Biron or Biren, Ernst Johann von (ĕrnst yōhänˈ fən bēˈrôn, bēˈrən) [key], 1690–1772, duke of Courland (1737–43, 1763–69), favorite of Czarina Anna of Russia. A Baltic nobleman, he rose to an all-powerful position under Anna, through whose influence he was elected duke of Courland. After Anna's death (1740) he was made regent for her grandnephew Ivan VI. Biron's unscrupulousness had earned him general hatred, and shortly after he became regent a coup ousted and banished him (1741). In 1743, Augustus III of Poland deprived him of his duchy. Czar Peter III later recalled him and Catherine II secured the restoration of his title, but Biron never regained his former influence.
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