Alexander I of Russia Biography

Alexander I, Emperor of Russia, was a significant figure in European history. He implemented numerous educational reforms and government restructuring during his reign. Despite initially siding with Britain against France, he eventually made peace with Napoleon and joined the Continental System. However, tensions between Russia and France escalated, leading to the French invasion of Russia and a decisive Russian victory. Alexander also expanded Russian territory and established the Holy Alliance to combat liberalism and secularism in Europe.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Alexander Pavlovich Romanov
  • Died At Age: 47
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: lizabeth Alexeievna (m. 1793)
    • Father: Paul I of Russia
    • Mother: Maria Feodorovna
    • Siblings: Anna Pavlovna of Russia, Catherine Pavlovna of Russia, Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna of Russia, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia (1786–1859), Grand Duchess Olga Pavlovna of Russia, Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich of Russia, Konstantin Pavlovich, Marfa Musina-Yuryeva, Nicholas I of Russia, Semen Velikiy
    • Children: Grand Duchess Elizabeth Alexandrovna of Russia, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
  • Born Country: Russia
  • Died on: December 1, 1825
  • Place of Death: Taganrog, Russia
  • Cause of Death: Typhus
  • City: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Childhood & Early Life

Alexander I was born on December 23, 1777, in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, as the eldest son of Grand Duke Paul Petrovich and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. He was brought up by his grandmother Catherine the Great, the last ruling Empress of Russia. Alexander received education in the ideas of the Lumières from Frédéric-César de La Harpe and learned about Russian autocracy from Nikolay Saltykov. He also received religious instruction from Orthodox priest Andrey Afanasyevich Samborsky.

Ascension & Early Years of Reign

After the assassination of his father, Paul, Alexander ascended to the throne at the age of 23. He formed a Privy Committee to plan domestic reforms and establish a constitutional monarchy. Mikhail Speransky, a close advisor of Alexander, proposed several reforms, but they were halted due to the Napoleonic wars and opposition from conservative nobility. Alexander also initiated educational and social reforms during this time.

Foreign Policy & Relation with Other Powers

Alexander initially joined the Third Coalition against Napoleonic France but later switched his allegiance towards Napoleon and signed the Treaty of Tilsit. He entered into wars against Britain and Sweden, but his relationship with Napoleon deteriorated over time. Russia eventually withdrew from the Continental System and joined the Sixth Coalition against France. The Coalition defeated Napoleon and captured Paris, leading to his abdication.

Later Years

In his later years, Alexander became more religious and reactionary. He terminated several reforms, expelled foreign teachers, and replaced his advisor with a strict artillery inspector. His mental health deteriorated, and he became more suspicious and withdrawn. Alexander died in 1825 after suffering from typhus.

Personal Life

Alexander married Princess Louise of Baden, and they had two children who died young. He also had illegitimate children from various relationships. Alexander’s mental health deteriorated further, and he died in 1825. He was buried at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

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