Russian Empire

Page semi-protected
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Russian Empire
Россійская Имперія
Rossiyskaya Imperiya
Flag of Imperial Russia
Flag of the Russian Empire (black-yellow-white).svg

(1721–1858; 1896–1917)
Bottom: Flag
Coat of arms (1883–1917) of Imperial Russia
Coat of arms
Motto: "Съ нами Богъ!"
S' nami Bog! ("God is with us!")
  • 11.1%
• 1721–1725 (first)
Peter I
• 1894–1917 (last)
Nicholas II
• 1810–1812 (first)
Nikolai Rumyantsev[c]
• 1917 (last)
Nikolai Golitsyn[d]
1905 Revolution
January 1905 – July 1907
30 October 1905
• Constitution adopted
6 May 1906
8–16 March 1917
proclaimed 14 September 1917
CurrencyRussian ruble
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Tsardom of
Russian Republic

The Russian Empire

1897 Russian census
, the only census carried out during the entire imperial period. Owing to its geographic extent across three continents at its peak, it featured great ethnic, linguistic, religious, and economic diversity.

From the 10th to the 17th century, the land was ruled by a noble class known as the

Ivan III (1462–1505): he tripled the territory of the Russian state and laid its foundation, renovating the Moscow Kremlin and also ending the dominance of the Golden Horde

Peter I (1682–1725) fought numerous wars and expanded an already vast empire into a major power of Europe. During his rule, he moved the Russian capital from Moscow to the new model city of Saint Petersburg, which was largely built according to designs of the Western world; he also led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval socio-political customs with a modern, scientific, rationalist, and Western-oriented system. Catherine the Great (1762–1796) presided over a golden age: she expanded the Russian state by conquest, colonization, and diplomacy, while continuing Peter I's policy of modernization towards a Western model. Alexander I (1801–1825) played a major role in defeating the militaristic ambitions of Napoleon and subsequently constituting the Holy Alliance, which aimed to restrain the rise of secularism and liberalism across Europe. The Russian Empire further expanded to the west, south, and east, concurrently establishing itself as one of the most powerful European powers. Its victories in the Russo-Turkish Wars were later checked by defeat in the Crimean War (1853–1856), leading to a period of reform and intensified expansion into Central Asia.[9] Alexander II (1855–1881) initiated numerous reforms, most notably the 1861 emancipation of all 23 million serfs. His official policy involved the responsibility of the Russian Empire towards the protection of Eastern Orthodox Christians residing within the Ottoman-ruled territories of Europe; this was one factor that later led to the Russian entry into World War I on the side of the Allied Powers against the Central Powers.

From 1721 until 1762, the Russian Empire was ruled by the

House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov, ruled from 1762 until 1917. At the beginning of the 19th century, the territory of the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, and from the Baltic Sea in the west to Alaska, Hawaii, and California in the east. By the end of the 19th century, it had expanded its control over most of Central Asia and parts of Northeast Asia. The Russian Empire entered the twentieth century in a perilous state. A devastating famine in 1891–92, killed millions across the empire leading to discontent among the population. Moreover, the Russian Empire was the last remaining absolute monarchy in Europe which played a role in the rapid radicalization of Russian politics. During this time Communism was gaining popularity and acceptance among the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions as well as in the general population.[10] In 1905 Russia experienced a revolution in which Tsar Nicholas II authorized the creation of a parliament, the Duma although he still retained absolute political power. When Russia entered the First World War on the side of the Allies it suffered a series of defeats that further galvanized the population against the empire and the Tsar. In 1917, mass unrest among the population and mutinies in the army resulted in Russian leaders pressuring Tsar Nicholas to abdicate, which he did during the February Revolution. Following his abdication, the Russian Provisional Government was formed and continued Russia's involvement in the war despite near universal distain for further involvement. This decision coupled with food shortages lead to mass demonstrations against the government in July. The Russian Provisional government was overthrown in the October Revolution by the Bolsheviks who ended Russia's involvement in WWI with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The Russian Revolution led to the end of almost two centuries of imperial rule, making Russia one of the four continental empires which collapsed after World War I, along with Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire.[11]

Bolshevik seizure of power resulted in the

Bolsheviks executed the Romanov family, ending over three centuries of Romanov rule. After emerging victorious from the Russian Civil War in 1922–1923, the Bolsheviks established the Soviet Union
across most of the territory of the former Russian Empire.


