Born: April 21, 1729 Stettin, Prussia (today Szczecin, Poland) Died: November 6, 1796 Tsarskoye Selo (today Pushkin, Russia) German-created Russian empress
The fresh new Russian empress Catherine II, also known as Catherine the nice, reigned out of 1762 to help you 1796. She expanded the fresh Russian Empire, improved administration, and you will energetically pursued the policy of Westernization (the whole process of switching so you’re able to west records and you will life style). Below the girl signal Russia increased strong and you can rivaled the great efforts off European countries and you may China.
Catherine II was created Sophia Augusta Frederica on German urban area regarding Stettin, Prussia (now Szczecin, Poland), to your April 21, 1729. She is the newest girl off Prince Religious August from Anhalt-Zerbst and you will Princess Johanna Age of Holstein-Gottorp. Catherine’s parents, who have been dreaming about a boy, didn’t inform you a great deal of love to your the girl. As the a young child, Catherine are next to the girl governess Babette, just who Catherine called, « the sort of governess all the son should have. » Catherine’s studies showcased the fresh new victims considered proper for one out-of her class: faith (Lutheranism), record, French, Italian language, and you will tunes.
Whenever Catherine are ten, she went to Russia at invitation of Empress Elizabeth so you’re able to meet with the heir toward throne, this new Grand Duke Peter (1728–1762), a keen teenage and disagreeable teens out-of 16. Appropriate Catherine transformed into this new Russian Orthodox believe, she while the young Grand Duke was partnered in 1745.
Peter try soon being unfaithful so you’re able to Catherine, and shortly after a time she turned into unfaithful so you can your. Whether Peter is the daddy away from Paul and you will Anna, the two children submitted as their girls and boys, remains a question.
Although not, the woman loveless relationships didn’t overshadow the girl rational and you will political interests. A-sharp-witted and you can cultured girl, she read extensively, particularly in French. She enjoyed books, takes on, and you will verse but was particularly trying to find the latest blog of the major numbers of the French Enlightenment (a period of social and you can idealistic sales inside the France), such as for example Diderot (1713–1784), Voltaire (1694–1778), and you will Montesquieu (1689–1755).
Catherine is actually ambitious and additionally wise and featured forward to the time she’d rule Russia. Instead of the girl spouse, the brand new Italian language-born Catherine grabbed worry to display her dedication to Russia and you will the brand new Russian Orthodox (a different branch of your own Christian believe) trust. So it commitment, she consider, perform secure their a rightful place on the newest throne and you will earn support of one’s Russian somebody.
Whenever Empress E passed away to your December twenty-five, 1761, Peter are declared Emperor Peter III, and you can Catherine turned into empress. Not all the months immediately following going to brand new throne, Peter had written of many opponents inside the bodies, the fresh new military, additionally the church. Soon there clearly was a story so you can overthrow your, set their eight-year-old boy Paul with the throne, and you may label Catherine since regent (short-term ruler) until the kid is actually old enough in order to laws on his own. But those people mixed up in patch got underestimated Catherine’s aspiration. They considered that by getting eliminate Peter, Catherine create become more out-of a background shape. She aimed to have a healthier character to possess by herself, although not. Towards Summer 28, 1762, by using their mate Gregory Orlov, she rallied the troops regarding St. Petersburg to help you this lady assistance and proclaimed by herself Catherine II, truly the only ruler out of Russia. She had Peter arrested and you will needed him so you’re able to abdicate, or step-down out of, energy. Immediately after his stop he had been murdered inside the good brawl which have their captors.
Catherine got bold plans off both residential and you will foreign things. But inside the earliest numerous years of their rule her attention are directed into the protecting this lady standing. She understood one to many influential individuals believed the girl an excellent usurper, or a person who grabbed another’s power illegally. They seen their boy, Paul, as the rightful leader. Her reaction to this example were to get all of the opportunity to win like one of many nobility in addition to armed forces. Meanwhile she hit sharply at people who wanted to restore their with Paul.
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