Nicholas I of Russia

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Nicholas I (Николай I Павлович, Nikolaj I Pavlovič), (6 July [O.S. 25 June] 1796 – 2 March [O.S. 18 February] 1855), also known as Nikolay Palkin[1] (Николай Палкин, from Russian word палка, palka – stick), in imperial Russia officially Nicholas the Unforgettable (Николай Незабвенный, Nikolay Nezabvenny), was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers (7.7 million square miles). In his capacity as the emperor he was also the King of Poland and the Grand Prince of Finland.

Nicholas I was born in Gatchina to Emperor Paul I and Empress Maria Feodorovna. He was a younger brother to Alexander I of Russia and Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia.


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, Nicholas was caught between swearing allegiance to his second-eldest brother Constantine Pavlovich and accepting the throne for himself. The interregnum lasted until Constantine Pavlovich, who was in Warsaw 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 on 26 December (14 Old Style) 1825, an uprising Nicholas was successful in suppressing.

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