Biography of Zar de Rusia Iván VI (1740-1764)

Russia Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty, born in Petersburgo August 12, 1740 and died in the fortress of Schlusselburg (near Petersburgo) July 5, 1764.

Iván Antonowitch was one of the sons of Antonio Ulrich of Brunswick - Wolfenbüttel and Isabel Ana Léopoldovna, niece of Tsarina Anna Ivanovna (great-grandson of Tsar Iván V). By testament to this, issued at the request of his followers Ernst Johann Biren, Ivan was named his heir when just had a few weeks of age, in November 1740. Then crowned Tsar, wouldn't last long as such. First, Biren, who exercised as Regent, was deposed and deported to Siberia by Marshal Munnich, of German origin, who soon would abandon the post of Prime Minister in favour of the German Andrei Ostermann. Taking advantage of the popular anti-German sentiment, Swedish and French ambassadors conspired against senior germanos supporting a possible Government of Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Pedro I.

Initially reluctant to support a coup d'etat at the end Isabel stood in front of the anti-German reaction in December 1741. While his family was sent to Kholmogori, in the Arctic, the small and defenseless Iván VI he/she was detained in prison, first in Siberia and then in the fortress of Schlusselburg (or Shlisselburg), at the mouth of the Neva River. There he/she spent long years of solitude, poorly dressed and fed, lacking in all education (never knew how to read or write), to grow as a result with an undeveloped mind. Zar Pedro came to visit him, perhaps in order to name him his heir, but Ivan was almost a vegetable without possibility of recovery, completely unable to govern. The Tsarina Catherine II, who would come to a similar conclusion, of complete uselessness would later do the same. In July of 1764 an official named Vasily Mirovich tried to release it, and their guardians, according to instructions, killed Ivan. I had no more than twenty-three years of age. Catherine II would be then accused of killing two tsars, Iván VI and her own husband, Pedro III.


COWLES, V. The Romanovs. (Barcelona, Noguer: 1975).

PLUMB, R.L. Ivan VI, Emperor of Russia. (Washington: 1950).

WARNES, D. Chronicle of the Russian Tsars. (London, Thames-Hudson: 1999).

Links on the Internet ; Pages with genealogical data of Iván VI (in French). ; Page with information about the Romanovs (in English). ; Page with various information and images on the Romanov (in Russian). ; Page with a biography of Iván VI (in English).