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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