Tsar Nicholas II Timeline
1868 (18th May)
Tsar Nicholas II was born Nikolai Aleksandrovich in Alexander Palace, St Petersburg
, to Alexander
, son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and his wife Maria Fyodorovna (formerly Dagmar of Denmark).
1869 (7th June)
A son, Alexander, was born to Alexander, and Maria Fyodorovna.
1870 (2nd May)
Nikolai’s brother, Alexander, died of meningitis.
1871 (8th May)
A son, George, was born to Alexander, son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and Maria Fyodorovna.
Nikolai and his younger brother, George, accompanied their parents on a visit to England.
1875 (6th April)
A daughter, Xenia, was born to Alexander, son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and Maria Fyodorovna.
1878 (4th December)
A son, Michael, was born to Alexander, son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and Maria Fyodorovna.
1881 (1st March)
Nikolai’s father became Tsar Alexander III after Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by members of the People’s Will group.
1882 (13th June)
A daughter, Olga, was born to Alexander III and Maria Fyodorovna.
1884 (18th May)
Nikolai celebrated his 16th birthday. A coming of age ceremony was held at the Winter Palace.
1884 (15th June)
Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt spent six weeks in Russia and she and Nikolai met again. Nikolai fell in love with her but his father had strong anti-German views and would not allow the couple to marry.
Nikolai, his brother George and cousin George of Greece undertook an overseas tour visiting Egypt, India, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.
Nikolai was the victim of a failed assassination attempt in Otsu, Japan.
Nikolai went to Coburg, Germany to attend the wedding of Ernest, Grand Duke of Hesse, to Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg Gotha. The groom was Alix of Hesse’s brother. Nikolai proposed to Alix but she rejected him because she did not want to convert to the Russian Orthodox faith. The Kaiser of Germany told Alix that she had a duty to accept the proposal and convert.
1894 (20th April)
Nikolai became engaged to Alix of Hesse.
1894 (6th August)
Nikolai’s sister, Xenia, married Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia.
1894 (1st November)
Nikolai became Tsar Nicholas II after his father, Alexander III, died of kidney failure.
1894 (2nd November)
Alix of Hesse converted to Russian Orthodoxy and took the name Alexandra Feodorovna.
1894 (19th November)
A funeral service was held for Nicholas’s father, Alexander.
1894 (26th November)
Nicholas II married Alexandra Feodorovna in the Grand Church of the Winter Palace, St Petersburg..
1895 (26th May)
Nicholas was crowned Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in Uspensky Cathedral, Moscow.
1895 (27th May)
A coronation celebration was held in Khodynka Field outside Moscow. About 100,000 people attended the celebration, but when it was rumoured that there would not be enough food for everyone, the people stampeded and around 1,400 people were trampled to death.
Nicholas and Alexandra made a tour of Europe visiting, the Emperor and Empress of Austria-Hungary, Nicholas’s cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, Nicholas’s Danish grandparents and Alexandra’s grandmother, Queen Victoria of Great Britain.
1895 (15th November)
A daughter, Olga
, was born to Nicholas II and Alexandra.
1897 (10th June)
A daughter, Tatiana, was born to Nicholas II and Alexandra.
1898 (24th August)
Nicholas proposed an international conference to try to maintain peace between nations by working towards disarmament and setting up an international arbitration court to settle disputes.
1899 (18th May)
First Hague Conference
This conference set up a Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, a Convention with respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land and a Convention for the Adaptation to Maritime Warfare of the Principles of the Geneva Convention of August 1864. These were ratified by 26 countries. The United Kingdom and the United States did not ratify a clause concerning Prohibition of Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons and the United States did not ratify clauses relating to poisonous gases and certain types of bullets.
1899 (26th June)
A daughter, Maria, was born to Nicholas II and Alexandra.
1899 (9th August)
Nikolai’s brother, George, died of tuberculosis.
Nicholas II and Friedrich Martens were jointly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
for the Hague Conference initiative.
A worldwide depression led to increased social and industrial unrest.
1901 (18th June)
A daughter, Anastasia
, was born to Nicholas II and Alexandra. Nicholas was bitterly disappointed that the child was not a boy.