Though the empire was not officially proclaimed by Tsar then Emperor

Ivan III of Russia conquered Veliky Novgorod in 1478.[citation needed] According to another point of view, the term Tsardom, which was used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was already a contemporary Russian word for empire.[citation needed


Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the

Russo-Polish War (1654–67) which led to the incorporation of left-bank Ukraine, and the Russian conquest of Siberia. Poland was partitioned by its three neighbours in the 1772–1815 era, with much of its land and population being taken under Russian rule. Most of the empire's growth in the 19th-century came from gaining territory in central and eastern Asia south of Siberia.[14] By 1795, after the Partitions of Poland
, Russia became the most populous state in Europe, ahead of France.

Year Population of Russia (millions)[15][16] Notes
1720 15.5 includes new Baltic & Polish territories
1795 37.6 includes part of Poland
1812 42.8 includes Finland
1816 73.0 includes Congress Poland, Bessarabia
1897 125.6
Russian Empire Census[g]
, excludes Finland
1914 164.0 includes new Asian territories


A painting depicting the Battle of Narva (1700) in the Great Northern War

The foundations of the Russian Empire was laid during Peter I's reforms, which significantly altered Russia's political and social structure,[17] and as a result of the Great Northern War which strengthened Russia's standing on the world stage.[18] Internal transformations and military victories contributed to the transformation of Russia into a great power, playing a major role in European politics,[19] given the realities of the new situation in the country. On the day of the announcement of the Treaty of Nystad, the 2 November [O.S. 22 October] 1721, the Senate and Synod presented the Tsar with the titles of the Pater Patriae (Russian: Отец отечества, tr. Otets otechestva, IPA: [ɐˈtʲet͡s ɐˈtʲet͡ɕɪstvə]) and the Emperor of all the Russias.[20] It is generally accepted that with the adoption of the imperial title by Peter I, Russia turned from a tsardom into an empire, and the imperial period began.[21][22]

The Victory at Poltava, painted by Alexander von Kotzebue
in 1862

Following the reforms, Russia became ruled by an absolute monarchy. The Military Regulations made a note of the autocracy regime.[h] Even though the Holy Synod's chief prosecutor served as the church's link to the head of state, Peter I changed the patriarchal system that had previously existed into a synodal one. During the reign of Peter I, the last vestiges of a boyar's independence were lost. He transformed them into nobility, who were obedient nobles served the state for the rest of their lives. He also introduced the Table of Ranks and equated the Votchina with an estate. Russia's modern fleet was built by Peter the Great, along with an army that was reformed in the manner of European style and educational institutions (the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences). Civil lettering was adopted during Peter I's reign, and the first Russian newspaper, Vedomosti, was published. Peter I promoted the advancement of science, particularly geography and geology, trade, and industry,[23] including shipbuilding, as well as the growth of the Russian educational system. Every tenth Russian acquired an education during Peter I's reign, when there were 15 million people in the country.[24] The city of Saint Petersburg, which was built in 1703 on territory along the Baltic coast that had been conquered during the Great Northern War, served as the state's capital.

This concept of the triune Russian people, composed of the

Little Russians, and the Belorussians (White Russians), was introduced during the reign of Peter I, and it was associated with the name of Archimandrite Zakhary Kopystensky (1621), the Archimandrite of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Afterwards, the concept was developed in the writings of an associate of Peter I, Archbishop Professor Feofan Prokopovich. Several of Peter I's associates are well-known, including François Le Fort, Boris Sheremetev, Alexander Menshikov, Jacob Bruce, Mikhail Golitsyn, Anikita Repnin, and Alexey Kelin. During Peter's reign, the nobility was still required to serve, and serf labour played a significant role in the growth of the industry; therefore, Peter's objectives required the preservation of antiquated traditions. The volume of the country's international trade turnover increased as a result of Peter I's industrial reforms. However, imports of goods overtook exports, strengthening the role of foreigners in Russian trade, particularly the British domination.[25]

18th century

Peter the Great (1672–1725)

Peter the Great officially renamed the Tsardom of Russia as the Russian Empire in 1721 and became its first emperor. He instituted sweeping reforms
and oversaw the transformation of Russia into a major European power (painting made after 1717).

