Footage of the Coronation of the Last Russian Czar (1896)

The coronation of Nicholas II, the last Russian czar, took place in May 1896, an event captured in some of the oldest footage still in existence (above). The coronation was a high point, and, from there, it was largely downhill for Nicholas. In 1905, the czar lost a humiliating war against Japan, which then partly triggered an unsettling revolution later that year – one that forced the king to live within the constraints of a constitutional monarchy. But this was just the beginning. The real revolution came in 1917, and soon enough the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, executed Nicholas II, his wife and son, his four daughters and domestic staff in July 1918. Bloody Nicholas – he had a fair amount of blood on his own hands – was dead. And now the new communist/Soviet era was underway…

Related note: The Library of Congress hosts online a big series of photos from the Russian Empire circa. 1905 – 1915. You can access them via the top level, or by jumping directly into the full collection of images here. (Thanks Michael for the tip here.)

via How Stuff Works

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