1901 (9th August)
Nikolai’s sister, Olga, married Duke Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg.
The harvest was poor again. The hungry people became rebellious.
Nicholas II appointed Vyacheslav von Plehve as Minister of the Interior. Plehve wanted to suppress reform and this set him at odds with the Minister of Finance, Sergei Witte, who advocated reform to improve economic growth.
The Minister of the Interior, Plehve, blamed the Jews for stirring up revolutionary feelings in Russia and secretly organised Jewish Pogroms.
Nicholas II removed the pro-reform Finance Minister, Sergei Witte, from office after von Plehve, told the Tsar that he was part of a Jewish conspiracy.
1904 (8th February)
This broke out when Japanese forces attacked and lay siege to Port Arthur on the Liadong Peninsular which had been leased to Russia by the Chinese. The Japanese had designs on the regions of Manchuria and Korea as areas to expand their own territory.
Prices of essential goods had risen so much that workers were effectively 20% worse off than they had been the previous year.
1904 (28th July)
Plehve was assassinated by Evno Azef, the head of the Terrorist Branch of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. Sviatopolk-Mirsky was appointed the new Minister of the Interior. He was a liberal and wanted to see a democratic system of government in Russia.
1904 (12th August)
A son, Alexei
, was born to Nicholas II and Alexandra. It was soon discovered that he had haemophilia, a disease that affects the ability of blood to clot, for which there was no cure. The disease was kept a secret from the outside world.
Tsar Nicholas II ordered the Baltic Fleet to sail to the East. Due to the British alliance with Japan the Russian fleet was not given permission to use the Suez Canal and so had to the longer route around South Africa.
Port Arthur fell to the Japanese.
Workers at the Putilov Iron Works came out on strike after four members of Father Georgy Gapon’s
Assembly of Russian Workers were dismissed.
1905 (16th January)
13,000 workers at Putilov were on strike.
1905 (19th January)
Father Gapon made the decision to organise a march to the Winter Palace to present a petition, signed by 150,000 people asking for fairer treatment, to the Tsar. He sent a copy of the petition and notice of the march to the Minister of the Interior.
1905 (21st January)
110,000 workers in St Petersburg were on strike.
1905 (21st January)
Nicholas II left St Petersburg and went to Tsarskoye Selo. Troops were deployed around the Winter Palace. It was hoped that with the Tsar absent the workers would abandon the proposed march.
1905 (22nd January)
Father Georgy Gapon led his peaceful march of workers and their families carrying religious images and singing patriotic songs, to the Winter Palace. However, when they reached their destination they were met by a line of armed Cossacks who opened fire on the demonstrators. More than 200 demonstrators were killed and more than 500 injured. Father Gapon escaped and left Russia. The event, known as Bloody Sunday sparked a series of revolts known as the 1905 Revolution
1905 (23rd January)
Although Nicholas II had not been in St Petersburg and had not given the order to fire on the people, he was blamed for the tragedy and people lost faith in him. Workers all over Russia came out on strike. The Minister of the Interior, Sviatopolk-Mirsky resigned.
1905 (17th February)
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, Nicholas II’s uncle, was assassinated by Ivan Kalyayev a member of the Combat wing of the Socialist Revolutionary Party
1905 (20th February – 10th March)
Battle of Mukden
More than 90,000 Russian soldiers lost their lives in this battle against the Japanese.
1905 (27th – 28th May)
Battle of Tsushima
The Russian Baltic fleet that had finally reached the east was defeated by Japanese.
1905 (27th June)
Sailors aboard the Potemkin mutinied after refusing to obey the Captain’s order to execute sailors protesting against being served rotten meat. They threw the Captain and officers overboard then sailed to Odessa where they stirred up the people. When the police and Cossacks violently broke up protests the sailors fled to Romania.
1905 (5th September)
Treaty of Portsmouth
This treaty brought the Russo-Japanese war to an end. Under the terms of the peace negotiation Russia lost Port Arthur to the Japanese.
1905 (6th October)
There were strikes by workers across Russia and a strike by the railway workers paralysed the rail network.
1905 (10th October)
General strikes in Moscow brought the city to a standstill.
