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Powerful Women in History 9 of 10 - Catherine II of Russia

Posted by on May. 4, 2012 at 8:09 PM
  • 5 Replies

Catherine II of Russia
born: 1729; died: 1796

Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, I feel, deserves second rank on my list. She ruled over Russia which was and still is the world’s largest country geographically. Catherine is remembered for bringing Enlightenment ideas to Russia as well expanding the empire. Her rule lasted or 34 years, beginning in 1762 and ending with her death in 1796.

Catherine was born in modern day Poland to a minor German prince of the Lutheran faith. In 1744, Catherine, already having mastered the Russian language, moved to Russia to marry Peter III who was heir to the Russian throne. She also converted to Russian Orthodoxy in 1744. The marriage took place a year later and overtime it proved not to be a happy one for Catherine. She saw her husband as arrogant and immature and, finally, in 1762, Catherine conspired with the imperial guard to overthrow her husband in a palace coup. As a result, Catherine was declared Empress of Imperial Russia.

As empress, Catherine continued the process of Westernizing Russia like Peter the Great and Tsarina Elizabeth had done before her. She incorporated Enlightenment ideas into her politics, commissioned art, and created a successful foreign policy. She also expanded the Russian Empire to the Black Sea by defeating the Ottoman Empire in two major wars. Catherine’s empire spanned over three continents: Europe, Asia, and part of North America. It stretched from the Arctic Ocean to the North, the Black Sea to the South, Alaska and the Pacific to the East, and the Baltic Sea to the West.

Catherine reformed the system by creating a legislative commission in 1767, introducing a system of local self-government in 1775, and issuing the Charter to the Nobility in 1785. However, in 1773, a Cossack named Yemelyan Ivanovich Pugachev, led a rebellion near the Ural Mountains. This rebellion became known as the Pugachev Rebellion and its followers consisted of Cossacks and discontented ethnic minorities such as Bashkirs, Tatars, Kazakhs, and Kalmyks. Pugachev claimed that he was the long-lost Peter III who some people believed escaped from being murdered eleven years before and sought to reclaim the throne. The revolt infuriated Catherine and it contributed to her changes in policies. Catherine crushed the Pugachev revolt as well as other revolts around the country, placed more restrictions on society, and made serfdom even more prevalent than before. In other words, Catherine wasn’t about to have her power threatened by anyone or anything.

by on May. 4, 2012 at 8:09 PM
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Replies (1-5):
copperswifey
by Bronze Member on May. 7, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Thank you for sharing! :)

lalasmama2007
by on May. 7, 2012 at 3:06 PM
Interesting!
LOswald0314
by Member on May. 7, 2012 at 4:20 PM

 Awesome!

KymberleeAnn
by on Nov. 16, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Awesome!

KymberleeAnn
by on Nov. 16, 2012 at 2:09 PM

I love the picture, the colors are so nice.

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