Tsars/ Emperors of Russia 1547-1917 Timeline

Coronation of Nicholas II Tsars of Russia

This timeline details all Tsars/ Emperors and Empresses of Russia from 1547 – 1917

See also:
Tsarist Russia 1855 – 1922
Leaders of the Soviet Union 1922 – 1991
Presidents of Russia 1991 – Present


Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) 26th January 1547 – 28th March 1584
Son of Vasilly III (Grand Prince of Moscow) and Elena Glinskaya
Married 1. Anastasia Romanovna 2. Maria Temryukovna 3. Marfa Sobakina 4. Anna Koltovskaya 5. Anna Vasilchikova 6. Maria Nagaya (two other wives are now believed to be fictitious)
He was the first Tsar of Russia, uniting the various regions into an empire led by a Tsar. Ivan gained his nickname for his violent temper which resulted in the death of his eldest son and heir.
Feodor I 28th March 1584 – 17th January 1598
Son of Ivan IV and Anastasia Romanovna
Married Irina Feodorovna Godunova
Was not interested in politics and allowed his brother-in-law Boris Godunov to rule in his name. He had no children and was succeeded by his brother-in-law.
Boris Godunov 21st February 1598 – 13th April 1605
Son of Feodor Ivanovich Godunov and Stepanida Ivanovna
Married Maria Skuratova-Belskaya
He succeeded as the brother-in-law of Feodor I. His reign was plagued with imposters claiming to be the murdered son of Ivan IV who tried to overthrow him.
Feodor II 13th April 1605 – 10th June 1605
Son of Boris Godunov and Maria Skuratova-Belskaya
Became Tsar aged 16 years so his mother acted as regent. Feodor and his mother were murdered by agents of the imposter Dmitry I, known as False Dmitry I.
Dmitry I 10th June 1605 – 17th May 1606
Claimed to be the son of Ivan IV and Maria Nagaya
Married Marina Mniszech
He convinced everyone he was the real son of Ivan IV and was crowned Tsar. He became unpopular after his wife did not convert to Russian Orthodoxy and was murdered.
Vasily IV 19th May 1606 – 17th July 1610
Son of Ivan Andreyevich Shuisk and Marfa Feodorovna
Married 1. Elena Mikhailovna Repnina 2. Ekaterina Buynosova-Rostovskaia
He had initially supported the imposter Dmitry I but then plotted his downfall and was complicit in his death. Although he became Tsar he had little power. He was deposed after Moscow was taken by the King of Poland.
Wladyslaw IV 6th September 1610 – November 1612
Son of Sigismund III of Poland and Anne of Austria
Married 1. Cecilia Renata of Austria 2. Maria Louise Gonzaga
Became Tsar after his father took Moscow for Poland. He was deposed after his father determined to convert Moscow to Catholicism.
Michael I 26th July 1613 – 12th July 1645
Son of Feodor Nikitich Romanov and Kseniya Shestova
Married 1. Maria Vladimirovna Dolgorukova 2. Eudoxia Lukyanovna Streshneva
His grandfather was the brother of Anastasia Romanovna, wife of Ivan IV. He was the first Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty and brought stability to Russia.
Alexis I 12th July 1645 – 29th January 1676
Son of Michael I and Eudoxia Streshneva
Married 1. Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya 2. Nataliya Kyrilovna Naryshkina
His reign was punctuated by wars against Poland, Sweden and Iran and conflict within the church.
Feodor III 29th January 1676 – 7th May 1682
Son of Alexis I and Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya
Married 1. Agafiya Semyonovna Grushetskaya 2. Marfa Apraxina
Succeeded his father aged 15 years. Although he was physically disabled he was very intelligent and instigated reforms. He had no children so his death sparked a succession crisis.
Ivan V 17th May 1682 – 27th August 1689
Son of Alexis I and Maria Miloslavskaya
Married Praskovia Saltykova
Was named co-ruler with his brother Peter. As both boys were under age their sister Sophia Alekseyevna acted as regent. Ivan was soon overshadowed by his brother Peter who became sole ruler in 1689
Peter I (the Great) 2nd June 1682 – 8th February 1725
Son of Alexis I and Natalya Naryshkina
Married 1. Eudoxia Lopukhina 2. Martha Skavronskaya (Catherine I)
Was named co-ruler with his brother Ivan. His sister Sophia Alekseyevna acted as regent while the boys were under age. When Peter came of age he took control of government, forced his sister to enter a convent and became sole ruler. He founded the city of St Petersburg which became the capital of Russia. He introduced many reforms in a bid to align Russia with Western Europe. Peter the Great declared Russia to be an Empire and took the title Emperor.
Catherine I 8th February 1725 – 17th May 1727
Daughter of Samuel Skowronski and Elixabeth Moritz
Married 1. Peter I (the Great)
Became Empress of Russia and ruled with her husband from 1724. After the death of her husband she remained ruler until her death.
Peter II 18th May 1727 – 30th January 1730
Son of Alexei Petrovich (son of Peter I by his first wife) and Charlotte Christine of Brunswick-Luneburg.
