Catherine the Great - Empress of Russia, Family and Childhood

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Catherine the Great's Personal Details

Catherine the Great was the longest ruling female leader of Russia whose reign was called Russia’s Golden Age

InformationDetail
BirthdayMay 2, 1729
Died onNovember 17, 1796
NationalityRussian
FamousEmpress of Russia, Historical Personalities, Empresses & Queens, Leaders, ENTP
SpousesPeter III of Russia
SiblingsAuguste von Anhalt-Zerbst, Elisabeth von Anhalt-Zerbst, Friedrich August von Anhalt-Zerbst, Wilhelm Christian Friedrich von Anhalt-Zerbst
Known asYekaterina Alexeevna
Childrens Paul I of Russia
Birth PlaceSzczecin, Poland
GenderFemale
FatherChristian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst
MotherJohanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp
Sun SignTaurus
Born inSzczecin, Poland
Famous asEmpress of Russia
Died at Age67

// Famous Empress of Russia

Catherine the Great's photo

Who is Catherine the Great?

Catherine the Great, also known as Catherine II was a female leader of Russia known for revitalizing the country and making it one of the great powers of Europe during her reign. She came into power after the death of her husband and rose to become the strongest and the longest ruling female leader of Russia. The period of her reign was known as Russia’s Golden Age; it was during her reign that the Russian empire expanded considerably, growing larger and stronger than ever before. Born as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst, a minor princess, she gradually rose to become the leader of Russia through her marriage to Grand Duke Peter, the heir to the Russian throne. She had an unhappy marriage and was even living separately from her husband at one point. Her husband became Tsar Peter III though he reigned for just six months before being overthrown. She became the empress and ruled over Russia in what came to be known as the Catherinian era. She always had the help of her favourite nobles, Grigory Orlov and Grigory Potemkin, the latter of whom was also rumored to be one of her various lovers. She was also a very talented writer who produced several pieces of fiction, comedies and memoirs.

// Famous Leaders

Childhood & Early Life

She was born as the daughter of Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst who held the rank of a Prussian general, and Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. She was educated by a French governess and tutors.

Her mother had relations with members of royalty and through her diplomacy fixed her daughter’s marriage with the prospective tsar Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, heir to the ruling Russian Empress, Elizabeth. The marriage took place in 1745 when Catherine was 16 years old. The marriage was not be a happy union.

Accession & Reign

Empress Elizabeth died in January 1762 and Peter succeeded to the throne as Peter III of Russia and Catherine became the Empress Consort. However, by this time Peter and Catherine had become estranged.

Peter had reigned for just six months when Catherine directed a coup which deposed Peter from power and made her the Empress of Russia in July 1762. Peter was strangled to death by Alexei Orlov within days after the coup.

She expanded the borders of the Russian empire considerably during her reign. Territories of New Russia, Crimea, Northern Caucasus, Belarus, Lithuania, among others were brought under her control. It is estimated that she helped to add approximately 200,000 square miles to the Russian territory.

She tried to bring about political and social reforms by compiling a document called ‘Nakaz’ which contained advice on how the legislature should function. She called a meeting of delegates from different social and economic classes to form the Legislative Commission in 1767.

Under her reign, the Assignation Bank started issuing the first government paper money in 1768. Several bank branches were established all over the country. The large governmental spending necessitated the issuing of paper money.

She made Russia a dominant super power in Europe after the first Russo-Turkish War against the Ottoman Empire that lasted from 1768 till 1774. She obtained access to Ukraine where she established the cities of Odessa, Nikolayev and Kherson.

In 1783, she annexed the Crimea and the palace of the Crimean khans passed into Russian control. This provoked the second Russo-Turkish War that started in 1787.

The Russo-Swedish War took place from 1788 to 1790. The King Gustav III of Sweden expected to overtake Russia but Russia fought back and prevented the Swedish army from advancing.

She had a deep interest in arts, literature and education. She herself was an avid reader and also wrote fiction and memoirs. She loved European art and culture and was a patron of the Russian opera.

She established the Smolny Institute for Noble Girls to promote education for females. The school taught French, music, dance, etc. and strict discipline was enforced within its premises.

Major Battles

Her first Russo-Turkish War (1768-74) enabled her to expand the Russian empire considerably by adding to the territory Southern Ukraine, Northern Caucasus and Crimea.

