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Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great was the Empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796. She was born Sophia Augusta Federica in Stettin, Prussia. She was the daughter of Prince Christian August of Anhalt-Zerbst and Princess Johanna Elizabeth of Holstein-Gottorp.

Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great's parents didn't show much affection because they were hoping for a son. This may have been one reason why Catherine sought political power and used her husband and other lovers to accomplish this goal, because she wanted to feel validated and loved.

Catherine also received training from a governess in subjects which were suitable for upper-class women and these included the Lutheran religion, French, German and music. At age fifteen she met her future husband Grand Duke Peter and she converted to the Russian Orthodox faith against her father's wishes.

Catherine saw this more as political strategy rather than a symbol of genuine faith because her goal was to eventually rule Russia, and she married Peter in 1745. Once Peter became Emperor Peter III, Catherine realized that he was not fit to rule Russia, and she was already unhappy in the marriage.

They were both unfaithful to each other and one of Catherine's lovers, Gregory Orlov, helped her overthrow Emperor Peter III, who was killed by his captors. Empress Catherine then became the sole ruler of the Russian Empire.

During Catherine the Great's reign, she expanded Russia's empire by becoming a dominant world power in the Middle East and among the Balkan nations such as Belarus, Lithuania and the Ukraine. She did this by defeating the Turks in a war against the Ottoman Empire between 1768 to 1774.

In 1774, she successfully stopped a peasant uprising which was led by a man named Emel'yan Pugachev. He declared himself to be the deposed tsar Peter III. Other peasants followed him in the uprising, but Catherine the Great ordered the army to end the revolt and Pugachev was executed for his crimes.

Catherine the Great didn't just focus on gaining political power. She followed the ideals of the Enlightenment and she promoted the arts and culture in order to change Russia's image of being a backwards society that wasn't in keeping with the new ideals of the day.

She started the Hermitage Museum, which was a place where she stored her personal art collection. She also opened the Smolny Institute, which was Russia's first modern school for girls. Catherine the Great wrote plays, comedies, memoirs and fables, and she also befriended key Enlightenment philosophers such as Voltaire and Diderot.

Voltaire even referred to Catherine as the "Semiramis of Russia", which relates to the historic Queen of Babylon, Semiramis. She also established the National Library of Russia. In 1796 Catherine the Great died following a stroke.

There is a secret you don't know …

Besides the factual Catherine the Great biography presented above there is a secret about this great ruler that needs to be told. And that secret is that Catherine the Great for a brief while married Tony the Tiger who called her Catherine the Grrrreeeeaaaattt!!!


 

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