- Alexander I
Tsar of Russia (1801--25), born in St Petersburg, Russia, the grandson of Catherine the Great. The early years of his reign were marked by the promise of liberal constitutional reforms and the pursuit of a vigorous foreign policy. In 1805 Russia joined the coalition against Napoleon, but after a series of military defeats was forced to conclude the Treaty of Tilsit (1807) with France. When Napoleon broke the treaty by invading Russia in 1812, Alexander pursued the French back to Paris. At the Congress of Vienna (1814--15) he laid claim to Poland. During the last years of his reign his increased political reactionism and religious mysticism resulted in the founding of the Holy Alliance. His mysterious death at Taganrog caused a succession crisis which led to the attempted revolutionary coup of the Decembrists.