(redirected from House of Romanov)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to House of Romanov: Rasputin


(rō`mənŏf, Rus. rəmä`nəf), ruling dynasty of Russia from 1613 to 1917. The name Romanov was adopted in the 16th cent. by a family of boyarsboyars
, upper nobility in Russia from the 10th through the 17th cent. The boyars originally obtained influence and government posts through their military support of the Kievan princes. Their power and prestige, however, soon came to depend almost completely on landownership.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (great nobles) that traced its beginnings to the 14th cent. Czar Ivan IV took as his first wife Anastasia Romanov. Anastasia's brother, Nikita, was a regent for her son, Czar Feodor IFeodor I
(Feodor Ivanovich) , 1557–98, czar of Russia (1584–98), son of Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible). Weak and incompetent, he left the government in the hands of his brother-in-law, Boris Godunov, who became czar after Feodor's death.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Nikita's son, Philaret, whom Boris GodunovGodunov, Boris
, c.1551–1605, czar of Russia (1598–1605). A favorite of Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible), he helped organize Ivan's social and administrative system.
..... Click the link for more information.
 forced to take monastic vows, was patriarch of Moscow from 1619 until his death in 1633. MichaelMichael
(Michael Romanov), 1596–1645, czar of Russia (1613–45), founder of the Romanov dynasty; grandnephew of Anastasia, first wife of Ivan IV. His election as czar, following successive appearances of false pretenders (see Dmitri), ended the so-called Time of
..... Click the link for more information.
, Philaret's son, was chosen in 1613 as czar of Russia; his election ended a turbulent period in Russian history. Except for the period from 1722 to 1797, the succession was thereafter regulated by the law of primogeniture.

The direct successors of Michael were AlexisAlexis
(Aleksey Mikhailovich) , 1629–76, czar of Russia (1645–76), son and successor of Michael. His reign, marked by numerous popular outbreaks, was crucial for the later development of Russia.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1645–76) and Feodor III (1676–82). Ivan V and Peter IPeter I
or Peter the Great,
1672–1725, czar of Russia (1682–1725), major figure in the development of imperial Russia. Early Life

Peter was the youngest child of Czar Alexis, by Alexis's second wife, Natalya Naryshkin.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (Peter the Great) reigned jointly under the regency of their sister Sophia Alekseyevna until 1689, when Peter assumed sole rule. In 1721, Peter took the title emperor of Russia in addition to that of czar; the new title was borne by all his successors. His succession decree of 1722 denounced the law of primogeniture and declared that the choice of a successor lay solely with the ruling emperor.

In 1723, Peter made his consort joint ruler as Catherine ICatherine I,
1683?–1727, czarina of Russia (1725–27). Of Livonian peasant origin, Martha Skavronskaya was a domestic when she was captured (1702) by Russian soldiers. As mistress of Aleksandr D.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and after his death (1725) she continued to rule until she died in 1727. Peter's son by his first marriage, Czarevich AlexisAlexis
(Aleksey Petrovich) , 1690–1718, Russian czarevich; son of Peter I (Peter the Great) by his first wife, and father of Peter II. Opposing his father's anticlerical policy, Alexis renounced his right of succession and fled (1716) to Vienna.
..... Click the link for more information.
, had been executed in 1718. His second marriage, with Catherine, produced two daughters: Anna, who married Duke Charles Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp, and Elizabeth. They were bypassed in the succession of 1727 in favor of Peter IIPeter II,
1715–30, czar of Russia (1727–30). A grandson of Peter I and the son of the czarevich Alexis, he succeeded on the death of Catherine I. He was too young to rule, but he willingly lent himself to a court intrigue, led by the Gallitzin and Dolgoruki families,
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1727–30), son of Czarevich Alexis.

Peter II was the last of the direct male Romanov line, and on his death AnnaAnna
(Anna Ivanovna) , 1693–1740, czarina of Russia (1730–40), daughter of Ivan V and niece of Peter I (Peter the Great). On the death of her distant cousin, Peter II, she was chosen czarina by the supreme privy council, which thus hoped to gain power for itself.
..... Click the link for more information.
, duchess of Courland, a daughter of Ivan V, ascended the throne. She died without heirs and was succeeded (1740) by Ivan VI, a great-grandson of Ivan V. He was a German, son of the duke of Brunswick and of Anna Leopoldovna, a princess of Mecklenburg.

