Biren, Duke of Courland (16871772)

Biren, Duke of Courland, son of a peasant, favourite of the Russian Empress Anne; held the reins of government even after her death; ruled with great cruelty; was banished to Siberia, but recalled, and had his honours restored to him, which in six years after he relinquished in favour of his eldest son (16871772).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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