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Catherine The Great
Empress of russia
Catherine was born on april 21, 1729 as Sophie Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst.
Her father was Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst and governor of the city of stettin.
Her mother was johanna elisabeth of holstein-gottorp.
Against her fathers wishes, she converted to eastern orthodox in 1744, where she was renamed catherine.
On august 21,1745, when she was just sixteen, she was wed to peter von Holstein-gottorp, her second cousin.
Catherine despised peter and later wrote in her diary that she stayed at one end of the castle, and peter the other side.
The Reign Of Peter III
In 1762, Peter succeeded to the throne and became emperor of russia.
Before he left on a trip, catherine had him sign a document that stated no one could dispute her claim to the throne in the matter of his death.
Just six months later, Peter iii was strangled to death by alexei orlov, who just happened to be the brother of catherines lover.
There was never any sound evidence that linked catherine to the assassination of her husband.
On June 28, 1762, she was declared Catherine ii of russia and officially crowned in moscow on September 22, 1762.
The Reign Of Catherine ii
SHe agreed to a commercial treaty with great britain in 1766.
Made russia the dominant power in south eastern europe after the russo turkish war Against the ottoman empire (1768-1774)
Added many new territories such as Ukraine, Odessa, Nikolayev, Yekaterinoslav (The Glory Of catherine), Kherson, Azoz, Kerch. Yenikale, Kinburn and a small strip of coast on the black sea.
Catherine annexed the crimea in 1783, and russia took over the palace which provoked the second Russo-Turko War.
The second war ran from 1787-1792 and left the ottomans in catastrophic defeat.
In 1768, Catherine formally became the protector of the polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which caused an anti-russian uprising known as the confederation of bar(1768-1772)
From 1788-1790 russia was at war with sweden, King gustav iii believing he could overthrow the russian armies still at war with the ottoman turks. In the end, both countries signed a treaty an all territories were returned to their respective countries.
1796, Catherine waged a war with persia when their new king broke a previous treaty and invaded georgia in 1795.
In June of 1796, russian troops had taken over major cities such as Baku, Shemakha and Ganja, preparing to attack iran.
The empress dies before the orders could be given to invade. Her son, Paul, succeeded her and ordered the troops to retreat back to russia.
Catherine believed education could change the hearts and minds of the russian people.
She established the Smolny Institute for Noble Girls, which at first only accepted girls from elite families but soon took girls of any social class.
They were taught to speak Immaculate french, musicianship, dancing and complete awe of the monarch.
By 1782, The empress was frustrated with the lack of a national school system. On august 5, 1786, the russian institute of national education was created.
This system created a network of both primary and high schools in russian capitals that were free of charge to attend.
Arts and culture
The empress was a great patron of the arts. She wrote her own comedies, fiction and memoirs.
Voltaire, Diderot amd d'Alembert cemented her reputation in their later writings.
She kept in contact with Voltaire for more than 15 years, enlisting him in her cause bitterly moarned his passing.
She collected all his writings and books and had them placed in the National Library of russia.
She appointed elisabeth vigge le brun, who was previously a court painter for marie antoinette, to paint her portarait shortly before she died.
She nationalized church lands to pay for all of the costly wars she waged an did not permit chapels to be built and suppressed religious dissent.
However, she promoted the protection of christians and placed strictures on roman catholics.
Catherine chose to assimilate islam instead of eradicating the religion from russia. In fear of an uprising.
In 1785, the empress declared all jewish persons to be officially labelled as foreigners an denied them the rights of being an orthodox or a naturalized citizen of russia as they share no biological relation to russians.
During her reign, catherine never remarried but took a great number of lovers.
She would place them in higher position within her court and would ask their advice on legal and military matters.
When she lost interest or the affair was over, she would pension them off with gifts of money, servants and large estates.
After her affair with Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin ended, he hand selected her a new lover that he knew she would find desirable an hold her interest.
Pyotr Zavadovsky was given 50,000 rubles, a pension of 5,000 rubles and 4,000 serfs when their affair ended in 1777.
Succeeded catherine as emperor of russia.
His brother paul later appointed him as count alexei.
Paul Petrovich i
End of an era
On november 16, 1796, Catherine awoke in the morning and had her usual cup of coffee and sat down in her study with some papers. Her handmaiden asked the empress if she had slept well and catherine replied that she hadnt slept that well in a long time, Hours later she was found collapsed from a stroke on her bathroom floor. Despite all efforts, she slipped in a coma and passed away the following evening. Her body was placed on public display for six weeks then finally buried at the peter and paul cathedral in saint petersburg.
AFter her death by a stroke, it was rumored she had actually died while attempting to have sexual relations with a horse. These rumors were started by servants who reported her visiting the horse stables for hours at a time.
When one of her lovers ran off and married a younger woman, catherine had the girl captured, stripped naked and whipped in front of her new husband.
She possessed an erotic cabinet which had carvings depicting sexual acts, along with a table with legs carved to look like penises. The walls to her suite were covered in erotic artwork and she collected statues in erotic poses as well. There are photographs of this room but the collection has all but disappeared since then and the russian authorites have always been particularly secretive about it.
The winter palace
Catherine the great:
Portrait of a woman
Catherine The Great And Potemkin: The Imperial Love affair
By Eva Stachniak
By Robert K. Massie
By Simon Sebag montefiore
Catherine The Great(Tv movie-1995)
Catherine the great(documentary-2005
Ekaterina ii (tv series-2014)
Catherine The Great(Russian tv series-2015)
The most recent series is actually an incredible piece of work if you can find it.
Massie, robert k, catherine the great;portrait of a woman. Thorndike press 2012
Planetalinform, "catherin the great trailer eng sub" youtube october 1, 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbRQhvkups8
twork of both primary and high schools in russian capitals that were free of charge to attend.
Catherine chose to assimilate isl