1905 (22nd October)
Sergei Witte told Nicholas II that he should either give the people more freedom or use the military to put down opposition to his rule.
1905 (30th October)
Nicholas II reluctantly agreed to this programme of reforms including no imprisonment without trial, freedom of speech and freedom to form trade unions.
The St Petersburg Soviet led by Trotsky
rejected the October Manifesto as the Tsar still remained the autocratic ruler of Russia.
1905 (1st November)
Rasputin was introduced to the Royal family he told the Tsarina that he had the power to heal the heir Alexis, who was haemophiliac.
1905 (8th November)
Soldiers returning from the Russo-Japanese war were used to put down all traces of unrest and revolution. Trotsky and all members of the St Petersburg Soviet were arrested. Nicholas once more assumed an autocratic rule with little regard for the October Manifesto.
Father Gapon returned to Russia.
Sergei Witte persuaded Tsar Nicholas II to allow the introduction of an elected Duma.
1906 (23rd April)
This law was introduced. It declared Nicholas supreme autocrat. The Duma could not make laws without his approval, and he was to have the final say in the appointment of ministers and other officials.
1906 (14th April)
Sergei Witte resigned, possibly under pressure from Nicholas. He was replaced with Ivan Goremykin.
First elected Duma began.
The Bolsheviks and Social Revolutionaries had refused to field candidates in the election and the largest political group in the first Duma were the Kadets. Nicholas firmly rejected all proposals put forward by this Duma as too radical.
Second elected Duma began.
There were a large number of reformers elected which Nicholas was unhappy about.
Nicholas’s son, Alexei was taken ill due to his haemophilia. Rasputin was summoned and he managed to stop Alexei’s bleeding.
1907 (16th June)
Nicholas closed the Second Duma. A move which annoyed the Kadet party so much that they called on people to protest by not paying taxes.
1907 (after June)
The Prime Minister, Stolypin introduced a law which would ensure a right-wing majority in the Duma.
1907 (14th November)
Third elected Duma began.
Due to Stolypin’s new law this Duma had a majority of nationalists.
Nicholas II and the Russian royal family made a visit to England where they attended Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight.
Stolypin conducted an investigation into the affairs of Rasputin and presented it to Nicholas. After Nicholas took no action, Stolypin ordered Rasputin to leave St Petersburg. Alexandra was furious but Nicholas refused to order his return.
1911 (18th September)
Peter Stolypin was assassinated in the Kiev Opera House where he was accompanying the Tsar and his daughters Olga and Tatiana to a performance.
1912 (4th April)
Lena Goldfields massacre
A group of miners from the Lena Goldfields in Siberia were went on strike after the management took no action on a complaint about the quality of horsemeat the miners were given to eat. The Bolsheviks co-ordinated a wave of support strike action and many thousand workers marched to present a petition in support of the miner’s claims. However, the authorities ordered troops to fire on the protesters causing 500 to lose their lives. The massacre caused an outrage and a wave of sympathy strikes.
1912 (5th September)
Nicholas’s son, Alexei jumped into a boat and injured himself on an oarlock. A large haematoma appeared but began to reduce in size after a week.
1912 (2nd October)
Nicholas’s son, Alexei was riding in a carriage with his family. The carriage jolted rupturing the haematoma in his thigh. His conditioned worsened rapidly and he soon became unconscious.
1912 (10th October)
Although Alexei was beginning to recover, Alexandra secretly sent a message to Rasputin asking him to come to help Alexei recover. Rasputin replied by letter that Alexei would not die.
1912 (19th October)
Alexei had recovered considerably. Alexandra was convinced it was due to Rasputin.
The Octobrists, the largest party in the Duma, ordered an investigation into the affairs of Rasputin. They were concerned about the influence Rasputin had with the Tsarina.
1913 (21st February)
A service was held at Kazan Cathedral followed by a reception at the Winter Palace to celebrate the three-hundredth year anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.
The Russian royal family made a tour of the Russian Empire as part of the three-hundredth year anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.
This treaty of mutual support allied Russia with Britain and France.
