Konstantin von Benckendorff

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Portrait by George Dawe from the Military Gallery

Konstantin von Benckendorff (Russian: Константин Христофорович Бенкендорф, Konstantin Khristoforovich Benkendorf, January 31, 1785 – August 6, 1828) was a Russian general and diplomat.

Life and career[edit]

Konstantin von Benckendorff was born into Russia's distinctive Baltic nobility to a Baltic German family in Reval (now Tallinn) in today's Estonia, son of General Baron Christoph von Benckendorff (de) (Friedrichsham, 12 January 1749 - 10 June 1823), who served as the military governor of Livonia, and wife Baroness Anna Juliane Charlotte Schilling von Canstatt (Thalheim, 31 July 1744 - 11 March 1797), who held a high position at the Romanov Court as senior lady-in-waiting and best friend of Empress Maria Fyodorovna, and paternal grandson of Johann Michael von Benckendorff and wife Sophie von Löwenstern.

His brother Alexander von Benckendorff (1783-1844) was also a general and statesman, and his sister Dorothea von Lieven was a political force famous at London, St. Petersburg, and Paris. His other sister Maria von Benckendorff (Saint Petersburg, 1784 - ?) married Ivan Georgievich Sevitsch.

Trained as a diplomat, he joined the army to take part in the concluding stages of the Napoleonic wars, specifically in the taking of Kassel, Fulda, Hanau, Rheims, and Soissons. After the war, Benckendorff returned to diplomacy.

Five years later, he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Baden and Stuttgart. With the outbreak of the Russo-Persian War he returned to Russia, captured Echmiadzin and routed the Kurds near Erivan. He then crossed the Araks River and defeated the Persian cavalry. Benckendorff died of a fever that swept through the Russian army at the beginning of the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829.

He married on 1 September 1814 Natalia Alopaeus (4 February 1796 - 29 January 1823) and had two children: Count Constantin Alexander Constantinovich Benckendorff (22 October 1816 - Paris, 29 January 1858), married in Potsdam on 20 June 1848 to Princess Louise Constantine Nathalie Johanne de Croy (Anholt, 2 November 1825 - Meran, 8 January 1890) - the parents, among others, of Alexander Konstantinovich Benckendorff; and Countess Maria Constantinovna Benckendorff (1818 - 31 October 1844), married to Pavel Ivanovich Golenischev-Kutuzov-Tolstoi (? - 1883).

Honours and awards[edit]

External links[edit]

  • (Russian) Biography
  • Judith Lissauer Cromwell, "Dorothea Lieven: A Russian Princess in London and Paris, 1785-1857" (McFarland & Co. 2007) ISBN 0-7864-2651-9