The rule of foreigners was unpopular, and Peter I's daughter ElizabethElizabeth,
1709–62, czarina of Russia (1741–62), daughter of Peter I and Catherine I. She gained the throne by overthrowing the young czar, Ivan VI, and the regency of his mother, Anna Leopoldovna.
..... Click the link for more information.
 executed a coup in 1741 and was proclaimed czarina. Her nephew Peter IIIPeter III,
1728–62, czar of Russia (1762), son of Charles Frederick, dispossessed duke of Holstein-Gottorp, and of Anna Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his aunt, Czarina Elizabeth.
..... Click the link for more information.
 succeeded her in 1762 but was deposed (and probably assassinated) that year in a coup that made his consort, a princess of Anhalt-Zerbst, empress as Catherine IICatherine II
or Catherine the Great,
1729–96, czarina of Russia (1762–96). Rise to Power

A German princess, the daughter of Christian Augustus, prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, she emerged from the obscurity of her relatively modest background in 1744
..... Click the link for more information.
 (Catherine the Great). There was some argument as to the paternity of Catherine's son and successor, Paul IPaul I,
1754–1801, czar of Russia (1796–1801), son and successor of Catherine II. His mother disliked him intensely and sought on several occasions to change the succession to his disadvantage.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1796–1801), but it is now generally believed that he was the son of Peter III.

Paul, who was assassinated, restored the succession by primogeniture in 1797. His successors reigned as Alexander IAlexander I,
1777–1825, czar of Russia (1801–25), son of Paul I (in whose murder he may have taken an indirect part). In the first years of his reign the liberalism of his Swiss tutor, Frédéric César de La Harpe, seemed to influence Alexander.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1801–25), Nicholas INicholas I,
1796–1855, czar of Russia (1825–55), third son of Paul I. His brother and predecessor, Alexander I, died childless (1825). Constantine, Paul's second son, was next in succession but had secretly renounced (1822) the throne after marrying a Polish
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1825–55), Alexander IIAlexander II,
1818–81, czar of Russia (1855–81), son and successor of Nicholas I. He ascended the throne during the Crimean War (1853–56) and immediately set about negotiating a peace (see Paris, Congress of).
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1855–81; assassinated), Alexander IIIAlexander III,
1845–94, czar of Russia (1881–94), son and successor of Alexander II. Factors that contributed to Alexander's reactionary policies included his father's assassination, his limited intelligence and education, his military background, and the influence
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1881–94), and Nicholas IINicholas II,
1868–1918, last czar of Russia (1894–1917), son of Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna. Road to Revolution

Nicholas was educated by private tutors and the reactionary Pobyedonostzev.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1894–1917). The marriage of Nicholas II to Princess Alix of Hesse (Czarina Alexandra FeodorovnaAlexandra Feodorovna
, 1872–1918, last Russian czarina, consort of Nicholas II; she was a Hessian princess and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Neurotic and superstitious, she was easily dominated by Rasputin, who seemingly was able to check the hemophilia of her son.
..... Click the link for more information.
) brought hemophilia into the family; their son, Czarevich Alexis (1904–18), was afflicted with the disease. In 1918, after the Russian Revolution, Nicholas II and his immediate family were executed. The members of the Romanov family who escaped execution fled abroad.


See D. Lieven, Russian Rulers before the Revolution (1989); R. K. Masie, The Romanovs (1995), M. D. Steinberg and V. M. Khrustaëv, The Fall of the Romanovs (1995); J. Van der Kiste, The Romanovs, 1818–1959 (1998), J. C. Perry and C. V. Pleshakov, The Flight of the Romanovs (1999), and S. S. Montefiore, The Romanovs, 1613–1918 (2016).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a boyar clan; from 1613 a tsarist dynasty and from 1721 through February 1917 an imperial dynasty in Russia.

There is documentary evidence that Andrei Ivanovich Koby-la, a boyar of the Moscow princes in the mid-14th century, was an ancestor of the Romanovs. Until the beginning of the 16th century the surname of the Romanovs’ ancestors was Koshkin, which was derived from the nickname of Andrei Ivanovich’s fifth son, Fedor Koshka (“the cat”). Later, the ancestors of the Romanovs had the surname Zakhar’in. The rise of the Zakhar’-ins, which dates from the second third of the 16th century, is associated with the marriage of Ivan IV to the daughter of Roman Iur’evich, Anastasia, who died in 1560. The founder of the Romanov dynasty was Roman’s third son, Nikita Romano-vich, who died in 1586. A boyar from 1562 and an active participant in the Livonian War as well as in many diplomatic negotiations, Nikita Romanovich headed the regency council from the death of Ivan IV until the end of 1584. Of his sons, the best known were Fedor (later known as Filaret) and Ivan (died 1640), who became a boyar in 1605 and served as a member of the government of the “seven boyars.” After Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov, the son of Filaret and the nephew of Ivan, became tsar, Ivan and his son Nikita were very influential at court.

