Russian Empress Catherine II, also known as the Great, reigned from 1762, the year of 1796-th.Own efforts, it significantly expanded the Russian Empire, it has significantly improved the system of administration and vigorously pursued a policy of Westernization, implying the transition to Western ideas and traditions.During the time of Catherine the Great's Russia has become a rather large country.She could compete with the great powers of Europe and Asia.
Childhood future great Empress Catherine II
nee Sophia Frederica Auguste, was born on April 21, 1729 in a small German principality in the town of Stettin, Prussia (now Shetsin, Poland).Her father Christian August of Anhalt-Zerbst was a prince of the tiny ownership.Military career he did when Frederick William the First.
Mother Catherine - Princess Elizabeth of Holstein-Gottorp.The girl's parents were hoping the appearance of an heir, and therefore did not show special affection for his daughter.Instead, they spend most of the time and energy devoted son, William, who, unfortunately, later died at the age of twelve.
education and proximity to the governess
As a child, the future Catherine II was very close with his governess Babette.Subsequently, the Empress always warmly responded about it.Girls' education consisted of those items that were essential to her status and origin.It is the religion (Lutheranism), history, French, German, and even Russian, which is very useful later.And, of course, music.
So spent her childhood Catherine the Great.Briefly describing her years of staying at home, it can be said that there is nothing unusual about the girl could not happen.Life growing up Catherine seemed very boring, and she did not know then that in front of her waiting for an exciting adventure - a journey to the far edge of the stern.
arrival in Russia, or the beginning of family life
Once Ekaterina grew up, her mother saw her daughter in the movement means the social ladder and improve the situation in the family.She had a lot of relatives and it helped to do a thorough search of a suitable groom.At the same time the life of Catherine the Great was so monotonous that she saw in the impending marriage excellent means to escape from the control of the mother.
When Catherine was fifteen, Empress Elizabeth invited her to Russia, so that she could become the wife of the heir to the throne - the Grand Duke Peter III.He was immature and obnoxious young man of sixteen.As soon as she came to Russia, she immediately fell ill with pleurisy, which almost killed her.
Elizabeth survived thanks to frequent bleeding, which insisted Elizabeth.But her mother was against this practice, and because of that fell into disgrace to the Empress.However, as soon as Catherine recovered and took the Orthodox faith, despite the objections of his father - devoted Lutheran, she married the young prince.And along with the new religion she had a different name - Katerina.All these events took place in 1745, and it was so began the history of Catherine the Great.
years of family life, or as a spouse plays in the soldiers
to the twenty-first of August a member of the royal family, Catherine began to wear the title of princess.But her marriage turned out to be quite unhappy.Husband of Catherine the Great was an immature young man who, instead of spending time with his own wife, preferred to play with toy soldiers.A future empress spent time entertaining themselves other fun reading.
Count Andrei Shuvalov, who was chamberlain Catherine knew the memoirist James Boswell, and he informed Count intimate details of the life of the monarch.Some of these rumors contained information that soon after marrying Peter took his mistress Elizabeth Vorontsov.But then Catherine was not in debt.She was seen in relationships with Sergei Saltykov, Grigory Orlov, Stanislaw Poniatowski and others.
appearance of the long-awaited successor
It took several years before the future Empress gave birth to an heir.Son of Catherine the Great, Paul, was born in September 1754 of the twentieth.The fatherhood of the child was the subject of endless debate.There are many scientists who believe that in fact the father of the boy - not the husband of Catherine the Great, and Sergei Saltykov - Russian nobleman and member of the court.Others argued that the baby looks like Peter, who is his father.
In any case, Catherine had no time for his first-born, and soon Elizabeth took him to his upbringing.Despite the fact that the marriage was unsuccessful, it is not eclipsed the intellectual and political interests Catherine.The smartest young woman went on to read a lot, especially in French.She loved novels, plays and poems, but most of all was interested labors major figures of the French Enlightenment such as Diderot, Voltaire and Montesquieu.
Soon, Catherine became pregnant a second child, Anna, who will live only four months.Children of Catherine the Great, because of rumors of promiscuity future empress did not cause Peter III of warm feelings.The man doubted that he was their biological father.Of course, Catherine rejected such accusations spouse and preferred to spend most of the time in her boudoir, to hide from his obnoxious character.
In one step from the throne
After the death of Empress Elizabeth, who died on December 25, 1761, the husband of Catherine ascended the throne, becoming the third Peter, while she received the title of Empress Catherine.But the couple still lived separately.The Empress had nothing to do with the board.Peter was openly cruel to his wife.He ruled the state with their mistresses.
But Catherine the Great was a very ambitious woman with great intellectual abilities.She hoped that in time all the same will come to power and rule Russia.Unlike her husband Catherine tried to demonstrate their loyalty to the state and the Orthodox faith.How true it is assumed, it helped her to not only take place on the throne, but also to gain the necessary support of the Russian people.
conspiracy against his own spouse
After a few months of his reign Peter the third managed to get a bunch of enemies in the government among the military, and especially church workers.On the night of June 28, 1762, Catherine the Great conspired with her lover Grigory Orlov, left the palace and went to the Izmailovo Regiment where he delivered a speech to the soldiers, in which it requested to protect her from his own spouse.
