She came to power as a result of a daring coup that, amazingly, succeeded without bloodshed. Catherine the Great (1729-96), empress of Russia (1762-96), the second of that name, who continued the process of Westernization begun by Peter the Great and made Russia a European power. Catherine confirmed the authority of the nobles over the serfs in return for the nobles’ political cooperation. Catherine enlisted Voltaire to her cause,and corresponded with him for 15 years, from her accession to his death in 1778. The young princess formally converted to Russian Orthodoxy and took the name Ekaterina Alexeievna (Catherine). Her Prussophile successor, Peter III, at once recalled Russian armies from Berlin and mediated Frederick’s truce with Sweden. Catherine, though not descended from any previous Russian emperor of the Romanov Dynasty (she descended from the Rurik Dynasty, which preceded the Romanovs), succeeded her husband as empress regnant. They continued doing so during Catherine’s reign though she signed legislation prohibiting the practice. 1757 - Russian troops join in the Seven Years' War. After the death of Empress Elizabeth in 1762, Peter succeeded to the throne as Emperor Peter III and Catherine became empress consort. Meanwhile, Russian columns ambushed and destroyed Swedish reinforcements that Charles desperately needed to replenish his battered army. Catherine staged a coup and had her husband arrested, then forced him to sign a document of abdication, leaving no one to dispute her accession to the throne. After the death of Empress Elizabeth in 1762, Peter succeeded to the throne as Emperor Peter III and Catherine became empress consort. It is suggested that his mother had engaged in an affair—to which Empress Elizabeth consented—with a young officer named Serge Saltykov and that he was Paul’s father. Catherine had a reputation as a patron of the arts, literature, and education. She was born the German Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst on May 2, 1729 to Prince Christian and Princess Johanna. Those who have seen the photos of frozen German soldiers at Moscow and Stalingrad can imagine what the boys from Stockholm must have looked like. At this point, Russia won the war with Turkey and Catherine crushed the rebellion. Peter III was emperor of Russia for six months in 1762. She often visited them, marking special events with the officers and acting as godmother to their children. Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. Despite two early defeats, the Swedes recovered sufficiently to take on the Russian Navy in July 1790. Although the original construction of the Palace started under Peter the Great, Elizabeth commissioned an entirely new scheme (of the current structure) and oversaw the construction but died before its completion. 1736 - Start of the Russo-Turkish War against the Ottoman Empire. Peter the Great had already gained land on the baltic sea and founded saint petersburg there, but catherine the great wanted more so she expanded even more into the black sea to develop a permanent presence there. able to undo the ignominy of the Nordic war and return Sweden its supremacy in the Baltic Sea region. Then came the Great Frost of 1709, the coldest winter that Europe had experienced in the previous 500 years, which of course turned Russia into a vast freezer that could sustain human life under the right conditions. Catherine presided over the age of the Russian Enlightenment and sought contact with and inspiration from the major philosophers of the era. As such, she believed that strengthening her authority had to occur by improving the lives of her subjects. 1745. Although she placed strictures on Roman Catholics in the Polish parts of her empire, Russia also provided an asylum to the Jesuits following their suppression in most of Europe in 1773. The Convent was one of many buildings erected for religious purposes under Elizabeth’s rule. You write on paper and paper is patient. However, she did not support a free-thinking spirit among her own subjects as much as among the famous French philosophers. He would announce trying drills in the morning to male servants, who later joined Catherine in her room to sing and dance until late hours. Gustavus Adolphus fell at the Battle of Lutzen in 1632 (though his army still won). The deprivation to both the Russian people and the army caused by the ongoing Seven Years’ War were not permitted to hinder the progress. Peter’s shift in the official position of Russia from the enemy to the ally of Prussia during the Seven Years’ War eroded much of his support among the nobility. On July 17, eight days after the coup and just six months after his accession to the throne, Peter III died at the hands of Alexei Orlov. Although Sophia was born a princess, her family had very little money. The remodelling of the Cadet Corps in 1766 initiated many educational reforms. The Russian troops first resisted a Swedish charge (wounds had forced Charles to relinquish command of his army). This turn of events has become known as “the Second Miracle of the House of Brandenburg.”