence of a unified Danish state. In May 1931, scientists of the National Museum of Denmark announced that they had unearthed eighteen Viking graves with the remains of eighteen men in them; the discovery came during excavations in Schleswig. The skeletons indicated; each of the graves was laid out from east to west. Researchers surmised that the bodies were entombed in wooden coffins but only the iron nails remained.
Towards the end of the Early Middle Ages, Schleswig formed part of the historical Lands of Denmark as Denmark unified out of a number of petty chiefdoms in the 8th to 10th centuries in the wake of Viking expansion. The southern boundary of Denmark in the region of the Eider River and the Danevirke was a source of continuous dispute; the Treaty of Heiligen was signed in 811 between the Danish King Hemming and Charlemagne, by which the border was established at the Eider. During the 10th century, there were several wars between East Denmark. In 1027, Conrad II and Canute the Great again fixed their mutual border at the Eider. In 1115, King Niels created his nephew Canute Lavard – a son of his predecessor Eric I – Earl of Schleswig, a title used for only a short time before the recipient began to style himself Duke. In the 1230s, Southern Jutland was allotted as an appanage to Abel Valdemarsen, Canute's great-grandson, a younger son of Valdemar II of Denmark. Abel, having wrested the Danish throne to himself for a brief period, left his duchy to his sons and their successors, who pressed claims to the throne of Denmark for much of the next century, so that the Danish kings were at odds with their cousins, the dukes of Slesvig.
Feuds and marital alliances brought the Abel dynasty into a close connection with the German Duchy of Holstein by the 15th century. The latter was a fief subordinate to the Holy Roman Empire; these dual loyalties were to become a main root of the dispute between the German states and Denmark in the 19th century, when the ideas of romantic nationalism and the nation-state gained popular support. The title of Duke of Schleswig was inherited in 1460 by the hereditary kings of Norway, who were regularly elected kings of Denmark and their sons; this was an anomaly -- a king holding a ducal title of which he as king was the liege lord. The title and anomaly survived because it was co-regally held by the king's sons. Between 1544 and 1713/20, the ducal reign had become a condominium, with the royal House of Oldenburg and its cadet branch House of Holstein-Gottorp jointly holding the stake. A third branch in the condominium, the short-lived House of Haderslev, was extinct in 1580 by the time of John the Elder.
Following the Protestant Reformation, when Latin was replaced as the medium of church service by the vernacular languages, the diocese of Schleswig was divided and an autonomous archdeaconry of Haderslev created. On the west coast, the Danish diocese of Ribe ended about 5 km north of the present border; this created a new cultural dividing line in the duchy because German was used for church services and teaching in the diocese of Schleswig and Danish was used in the diocese of Ribe and the archdeaconry of Haderslev. This line corresponds remarkably with the present border. In the 17th century a series of wars between Denmark and Sweden—which Denmark lost—devastated the region economically. However, the nobility responded with a new agricultural system. In the period 1600 to 1800 the region experienced the growth of manorialism of the sort common in the rye-growing regions of eastern Germany; the manors were large holdings with the work done by feudal peasant farmers. They specialized in high quality dairy products.
Feudal lordship was combined with technical modernization, the distinct
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of shield, supporters and motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, state, organization or corporation; the Roll of Arms is a collection of many coats of arms, since the early Modern Age centuries it has been a source of information for public showing and tracing the membership of a noble family, therefore its genealogy across time. The ancient Greek hoplites used individual insignia on their shields; the ancient Romans used similar insignia on their shields. Heraldic designs came into general use among western nobility in the 12th century. Systematic, heritable heraldry had developed by the beginning of the 13th century. Who had a right to use arms, by law or social convention, varied to some degree between countries. Early heraldic designs were personal. Arms become hereditary by the end of the 12th century, in England by King Richard I during the Third Crusade.
Burgher arms are used in Northern Italy in the second half of the 13th century, in the Holy Roman Empire by the mid 14th century. In the late medieval period, use of arms spread to the clergy, to towns as civic identifiers, to royally chartered organizations such as universities and trading companies; the arts of vexillology and heraldry are related. The term coat of arms itself in origin refers to the surcoat with heraldic designs worn by combattants in the knightly tournament, in Old French cote a armer; the sense is transferred to the heraldic design itself in the mid-14th century. Despite no widespread regulation, heraldry has remained consistent across Europe, where tradition alone has governed the design and use of arms; some nations, like England and Scotland, still maintain the same heraldic authorities which have traditionally granted and regulated arms for centuries and continue to do so in the present day. In England, for example, the granting of arms has been controlled by the College of Arms.
