NICHOLAS II. (1808— ). Emperor of Rus sia from 1894. He was born at Saint Petersburg, May 18 (old style May 6), 1808, the eldest son of Emperor Alexander 111. and Maria Feodurovna ( Princess Dagmar, daughter of Christian IX. of Denmark). In 1890-91 he traveled extensively in the East, and while in Japan narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of a maniac. He traversed the length and breadth of the Russian Empire and went through Siberia by the old con veyances along the route of the Siberian railway, thus obtaining an adequate appreciation of the importance to Russia of that gigantic undertak ing. On the death of his father. Alexander HI. (November 1, 1594), lie succeeded to the throne. Although regarded prior to his accession as a mild and somewhat indefinite character, his ad ministrative acts exhibited energy and decision. He brought into his service comae of the ablest statesmen of Russia. The Empire in the reign of Alexander 111. was influenced politically by the reaction from liberal agitation caused by the assassination of the Liberator Czar; the conser vative national Russian party had become domi nant, and this was not changed through the ac cession of Nicholas. The process of Russificatiou went on uninterruptedly in Poland and the Baltic Provinces, and even extended to Finland (q.v.),
which by all previous czars had been allowed to retain its national existence. The great object of the internal policy of the Government has been to consolidateRussian nationality and to develop the strength and resources of the Empire. Nicholas and his advisers were apparently inclined to be lieve that in the present state of civilizaticn among the Russian people this can best be done under the autocracy. Under him Russia stead ily advanced its interests in the far East, won by its diplomacy open harbors on the Pacific, developed a great railway system on strategic lines through the whole Empire, and accom plished Much in the uphuilding of its own indu tries. Perhaps the most notable act of the Czar was the peace rescript of 1598, looking to a re duction of national armaments, the result of which was the peace conference at The Hague. (See HAGUE PEACE CONFERENCE.) Nicholas married, November 26 (14), 1894. Princess Alex andra Alix, daughter of the Grand Duke of Hesse.
Consult : Leudet, :Vico/as II. time (Paris, 18,99); Prince Uklitomski, Voyngr en Orient, EllYPte, lade, 1'+'90-9l, de son altesse im le Ce'sarcriteh (French translation by with preface by A. Leroy-Beaulieu (ib., 18931.