The Romanov dynasty ruled Russia from 1613 until the February Revolution of 1917. The family was descended from Andrei Ivanovich Kobyla, a Muscovite boyar who lived in the first half of the 14th century. The name Romanov was taken from Roman Yuriev (d. 1543), the father of Anastasia Romanova (d. 1560), who was the first wife of Tsar Ivan IV.
Michael Romanov, grandnephew of Anastasia, was elected tsar by a National Assembly in 1613; he was the first of the dynasty to rule Russia. Important Romanov rulers included Peter I, whose reign marks the beginning of imperial Russia; Catherine II, actually a German who married into the family; Alexander I, who defeated Napoleon in 1812; and Alexander II, who emancipated the serfs in 1861. The last Romanov tsar, Nicholas II, abdicated in March 1917. He and his immediate family were executed (July 1918) at Yekaterinburg.
Collected and edited by Michael Terletski