Unlike seals and other general emblems, heraldic "achievements" have a formal description called a blazon, which uses vocabulary that allows for consistency in heraldic depictions. In the present day, coats of arms are still in use by a variety of institutions and individuals: for example, many European cities and universities have guidelines on how their coats of arms may be used, protect their use as trademarks. Many societies exist that aid in the design and registration of personal arms. Heraldry has been compared to modern corporate logos; the French system of heraldry influenced the British and Western European systems. Much of the terminology and classifications are taken from it. However, with the fall of the French monarchy there is not a Fons Honorum to enforce heraldic law; the French Republics that followed have either affirmed pre-existing titles and honors or vigorously opposed noble privilege. Coats of arms are considered an intellectual property of municipal body. Assumed arms are considered valid unless they can be proved in court to copy that of an earlier holder.
In the heraldic traditions of England and Scotland, an individual, rather than a family, had a coat of arms. In those traditions coats of arms are legal property transmitted from father to son. Undifferenced arms are used only by one person at any given time. Other descendants of the original bearer could bear the ancestral arms only with some difference: a colour change or the addition of a distinguishing charge. One such charge is the label, which in British usage is now always the mark of an heir apparent or an heir presumptive; because of their importance in identification in seals on legal documents, the use of arms was regulated. This has been carried out by heralds and the study of coats of arms is therefore called "heraldry". In time, the use of arms spread from military entities to educational institutes, other establishments. In Scotland, the Lord Lyon King of Arms has criminal jurisdiction to control the use of arms. In England, Northern Ireland and Wales the use of arms is a matter of civil law and regulated by the College of Arms and the High Court of Chivalry.
In reference to a dispute over the exercise of authority over the Officers of Arms in England, Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, Lord Privy Seal, declared on 16 June 1673 that the powers of the Earl Marshal were "to order and determine all matters touching arms, ensigns of nobility and chivalry. It was further declared that no patents of arms or any ensigns of nobility should be granted and no augmentation, alteration, or addition should be made to arms without the consent of the Earl Marshal. In Ireland the usage and granting of coats of arms was regulated by the Ulster King of Arms from the office's creation in 1552. After Irish independence in 1922 the office was still working out of Dublin Castle; the last Ulster King of Arm
Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp
Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp was Queen of Sweden from 1654 until 1660 by marriage to Charles X Gustav of Sweden, the mother of Charles XI. She served as regent during the minority of her son from 1660 until 1672, during the minority of her grandson Charles XII in 1697, she represented Charles XII during his absence in the Great Northern War from 1700 until the regency of her granddaughter Ulrika Eleonora in 1713. Hedwig Eleonora was described as a dominant personality, was regarded as the de facto first lady of the royal court for 61 years, from 1654 until her death. Hedwig Eleonora was born on 23 October 1636 to Duke Frederick III of Holstein-Gottorp and Marie Elisabeth of Saxony, she was the sixth of the couple's sixteen children. One day after her eighteenth birthday, she was married to King Charles X Gustav of Sweden on 24 October 1654. Charles Gustav was the second cousin of Hedwig Eleonora's mother, he and Hedwig Eleonora were third cousins twice. The marriage was arranged as an alliance between Sweden and Holstein-Gottorp against their mutual enemy Denmark.
Queen Christina of Sweden met Hedwig Eleonora in Holstein-Gottorp on her way to Rome after her abdication. Christina was concerned that Charles Gustav was unmarried, so she suggested the match; the suggestion was accepted by Holstein-Gottorp, who agreed to all demands from Sweden, which made the negotiations quick. Hedwig Eleonora was at the time engaged to Gustav Adolph, Duke of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, Queen Christina recommended Hedwig Eleonora's elder sister, Magdalene Sibylle of Holstein-Gottorp. After having seen portraits of both sisters, Charles Gustav chose Hedwig Eleonora because of her beauty, her current fiancé was instead married to Magdalena Sibylle. In the marriage contract, Hedwig Eleonora was granted a dowry of 20.000 riksdaler, 32.000 riksdaler as a dower, the incomes of the fiefs of Gripsholm and Strömsholm. Hedwig Eleonora was welcomed by King Charles X Gustav at Dalarö in Sweden 5 October 1654, stayed at Karlberg Palace before her official arrival at Stockholm for the wedding 24 October.
