Tsaar Nikolai I  von Holstein-Gottorp

Tsaar Nikolai I von Holstein-Gottorp

Male 1796 - 1855  (58 years)    Has more than 100 ancestors and more than 100 descendants in this family tree.

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  • Name Nikolai I von Holstein-Gottorp 
    Prefix Tsaar 
    Relationshipwith Adam
    Born 25 Jun 1796  Gatshina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 18 Feb 1855  St Petersburg Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I5609  Geneagraphie
    Last Modified 6 Dec 2001 

    Father Tsaar Pawel I von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 1 Oct 1754, St Petersburg Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Mar 1801, Mikhailovski Castle, St. Petersburg Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 46 years) 
    Mother Maria Feodorovna von Württemberg,   b. 25 Oct 1759, Stettin Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Nov 1828, Pavlovsk Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years) 
    Married 7 Oct 1776  St Petersburg Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Siblings 8 siblings 
    Family ID F2398  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Alexandra Feodorovna von Preußen,   b. 13 Jul 1798, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Preussen Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Nov 1860, Tsarkoie-Selo Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Married 1 Jul 1817  St Petersburg Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. Tsaar Alexander II von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 29 Apr 1818, Moskva, Moskva, Russia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Mar 1881, St Petersburg Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years)
     2. Grossfürstin Maria Nikolajewna von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 6 Aug 1819, Pavlovsk Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Feb 1876, Sankt Petersburg Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years)
     3. Grossfürstin NN von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 22 Jul 1820, Pavlovsk Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Jul 1820, Pavlovsk Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     4. Grossfürstin Olga von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 30 Aug 1822, Sankt Petersburg/Peterhof Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Oct 1892, Friedrichshafen Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
     5. NN von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 11 Oct 1823, Gatschina Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Oct 1823, Gatschina Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     6. Grossfürstin Alexandra Nikolajewna von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 12 Jun 1825, Tzarskoie-Selo Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Jul 1844, Tzarskoie-Selo Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 19 years)
     7. Konstantin Nikolajewitsch von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 21 Sep 1827, St Petersburg Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Jan 1892, Pavlovsk Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years)
     8. Grossfürstin NN von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 5 Oct 1829,   d. 5 Oct 1829  (Age 0 years)
     9. Grossfürst Nikolai Nikolajewitsch von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 27 Jul 1831, Tsarkoie-Selo Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Apr 1891, Aloupka, Krim Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 59 years)
     10. Grossfürst Michail Nikolajewitsch von Holstein-Gottorp,   b. 13 Oct 1832, Sankt Petersburg Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Dec 1909, Aloupka, Krim Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years)
    Last Modified 29 Aug 2000 
    Family ID F2414  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    5609.jpg
    5609.jpg

