Grand Duke - Russian Grand Dukes

Russian Grand Dukes

"Grand duke" is the traditional translation of the title Velikiy Kniaz (Великий Князь), which from the 11th century was at first the title of the leading Prince of Kievan Rus', then of several princes of the Rus'. From 1328 the Velikii Kniaz of Muscovy appeared as the grand duke for "all of Russia" until Ivan IV of Russia in 1547 was crowned as Tsar. Thereafter the title was given to sons and grandsons (through male lines) of the Tsars and Emperors of Russia. The daughters and paternal granddaughters of Russian emperors, as well as the consorts of Russian grand dukes, were generally called "grand duchesses" in English.

Another translation of the Russian title would be grand prince. While this term is a more precise translation, it is neither standard nor widely used in English. In German, however, a Russian grand duke was known as a Großfürst, and in Latin as Magnus Princeps.

From 1809 to 1917 the Emperor of Russia was also the Grand Duke of Finland, which he held as an autonomous state. Before the Russian conquest Finland had been held by the Swedish kings, first as a royal duchy, since 1581 with the King assuming the secondary title Grand Prince of Finland (Finnish: Suomen suuriruhtinas, Swedish: Storfurste av Finland), also often translated as Grand Duke of Finland.

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