Alexander I of Russia

Tsar of the Russian Empire from 1801 to 1825

Alexander I of Russia (Russian: Александр I Павлович, Aleksandr I Pavlovich) (23 December [O.S. 12 December] 1777 – 1 December [O.S. 19 November] 1825),[1] also known as Alexander the Blessed (Russian: Александр Благословенный, Aleksandr Blagoslovennyi) was 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.

Alexander I
Portrait of Emperor Alexander I
Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias
Reign23 March 1801 – 1 December 1825
Coronation15 September 1801
PredecessorPaul I
SuccessorNicholas I
Born(1777-12-23)23 December 1777
Saint Petersburg
Died1 December 1825(1825-12-01) (aged 47)
ConsortPrincess Louise of Baden
IssueGrand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Alexandrovna
Full name
Alexander Pavlovich Romanov
FatherPaul I
MotherSophie Dorothea of Württemberg
ReligionRussian Orthodox
SignatureAlexander I's signature

He was born in Saint Petersburg to Grand Duke Paul Petrovich, later Emperor Paul I, and Maria Feodorovna, daughter of the Duke of Württemberg. He succeeded to the throne after his father was murdered, and ruled Russia during the Napoleonic Wars.

His sudden death in Taganrog, under allegedly suspicious circumstances, caused the spread of the rumours that Alexander did not die in 1825, but disappeared to live the rest of his life in anonymity.

Early life and throne ascension change

Alexander was born in 23th December (O.S. 12 December) 1777 in Saint Petersburg. He was the eldest son of Tsar Paul I and one of Catherine the Great's grandchildren. In 1801, he began to reign Russia after his father Paul I was murdered.

Private life change

On 9 October 1793, Alexander married Louise of Baden, known as Elisabeth Alexeyevna after her conversion to the Orthodox Church. He later told his friend Frederick William III that the marriage, a political match devised by his grandmother, Catherine the Great, regrettably proved to be a misfortune for him and his wife. Their two children of the marriage died young.

Alexander had nine illegitimate children.

With Sophia Vsevolojsky (1775–1848)

  • Nikolai Loukache (11 December 1796 – 20 January 1868)

With Maria Naryshkina (1779–1854)

  • Zenaida Naryshkina (1806 – 18 May 1810)
  • Sophia Naryshkina (1808 – 18 June 1824)
  • Emanuel Naryshkin (30 July 1813 – 31 December 1901)

With Marguerite-Josephine Weimer (1787–1867)

  • Maria Alexandrovna Parijskaia (19 March 1814–1874)
  • Wilhelmine Alexandrine Pauline Alexandrov (1816 – 4 June 1863)

With Veronica Dzierzanowska

  • Gustave Ehrenberg (14 February 1818 – 28 September 1895)

With Princess Barbara Tourkestanova (1775 – 20 March 1819)

  • Maria Tourkestanova (20 March 1819 – 19 December 1843)

With Maria Ivanovna Katatcharova (1796–1824)

  • Nikolai Vassilievich Isakov (10 February 1821 – 25 February 1891)

Mysterious death change

Death of Alexander I in Taganrog (19th century lithograph)
Alexander I Palace in Taganrog, where the Russian Emperor died in 1825.

Alexander became increasingly suspicious of those around him, especially after an attempt was made to kidnap him when he was on his way to the conference in Aachen, Germany.

In the autumn of 1825 the Emperor sailed to the south of Russia due to the increasing illness of his wife. During his trip he caught a cold which developed into typhus from which he died in the southern city of Taganrog on 19 November (O.S.)/ 1 December 1825. His wife died a few months later as the emperor's body was transported to Saint Petersburg for the funeral. He was interred at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral of the Peter and Paul Fortress in Saint Petersburg on 13 March 1826.

The unexpected death of the Emperor far from the capital caused rumours that his death and funeral were staged so he could spend the rest of his life in solitude. Some say the former emperor became a monk in Pochaev Lavra or Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra or elsewhere. A mysterious hermit, Feodor Kuzmich, (or Kozmich) emerged in Siberia in 1836, died near Tomsk in 1864 and was eventually glorified as a saint of the Orthodox Church. Many people, including some historians, have theorized that he was Alexander I under an assumed identity. While there are testimonies that "Feodor Kozmich" in his earlier life might have belonged to a higher level of society, claims that he was Alexander I were never proved.

Other change

Alexander I was the godfather of future Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom who was christened Alexandrina Victoria in honour of the tsar.

Alexander I was the namesake for the Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, and of the Alexandertorte.

References change

  1. During Alexander's life time Russia used the Julian calendar (Old Style), but unless otherwise stated, any date in this article uses the Gregorian Calendar (New Style) — see the article "Old Style and New Style dates" for a more detailed explanation.
  • Ghervas, Stella. Réinventer la tradition. Alexandre Stourdza et l'Europe de la Sainte-Alliance. Paris, Honoré Champion, 2008. ISBN 978-2-7453-1669-1
  • Henri Troyat, "Alexandre 1er", Flammarion, 1981.
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