Michael Romanov



(This article incorporates text from the Encyclopedia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain). Mikhail I Feodorovich Romanov (July 12, 1596 – July 13, 1645) was the first Russian tsar of the house of Romanov, being the son of Feodor Nikitich Romanov, afterwards the Patriarch Filaret, and Xenia (of disputed family), afterwards the great nun Martha. His reign marked the end of the Time of Troubles.

Mikhail was unanimously elected tsar of Russia by a national assembly on February 21, 1613, but not until March 24 did the delegates of the council discover the young czar and his mother at the Ipatiev Monastery near Kostroma. At first Martha protested that her son was too young and tender for so difficult an office in such troublesome times. At the last moment, however, Michael consented to accept the throne, but not till the weeping boyars had solemnly declared that if he persisted in his refusal they would hold him responsible to God for the utter destruction of Russia.

In so dilapidated condition was the capital at this time that Michael had to wait for several weeks at the Holy Trinity Monastery, 75 miles away, before decent accommodation could be provided for him at Moscow. He was crowned on the 22nd of July. The first task of the new tsar was to clear the land of the robbers infesting it. Sweden and Poland were then dealt with respectively by the peace of Stolbovo (February 17, 1617) and the Truce of Deulino (December 1, 1618). The most important result of the Truce of Deulino was the return from exile of the tsar's father, who henceforth took over the government till his death in October 1633, Michael occupying quite a subordinate position.

Tsar Michael suffered from a progressing leg injury (a consequence of a horse accident early in his life), which resulted in his not being able to walk towards the end of his life. He was a gentle and pious prince who gave little trouble to anyone and effaced himself behind his councellors. Sometimes they were relatively honest and capable men like his father; sometimes they were corrupted and bigoted, like the Saltykov relatives of his mother. He was married twice, first to Princess Maria Vladimirovna Dolgorukova in 1624, who died four months after the marriage and then in 1626 to Eudoxia Streshneva (1608–1645), who brought him 10 children. Michael's failure to wed his daughter Irene with Prince Waldemar of Denmark, in consequence of the refusal of the latter to accept Orthodoxy, so deeply afflicted him as to contribute to bringing about his death on July 12, 1645.

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