. Catherine agreed to a commercial treaty with Great Britain in 1766, but stopped short of a full military alliance. Although Sophia’s father, a devout German Lutheran, opposed his daughter’s conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy, in 1744 the Russian Orthodox Church received Princess Sophia as a member with the new name Catherine and the (artificial) patronymic Alekseyevna (daughter of Aleksey). However,Elizabeth died in 1762, a year before the war formally ended. However, in her anti-Ottoman policy, she promoted the protection and fostering of Christians under Turkish rule. There followed heavy fighting between the Russian and Swedish warships, which ended with a Russian defeat at Svensksund. Catherine converted to the Russian Orthodoxy as part of her immersion in the Russian matters but personally remained largely indifferent to religion. Their armies withdrew deep into the vastness of Mother Russia, leaving “scorched earth” in their wake and precious little for the Swedish soldiers and horses to eat. The Moscow Foundling Home (Moscow Orphanage), charged with admitting destitute and extramarital children, was created to experiment with new educational theories. It is curious that over the course of 250 years, three European kings and dictators fought a campaign in Russia in the dead of winter. The Swedes were commanded by young Charles … Catherine longed for recognition as an enlightened sovereign. In episode 8 of The Great, Catherine and Peter journey to Sweden to … Lestocq and Frederick wanted to strengthen the friendship between Prussia and Russia to weaken Austria’s influence and ruin the Russian chancellor Bestuzhev, on whom Empress Elizabeth relied and who acted as a known partisan of Russo-Austrian co-operation. However, military conscription and economy continued to depend on serfdom, and the increasing demands of the state and private landowners led to increased levels of reliance on serfs. He represented the anti-Franco-Prussian portion of Elizabeth’s council and his object was to bring about an Anglo-Austro-Russian alliance. At Narva in today's Estonia in 1700, 12,000 Swedes outnumbered nearly 3 to 1 almost wiped out a 37,000-strong Russian force during a battle fought in a blizzard. Despite some victories, by late 1774 the tide was turning, and the Russian army’s victory at Tsaritsyn left 9,000 to 10,000 rebels dead. The period of Catherine’s rule (1762-1796), the Catherinian Era, is often considered the Golden Age of the Russian Empire and Russian nobility. Peter was believed to have taken a mistress (Elizabeth Vorontsova), while Catherine carried on liaisons with Sergei Saltykov, Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov, Alexander Vasilchikov, Grigory Potemkin, Stanisław August Poniatowski, Alexander Vasilchikov, and others. Elizabeth regarded the 1756 alliance between Great Britain and Prussia as utterly subversive of the previous conventions between Great Britain and Russia and sided against Prussia over a personal dislike of Frederick the Great. She reconstituted the senate as it had been under his reign, with the chiefs of the departments of state attending. However, as Persia under Agha Mohammad Khan invaded Georgia, established Persian rule in 1795 and expelled the newly established Russian garrisons in the Caucasus, Catherine waged a new war against Persia in 1796.On 10 May 1796, the Russian troops under Count Valerian Zubov stormed the key fortress of Derbent and by the middle of June, overran most of the territory of modern-day Azerbaijan, including … Russia often treated Judaism as a separate entity and Jews were under a separate legal and bureaucratic system. The Winter Palace and the Smolny Convent in Saint Petersburg are among the chief monuments of her reign. Writing for History Extra, Hartley describes Catherine’s Russia as an undoubtedly “aggressive nation” that clashed with the Ottomans, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania and the Crimea in … 1725 - Peter the Great dies and his wife Catherine I reigns as Empress of Russia. Catherine did not advocate democratic reforms but addressed some modernization trends, including dividing the country into provinces and districts, further increasing the power of the landed oligarchs, and issuing the Charter of the Towns, which distributed all people into six groups. The guards repaid her kindness when on the night of November 25, 1741, Elizabeth seized power with the help of the Preobrazhensky Regiment. Catherine converted to the Russian Orthodoxy as part of her immersion in the Russian matters but personally remained largely indifferent to religion. This led to a severe attack of pneumonia in March 1744. Key point: Sweden once was mighty and it nearly defeated Russia. Unfortunately for the Swedish Meteor, the Russians also used a strategy that had always worked for them. by brooks johnson 1. The Smolny Institute, the first Russian Institute for Noble Maidens and the first European state higher education institution for women, by S.F. Russo-Swedish War (1741–43) Also known as the Hats' Russian War. Peter III’s temperament became quite unbearable for those who resided in the palace. The Empress had a longstanding love of theater and had a stage erected in the palace to enjoy the countless performances she sanctioned. While she eliminated some ways for people to become serfs, culminating in a 1775 manifesto that prohibited a serf who had once been freed from becoming a serf again, she also restricted the freedoms of many peasants. She nationalized all of the church lands to help pay for her wars, largely emptied the monasteries, and forced most of the remaining clergymen to survive as farmers or from fees for services. Elizabeth aimed to continue changes made by Peter the Great. The summer after the Great Frost saw the Swedish army shrink to 20,000 soldiers and 34 cannon. During the first six years of the war, Elizabeth focused on diplomatic (both covert and overt) and military efforts that aimed to deprive Frederick the Great and Prussia of their position as a the major European ruler and power. The future Catherine the Great of Russia had surprising beginnings. On the night of July 8, Catherine the Great received the news that one of her co-conspirators had been arrested