Peter I (1672–1725)—also referred to as Peter the Great—played a major role in introducing the European state system into the Russian Empire. While the empire's vast lands had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those in the West.[26] Nearly the entire population was devoted to agriculture, with only a small percentage living in towns. The class of kholops, whose status was close to that of slaves, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house serfs, thus counting them for poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops had been formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. They were largely tied to the land, in a feudal sense, until the late nineteenth century.

Peter's first military efforts were directed against the Ottoman Turks. His attention then turned to the north. Russia lacked a secure northern seaport, except at Archangel on the White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic Sea was blocked by Sweden, whose territory enclosed it on three sides. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him, in 1699, to make a secret alliance with Saxony, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Denmark against Sweden; they conducted the Great Northern War, which ended in 1721 when an exhausted Sweden asked for peace with Russia.

As a result, Peter acquired four provinces situated south and east of the

Neva River, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. This relocation expressed his intent to adopt European elements for his empire. Many of the government and other major buildings were designed under Italianate influence. In 1722, he turned his aspirations toward increasing Russian influence in the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea at the expense of the weakened Safavid Persians. He made Astrakhan the centre of military efforts against Persia, and waged the first full-scale war against them in 1722–23.[27] Peter the Great temporarily annexed several areas of Iran to Russia, which after the death of Peter were returned in the 1732 Treaty of Resht and 1735 Treaty of Ganja as a deal to oppose the Ottomans.[28]


absolutist state. He replaced the old boyar Duma (council of nobles) with a nine-member Senate, in effect a supreme council of state. The countryside was divided into new provinces and districts. Peter told the Senate that its mission was to collect taxes, and tax revenues tripled over the course of his reign. Meanwhile, all vestiges of local self-government were removed. Peter continued and intensified his predecessors' requirement of state service from all nobles, in the Table of Ranks

As part of Peter's reorganisation, he also enacted a church reform. The Russian Orthodox Church was partially incorporated into the country's administrative structure, in effect making it a tool of the state. Peter abolished the patriarchate and replaced it with a collective body, the Holy Synod, which was led by a government official.[29]

Peter died in 1725, leaving an unsettled succession. After a short reign by his widow,

war against the Ottoman Empire. This resulted in a significant weakening of the Crimean Khanate
, an Ottoman vassal and long-term Russian adversary.

The discontent over the dominant positions of

Moscow University). But she did not carry out significant structural reforms. Her reign, which lasted nearly 20 years, is also known for Russia's involvement in the Seven Years' War, where it was successful militarily, but gained little politically.[30]

Catherine the Great (1762–1796)

Catherine the Great was a German princess who married Peter III, the German heir to the Russian crown. After the death of Empress Elizabeth, Catherine came to power after she effected a coup d'état against her unpopular husband. She contributed to the resurgence of the Russian nobility that began after the death of Peter the Great, abolishing State service and granting them control of most state functions in the provinces. She also removed the tax on beards instituted by Peter the Great.[31]

Catherine extended Russian political control over the lands of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, supporting the Targowica Confederation. However, the cost of these campaigns further burdened the already oppressive social system, under which serfs were required to spend almost all of their time laboring on their owners' land. A major peasant uprising took place in 1773, after Catherine legalised the selling of serfs separate from land. Inspired by a Cossack named Yemelyan Pugachev and proclaiming "Hang all the landlords!", the rebels threatened to take Moscow before they were ruthlessly suppressed. Instead of imposing the traditional punishment of drawing and quartering, Catherine issued secret instructions that the executioners should execute death sentences quickly and with minimal suffering, as part of her effort to introduce compassion into the law.[32] She furthered these efforts by ordering the public trial of Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova, a high-ranking nobleman, on charges of torturing and murdering serfs. Whilst these gestures garnered Catherine much positive attention from Europe during the Enlightenment, the specter of revolution and disorder continued to haunt her and her successors. Indeed, her son Paul introduced a number of increasingly erratic decrees in his short reign aimed directly against the spread of French culture in response to their revolution.

