Biography of Zar de Rusia Alejandro I Paulowitch (1777-1825)

Russia Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty, born in Petersburgo December 23, 1777 and died in Taganrog (Russia) on December 1, 1825. Aleksandr Pawlowitsch (Russian name) was the son of Tsar Paul I and Sofía Dorotea de Württemberg; He/She had as brothers Constantine, to the more also zar Nicolás I, Miguel and six sisters.

Biographical synthesis

Grandson of Catherine II the great, acceded to the throne in 1801, following the murder by a few nobles of his father Pablo I. His first years of Government were characterized by its liberalism, though its policy had little practical effect. The start of the war against Napoleon in 1804 truncated further reforms. The first phase of hostilities against France was a resounding failure for Alejandro I, being defeated at Austerlitz (1805) and Friedland (1807). Thus, he/she was forced to ally himself with Napoleon after the peace of Tilsit. This friendship did not like his people, so it was progressively decreasing support to the French, declaring themselves neutral at the end of 1810. It ceded much territory when Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, but the loss of Moscow in September was its salutary lesson and the whole Russian nation. Pursued across Europe to French troops in retreat, beat them in Leipzig and entered Paris in 1814. At the Congress of Vienna, which was reorganizing Europe, he/she proposed the formation of a broad coalition of States, signed in 1815 (after the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo) the Treaty of the Holy Alliance. Alejandro I, which gradually led to more authoritarian postures, would give it a clearly absolutist tone.

Alejandro youth

Well like (tall, blond) blue eyes, air kind and intelligent, his grandmother the Tsarina Catherine II became soon interested in him, educating him (his tutor was Federico La Harpe, Swiss of Republican ideas) and making effort to keep him from his father (the son of Catherine) Paul, he/she hated. Thus, in 1796, he/she came to think of him as his heir, which would have meant to turn away from the succession Pablo (the law of succession of Pedro I the great of 1722 gave him right to do so). Catherine came to communicate their desires to Alejandro, but before he/she could give legal character, died almost suddenly on 7 November of that year.

Alejandro would have to wait even five years to be crowned Tsar; in the meantime, would rule his father Pablo I. Three years earlier he/she had married the beautiful Luisa Isabel de Baden (daughter of Carlos Luis de Baden margrave), which would have only two children, María and Isabel, who might die soon. As before Catherine Paul, this not tried to Alejandro (although Yes abolished the Act of succession of 1722, replaced by the greatest living son), separating him from his friends and giving range military simple soldier. In the same way, his mother Sofía Dorotea humiliated the wife of Alejandro, who was one of his biggest supporters while lasted this difficult situation.

Finally, the follies of Pablo I moved noblemen to propose to Alejandro that take over the throne. Alejandro did not hesitate to accept, by recruiting many followers in the Semenovski guard, who was faithful to him. Also, the village also had him sympathy. On March 23, 1801 several of the conspirators were introduced in the bedroom of Pablo I, in the Palacio de San Miguel (Petersburgo) and killed him. It seems that, when Alejandro learned of the death of his father, he/she was saddened, had regrets and came to think giving up their rights to the throne. Told the people that Paul had died of apoplexy, but as it had already occurred with the grandfather of Alejandro, Pedro III, no one believed it. In any case, Alejandro I would be crowned at the end of the year.

Alejandro I, Victor of Napoleon: the Holy Alliance

As sovereign, as opposed to the other Romanovs, had a very austere Court; Parties, if not disappeared, yes were much less frequent, and in them was close to your guests. Interestingly, this simplicity seemed to their subjects lack of authority, and his popularity declined. It was in these early years a Polish lover, María Narishkina, which would have two children, but always lack of consideration towards his wife. In the Affairs of State was initially little decided, although I wanted to sincerely improve the situation of the country, especially in the most disadvantaged classes. It met regularly with several of his friends, but their proposals were purely theoretical until the Tsar Miguel Speranski commissioned a project that took them to the practice; the project was developed, but political circumstances would prevent its execution. Only became reality a consultative State Council Civil Code (1812), and small improvements such as the creation of parochial schools.

