- NAME: Nicholas II
- OCCUPATION: Tsar
- BIRTH DATE: May 18, 1868
- DEATH DATE: July 17, 1918
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Pushkin, Russia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Yekaterinburg, Russia
- Originally: Nikolai Aleksandrovich Romanov
- AKA: Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov
- AKA: Tsar Nicholas II
- AKA: Czar Nicholas II
- Nickname: "Bloody Nicholas"
- AKA: Nicholas II
Best Known For
Nicholas II was the last tsar of Russia under Romanov rule. His poor handling of Bloody Sunday and Russia’s role in World War I led to his abdication and execution.
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Nicholas II was born on May 18, 1868, in Pushkin, Russia. He inherited the throne when his father, Alexander III, died in 1894. Although he believed in autocracy, he was eventually forced to create an elected legislature. Nicholas II’s handling of Bloody Sunday and World War I incensed his subjects and led to his abdication. Bolsheviks executed him on July 17, 1918, in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
"I am not prepared to be a tsar. I never wanted to become one. I know nothing of the business of ruling."
Nicholas II was born Nikolai Aleksandrovich Romanov in Pushkin, Russia, on May 18, 1868. He was his parents' firstborn child. Nicholas II's father, Alexander Alexandrovich, was heir to the Russian empire. Nicholas II's mother, Maria Feodorovna, had been born in Denmark. Maria Feodorovna provided a nurturing family environment during Nicholas II’s upbringing. Alexander was a strong influence on Nicholas II, shaping his conservative, religious values and his belief in autocratic government.
Nicholas II received his education through a string of private tutors, including a high-ranking government official named Konstantin Pobedonostsev. While Nicholas II excelled in history and foreign languages, ironically, the future leader struggled to comprehend the subtleties of politics and economics. To make matters worse, his father failed to provide him with much training in affairs of state.
In 1881, when Nicholas II was 13 years old, his grandfather, Alexander II, was assassinated by a revolutionary bomber. Alexander Alexandrovich ascended the throne as Alexander III that year, and Nicholas II became heir apparent.
When Nicholas II was 19 years old he joined the army. He spent three years in service before touring Europe and Asia for an additional 10 months. Passionate about the military, Nicholas II rose to the rank of colonel. Although he was the crown prince of Russia, while in the military he attended few political meetings except for those held by the state council and the committee of ministers.
Nicholas II inherited the Russian throne when his father died of kidney disease at the age of 49 on October 20, 1894. Reeling from the loss, and poorly trained in affairs of state, Nicholas II hardly felt up to the task of assuming his father’s role. In fact, he confessed to a close friend, "I am not prepared to be a tsar. I never wanted to become one. I know nothing of the business of ruling."
Despite all that was happening, Nicholas II managed to marry Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt (commonly known as Alexandra) within a month of Alexander III’s passing. Once he ascended the throne, Nicholas II had to marry and have children expediently, in order to secure a future heir to the throne. Although a figure in the public eye, Empress Alexandra was something of a homebody, who preferred to spend the majority of her time at the palace at Tsarskoe Selo.
The couple had their first child, a daughter named Olga, in 1895. The following year, Nicholas II was officially crowned as the tsar of Russia. During a mobbed public celebration of the coronation near Moscow, thousands of people were stampeded to death.
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