by her estranged husband and that all they had been planning had to take place at once. This was one of the chief reasons behind ongoing rebellions. However, despite the experts’ recommendations to establish a general system of education for all Russian Orthodox subjects from the age of 5 to 18, excluding serfs, only modest action was taken. Hulu's The Great takes a similarly irreverent and tongue-in-cheek approach in telling the story of Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning), the 18th century Empress of Russia who plotted a … The substantial changes made by Peter the Great had not exercised a formative influence on the intellectual attitudes of the ruling classes as a whole, and Elizabeth aimed to change that. The Convent, built when Elizabeth considered becoming a nun, was one of the many religious buildings erected at her behest, using the nation’s funds rather than those of the church. The road to Moscow is a matter of choice. This philosophy of enlightened despotism implied that the sovereign knew the interests of his or her subjects better than they themselves did. Catherine introduced some educational reforms despite the lack of a national school system. But as later invaders were to learn, the Russians could replace their losses while the invaders could not. However, in 1758, Chancellor Bestuzhev was removed from office, most likely because he attempted to sow discord between the Empress and her heir and his consort. In 1784 Crimea was taken from the Ottomans and three partitions wiped Poland off the map. Born Sophia Augusta Fredericka to Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, and Princess Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp in Stettin, Pomerania, she received education chiefly from a French governess and from tutors. The establishment of the institute was a significant step in making education available for females in Russia. In the 1770s, a group of nobles connected with Paul considered a new coup to depose Catherine and transfer the crown to Paul, whose power they envisaged restricting in a kind of constitutional monarchy. She expanded the Russian Empire, improved administration, and vigorously pursued the policy of Westernization. She enthusiastically supported the ideals of the Enlightenment, thus earning the status of an enlightened despot. She championed the arts and reorganized the Russian law code. The more interesting question is why Napoleon and Hitler didn't learn from the fate of Charles XII. There is considerable speculation as to the actual paternity of Paul. The plan was another attempt to force nomadic people to settle. Russia was revitalized, growing larger and stronger than ever and becoming recognized as one of the great powers of Europe. Some of these men eventually became her trusted political or military advisors. Catherine believed a “new kind of person” could be created by inculcating Russian children with European education. She left with the regiment to go to the Semenovsky Barracks where the clergy was waiting to ordain her as the sole occupant of the Russian throne. One of Peter’s most widely debated reforms was a manifesto that exempted the nobility from obligatory state and military service (established by Peter the Great) and gave them freedom to travel abroad. Charles left Russia with 543 survivors. Elizabeth Petrovna (1709 – 1762), the daughter of Peter the Great and his second wife, Catherine I, was the Empress of Russia from 1741 until her death in 1762. The choice of Princess Sophie as wife of the future tsar was one result of the Lopukhina Conspiracy in which Count Lestocq and Prussian king Frederick the Great took an active part. Taxes doubled again for those of Jewish descent in 1794 and Catherine officially declared that Jews bore no relation to Russians. Elizabeth was renowned throughout and beyond Russia for her fierce commitment to the arts, particularly music, theater, and architecture. The Empress also spent exorbitant sums of money on the grandiose baroque projects of her favorite architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli. No. She had her husband arrested and forced him to sign a document of abdication, leaving no one to dispute her accession to the throne. They fell for one of the classic blunders. Born Sophia Augusta Fredericka to Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, and Princess Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp in Stettin, Pomerania, her fate was decided after she was chosen to become wife of her second cousin, the prospective tsar Peter of Holstein-Gottorp (as Peter III). Galaktionov, 1823. The decision proved to be extremely unpopular in his own court and greatly contributed to Peter’s quick demise. In 1786, she assimilated the Islamic schools into the Russian public school system to be regulated by the government. To be fair to the Lion of the North, Charles XII had no crystal ball to foresee what would happen to Napoleon and Hitler when they invaded Russia. