DEMIDOV, the name of a famous Russian family, founded by Nikita Demidov (b. c. 1665), who was originally a blacksmith serf. He made his fortune by his skill in the manufacture of weapons, and established an iron foundry for the government. Peter the Great, with whom he was a Tavourite, ennobled him in 1720. His son, Akinfiy Demidov (d. c. 1740), increased his inherited wealth by the discovery and working of gold, silver and copper mines. The latter's nephew, Paul Grigoryevich Demidov (1738-1821), was a great traveller who was a benefactor of Russian scientific education; he founded an annual prize for Russian literature, awarded by the Academy of Sciences. Paul's nephew, Nikolay Nikitich Demidov (1774-1828), raised and commanded a regiment to oppose Napoleon's invasion, and carried on the accumulation of the family wealth from mining; he contributed liberally to the erection of four bridges in St Petersburg, and to the propagation of scientific culture in Moscow. Paul's son, Anatoli Demidov (1812-1870), was a well-known traveller and patron of art; he married Princess Mathilde, daughter of Jerome Bonaparte.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)