In order to ensure the continued support of the nobility, which was essential to her reign, Catherine was obliged to strengthen their authority and power at the expense of the serfs and other lower classes. Nevertheless, Catherine realized that serfdom must eventually be ended, going so far in her

against Persia in 1796 after they had invaded eastern Georgia
. Upon achieving victory, she established Russian rule over it and expelled the newly established Persian garrisons in the Caucasus.

Catherine's expansionist policy caused Russia to develop into a major European power,[33] as did the Enlightenment era and the Golden age in Russia. But after Catherine died in 1796, she was succeeded by her son, Paul. He brought Russia into a major coalition war against the new-revolutionary French Republic in 1797.

State budget

Catherine II Sestroretsk Rouble (1771) is made of solid copper measuring 77 mm (3+132 in) (diameter), 26 mm (1+132 in) (thickness), and weighs 1,041 g (2 lb 4+34 oz).[34]

Russia was in a continuous state of financial crisis. While revenue rose from 9 million rubles in 1724 to 40 million in 1794, expenses grew more rapidly, reaching 49 million in 1794. The budget allocated 46 percent to the military, 20 percent to government economic activities, 12 percent to administration, and nine percent for the Imperial Court in St. Petersburg. The deficit required borrowing, primarily from bankers in Amsterdam; five percent of the budget was allocated to debt payments. Paper money was issued to pay for expensive wars, thus causing inflation. As a result of its spending, Russia developed a large and well-equipped army, a very large and complex bureaucracy, and a court that rivaled those of Paris and London. But the government was living far beyond its means, and 18th-century Russia remained "a poor, backward, overwhelmingly agricultural, and illiterate country".[35]

First half of the 19th century

In 1801, 4 years after Paul became ruler of Russia, he was killed in the Winter Palace in a coup. Paul was succeeded by a his 23-year-old son, Alexander. Russia was in a state of war with the French Republic under the leadership of the Corsica-born consul Napoleon Bonaparte. After he became the emperor, Napoleon defeated Russia at Austerlitz in 1805, Eylau and Friedland in 1807. After Alexander was defeated in Friedland, he agreed to negotiate and sued for peace with France; the Treaties of Tilsit led to the Franco-Russian alliance against the Coalition and joined the Continental System.[36] By 1812, Russia had occupied many territories in Eastern Europe, holding some of Eastern Galicia from Austria and Bessarabia from the Ottoman Empire;[37] from Northern Europe, it had ceded Finland from the war against weaken Sweden; it also possessed some territory in Caucasus.

Following a dispute with Emperor Alexander I, in 1812, Napoleon launched an

guerrilla fighters.[38] As Napoleon's forces retreated, Russian troops pursued them into Central and Western Europe and to the gates of Paris. After Russia and its allies defeated Napoleon, Alexander became known as the "saviour of Europe". He presided over the redrawing of the map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna (1815), which ultimately made Alexander the monarch of Congress Poland.[39] The "Holy Alliance
" was proclaimed, linking the monarchist great powers of Austria, Prussia, and Russia.

An 1843 painting imagining Russian general Pyotr Bagration, giving orders during the Battle of Borodino
(1812) while wounded

Although the Russian Empire played a leading political role in the next century, thanks to its role in defeating Napoleonic France, its retention of serfdom precluded economic progress to any significant degree. As Western European economic growth accelerated during the Industrial Revolution, Russia began to lag ever farther behind, creating new weaknesses for the empire seeking to play a role as a great power. Russia's status as a great power concealed the inefficiency of its government, the isolation of its people, and its economic and social backwardness. Following the defeat of Napoleon, Alexander I had been ready to discuss constitutional reforms, but though a few were introduced, no major changes were attempted.[40]

The liberal Alexander I was replaced by his younger brother

autocratic Russia. The result was the Decembrist revolt (December 1825), which was the work of a small circle of liberal nobles and army officers who wanted to install Nicholas' brother Constantine as a constitutional monarch. The revolt was easily crushed, but it caused Nicholas to turn away from the modernization program begun by Peter the Great and champion the doctrine of Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality.[41]

In order to repress further revolts, censorship was intensified, including the constant surveillance of schools and universities. Textbooks were strictly regulated by the government. Police spies were planted everywhere. Would-be revolutionaries were sent off to Siberia – under Nicholas I hundreds of thousands were sent to katorga there.[42] The retaliation for the revolt made "December Fourteenth" a day long remembered by later revolutionary movements.

