Serfdom was abolished in the Russian Empire on this day in 1861. Around 23 million people thus gained their freedom.
The declaration of the abolishment of serfdom was enacted in the time of Russian emperor Alexander II, who was given the nickname “The Liberator” due to this (Russian: Алекса́ндр Освободитель). Alexander II was the grandfather of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, who was killed by the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution.
Russia was one of the last European countries to abolish serfdom. However, it is interesting that the Russian Empire abolished serfdom before the USA abolished slavery. Namely, the American Civil War, which was in good part fought around the question of slavery, began only around one month after serfdom was abolished in Russia (in the same year, 1861).