Russian Empire

Article

August 14, 2022

The Russian Empire, or Russian Empire (Russian: Российская империя, in the pre-reform form Pоссийская Империя), commonly also Tsarist Russia, was a state unit covering the territory of Eurasia and part of North America, which was established in 1721 after the end of the Northern War and existed until 1917, when it was The February Revolution was announced by the Russian Provisional Government. It was the third most territorially extensive empire in the history of mankind, which at its greatest extent spread over three continents – Europe, Asia and North America, and in terms of size was surpassed only by the British and Mongolian empires. The rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Swedish Empire, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire. In 1812–1814, it played a vital role in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to dominate Europe and expanded its territory to the west and south. The Romanov dynasty ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 to 1762. From 1762 until the end of the empire, its matrilineal branch of patrilineality of German origin - the Holstein-Gotorp-Romanov dynasty - ruled. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire occupied territory across three continents, from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea in the west to Alaska and northern California in America in the east. With a population of 125.6 million in the 1897 census, it had the third largest population in the world at the time, after the Qing Empire and India. Like all empires, the Russian one had great diversity in terms of economy, nationalities, languages ​​and religions. Over the centuries, there have been many dissident elements that have fueled numerous rebellions and assassinations. From the 19th century, they were closely monitored by the tsarist secret police, and thousands of opponents of tsarism were exiled to Siberia. Economically, the empire was largely agricultural in nature, with low productivity on large estates farmed by Russian peasants, known as serfs, who were tied to the land by a feudal system. The serfs were freed in 1861, but the landholding nobility retained control. The economy slowly industrialized with foreign investment in railroads and factories. From the 10th to the 17th century, the country was ruled by the noble class - the boyars, and then by the tsar. The foundations for the future empire were already laid by Tsar Ivan III. (1462–1505). He doubled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, reconstructed the Moscow Kremlin and laid the foundations of the Russian state. Tsar Peter the Great (1682–1725) fought in many conflicts and expanded an already vast empire into a major European power. He moved the capital from Moscow to the new city of St. Petersburg, which had a considerable European character. He led a cultural revival that replaced some traditional and medieval social and political mores with a modern, scientific, European and rational system. Under Empress Catherine the Great (reigned 1762–1796), the empire experienced a golden age; expanded the territory through conquest, colonization and diplomacy and continued Peter the Great's policy of modernization along Western European lines. Tsar Alexander II (1855–1881) promoted numerous reforms, most dramatically in 1861 by giving equal rights to all 23 million serfs. His policies in Eastern Europe included the protection of Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. This connection led in 1914 to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of the Entente, i.e. France, the United Kingdom and Serbia against Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. The Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy based on the ideological doctrine of Orthodoxy, autocracy and nationality until the revolution of 1905, when a de jure constitutional monarchy was established. The Empire collapsed during the February Revolution