She was greeted, dressed in silver brocade, by queen dowager Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg at the Stockholm Royal Palace, where the wedding was celebrated the same day. She was crowned queen at Storkyrkan 27 October. Shortly after, her husband left for Poland to participate in the Deluge. Hedwig Eleonora remained in Sweden for the birth of the future Charles XI the 24 November 1655 and the following Christmas; the spring of 1656, she left Sweden and followed Charles Gustav during his campaign, during which she displayed both physical and mental strength. She was present during the Battle of Warsaw, during which she received the official praise from the Swedish army alongside her spouse, she returned to Sweden in the autumn of 1656. In Sweden, she took control over her dower lands, which she controlled during her life. After the Dano-Swedish War ), she was called to join her husband at Gothenburg she followed him to Gottorp and Wismar. During the Dano-Swedish War and her sister-in-law Maria Eufrosyne of Pfalz lived at Kronborg in Denmark after it had been taken by the Swedish general Carl Gustaf Wrangel.
At Kronborg, Hedwig Eleonora entertained the foreign ambassadors. She visited Frederiksborgs hunted in the woods with the English ambassador. During the Falster campaign, she entertained the ambassadors at Nyköbing Falster. Hedwig Eleonora left for Gothenburg in December 1659, where the Swedish parliament was to assemble in January 1660. After the death of her consort Charles X Gustav 13 February 1660, Hedwig Eleonora became regent of Sweden and chair of the Regency Council of her son Charles XI during his minority. According to the will and testament of Charles Gustav, Hedwig Eleonora was to be the chair and regent with two votes and a final say over the rest of the council: the power over the government was shared with five high officials, including Per Brahe, but her vote was to be the preferred one; the will was contested by the council because her former brother-in-law Adolph John I, Count Palatine of Kleeburg, had been given power over the army. The day after the death of her husband, Hedwig Eleonora sent a message to the council that she knew that they contested the will, she demanded that it should be respected.
The council answered. At the following council in Stockholm 13 May, the council tried to keep her from attending, they questioned whether it would be good for her health or suitable for a widow to attend council, that if not, it would be hard to keep sending a messenger to her quarters. Her reply that the council would be allowed to meet without her and only inform her when they considered it necessary was met with satisfaction from the council. Hedwig Eleonora's ostensible indifference to politics came as a great relief to the lords of the guardian government. Despite her initial message, Hedwig Eleonora was in fact present at all council meetings except when she was away to administrate her dower lands, she used her position as regent foremost to protect her son's interests and rights toward the council, thereby saw it as her duty to be informed and present in the decisions, although she did not take part in them. Adolph John of Kleeburg had lost command of the army and his status as a prince of Sweden, her only support in the council came from Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie.
Aware of the fact that she did not have enough support in the council to manage her own policy, she did not wish to risk being maneuvered from her position by challenging the council. She concurred with the anti-Danish and
The Russian Empire known as Imperial Russia or Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917. The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires; the rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Golden Horde, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south; the House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east.
With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics and religion. There were numerous dissident elements. Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants; the economy industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an huge empire into a major European power, he moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, Europe-oriented, rationalist system.
Empress Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. Emperor Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861, his policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires; the Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917 as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War. Though the Empire was only proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad, some historians would argue that it was born either when Ivan III of Russia conquered Veliky Novgorod in 1478, or when Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan in 1552. According to another point of view, the term Tsardom, used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was a contemporary Russian word for empire.
Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian colonization of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the Russo-Polish War that incorporated left-bank Ukraine, the Russian conquest of Siberia. Poland was divided in the 1790 -- 1815 era, with much of the population going to Russia. Most of the 19th-century growth came from adding territory in Asia, south of Siberia. Peter I the Great played a major role in introducing Russia to the European state system. While the vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns; the class of kholops, close in status to slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. Peter's first military efforts were directed against the Ottoman Turks.
His attention turned to the North. Peter still lacked a secure northern seaport, except at Archangel on the White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic was blocked by Sweden. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him to make a secret alliance in 1699 with Saxony, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark against Sweden, resulting in the Great Northern War; the war ended in 1721. Peter acquired four provinces situated east of the Gulf of Finland; the coveted access to the sea was now secured. There he built Russia's new capital, Saint Petersburg, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. In 1722, he tur