1914 (25th July)
Tsar Nicholas II put the Russian army on standby. A move that was interpreted by Germany and Austria as tantamount to a declaration of war. Germany requested that Russia stop mobilising.
1914 (28th June)
The heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip
, member of the Black Hand a Serbian Nationalist group, in Sarajevo.
1914 (28th July)
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia
1914 (29th July)
Nicholas sent a message to Kaiser Wilhelm calling on him to use the Hague Conference to settle the Austro-Serbian dispute rather than declaring support for Austria. He received no reply.
1914 (30th July)
Nicholas II ordered a general mobilisation of Russian troops.
1914 (1st August)
Germany declared war on Russia.
The Russian army was badly equipped for war. Most were conscripted peasants who were inadequately clothed and three soldiers had to share two guns.
1914 (6th August)
Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia
1914 (30th August)
Battle of Tannenberg
Around 140,000 Russians lost their lives in this three day battle which saw the Russians defeated.
1914 (1st September)
Saint Petersburg was renamed Petrograd (Peter’s City). The move was made to remove the German word ‘burg’ from the city.
1914 (14th September)
First Battle of Masurian Lakes
The Russian army were defeated at this battle.
1914 (2nd November)
Russia declared war on Turkey.
Soldiers in the Russian army were not well equipped and there were not enough weapons or ammunition for every soldier. Medical provision was poor and many wounded soldiers died through lack of care.
1915 (22nd February)
Second Battle of Masurian Lakes
This battle saw the Russians defeated for the second time at the Masurian Lakes.
The All Russian Union of Zemstvo and Cities (Zemgor) was established. Chaired by Prince Lvov its aim was to help the government in the war effort, but it was largely ignored by Nicholas.
Nicholas II’s cousin, Christian X of Denmark, offered to act as a mediator between Russia and Germany to try to find a peaceful solution and end the war. Nicholas turned down the offer saying that it would be disloyal to abandon Russia’s allies, Britain and France.
Some members of the Fourth Duma organised themselves into a Progressive Bloc and called for the Tsar to change his government ministers for those with the confidence of the public.
1915 (6th September)
Tsar Nicholas II took personal charge of the army, possibly on the advice of Rasputin and dismissed the Duma. Although a brave move by Nicholas he did not have sufficient military experience to turn the war to Russia’s favour. Moreover, he had put himself in a position where he was wholly responsible for the continuing defeats Russia faced. He left the Tsarina in control of the country during his absence at the front.
Rasputin was blamed for a series of ministerial changes made by the Tsarina. People were becoming increasingly suspicious of the extent of Rasputin’s influence on the Tsarina.
The numbers of men conscripted into the army continued to rise. Many of them were peasants and their serving at the front meant they were not on the farms getting in the harvest.
Food prices were now four times higher than in 1914. Workers began to strike for higher pay.
1916 (30th December)
Rasputin was assassinated by a group of nobles including Prince Felix Yusupov and Dmitri Pavoovich. They poisoned Rasputin’s food and when that failed they shot him. His body was dumped in the Little Nevka river.
The army had no faith in Nicholas as their leader. Army officials agreed to support the Duma if it took control of the country.
1917 (22nd January)
150,000 workers took to the streets of Petrograd on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday to protest at the desperate situation many were in – lack of food, poor living conditions and Russia’s continued participation in a war that was going from bad to worse.
1917 (24th January)
The opening of the Duma was postponed to 7th February.
1917 (23rd February)
Cold weather, anti-war feeling and food shortages led to people rioting and breaking shop windows to loot food. Anti-Tsar feeling was at its highest and people chanted ‘Down with the Tsar’. Troops were sent onto the streets to remove the protestors by force. Although some complied killing around 40 protestors many sympathised with the masses, refused to fire on them and joined the protests instead.
1917 (7th March)
Tsar Nicholas II decided he needed to return to Petrograd. However, his train was diverted by railway workers.
1917 (7th March)
The Kronstadt sailors mutinied and put pressure on the Petrograd Soviet to allow army regiments to elect committees which in turn would be able to send representatives to the Petrograd Soviet.
1917 (8th March)
Workers on the streets of Petrograd were joined by women celebrating International Women’s Day and protesting against food rationing.