Little else could be the growing threat posed to Napoleón Bonaparte. The first years of his reign, Alejandro I had sought peace with the Western powers, dedicated to the conquest of the Caucasus (Georgia was incorporated in 1801, then almost throughout the region after a war against Persia between 1804 and 1813). In 1804 Alejandro I broke relations with France for a diplomatic affair and, in 1805, established alliances with other powers enemy of Napoleon, Austria and Great Britain (third Coalition). Initiated hostilities by the French, the Russians were harshly defeated along with the Austrians in the battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805); own Czar, who had been in charge of his troops away from the high command the efficient general Mikhail Kutuzov, had to flee to not be dead. Arose as a betrayal of the Austrian defeat, and Alejandro I was hailed by the crowd on his return to Petersburgo. When the 14 June 1807 the Russian troops, now fighting alongside the Prussian (Fourth Coalition, also with Sweden and Britain, but not Austria), returned to be defeated at the battle of Friedland, Alejandro I asked the French peace, finally signed in Tilsit, Prussia (today in Russia, on the banks of the Neman River) July 7. According to it, the Tsar is committed to participate in the continental blockade against Britain.

During the years this Alliance Alejandro I was very unpopular, because the Russian people hated Napoleon. He/She endured the pressure until December 1810, date they ceased to help the French Emperor still without breaking the Treaty of friendship that bound them. He/She secretly maintained negotiations with Austria, Prussia and Poland. In June 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia. Alejandro, as at Austerlitz, proved incapable of correctly directing military operations, and after the loss of huge territories had to delegate control to Kutuzov, very popular. Until the Russian reaction became effective, the Tsar was devoted to religious practices which up to then had been rare in the. Shortly after the bloody battle of Borodino (September 6), of uncertain result, Moscow was set on fire and abandoned to the French, in what was the worst moment for Alejandro. From then on was decided: declined the signing of a peace treaty proposed by Napoleon and spearheaded the national will at all costs resist the invader. Lacking supplies, the French army would have to withdraw, being chased by the Russians under advantageous conditions.

The Tsar pursued the enemy across Europe, he/she defeated at the battle of Leipzig (October 16) releasing Prussia, and then continued until the own France. Napoleon abdicated on 6 April 1814 and Alejandro I came victorious in Paris together with their allies, impressing the audience. In the subsequent Congress of Vienna (convened in September of that year), proposed partly for religious reasons the formation of a coalition of Nations that would avoid new wars as much as possible. The negotiations had little result, and even Austria, Great Britain and Prussia signed a treaty secret excluding Russia; However, in March 1815 Napoleon abandoned his exile and recovered the Government of France. For Alejandro, the final defeat of Bonaparte was a priority, and this saved the Alliance; After the final battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815), the Treaty of the Holy Alliance was signed in Vienna (Great Britain did not). In practice, Alejandro would use it to reinforce authoritarianism, justifying the right to intervene in countries in which a revolution change the existing State of affairs.

Alejandro I hesitant reformism

Alexei Arakcheiev, despised by everyone but by one of his top aides was during the following years. A law that Alejandro adopted his suggestion, that the soldiers also self-seeding land was a complete disaster. Corruption was widespread, and positive measures endorsed as a ban on the sale of servants were systematically flaunted. Others took lowered the degree of freedom, forcing many of its former officers to form secret societies who conspired against him. In this situation, Alejandro thought abdicate and retire to a life of meditation. His brother, Constantine, was extravagant and was married in second marriage with a commoner, so communicated to the next, Nicolás, wishes that he/she was his successor, but not made it public, creating considerable tension in their siblings. Finally, everything is solved with a written declaration of Constantine which formally renounced the throne, which nevertheless was kept secret. Alejandro I not abdicated, and the last years of his life were of disenchantment, abandoned its ideals of service to the people. The poet Alejandro Pushkin strongly criticized the Tsar on several occasions, which ended up banishing it to the South of the country. In 1825 he/she went to Taganrog, on the shores of the sea of Azov, accompanying his wife, sick; his wife healed, but he/she in turn became ill and died, with only 48 years. There were numerous rumors, so, that actually had retired to a monastery to end his days meditating.


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Links on the Internet ; Page with biographical information of Alejandro I (in German). ; Page with genealogical data of Alejandro I (in French). ; Page with information about the Romanovs (in English). ; Page with various information and images on the Romanov (in Russian).