She made a triumphal procession through New Russia and annexed Crimea which led to the declaration of the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-92 in which the Ottoman Empire attempted to regain lands lost to Russia in the previous Russo-Turkish War. However, the Catherine led Russia fought away the Ottomans.

Personal Life & Legacy

She got married to Peter, the then- Duke of Holstein-Gottorp in 1745 when she was just 16 years old. The couple had one son, Paul. The marriage was unhappy from the very beginning and Peter was reported to be cruel towards his wife. Both of them took lovers even while they were married to each other. Peter died in 1762.

She took a series of lovers throughout her long reign and often gave them high positions and materialistic gifts and estates. Her most notable lovers were Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin, Pyotr Zavadovsk, and Stanisław Poniatowski. She had two children with different lovers.

She died of a stroke in November 1796. Her son Paul succeeded her to the throne.

Trivia

This famous empress of Russia was rumored to have sexual interest in horses.

// Famous Historical Personalities

Catherine the Great biography timelines

  • // 2nd May 1729
    She was born as the daughter of Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst who held the rank of a Prussian general, and Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. She was educated by a French governess and tutors.
  • // 1745
    Her mother had relations with members of royalty and through her diplomacy fixed her daughter’s marriage with the prospective tsar Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, heir to the ruling Russian Empress, Elizabeth. The marriage took place in 1745 when Catherine was 16 years old. The marriage was not be a happy union.
  • // Jan 1762
    Empress Elizabeth died in January 1762 and Peter succeeded to the throne as Peter III of Russia and Catherine became the Empress Consort. However, by this time Peter and Catherine had become estranged.
  • // Jul 1762
    Peter had reigned for just six months when Catherine directed a coup which deposed Peter from power and made her the Empress of Russia in July 1762. Peter was strangled to death by Alexei Orlov within days after the coup.
  • // 17th Nov 1762
    She died of a stroke in November 1796. Her son Paul succeeded her to the throne.
  • // 1767
    She tried to bring about political and social reforms by compiling a document called ‘Nakaz’ which contained advice on how the legislature should function. She called a meeting of delegates from different social and economic classes to form the Legislative Commission in 1767.
  • // 1768
    Under her reign, the Assignation Bank started issuing the first government paper money in 1768. Several bank branches were established all over the country. The large governmental spending necessitated the issuing of paper money.
  • // 1768 To 1774
    She made Russia a dominant super power in Europe after the first Russo-Turkish War against the Ottoman Empire that lasted from 1768 till 1774. She obtained access to Ukraine where she established the cities of Odessa, Nikolayev and Kherson.
  • // 1783
    In 1783, she annexed the Crimea and the palace of the Crimean khans passed into Russian control. This provoked the second Russo-Turkish War that started in 1787.
  • // 1788 To 1790
    The Russo-Swedish War took place from 1788 to 1790. The King Gustav III of Sweden expected to overtake Russia but Russia fought back and prevented the Swedish army from advancing.

// Famous Empresses & Queens

Catherine the Great's FAQ

  • What is Catherine the Great birthday?

    Catherine the Great was born at 1729-05-02

  • When was Catherine the Great died?

    Catherine the Great was died at 1796-11-17

  • Where was Catherine the Great died?

    Catherine the Great was died in Saint Petersburg

  • Which age was Catherine the Great died?

    Catherine the Great was died at age 67

  • Where is Catherine the Great's birth place?

    Catherine the Great was born in Szczecin, Poland

  • What is Catherine the Great nationalities?

    Catherine the Great's nationalities is Russian

  • Who is Catherine the Great spouses?

    Catherine the Great's spouses is Peter III of Russia

  • Who is Catherine the Great siblings?

    Catherine the Great's siblings is Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst, Elisabeth von Anhalt-Zerbst, Friedrich August von Anhalt-Zerbst, Wilhelm Christian Friedrich von Anhalt-Zerbst

  • Who is Catherine the Great childrens?

    Catherine the Great's childrens is Paul I of Russia

  • Who is Catherine the Great's father?

    Catherine the Great's father is Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst

  • Who is Catherine the Great's mother?

    Catherine the Great's mother is Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp

  • What is Catherine the Great's sun sign?

    Catherine the Great is Taurus

  • How famous is Catherine the Great?

    Catherine the Great is famouse as Empress of Russia