|Tsar Ivan VI|
AKA Ivan Antonovich
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Location of death: Shlisselburg Fortress, St. Petersburg, Russia
Cause of death: Murder
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Tsar of Russia, 1740-41
Ivan VI, Tsar of Russia, was the son of Prince Antony Ulrich of Brunswick, and the princess Anna Leopoldovna of Mecklenburg, and great-nephew of the empress Anna, who adopted him and declared him her successor on the 5th of October 1740, when he was only eight weeks old. On the death of Anna (October 17th) he was proclaimed Tsar, and on the following day Ernest Johann Biren, Duke of Courland, was appointed regent. On the fall of Biren (November 8th), the regency passed to the baby tsar's mother, though the government was in the hands of the capable vice-chancellor, Andrei Osterman. A little more than twelve months later, a coup d'état placed the tsesarevna Elizabeth on the throne (December 6, 1741), and Ivan and his family were imprisoned in the fortress of Dünamünde, or Ust Dvinsk (December 13, 1742) after a preliminary detention at Riga, from whence the new empress had at first decided to send them home to Brunswick. In June 1744 they were transferred to Kholmogory on the White Sea, where Ivan, isolated from his family, and seeing nobody but his jailer, remained for the next twelve years. Rumors of his confinement at Kholmogory having leaked out, he was secretly transferred to the fortress of Schlüsselburg (1756), where he was still more rigorously guarded, the very commandant of the fortress not knowing who "a certain arrestant" committed to his care really was. On the accession of Peter III the condition of the unfortunate prisoner seemed about to be ameliorated, for the kind-hearted emperor visited and sympathized with him; but Peter himself was overthrown a few weeks later. In the instructions sent to Ivan's guardian, Prince Churmtyev, the latter was ordered to chain up his charge, and even scourge him should he become refractory. On the accession of Catherine the Great still more stringent orders were sent to the officer in charge of "the nameless one." If any attempt were made from outside to release him, the prisoner was to be put to death; in no circumstances was he to be delivered alive into anyone's hands, even if his deliverers produced the empress's own signature authorizing his release. By this time, twenty years of solitary confinement had disturbed Ivan's mental equilibrium, though he does not seem to have been actually insane. Nevertheless, despite the mystery surrounding him, he was well aware of his imperial origin, and always called himself gosudar (sovereign). Though instructions had been given to keep him ignorant, he had been taught his letters and could read his Bible. Nor could his residence at Schlüsselburg remain concealed for ever, and its discovery was the cause of his ruin. A sub-lieutenant of the garrison, Vasily Mirovich, found out all about him, and formed a plan for freeing and proclaiming him emperor. At midnight on the 5th of July 1764, Mirovich won over some of the garrison, arrested the commandant, Berednikov, and demanded the delivery of Ivan, who there and then was murdered by his jailers in obedience to the secret instructions already in their possession.
Father: Prince Anton Ulrich of Braunschweig
Mother: Anna Leopoldovna of Mecklenburg
Tsar of Russia 28-Oct-1740 to 6-Dec-1741
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