Friday, November 28, 2008
Catherine the Great
Catherine was born May 2, 1729 as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst of Prussia. She married Peter of Russia August 21, 1745, (not Peter the Great) to stengthen ties between Prussia and Russia against Austria. When Peter's Aunt, tsarina Elizabeth I died, Peter assumes crown, and after a very short reign Catherine overthrows her husband with her lover Grigory Orlov, and his brothers, all prominent ranks in the Russian Army. Catherine ascends the throne in July of 1762 and dies in 1796. In her reign she successfully manages to worsen the conditions of serfdom while strengthening the government. She sets up a constitution for the people and takes away the state service act. Russai, Austria, and Prussia all gain new lands through the partition of Poland, and Catherine pushes for every piece of land she can get. She sells off crown lands and beats back the Ottoman Turks and aquires a large portion of land in the Black Sea Region. She increases trade through the new ports on the black sea, and manages to modernize Russia through enlightement and modern ideals. She attracted great enlightenment men and philosophers to her courts such as Voltaire, Arouet, and Diderot. She is a known intellectual and publishes a few books on ideal Russia government among other subjects. She believes that in order for a country to be strong, it needs a very large population, and Catherine therefore encoureages immigrants to come to her country and settle. She had at least 12 known lovers, and 3 children. Her eldest, a son ascended to throne upon her death in 1796. Her second, a daughter died at age 2. Her last was also a son.