With the death of Tsar Fedor Ivanovich in 1598 the Rurik dynasty came to an end. During the preparations for the election of a new tsar, Fedor Nikitich Romanov was named as a possible candidate for the throne. The Romanovs fell out of favor during the reign of Boris Godunov (1600) and were banished (1601) to Beloozero, Iarensk, and other places far from Moscow. Fedor was forced to become a monk and took the name Filaret. The Romanovs became stronger during the rule of the First False Dmitrii. In the Tushino camp of the Second False Dmitrii, Filaret was designated patriarch of Russia.

At the zemskii sobor of 1613, Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov, the son of Fedor (Filaret) Romanov, was elected tsar. He ruled from 1613 to 1645. Mikhail was not only lacking in intelligence but also indecisive and sickly. Until he died in 1633, the patriarch Filaret, Mikhail’s father, played the principal role in governing the country. During the reign of Aleksei Mikhailovich (1645–76), social and political reforms were initiated. Aleksei, who, by the standards of the time, was an educated man, took part in the affairs of state. His successor, Fedor Alekseevich (reigned 1676–82), was a sickly youth who did not participate in affairs of state. Under his brother Peter I the Great (reigned 1682–1725) extremely important reforms were carried out, and a successful foreign policy made Russia one of the most powerful countries in Europe. In 1721, Russia became an empire, and Peter I, the first Russian emperor. Under an edict on the succession issued by Peter I on Feb. 5, 1722, and ratified in 1731 and 1761, the emperor was to choose a member of the imperial family to succeed him.

Because Peter I died without naming an heir, he was succeeded by his wife Catherine I Alekseevna (1725–27). His son, the tsarevich Aleksei Petrovich, had been executed on June 26, 1718, for his active opposition to the reforms. Aleksei Petro-vich’s son, Peter II Alekseevich, occupied the throne from 1727 through 1730. With his death in 1730, the direct male line of the Romanov dynasty came to an end. Anna Ivanovna, the granddaughter of Aleksei Mikhailovich and the niece of Peter I, reigned from 1730 to 1740, and Elizaveta Petrovna, Peter I’s daughter, ruled from 1741 until her death in 1761, which brought an end to the direct female line of the Romanov dynasty. However, the Romanov family name was borne by the several members of the Holstein-Gottorp dynasty: Peter III (the son of Charles Frederick, duke of Holstein-Gottorp, and Anna, the daughter of Peter I), who reigned from 1761 to 1762; his wife, Catherine II, a princess of Anhalt-Zerbst, who reigned from 1762 to 1796; their son Paul I, who reigned from 1796 to 1801; and his descendants.

Under the conditions of developing capitalist relations, Catherine II, Paul I, Alexander I (1801–25), and Nicholas I (1825–55) harshly repressed the revolutionary liberation movement as they strove to preserve the serf-holding system and the absolute monarchy. Alexander II (reigned 1855–81), the son of Nicholas I, was compelled to abolish serfdom in 1861. Nevertheless, the most important posts in the government, the bureaucracy, and the army remained in the hands of the dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry). Wishing to further consolidate their power, the Romanovs, especially Alexander III (reigned 1881–94) and Nicholas II (1894–1917), pursued a reactionary domestic and foreign policy. Among the many grand dukes from the Romanov dynasty who occupied high posts in the army and in the bureaucracy, several were particularly reactionary: Nikolai Nikolaevich the Elder (1831–91), Mikhail Nikolaevich (1832–1909), Sergei Aleksandrovich (1857–1905), and Nikolai Nikolaevich the Younger (1856–1929).

The Romanov dynasty was overthrown during the bourgeois-democratic February Revolution of 1917. Nicholas II abdicated on Mar. 2 (15), 1917, and in July 1918 he and his family were shot in Ekaterinburg, in connection with an offensive by the White Guards and by decree of the Urals oblast Soviet. After the Revolution of October 1917 many members of the Romanov family emigrated. Several of them, including Nikolai Nikolaevich the Younger and Kirill Vladimirovich, considered themselves pretenders to the Russian throne.


Selifontov, N. N. Sb. materialov po istorii predkov tsaria Mikhaila Fedo-rovicha Romanova, parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1898–1901.
Letopisnyi i litsevoi izbornik doma Romanovykh, parts 1–2. Moscow, 1913.
Veselovskii, S. B. Issledovaniia po istorii oprichniny. Moscow, 1963.
Eroshkin, N. P. “Poslednie Romanovy i ikh sud’by.” Prepodavanie istorii ν shkole, 1967, no. 2.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


any of the Russian imperial dynasty that ruled from the crowning (1613) of Mikhail Fyodorovich to the abdication (1917) of Nicholas II during the February Revolution
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
That particular Russian revolution (there's been a few, and who'd rule out another) led to the fall of Tsar Nicholas II, bringing an end to the rule of the House of Romanov.
The designers have let their imaginations run riot with patterns that range from simple studs ofsemi pearls running along an invisible seam to a two-tone lace motif inspired by antique lace from the ruling house of Romanov.