Russian Monarch. Born Ivan Antonovich, the eldest son of Prince Anton Ulrich of Brunswick and the Princess Anna Leopoldovna of Mecklenburg in St. Petersburg, he was the great-nephew of the then empress Anna Ivanova, herself the daughter of Ivan V, Peter the Great's developmentally arrested brother and co-Czar. In early October 1740, when Ivan Antonovich was eight weeks old, the Czarina adopted him and declared him her successor. Anna spent the last weeks of her reign trying to strengthen the position of her chosen heir against the superior claims of her cousin, Elisabeth. With Anna's death on October 17, Ivan Antonovich was proclaimed Czar, and Ernst Biren, Duke of Courland, appointed regent. Within a month Biren's regency was put aside and replaced by Ivan's mother, Anna Leopoldovna. The child Czar reigned for thirteen months when Elisabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, led the Petersburg guards to the Winter Palace and affected a bloodless coup d'état. No one rose in defense of Anna Leopoldovna or her unfortunate son. Anna Leopoldovna herself acquiesced easily, and merely asked that no harm should come to the young Czar. Elisabeth had apparently intended to send the family into exile, but a small revolt in Ivan's support made him a viable threat to her reign, condemning the deposed Czar to a life of captivity. Ivan and his family were imprisoned in the fortress of Dünamünde on December 13, 1742. In June 1744 the family were transferred to Kholmogory on the White Sea where Ivan was isolated from his family and saw nobody but his jailer. He remained there for twelve years. When word of his confinement at Kholmogory leaked out, Ivan's father Anton Ulrich and his younger children were released and exiled, but Ivan remained a prisoner and was secretly transferred to the island fortress Schlüsselburg in the Neva River in 1756. His life of isolation never allowed him to mature emotionally or mentally. He was aware of his origins, however, and always called himself "sovereign". Instructions had been given to keep him ignorant, but he knew his letters and would read his Bible. In 1762 Peter III, Czarina Elisabeth's successor, visited the prisoner, he ordered that should Ivan call himself Czar, he was to be put in chains and beaten. After Peter III's wife, Catherine II, had him deposed and murdered, Catherine, too, went to see the so-called nameless convict. Catherine ordered more stringent conditions for Ivan's imprisonment. If any attempt were made to release him, the prisoner was to be put to death. Under no circumstances was he to be delivered alive into anyone's hands, even if her own signature authorizing his release was produced. An officer of the Schlüsselburg garrison, Vasili Mirovich, eventually discovered Ivan's identity and formed a plan to free him and proclaim him the rightful Czar. On July 5, 1764, Mirovich won over some of the garrison, arrested the fortress commandant, Berednikov, and demanded Ivan be brought to him. The deposed monarch was then summarily murdered by his jailer in obedience to instructions. Catherine II had Mirovich executed as well. Ivan's death gave rise to new unrest against the Czarina, as she had been behind the murder of two Czars. Ivan was buried near the wall of the fortress. The grave was later destroyed.
Bio by: Iola