It was made a conspiracy against Peter III.The ruler was forced to sign a document of abdication, and ascended to the throne of Catherine the Great's son Paul.With him and the empress it had to be in as regent until his adulthood.But shortly after his arrest, Peter was strangled by his own guards.Perhaps it Ekaterina ordered to commit murder, but the evidence of her guilt no.
Dreams Come True
Since that time the reign of Catherine the Great.In the early years it pays a maximum of time to ensure the hardness of his position on the throne.Catherine was well aware that there are people who consider it a usurper who seized a foreign power.Therefore, it is actively used the slightest opportunity to win the favor of the nobility and the military.
As for foreign policy, Catherine the Great realized that Russia needs a long period of peace in order to concentrate on domestic issues.And the world could only be obtained by careful foreign policy.And for its implementation Catherine chose Count Nikita Panin, who was very well versed in matters of foreign affairs.
unsettled personal life Catherine
Portrait of Catherine the Great shows us her as a woman is quite handsome, and not surprisingly, the private life of the empress was very diverse.
Catherine could not remarry, because it would jeopardize its position.
According to most researchers, the story of Catherine the Great has about a dozen lovers, she often dispensed by various presents, honors and titles in order to win their favor.
Favourites or how to provide for his old age
After the affair with Catherine adviser Grigory Potemkin ended, as it happened in 1776, the Empress chose a man who had not only physical beauty but also great mental abilities.It was Alexander Dmitriyev-Mamonov.Many lovers of the empress is very kind to her, and Catherine the Great has always demonstrated generosity towards him, even after all the connections.
For example, one of her lovers - Peter Zavadovsky - got fifty thousand rubles, a pension of five thousand and four thousand peasants after their relationship ended (it happened in 1777).The last of her many lovers - Prince Zubov, who was younger than the Empress for forty years.
But what about the children of Catherine the Great?Is among so many favorites there was no one who gave her another son or daughter?Or maybe Paul was her only child?
Children of Catherine the Great, born of the favorites
When Empress Elizabeth died, Catherine was six months pregnant by Grigory Orlov.Baby was born in the secret of all April 11, 1762 in a remote part of the palace.Her marriage to Peter III at that time was completely destroyed, and he often sported at the court with his mistress.
Catherine Chamberlain Shkurin Vasily and his wife took the child into his house.The reign of Catherine the Great began when he was just a few months.He returned to the palace.The kid began to enjoy a normal childhood under the supervision of their parents - Catherine and Gregory.Orlov began using child trying to push Catherine marriage.
She thought very long and hard, but still took advice Panin, who said that Mrs. Orlova never be allowed to rule the Russian state.And Catherine did not dare to marry Grigory Orlov.When Alex became a teenager, he went to travel abroad.The journey lasted for ten years.After returning to Russia, the son received a gift from the estate of his mother and began to study at Holy Cadet Corps.
Influence of the favorites for the affairs of state
According to other historical data from Poniatowski Empress gave birth to a boy and a girl, but the children of Catherine the Great lived only about sixteen months.They never have been recognized publicly.Most of the favorites of Catherine the Great came from noble families and managed to build an outstanding political career.For example, Stanislaw Poniatowski became the king of Poland in 1764.
But none of the beloved Catherine did not use its status as to influence public policy.Except Gregory Potemkin, Catherine the Great with which connected very deep feelings.Many experts even claim that between the empress and Potemkin was concluded a secret marriage in 1774.
Catherine the Great, during the rule of the Russian state which brought significant benefits throughout his life remained a loving and beloved woman.
Basic Service to the Russian state
Although love in life was an important part of Catherine, the feelings never overshadow political interests.The Empress has always worked hard to learn the Russian language to such an extent as to completely remove your accent, soaked Russian culture and customs mastered and meticulously studied the history of the empire.Historical portrait of Catherine the Great, indicates that it was a very competent leader.
During her reign Catherine extended the borders of the Russian Empire to the south and west almost 520 000 square kilometers.The state has become the dominant force in the south-eastern part of Europe.Numerous victories on the military front allowed the Empire to gain access to the Black Sea.
Moreover, in 1768 in the Assignation Bank was tasked with issuing the first government paper money.Such institutions were opened in St. Petersburg and Moscow, and then in other cities of bank branches were created.
Catherine paid great attention to the education and upbringing of young people of both sexes.It was opened on the Moscow Foundling Hospital, soon established empress Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens.She studied educational theory to the practice of other countries and has initiated many educational reforms.And that Catherine has laid an obligation to open the school in the provincial parts of the Russian Empire.
Empress constantly patronized cultural life of the country and demonstrated commitment to the Orthodox faith and state.She pays full attention to the expansion of educational institutions and increasing economic strength of the country.But who rules after Catherine the Great?Who went on her way in the development of the state?
last days of the reign.Possible successors to the throne
For several decades, Catherine II was the absolute ruler of the Russian state.But this time she had a very strained relationship with his own son - the heir to Paul.The Empress was well aware that it is impossible to transfer power to the son.
Catherine the Great, the reign which ended in mid-November 1796, decided to do his successor a grandson of Alexander.This is where she saw the future ruler and a very warm feel about him.Empress prepared in advance to the reign of his grandson, engaged in his education.Moreover, she even managed to marry Alexander, which meant coming of age and the ability to take a seat on the throne.
Despite this, after the death of Catherine II with the help of another palace coup Empress's son Paul I took the place of the heir to the throne.So he was the one who rules after Catherine the Great for the past five years.