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Catherine the Great

(Catherine II of Russia)

1729–1796
Civilization: Norse — Russia
   Field of Renown:  monarch — Empress
Era:  Russian

Catherine
CATHERINE THE GREAT
Catherine the Great was the third Empress to rule the Russian Empire as sole ruler, rather than regent. Her reign is known as Russia’s Golden Age, as she instituted many educational and financial reforms. Ironically, Catherine was not originally Russian. She was born a German princess, who married Peter III, son of the Empress Elizabeth I. Catherine disliked Peter, although history states that no one really liked Peter. When Peter ascended to the throne after the death of Elizabeth, he held that throne for a scant handful of months before Catherine staged a coup, backed by the military and several powerful nobles. Catherine’s political savvy and strategic alliances had her in the Russian throne before her husband knew what had hit him. Catherine would retain that political savvy and talent for forming alliances with powerful people throughout her rule. Under her, Russia further expanded its territory, and formed alliances that would become key in the future.


Key events during the life of Catherine the Great:


Year
Event
1729
Born Sophia Augusta Fredericka, a member of the ruling German family of Anhalt.
1744
Converts to Russian Orthodox Church.
1745
Marries Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, heir to Empress Elizabeth I of Russia.
1754
Birth of Paul Petrovich, future Paul I, Emperor of Russia.
1757
Birth of Anna Petrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia. She only lived to be two years old.
1762
Death of Empress Elizabeth. Husband becomes Tsar Peter III.
1762
June 28th, seizes throne from her husband in a coup. Peter III forced to sign abdication, and is then killed. It is not known if Catherine ordered his death.
1762
Birth of Alexei Grigorievich Bobrinsky, Count Bobrinsky, illegitimate son.
1764
Ivan VI escapes from imprisonment and is caught and executed.
1766
Commercial treaty with Great Britain.
1768-74
First Russo-Turkish War, Russia defeats the Ottoman Empire, becoming the dominant power in Southeastern Europe.
1780
Establishes League of Armed Neutrality; designed to defend neutral ships from the British Navy during the American Revolution.
1783
Annexation of the Crimea.
1787-92
Second Russo-Turkish War. Ended with Russian victory and Treaty of Jassy.
1792
Polish-Russian War; Russian victory. Poland partitioned between Prussia, Austria, and Russia.
1792
Trade mission sent to Japan. Recieved by Tokugawa Shogunate, but negotiations failed.
1796
Novemeber 17th, death of Catherine the Great from stroke.

Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
Russia Under Catherine II, the Great  in  The Story of Russia  by  R. Van Bergen
Catherine Dispatches her Husband  in  History of Russia  by  Nathan Dole
How a Woman Dethroned a Man  in  Historical Tales - Russian  by  Charles Morris
Magical Transformation Scene  in  Historical Tales - Russian  by  Charles Morris


Image Links


Catherine II
 in The Story of Russia


Contemporary
Short Biography
Voltaire Controversial "free-thinker", satirist, essayist, and philosopher of the Enlightenment.