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10 Interesting Facts About Tsar Nicholas II

Nicholas II
Tsar Nicholas II, 1912.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Tsar Nicholas II was the last emperor of Russia. He reigned from 1894 until his abdication in 1917. During this time he oversaw some of the most tumultuous times in Russian history. Although he is best remembered for his role in the Russian Revolution and World War I, there are a number of interesting facts about Tsar Nicholas II that are often overlooked. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most fascinating facts of his life and reign.

Tsar Nicholas II Early Life

Future Tsar Nicholas II of Russia photographed with his mother at two years old.
Nicholas at two years old with his mother Empress Maria Feodorovna, 1870.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Tsar Nicholas II was born in 1868 in the city of Saint Petersburg. He was the eldest son of Tsar Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna. His father was a strict conservative who wanted to preserve the traditional ways of Russia. He also had a strong belief in the power of the tsar and saw it as his duty to protect Russia from internal and external threats. Under Alexander III, Russia began to industrialize and expand its military power. As a child, Nicholas was educated by private tutors and he showed a keen interest in the arts and sciences.

Tsar Nicholas II Was Hated by People

Tsar Nicholas II going through his coronation.
The Coronation of Nicholas II.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The Russian Revolution of 1905 was a series of uprisings and revolts that took place across the Russian Empire. The main impetus for the revolution was the anger and frustration of the people toward Tsar Nicholas II and his government. The people were angry about the poverty and inequality that existed in Russia, as well as the autocratic rule of the Tsar. The revolution began in January 1905 with a series of strikes and protests in the city of St. Petersburg. 

These protests were violently suppressed by the Tsar’s troops, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of protesters. This event, known as Bloody Sunday, served to further enrage the people and led to more widespread uprisings across the country. In October 1905, the Tsar was forced to issue a decree known as the October Manifesto, which granted certain civil liberties to the people and promised to hold elections for a new parliament. Although the revolution ultimately failed to bring about significant change, it did serve as a catalyst for the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Tsar Nicholas II Was Married to Alexandra Feodorovna

Engagement official picture of Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna
The Engagement photograph of Nicholas and Alexandra, April 1894.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Tsar Nicholas II married Alexandra Feodorovna in 1894. Alexandra was a German princess and the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. The two had met a few years earlier, and Nicholas had been immediately smitten with her. Alexandra was a shy and withdrawn woman, who was largely uninterested in politics. She was also a religious zealot, and she believed that her role as Tsarina was to help support her husband and guide him in his spiritual duties. 

Alexandra was very unpopular with the Russian people, who saw her as a meddling foreigner. She was also blamed for many of the problems faced by Russia during Nicholas’ reign, such as the food shortages and economic problems that existed during World War I. Despite her unpopularity, Alexandra remained a devoted wife and mother, and she was extremely close to her husband and children. Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra were deeply devoted to each other and were known for their intimate correspondence.

During World War I, Tsar Nicholas II Took Personal Command of the Russian Army

Russian World War 1 Prisoners of War
Russian prisoners at the Battle of Tannenberg, 1914.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Nicholas II took control of the military when Russia entered World War I. His advisers predicted that this would be a mistake, but he ignored them and commandeered an army that performed very poorly. The Russian Empire was on the brink of collapse in March 1917, when the Petrograd garrison joined striking workers’ demands for reform. The Czar then had no choice but to abdicate

Tsar Nicholas II Was Overthrown in a Revolution

Bolshevik February revolution
February Revolution, 1917.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a revolution that overthrew the monarchy and established the Soviet Union. The revolution began with a series of protests and strikes in Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) in February 1917. The protests were sparked by food shortages and economic problems that had arisen as a result of World War I. The Russian army fared poorly in the war, and the Russian people were increasingly angry with the government over its handling of the conflict. Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate in March 1917, and Russia became a republic. The revolution was led by the Bolsheviks, a radical Marxist party led by Vladimir Lenin.

Tsar Nicholas II and His Family Were Executed by Bolshevik Revolutionaries

Execution of the Romanov family, Le Petit Journal.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

On July 17, 1918, Tsar Nicholas II and his family were executed by Bolshevik revolutionaries. The executions were carried out in a secret basement of a house in the city of Yekaterinburg. The bodies of the Tsar and his family were then buried in an unmarked grave. For many years, the location of the gravesite was unknown. In 1991, the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II and his family were finally exhumed and reburied in St. Petersburg.

Tsar Nicholas II Was the Last Russian Emperor

Photo of Tsar Nicholas II and King George V in Berlin, Germany in 1913.
Tsar Nicholas II and King George V, 1913.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Tsar Nicholas II was the last Russian emperor. He was born in 1868 and ascended to the throne in 1894. His reign began inauspiciously with the murder of his father and heir-apparent, Alexander III, in March 1881. He was opposed to a lot of changes, most notably an allowance for civil liberties. In the end, he lost his power and received no mercy from the Bolsheviks who overthrew him.

Tsar Nicholas II Oversaw the Construction of a Number of Grandiose Projects

VL85 class AC electric locomotive VL85-022 with a container train on the coast of Lake Baikal, Trans-Siberian Railway: the stretch between Utulik-Slyudyanka.
Trans-Siberian Railway.
Credit: Sorovas // CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Trans-Siberian Railway was a mammoth project that was undertaken by the Russian government in the late 19th century. The railway was intended to connect the far eastern reaches of the Russian Empire with Moscow and Europe. The project was an enormous undertaking, and it took over a decade to complete. The railway was completed in 1916, just after Russia’s entry into World War I.

The Port of Vladivostok was another grand project that was undertaken during Tsar Nicholas II’s reign. The port was built to provide a warm-water port for the Russian navy in the Far East. The port was completed in 1905 and officially opened by the Tsar himself later that year. The port was a major strategic asset for Russia, and it played a crucial role in the country’s defense during World War I.

Tsar Nicholas II Was Deeply Religious

the elevation to sainthood of the last Imperial Family of Russia – Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei – by the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Romanov Family canonized as Saints in the Russian Orthodox Church.
Credit: Aliksandar // CC BY-SA 3.0

Tsar Nicholas II was a deeply religious man who never lost touch with his Orthodox faith. He led an Orthodox Christian life and had been taught that it is his duty as such to uphold faith in God at all costs which lead him to policies such as the prohibition of alcohol and the persecution of Jews.

Tsar Nicholas II Was Only 26 When He Ascended to the Throne

Future Tsar Nicholas II photographed in 1892
Tsesarevich Nicholas, 1892.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Tsar Nicholas II was 26 when he ascended to the throne. He had been groomed for years by his father, but this young man who seemed so carefree and innocent in some ways turned out to be quite unprepared during their reign over Russia. He was a young and inexperienced ruler, and he was largely uninterested in the day-to-day affairs of government. This proved to be a major weakness during his reign.

Tsar Nicholas II was a complex figure with a fascinating history. While his reign was tumultuous, he also had a number of accomplishments and played a significant role in Russian history. Learning more about him can give us new insights into the last days of the Romanov dynasty and Russia’s transformation into a communist state.

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