His father had been imprisoned by Peter I accused of treason and his grandfather had not been interested in him or his sister. He became Emperor following the death of Catherine I but had little interest in governing. He died of smallpox.
Anna Ioannovna 13th February – 28th October 1740
Daughter of Ivan V (brother of Peter the Great) and Praskovia Saltykova
Married Frederick William, Duke of Courland
Became Empress of Russia following the death of Peter II. She continued the work of her uncle, Peter I, in championing the arts and sciences. She remained Empress until her death.
Ivan VI 28th October 1740 – 6th December 1741
Son of Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick and Anna Leopoldovna, niece of Empress Anna
He was proclaimed Emperor at the age of two months with his mother as regent. He was deposed by Elizabeth, daughter of Peter I and Catherine I and imprisoned. He was killed in 1764 after army officers tried to effect his escape.
Peter III 9th January 1762 – 9th July 1762
Son of Charles Frederick Duke of Holstein Gottorp and Anna Petrovna (daughter of Peter I and Catherine I)
Married Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst (Catherine the Great)
Peter was not a popular ruler due to his pursuing of a pro-Prussian policy. He was deposed by his wife and died soon afterwards. He may have been assassinated.
Catherine II (the Great) 9th July 1762 – 17th November 1796
Daughter of Christian August of Anhalt-Zerbst and Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp
Married Peter III
Catherine deposed her husband to become Empress of Russia. Catherine had a number of favourites that helped her to modernise and expand Russia and make it a leading power in Europe. She is known as Catherine the Great.
Paul I 17th November 1796 – 23rd March 1801
Son of Peter III and Catherine the Great
Married 1. Wilhelmina Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt 2. Sophie Dorothea of Wurttemberg
Became Emperor after the death of his mother. He introduced new laws of succession where the eldest son of the monarch would inherit. He was not well liked by the nobility.
Alexander I 23rd March 1801 – 1st December 1825
Son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Wurttemberg
Married Louise of Baden
Became Emperor of Russia following the murder of his father. He was a champion of social and educational reform. He was Tsar during the Napoleonic Wars that saw Napoleon’s invasion of Russia fail. He died of typhus.
Constantine I 1st December 1825 – 26th December 1825
Son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Wurttemberg
Married 1. Juliane of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld 2. Joanna Grudzinska
Was the natural successor of his brother Alexander I but abdicated in favour of his younger brother.
Nicholas I 26th December 1825 – 2nd March 1855
Son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Wurttemberg
Married Charlotte of Prussia
Nicholas was an autocratic ruler. He seized land in the Caucasus from Persia enlarging Russia. However, his failure to appreciate the need for reform led to defeat in the Crimea. He died of pneumonia.
Alexander II 2nd March 1855 – 13th March 1881
Son of Nicholas I and Alexandra Feodrovna
Married 1 Marie of Hesse 2. Catherine Mikhailovna Dolgorukova
Unlike his father, Alexander II appreciated the need for reform and in 1861 abolished serfdom. He also reformed the judiciary and introduced a form of local government. However, his reign saw a rise in revolutionary groups and he was assassinated by a member of the ‘People’s Will’ group.
Alexander III 13th March 1881 – 1st November 1894
Son of Alexander II and Maria Alexandrovna
Married Dagmar of Denmark (Maria Feodorovna)
The reign of Alexander III saw a return to autocratic rule and the cancellation of many of his father’s reforms. A plot by the People’s Will group to assassinate Alexander III was uncovered. The conspirators, who were executed, included the elder brother of Vladimir Lenin.
Nicholas II 1st November 1894 – 15th March 1917
Son of Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna
Married Alix of Hesse
Like his father, Nicholas was a committed autocrat and fiercely resisted the introduction of an elected body (Duma). As Tsar of Russia he became increasingly alienated from his subjects. He was blamed for the Russian defeat by the Japanese, criticised for his troops firing on protesters on Bloody Sunday. His decision to support Serbia against Austria/Germany in 1914 took Russia into the First World War. He was forced to abdicate in 1917 by revolutionaries. Nicholas and his family were executed in July 1918.


Published Sept 5, 2019 @ 3:55 pm – Updated – [last-modified]


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2019 – 2020). Tsars/ Emperors of Russia 1547 – 1917. https://www.thetimelinegeek.com/tsars-emperors-of-russia-1547-1917 Last accessed [date]


Leave a comment