History of Russia
(Till' Alexander II's rule")
For over 330 years a single family, the Romanovs, has ruled Russia. The 850 square mile empire stretched across most of Eastern Europe. The area was comparable to North America. The independent ethnic groups consisted of Armenians, Balts, Finns, Jews, Germans, Poles, Ukrainians, and more. While Europe was undergoing great changes, Russia's development stagnated. The Mongols suppressed Russia and isolated the nation from foreign contact. The Mongols left by 1480, but influenced Russia in many ways. The concept of having one absolute monarch, or czar, came from the Mongols that Russia utilized. Czars hold unlimited power over the government and church. The Czar made the laws, commanded the army and navy, and controlled the Orthodox Church. The church's role was to reinforce the people's obedience to the czar. Since a czar couldn't manage an empire single-handed he would give church officials and landowning nobles military offices and positions in government for their help.
Even though the serfs made up 80% of Russia's population they were treated like farm animals. Some were traded for dogs and were put at stake for a poker game. As the serfs grew tiresome of this treatment they began to protest. Serfs started to rise to their owners in protest for the poor treatment. Approximately 500 revolts took place between 1825 and 1854, but the serfs were brutally beat down every time. Life was a little better for the minorities, although they were subject to russification. They were told to speak Russian and adopt Russian ways. Meaning they would have to abandon their own language and customs. The Jewish people feared the czar the most. Especially for being persecuted for their religious beliefs throughout Russian history. They were often used as scapegoats, wrongly blamed for natural or human...