1917 (9th March)
200,000 protestors were on the streets of Petrograd calling for the Tsar to be replaced.
1917 (10th March)
Petrograd was at a standstill as more than 250,000 people were on strike.
1917 (10th March)
Nicholas II ordered that troops fire on the crowds to disperse them.
1917 (11th March)
Nicholas suspended the Duma.
1917 (11th March)
The Petrograd garrison mutinied.
1917 (11th March)
Nicholas was urged by minister Rodzianko to take urgent action to control the situation. Nicholas believed the minister was over-exaggerating and ignored the message.
1917 (12th March)
Members of the Duma decided to form a Provisional Committee.
1917 (14th March)
The Chief of Staff, Mikhail Alexeev, put pressure on Nicholas II to resign both as head of the army and also as Tsar.
1917 (15th March)
Nicholas II reluctantly abdicated as Tsar. He named his younger brother Mikhail as the new Tsar, a position he refused. The Royal family were placed under virtual house arrest in the Alexander Palace.
1917 (16th March)
First Provisional government formed
Following the abdication of the Tsar, a provisional government led by Prince Lvov, a member of the Kadet party, was formed.
Nicholas requested that the new foreign minister, Pavel Milyukov, contact the United Kingdom to request that the Russian royal family be allowed to go into exile in Britain.
1917 (19th March)
The British government agreed to grant asylum to the Russian royal family. However, many in Britain did not approve, particularly as the Tsarina was German and Britain was at war with Germany.
1917 (late March)
Fearful that accepting the Russian royal family into Britain would lead to protests against the British monarchy, King George V
wrote to the British Prime Minister stating that accepting the Romanovs would adversely affect the popularity of the monarchy in Britain and could lead to their overthrow. Lloyd George withdrew the offer of asylum.
1917 (3rd April)
Lenin returned to Russia.
The Romanov family were moved to Tobolsk in Western Siberia. They were housed in Kuklin House in relative comfort.
1917 (25th October)
Armed Bolshevik supporters entered the Winter Palace and arrested members of the Provisional Government.
1917 (26th October)
A congress of Soviets was held which appointed the first Soviet government and appointed Lenin as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars. Joseph Stalin was made Commissar for Nationalities and given an office close to Lenin’s. Leon Trotsky was made People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
1917 (7th November)
Russian Civil War
Although Lenin had taken control of the country there were still many opponents that sought to overturn the new regime. These were known as whites. The fighting between the whites and the red army was often violent.
1918 (1st March)
The Bolshevik government was less lenient with the Royal family and began imposing greater restrictions on them. Ten of their servants were dismissed and their food allowance was reduced to that of a soldier’s rations.
1918 (3rd March)
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
This treaty ended Russian involvement in World War One. The signing of the treaty ended the left Socialist Revolutionary’s support of Lenin.
With the White Army advancing and fearing a possible foreign invasion in support of the Romanovs, Lenin moved the capital of Russia to Moscow. Nicholas, Alexandra and Maria were moved to the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg where they were closely guarded by a detachment commanded by Yakov Yurovsky. Alexei was ill with haemophilia and could not be moved so he, Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia remained in Tobolsk.
Alexei had recovered and he and his sisters were moved to join their parents at Yekaterinburg. Here, even greater restrictions were placed on the family. The windows were blacked out and they were forbidden to speak any language apart from Russian. They were accompanied by guards at all times.
1918 (17th July)
All members of the Romanov family were woken and told to dress and then taken to the cellar. They were informed that they were to be moved for their safety as the White Army was approaching Yekaterinburg. Guards then entered the room, told them they were to be executed and began firing. Nicholas II was killed first followed by his wife and Tatiana and then the others. So many rounds were fired that the room was filled with smoke. Those that showed any signs of life were bayonetted or clubbed. The bodies were buried in shallow graves in nearby woods. Yakov Yurovsky wrote a detailed account of the event which was sent to his superiors.
Nicholas and his assassinated family were recognised as saints by the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia.
2000 (14th August)
Nicholas II and his assassinated family were canonised as passion bearers by the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.