|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:
||Born Sophia Augusta Fredericka, a member of the ruling German family of Anhalt.
||Converts to Russian Orthodox Church.
||Marries Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, heir to Empress Elizabeth I of Russia.
||Birth of Paul Petrovich, future Paul I, Emperor of Russia.
||Birth of Anna Petrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia. She only lived to be two years old.
||Death of Empress Elizabeth. Husband becomes Tsar Peter III.
||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.
||Birth of Alexei Grigorievich Bobrinsky, Count Bobrinsky, illegitimate son.
||Ivan VI escapes from imprisonment and is caught and executed.
||Commercial treaty with Great Britain.
||First Russo-Turkish War, Russia defeats the Ottoman Empire, becoming the dominant power in Southeastern Europe.
||Establishes League of Armed Neutrality; designed to defend neutral ships from the British Navy during the American Revolution.
||Annexation of the Crimea.
||Second Russo-Turkish War. Ended with Russian victory and Treaty of Jassy.
||Polish-Russian War; Russian victory. Poland partitioned between Prussia, Austria, and Russia.
||Trade mission sent to Japan. Recieved by Tokugawa Shogunate, but negotiations failed.
||Novemeber 17th, death of Catherine the Great from stroke.
||Controversial "free-thinker", satirist, essayist, and philosopher of the Enlightenment.