Catherine the Great Facts

Catherine the Great Facts
Catherine the Great, also known as Catherine II, was the Empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796, making her the longest ruling female in the country. She was born Princess Sophia Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, on May 2, 1729, in Stettin, Prussia, to Christian August, and Johanna Elisabeth. Catherine was born a princess but her family was not wealthy. Catherine was introduced to her future husband when she was 10 years old. His name was Peter III, and she did not like him. She was well-educated in religion, languages and history. Catherine was married to Peter when she was 16, after having to convert to Eastern Orthodoxy.
Interesting Catherine the Great Facts:
Catherine married Grand Duke Peter of Russia, and as empress became known as Catherine the Great.
Catherine changed her name from Sophia to Catherine when she converted to Orthodoxy.
Catherine's marriage choices were based on her strong bloodlines. When she was introduced to Empress Elizabeth she was seen as a good prospect for Peter.
In the early years of her marriage Catherine was an avid horsewoman and spent a lot of her time riding.
It took eight years for Catherine and Peter to produce an heir after they were married.
There were rumors that Peter was not able to produce an heir and that the baby - Paul - was actually the son of Sergi Saltykov, a Russian military officer.
Catherine and Peter did not have a good marriage. Peter often had mistresses and drank too much alcohol.
Catherine and Peter had three children during their marriage but many believe that none were actually Peter's.
Peter became king in 1761 after Elizabeth died. Catherine and Gregory Orlov (her lover) overtook Peter and control of the throne with the country's most powerful military forces.
Catherine became the sole ruler of Russia and forced Peter to give up his role as Emperor by having him arrested.
Only a few days after Peter gave up his throne he was murdered. The murderer was a co-conspirator of Catherine the Great. It is suspected that she arranged the murder.
Catherine the Great believed in social reform and equality, and issued a document called the Nakaz, which pushed for the end of torture and capital punishment.
During Catherine's rule there were over 12 uprisings. In 1773 armed peasants and Cossacks rebelled but Catherine defeated them and had the leader, Emelyan Pugachev executed.
Catherine the Great wrote a number of pamphlets, booksm and educational material. She wanted to improve the education system.
Catherine the Great loved art and her collection is housed at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Catherine was not very close to her son Paul, who was in line to the throne. She preferred Paul's son Alexander as the heir to the throne but she died before making her wishes official.
After Catherine married Peter she never left Russia. She had portions of the Winter Palace decorated to look like places and art she would never be able to visit.
Catherine the Great died at the age of 67, on November 17, 1796, the day after suffering from a stroke.


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