The question of Russia's direction had been gaining attention ever since Peter the Great's program of modernization. Some favored imitating Western Europe while others were against this and called for a return to the traditions of the past. The latter path was advocated by

collectivism of the medieval Russian obshchina or mir over the individualism of the West.[43] More extreme social doctrines were elaborated by such Russian radicals on the left, such as Alexander Herzen, Mikhail Bakunin, and Peter Kropotkin

Foreign policy (1800–1864)

Russo-Persian War (1826–28)

After Russian armies liberated the

Russo-Persian War of 1826–28, Russia managed to bring an end to the war with highly favourable terms granted by the Treaty of Turkmenchay, including the formal acquisition of what are now Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iğdır Province.[45] In the 1828–29 Russo-Turkish War, Russia invaded northeastern Anatolia and occupied the strategic Ottoman towns of Erzurum and Gümüşhane and, posing as protector and saviour of the Greek Orthodox population, received extensive support from the region's Pontic Greeks. Following a brief occupation, the Russian imperial army withdrew back into Georgia.[46]

Russian emperors quelled two uprisings in their newly acquired Polish territories: the November Uprising in 1830 and the January Uprising in 1863. In 1863, the Russian autocracy had given the Polish artisans and gentry reason to rebel, by assailing national core values of language, religion, and culture.[47] France, Britain, and Austria tried to intervene in the crisis but were unable to do so. The Russian press and state propaganda used the Polish uprising to justify the need for unity in the empire.[48] The semi-autonomous polity of Congress Poland subsequently lost its distinctive political and judicial rights, with Russification being imposed on its schools and courts.[49] However, Russification policies in Poland, Finland and among the Germans in the Baltics largely failed and only strengthened political opposition.[48]

Second half of the 19th century

siege of a Russian naval base at Sevastopol during the Crimean War
Russian troops taking Samarkand
(8 June 1868)
Russian troops entering Khiva
in 1873
Capturing of the Ottoman Turkish redoubt during the Siege of Plevna

In 1854–55, Russia fought Britain, France and Turkey in the Crimean War, which Russia lost. The war was fought primarily in the Crimean peninsula, and to a lesser extent in the Baltic during the related Åland War. Since playing a major role in the defeat of Napoleon, Russia had been regarded as militarily invincible, but against a coalition of the great powers of Europe, the reverses it suffered on land and sea exposed the weakness of Emperor Nicholas I's regime.

When Emperor Alexander II ascended the throne in 1855, the desire for reform was widespread. A growing humanitarian movement attacked serfdom as inefficient. In 1859, there were more than 23 million serfs in usually poor living conditions. Alexander II decided to abolish serfdom from above, with ample provision for the landowners, rather than wait for it to be abolished from below by revolution.[50]


Emancipation Reform of 1861, which freed the serfs, was the single most important event in 19th-century Russian history, and the beginning of the end of the landed aristocracy's monopoly on power. The 1860s saw further socio-economic reforms to clarify the position of the Russian government with regard to property rights.[51] Emancipation brought a supply of free labour to the cities, stimulating industry; and the middle class grew in number and influence. However, instead of receiving their lands as a gift, the freed peasants had to pay a special lifetime tax to the government, which in turn paid the landlords a generous price for the land that they had lost. In numerous cases the peasants ended up with relatively small amounts of land. All the property turned over to the peasants was owned collectively by the mir, the village community, which divided the land among the peasants and supervised the various holdings. Although serfdom was abolished, since its abolition was achieved on terms unfavourable to the peasants, revolutionary tensions did not abate. Revolutionaries believed that the newly freed serfs were merely being sold into wage slavery in the onset of the industrial revolution, and that the urban bourgeoisie had effectively replaced the landowners.[52]

