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ELIZAVETA PETROVNA

1709-1761
EMPRESS OF ALL RUSSIA 1741-1761

Daughter of Emperor Peter the Great, Elizaveta Petrovna was born on December 18, 1709, before her father's official marriage to Catherine I. As soon as Catherine died, the position of the Czarevna became most precarious, particularly during the reign of Anna Ivanovna and the Regency of Anna Leopoldovna; both feared the Imperial Guard's loyalty to Peter's daughter. Elizaveta was saved from taking the veil by her nephew, the Prince of Holstein (the future Emperor Peter III).

On the night of November 25, 1741, Elizaveta went to the barracks of the Preobrazhenskii regiment and persuaded the soldiers to follow her. The Braunschweig clan and a number of senior officials were arrested and the 32-year-old Elizaveta was proclaimed Empress. On April 25, 1742, Elizaveta was crowned in the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.

During her reign, significant advances were made economically and culturally. In foreign policy, Russia became so important that all states were eager to make treaties. One of Elizaveta's most important decrees was made on May 7, 1744: the abolition of capital punishment. During her reign, not a single person was executed.

She died on December 25, 1761, leaving no heir. She was buried in the Cathedral of the St. Peter and St. Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.

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Text compiled by Alexei K. Levykin
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