CATHERINE THE GREAT (EKATERINA ALEXEEVNA)
Born on April 21, 1729, in Strettin (now Szczecin), Poland, into the family
of Prince Christian August of Anhalt-Zerbst, Catherine was christened Sophia
Augusta Frederica. On February 9, 1744, aged 15, she came to Russia at the
invitation of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna as the
bride of the heir to the throne, Peter Feodorovich. They married in St.
Petersburg on August 21, 1745, and she was christened into the Orthodox Church as Ekaterina Alexeevna. Industrious,
highly intelligent and strong-willed, she quickly mastered the Russian language.
A reader of historical and philosophical works, she entered into correspondence
with some of the greatest minds in Europe, including Voltaire.
EMPRESS OF ALL RUSSIA 1762-1796
On June 28, 1762, with the support of the Imperial Guard, she overthrew her
husband Peter III. She was crowned Empress of All
Russia on September 22, 1762, in the Dormition Cathedral of
the Moscow Kremlin. Her rule was one of the most prosperous periods of the
Russian Empire. She undertook a wide range of internal political reforms, waged
two successful wars against the Ottoman Empire and occupied vast territories on
Russia's southern boundaries, eventually advancing the country's border to the
Black Sea. She died on November 6, 1796, and 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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