  • Notes 
    • His Grandmother, Catherine the Great, marvelled at his size at birth, calling him the 'colossus'. At first, following the practice she had followed with his two older brothers, Catherine whisked the infant Nickolas into her private quarters and began to raise him herself. At her death five months later Nickolas was back in the care of his parents. Maria had little time for her children and seldom saw them. When she found a few hours to spend with them she was cold and distant. On the other hand, Nickolas remembered his father, Paul, as being more loving and considerate.
      He had a younger brother, Mikhail, and together they grew up in the care of an old General, named Lamsdorff. As a third son, there was little expectation of his ever coming to the throne and his education was not as broad as that of his older brothers. Nickolas was not an attentive student, except on those subjects that interested him, like the recent events of the French Revolution. He was a very attractive man. On a visit to England in 1816 women found his fine Grecian nose, handsome face and imperial bearing an irresistible combination. One aristocratic English lady predicted he would become 'the handsomest man in all Europe.' He fell in love with the delicate and frail Princess Charlotte of Prussia, whom he called Mouffy, and married her. His 21st birthday had just passed and by this time it had was assumed that he would probably become heir to the throne; Alexander I and Elizabeth had no children between them and Konstantin, the next in line, was clearly not suited or inclined to succeed. The Alexander Palace was loaned to Nickolas by his older brother and they made it into their principal residence outside St. Petersburg. In December 1825 Alexander I mysteriously died in the faraway city of Taganrog. He had prearranged that Nickolas should succeed him and had given secret orders to this effect. In the confusion that followed Alexander's death, a small group of aristocratic officers, later called the Decembrists, revolted in favor of Konstantin, whom they thought would be more lenient than his brother. After some initial hesitation, Nickolas firmly crushed the revolt and was recognized as undisputed ruler of the Russian Empire. He firmly believed in the autocracy. Nickolas saw himself as God's general in charge of Russia's well-being and every citizen as his subordinate. He insisted his will be followed at all times and ruled the Empire personally. Unlimited power, such as held by Nickolas, would have been a disaster in the hands of an immoral or unscrupulous man. The new Tsar was neither. Nickolas was a convinced Orthodox Christian and truly felt he was accountable to God for his actions. He felt his own service to the nation was the prototype that all Russians should follow. Nickolas' attitude was rigidly military. His narrow-mindedness and egotism created the "Nickolas System", based on "One Tsar, One Faith, One Nation". During his reign all other nationalities and religions were oppressed and subject to "Russification", an effort to pound the Empire into a cohesive whole centered on these three precepts. It didn't work; millions of non-Russians - such as the Poles, refused to surrender their nationhood and non-Orthodox faiths. Hard, oppressive force was necessary to subjugate them. Nickolas reign saw the first, genuine flowering of the new Russian culture that his Grandmother Catherine had planted. Literature flourished among the aristocracy and produced poets like Pushkin and Lermontov. For the first time the lower classes produced a literary giant in Gogol, with his stark picture of life in the countryside. The Russian intelligentsia, small as it was at first, was born. Nickolas was despised by them. He took a personal involvement in their lives which was insulting, and oppressive. He decided which of their works was published and which were not. Rather than leaving such activities to his secret police and their professional censors, he thoroughly read the books and articles he then supressed, thinking their ideas dangerous for the masses. Nickolas was deeply troubled by the forces the masses could unleash. He feared another peasant revolt like that of Pugachev in the reign of Catherine the Great, which would ruin the Empire and weaken Russia before her foreign enemies. His reign saw the triumph of the state bureaucracy, where rank was increasingly based on service to the nation and not birth. People of lower class birth saw themselves propelled into the ranks of the nobility through service, much to the chagrin of the landed nobility. Nickolas' reign was a period of great corruption and the arbitrary use of power. He was opposed to corruption and made much effort to stop it when ever it came to his attention, but the roots of corruption and violence in society were fed by the nature of autocracy itself. The Tsar was fed phoney, positive stories about conditions in the country by the very bureaucracy which oppressed it. Unfortunately, he placed his faith in the state infrastructure that 'loyally' fulfilled his directives and was the chief pillar beneath the autocracy; rather than his people, whose 'uncontrollable urges' he feared. To his credit, Nickolas knew that serfdom was the cancer at the heart of the nation, but his feeble actions to do something about the condition of the peasantry actually made their situation much worse. At the end of his reign many felt his rule had been a disaster for Russia. He had given the Empire many years of peace, that were broken by few wars and internal uprisings. This had been done at enormous personal sacrifice and effort on Nickolas' part. Many years before his death he was an exhausted, broken man. He had come to realise that many of the things he considered his greatest accomplishments for Russia - such as her great international prestige and power - were, in fact, illusions that had been the built at enormous effort and great sacrifice by his people. When the fall came, it came quickly. Russia bungled her way into an unecessary war on her own territory, in the Crimea. The European powers, France, Britain and Austria found themselves alligned with the Turkish Sultan against Russia. The Tsar's army could not drive the foreign armies from the country due to a lack of supplies and men at the front lines. Russia was humiliated by her failure. The giant, European superpower image of Russia Nickolas had so carefully crafted could not be supported by the country's lack of basic infrastructure such as roads and railways. Nickolas was crushed by the defeat, which he accepted as a sign of his personal failure as Tsar. He died of a bad cold, on a dark winter morning, in his bed at the Winter Palace.
      The country and crown he passed to his son, Alexander II was to prove even more insecure and dangerous than the one he had inherited 30 years before. Years of Nickolas' hard work and effort had proved inadequate to the size of the job at hand and many of his programs had failed. No European rule r of his time had been more devoted to serving his country, yet resolve, hard work and good intensions were not enough to counter his reactionary and narrow political views which held Russia back. No autocratic ruler could simply issue a series of orders for Russia to advance and modernize (unless one was willing to sacrifice millions of subjects) and see it accomplished. The world was advancing at a quicker pace than Russia, who was left further and further behind England, France and Germany. New steam trains, the beginnings of industrialization and the achievements of Russian culture were superficially impressive but inadequate to face the challenges at hand - both internal and from abroad. As long as serfdom and autocracy survived these two millstones around Russia's neck would hold the country back from prosperity she deserved and hence deprive the nation of botgh internal and external security.


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