Seeking more territories, Russia

Treaty of Peking ceded the modern Primorsky Krai, also founded the outpost of future Vladivostok.[53] Meanwhile, Russia was hustled to the United States for 11 million rubles (7.2 million dollars) on its last territory in Russian America, Alyaska (Alaska) in 1867.[54][55] Initially, many Americans considered this newly gained territory to be a wasteland and useless, and saw the government wasting much money,[56] but later, much gold and petroleum were discovered.[57]

In the late 1870s, Russia and the Ottoman Empire again clashed in the Balkans. From 1875 to 1877, the Balkan crisis intensified, with rebellions against Ottoman rule by various Slavic nationalities,

Russo-Turkish War (1877–78).[60] Within one year, Russian troops were nearing Istanbul and the Ottomans surrendered. Russia's nationalist diplomats and generals persuaded Alexander II to force the Ottomans to sign the Treaty of San Stefano in March 1878, creating an enlarged, independent Bulgaria that stretched into the southwestern Balkans.[59] When Britain threatened to declare war over the terms of the treaty, an exhausted Russia backed down. At the Congress of Berlin in July 1878, Russia agreed to the creation of a smaller Bulgaria, including Eastern Rumelia, as a vassal state and an autonomous principality inside the Ottoman Empire, respectively.[61][62] As a result, Pan-Slavists were left with a legacy of bitterness against Austria-Hungary and Germany for failing to back Russia. Disappointment at the results of the war stimulated revolutionary tensions, and helped Serbia, Romania, and Montenegro gain independence from, and strengthen themselves against, the Ottomans.[63]

Russian troops fighting against Ottoman troops at the Battle of Shipka Pass

Another significant result of the 1877–78 Russo-Turkish War in Russia's favour was the acquisition from the Ottomans of the provinces of

Kars Oblast. To replace Muslim refugees who had fled across the new frontier into Ottoman territory, the Russian authorities settled large numbers of Christians from ethnically diverse communities in Kars Oblast, particularly Georgians, Caucasus Greeks, and Armenians
, each of whom hoped to achieve protection and advance their own regional ambitions.

Alexander III

In 1881, Alexander II was assassinated by the

Nihilist terrorist organization. The throne passed to Alexander III (1881–1894), a reactionary who revived the maxim of "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality" of Nicholas I. A committed Slavophile, Alexander III believed that Russia could be saved from turmoil only by shutting itself off from the subversive influences of Western Europe. During his reign, Russia formed the Franco-Russian Alliance, to contain the growing power of Germany; completed the conquest of Central Asia; and demanded important territorial and commercial concessions from China. The emperor's most influential adviser was Konstantin Pobedonostsev, tutor to Alexander III and his son Nicholas, and procurator of the Holy Synod from 1880 to 1895. Pobedonostsev taught his imperial pupils to fear freedom of speech and the press, as well as dislike democracy, constitutions, and the parliamentary system. Under Pobedonostsev, revolutionaries were persecuted—by the imperial secret police, with thousands being exiled to Siberia—and a policy of Russification was carried out throughout the empire.[64][65]

Foreign policy (1864–1907)

Russia had little difficulty expanding to the south, including conquering Turkestan,[66] until Britain became alarmed when Russia threatened Afghanistan, with the implicit threat to India; and decades of diplomatic maneuvering resulted, called the Great Game.[67] That rivalry between the two empires has been considered to have included far-flung territories such as Mongolia and Tibet. The maneuvering largely ended with the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907.[68]

Expansion into the vast stretches of Siberia was slow and expensive, but finally became possible with the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway, 1890 to 1904. This opened up East Asia; and Russian interests focused on Mongolia, Manchuria, and Korea. China was too weak to resist, and was pulled increasingly into the Russian sphere. Russia obtained treaty ports such as Dalian/Port Arthur. In 1900, the Russian Empire invaded Manchuria as part of the Eight-Nation Alliance's intervention against the Boxer Rebellion. Japan strongly opposed Russian expansion, and defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905. Japan took over Korea, and Manchuria remained a contested area.[69]

Meanwhile, France, looking for allies against Germany after 1871, formed a military alliance in 1894, with large-scale loans to Russia, sales of arms, and warships, as well as diplomatic support. Once Afghanistan was informally partitioned in 1907, Britain, France, and Russia came increasingly close together in opposition to Germany and Austria. The three would later comprise the

First World War.[70]

Early 20th century