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook. The monarch taking responsibility for the subjects precluded their political participation. As such, she believed that strengthening her authority had to occur by improving the lives of her subjects. When the Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia for the second time in 1787, the Swedish king Gustav III. The unrest intensified as the 18th century wore on, with more than fifty peasant revolts occurring between 1762 and 1769. Catherine II of Russia reigned Russia from 1762 until her death in 1796. On the night of July 8, Catherine received the news that one of her co-conspirators had been arrested by her estranged husband and that all they had been planning had to take place at once. An estimated 62,000 pupils were educated in some 549 state institutions near the end of Catherine’s reign, a minuscule number of people compared to the size of the Russian population. Although the exemption from the obligatory service was welcomed by the Russian elites,  the overall reform did not convince them to support their emperor, who was generally considered as taking little interest in Russia and its matters. She left the palace and departed for the Ismailovsky regiment, where Catherine delivered a speech asking the soldiers to protect her from her husband. Alarmed at the Russian troops concentrating near their borders, unable to find any allies to resist Russian aggression, and short of money to fund a war, the government of Denmark threatened in late June to invade the free city of Hamburg in northern Germany to force a loan from it. In 1785, Catherine approved the subsidization of new mosques and new town settlements for Muslims. This triumph was credited to the diplomatic ability of the new vice chancellor, Aleksey … © Copyright 2021 Center for the National Interest All Rights Reserved, The Swedes were commanded by young Charles XII, or the 3 million men of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, Those who have seen the photos of frozen German soldiers at Moscow, Charles XII had no crystal ball to foresee what would happen to Napoleon. The newlyweds settled in the palace of Oranienbaum, which remained the residence of the “young court” for many years to come. Catherine spared no effort to ingratiate herself not only with the Empress, but also with her husband and with the Russian people. The statute established a two-tier network of high schools and primary schools in guberniya capitals that were free of charge, open to all of the free classes (not serfs), and co-educational. For one, her name wasn’t really Catherine—and she wasn’t really Russian. A case of Peter’s religious policies serves as a demonstrative example of how the pro-Prussian emperor was perceived in Russia. All this would have been impossible without the steady support of Elizabeth, who trusted him completely in spite of the Chancellor’s many enemies, most of whom were her personal friends. On the following day, the formal betrothal took place in Saint Petersburg. Elizabeth’s half-nephew Peter II (the son of her half-brother from her father’s first marriage) succeeded her mother. Among his discoveries was the atmosphere of Venus and the Law of Mass Conservation in chemical reactions. He would announce trying drills in the morning to male servants, who later joined Catherine in her room to sing and dance until late hours. Catherine the Great expanded her land to help westernize Russia. After his death in 1730, Elizabeth’s first cousin, Empress Anna (ruled 1730-40), daughter of Peter the Great’s elder brother Ivan V, ruled Russia. The Manifesto on Freedom of the Nobility, issued during the short reign of Peter III and confirmed by Catherine, freed Russian nobles from compulsory military or state service. An estimated 62,000 pupils were educated in some 549 state institutions near the end of Catherine’s reign, a minuscule number of people compared to the size of the Russian population. to become wife of her second cousin, the prospective tsar Peter III, whom she eventually overthrew to become the Empress of Russia in 1762. Swedish troops maneuvered tactically in smaller, flexible companies instead of the cumbersome formations of their enemies. Their crowning achievement was the Battle of Breitenfeld in September 1631, when a Protestant army of 23,000 Swedes and 18,000 Saxons nearly wiped out a Catholic Holy Roman Empire force of 35,000 men, and lost just 5,500 men in the process. The Russians also suffered. 1762 - Tsar Peter III is assassinated and his wife Catherine II takes the crown. At the beginning Catherine’s foreign policy was in the hands of Nikita Panin. Grand_Duchess_Catherine_Alexeevna_by_L.Caravaque_1745_Gatchina_museum.jpg. Throughout Russia, the inspectors encountered a patchy system. Unfortunate Empress that I am, I write on the susceptible skins of living beings. The regiment marched to the Winter Palace and arrested the infant Emperor, his parents, and their own lieutenant-colonel, Count von Munnich. Nonetheless, there is a story that soon after Napoleon invaded Russia in June 1812, the Tsar dispatched General Balashov with a letter urging peace. The Russo-Turkish War took four years, but Russia gained a large amount of land from Turkey and annexed Crimea. He also placed a corps of his own troops under Frederick’s command. However, the plan failed and Catherine reigned until her death. Peter III’s decision to turn Russia from an enemy to an ally of Prussia and his domestic reforms did not convince the Russian nobility to support the unpopular emperor. Peter intervened with a relief force of 80,000 men. Elizabeth turned her court into “the country’s leading musical center.” She spared no expense, importing leading musical talents from Germany, France, and Italy. Her first task after this was to address the war with Sweden. The choice of Sophia as wife of her second cousin, the prospective tsar Peter of Holstein-Gottorp (as Peter III), was a result of diplomatic arrangements, most notably by Peter’s aunt, Empress Elizabeth. Additional taxes on the nobility considered lazy and unproductive later cemented her as. Catherine approved the subsidization of new mosques and practice freely Swedes were by... Formal betrothal took place in Saint Petersburg European education and foreign works were shown the. 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