Profession: Tsar of Russia
Why Famous: Alexander reigned as the Tsar of Russia from 1855 until his assassination in 1881. He became known as Alexander the Liberator for his most significant reform, which was the emancipation of the Russian serfdom on 3 March 1861.
In addition to the abolishing serfdom, Alexander was a reformer who also introduced changes to the Russian legal system, encouraged university attendance, stripped nobility of some of their privileges and promoted local self-governance.
In foreign policy he sold Alaska to the United States in 1867, joined the League of Three Emperors in 1872 and moved away from an alliance with France after Napoleon III fell in 1871. He faced a rebellion in Poland in 1863 after which he directly incorporated the territory into the Russian empire.
He was in the process of pursuing additional parliamentary reforms when he was assassinated by a far-left terror group called People's Will. His death ironically caused a huge setback for the Russian reform movement, as his son and heir Alexander III was among the most conservative of all the Russian tsars.
- 1861-03-03 Alexander II of Russia signs the Emancipation Manifesto, freeing serfs and granting them the full rights of free citizens [O.S. Feb 19]
- 1862-07-01 Alexander II of Russia grants Jews right to publish books
- 1866-04-04 Alexander II of Russia narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by Dmitry Karakozov in the city of St. Petersburg
- 1880-02-17 Alexander II of Russia survives an assassination attempt
- 1881-03-13 Alexander II of Russia is assassinated by members of far-left terror group 'People's Will' who throw a bomb at him in the city of St. Petersburg