Alexander II of Russia facts for kids

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Alexander II
Zar Alexander II.jpg (cropped).jpg
Emperor of Russia
Reign 2 March 1855 – 13 March 1881
Coronation 7 September 1856
Predecessor Nicholas I
Successor Alexander III
Born (1818-04-29)29 April 1818
Moscow Kremlin, Moscow, Moscow Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 13 March 1881(1881-03-13) (aged 62)
Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
Burial Peter and Paul Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
Consort
  • Marie of Hesse
    (m. 1841; died 1880)
  • Catherine Dolgorukova (morganatic)
Issue
among others...
  • Grand Duchess Alexandra Alexandrovna
  • Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich
  • Alexander III of Russia
  • Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich
  • Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich
  • Maria, Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
  • Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich
  • Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich
  • George Yuryevsky
  • Catherine Yurievskaya
Full name
Alexander Nikolaevich Romanov
House Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Father Nicholas I of Russia
Mother Charlotte of Prussia
Religion Russian Orthodox
Signature Alexander II's signature

Alexander II (29 April 1818 – 13 March 1881) was the Emperor of Russia from 2 March 1855 until his assassination on 13 March 1881. He was also the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland.

Alexander's most significant reform as Emperor was emancipation of Russia's serfs in 1861, for which he is known as Alexander the Liberator. The tsar was responsible for other reforms, including reorganising the judicial system, setting up elected local judges, abolishing corporal punishment, promoting local self-government through the zemstvo system, imposing universal military service, ending some privileges of the nobility, and promoting university education. After an assassination attempt in 1866, Alexander adopted a somewhat more reactionary stance until his death.

Alexander pivoted towards foreign policy and sold Alaska to the United States in 1867, fearing the remote colony would fall into British hands if there were another war. He sought peace, moved away from bellicose France when Napoleon III fell in 1871, and in 1872 joined with Germany and Austria in the League of the Three Emperors that stabilized the European situation. Despite his otherwise pacifist foreign policy, he fought a brief war with the Ottoman Empire in 1877–78, pursued further expansion into Siberia and the Caucasus, and conquered Turkestan. Although disappointed by the results of the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Alexander abided by that agreement. Among his greatest domestic challenges was an uprising in Poland in 1863, to which he responded by stripping that land of its separate constitution and incorporating it directly into Russia. Alexander was proposing additional parliamentary reforms to counter the rise of nascent revolutionary and anarchistic movements when he was assassinated in 1881.

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