Michael I of Russia by an anonymous painter.Wikipedia
The founder of the Romanov dynasty is little known not only abroad, but also in Russia. The average Russian would probably be puzzled if you asked about Tsar Mikhail I. They don’t teach much about him in school.
Those who are interested in history might point to the fact that his name is connected with the end of Russia’s Time of Troubles. Indeed, Mikhail’s ascension to the throne in 1613 ended the turmoil that had lasted for over a
At first glance, Mikhail seems like an odd candidate for the throne. He was very young, only 16 years old, and he was also little known even at that time, although the Romanovs were an old Moscow boyar family. The first recorded figure in the family was Andrey Kobyla in the first half of the 14th century.
The Romanovs were related to the Rurik dynasty that ruled Russia since the early Middle Ages, and the sister of Mikhail’s grandfather, Anastasia, was Ivan the Terrible’s first and most beloved wife. It strengthened Mikhail’s position.
Mikhail was elected by the Zemsky Sobor (Assembly of the Land), a prototype of modern parliaments. Even representatives from among the peasantry took part in Mikhail’s election, which is remarkable for any epoch. The Zemsky Sobor
Calling of Mikhail Fedorovich to take a crown.Nikolay Shustov/Wikipedia
In the end, it was precisely Mikhail’s young age and relative obscurity that helped him get elected. He was seen as a weak ruler, which was important for pleasing the powerful boyar families. “We will pick Mikhail. He is young and has an immature mind,” one nobleman reportedly said during the election.
During most of his
His mother’s influence was so great that Mikhail couldn’t so easily choose his
Maria Ivanovna Khlopova, the bride of the tsar Michail Fyodorovich.Nikolai Nevrev/Wikipedia
While Mikhail’s mother had her candidate, the tsar dared to choose another - a boyar’s daughter, Maria Khlopova. Three days later, however, she suddenly fell ill, and court doctors quickly concluded that she could not give birth to children. So, she was exiled, although later it was established that she was healthy.
A few years later, Mikhail organized another bride show and shocked his mother again when he chose a young woman from a modest noble family. In the end, the young tsar eventually showed his mettle and went against his mother’s will. He had a happy marriage that lasted for many years.
They say Mikhail was very fond of flowers, and he used to have some imported. Under Mikhail’s rule rose gardens appeared in Russia for the first time.
The tsar, however, didn’t only bring flowers from the West. He also invited foreigners to establish industries. One of them, Andries Winius from Holland, organized the production of iron and cannons near Tula. Since then, Tula has been one of the main centers of weapons production in Russia.
Some historians assert that by importing western technologies Mikhail started the Europeanization of Russia that gathered momentum during the reign of his grandson, Peter the Great.
Most importantly, Mikhail’s greatest achievement was reestablishing order and consolidating the country, which had been ripped apart by the many conflicts of the Time of Troubles.
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