The Count von Nesselrode
|Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire|
1816 - April 15, 1856
Serving with Ioannis Kapodistrias
|Born||14 December 1780|
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
|Died||23 March 1862 (aged 81)|
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Karl Robert Reichsgraf von Nesselrode-Ehreshoven, also known as Charles de Nesselrode, (Lisbon, Portugal, 14 December 1780 - Saint Petersburg, 23 March 1862; Russian ? , Karl Vasilyevich Nesselrode) was a Russian German diplomat. For forty years (1816-1856) Nesselrode as foreign minister guided Russian policy; he was a leading European conservative statesman of the Holy Alliance.
Karl von Nesselrode was born at sea near Lisbon, Portugal into the Uradel Nesselrode family which originated in the Bergisches Land. His father Count Wilhelm Karl von Nesselrode (1724 - 1810), a count of the Holy Roman Empire, served at the time as the ambassador of the Russian Empress to Portugal. His mother was Louise Gontard (1746-1785), whose family belonged to Huguenot noble families from Dauphiné that fled from France to Germany in 1700. In deference to his mother's Protestantism he was baptized in the chapel of the British Embassy, thus becoming a member of the Church of England. After his father became the Russian ambassador to the Prussian court about 1787, Nesselrode's education in a Berlin gymnasium re-inforced his Germanic roots. Even though Nesselrode would work for the Russians for the next few decades of his life, he could neither read nor write Russian and spoke it only brokenly.
He then transferred to the army, and entered diplomatic service under Paul I's son and successor, Emperor Alexander I. He was attached to the Russian embassy at Berlin, and transferred thence to The Hague.
In August 1806 Nesselrode received a commission to travel in southern Germany to report on the French troops there; he was then attached as diplomatic secretary to Generals Kamenski, Buxhoewden and Bennigsen in succession.
He was present at the inconclusive Battle of Eylau in January 1807, fought by Count von Bennigsen, and assisted at the negotiations of the Peace of Tilsit (July 1807), which Spanish Bonapartist Diego Fernandez de Velasco, 13th Duke of Frías (who in 1811 would die in exile in Paris), congratulated[clarification needed] and was seated at table with Napoleon I.
Following the Congress of Erfurt in 1808, Nesselrode was secretly accredited by Alexander to serve as his unofficial channel of information between himself and Talleyrand.
Nesselrode became State Secretary in 1814 and was the head of Russia's official delegation to the Congress of Vienna, but for the most part Alexander I acted as his own foreign minister. In 1816, Nesselrode became Russian foreign minister, sharing influence with Count Ioannis Kapodistrias until the latter's retirement in 1822.
For forty years, Nesselrode guided Russian policy and was a leading European conservative statesman of the Holy Alliance. He was a key contributor in the construction of the peaceable congress system after the Napoleonic Wars. Between 1845 and 1856, he served as Chancellor of the Russian Empire. As Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1824, he was a plenipotentiary during negotiations with the United States in defining the boundary between Russian America and the American claims known as the Oregon Country, which were resolved with the Russo-American Treaty of 1824, and a parallel treaty with Britain concerning British claims which overlapped with those of the U.S. A century later in 1924, Mount Nesselrode in the Boundary Ranges of the Alaska-British Columbia boundary was named for him.
One frequently-overlooked facet of Nesselrode's activity involved his attempts to penetrate Japan's self-isolation. In 1853 he dispatched Yevfimiy Putyatin with a letter to the sh?gun; Putyatin returned to St. Petersburg with the favorable Treaty of Shimoda (signed 1855).
Nesselrode's efforts to expand Russia's influence in the Balkans and Mediterranean led to conflicts with Turkey, Britain, the then Kingdom of Sardinia, the then Duchy of Savoy and France, which all became allies opposing Russia in the Crimean War (1853-1856). Britain and France, unhappy with Russia's growing influence, determined to support Turkey and so restrict Russia.
Nesselrode's autobiography was published posthumously in 1866.
NESSELRODE, Count Karl Robert von, a Russian statesman, born on board of a Russian frigate in the harbor of Lisbon, Dec. 14, 1770 [...].
Charles Albert, Count Nesselrode, was born in 1770, on board an English vessel in sight of Lisbon.
His parents were Germans in the Russian service, and as there was no Protestant minister in the vessel, he was baptized according to the Anglican rite. England therefore, may claim the honour of reckoning him among her citizens.