Catherine the Great - Empress of Russia
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Russia 18th Century – Catherine the Great’s continues Peter the Great’s Reforms I

Catherine the Great (1729-1796), empress of Russia (1762-1796), who expanded her vast country’s borders south to the Black Sea and west into Europe while continuing the Westernization begun by Peter the Great. The Empress Catherine II of Russia was one of the most powerful figures of the eighteenth century. Considered by many to be an enlightened monarch, she instituted reforms that transformed the world's view of her country and helped to position Russia as a leading world power. Her patronage of the arts in Russia exceeded that of any monarch before or since.

"I was very affectionate, and gifted with an appearance which was very attractive. I pleased at first glance without employing any arts or pains to that end."
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"I leave it to posterity to judge impartially what I have done"


Catherine the Great was born in Prussian seaport of Stettin (now Szczecin in Poland) in 1729, starting life as Princess Sophie August Frederika, the daughter of the Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, and his wife, Johanna Elizabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. As she grew up, the young Sophie spent many hours examining her family tree and in later life reflected on these childhood moments.

Biography
Name: Sophia Augusta Frederika von Anhalt-Zerbst
Lived: 21 April 1720 - 17 November 1796
Place of birth: Stettin (then Germany, now Poland)
Place of death: St Petersburg, Russia
Nationality: German
Famed as: Empress of Russia; patron of the arts and education

Fact File
  • The infamous 'horse' story associated with Catherine's death is entirely fictional. As well as the version that suggests she dies on her commode. She actually died of stroke.
  • Catherine is rumoured to have had as many as 300 lovers. It is only really possible to substantiate the fact that she had two husbands and eleven 'favourites'.
  • In 1754, Catherine gave birth to Paul, future emperor of Russia. Paul's father was reputed to be Serge Saltykov, a Russian army officer and Catherine's first lover.

Timeline
Date
Catherine the Great and Related Events
1700-1800
Period of social and political unrest of Europe and US
Born in Stettin on 21st April 1729
1745
Marries Peter Feodorovich, heir to the Russian throne in St Petersburg
1754
Catherine gives birth to Paul, future emperor of Russia
Architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli starts to build the Winter Palace
1756-1763
Seven Years' War - pitted in Prussia, Hanover and Great Britain against France, Austria, Russia, Sweden and Saxony
1762
Overthrows her husband and becomes Catherine II
Peace treaty between Russia and Prussia
1764-1775
Construction of the Small Hermitage
1788
Imposes protectorate on Poland War with Sweden
1789
Fearing that the revolution in France might spread, Catherine begins to reverse her liberal reforms
1796
Dies in St Petersburg
Edward Jenner discovers that vaccination with cowpox gives immunity to smallpox
Map of Catherine's Life
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Sources:
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Catherine the great who married when she was fourteen years old when Empress Elizabeth of Russia sent for her to become a bride for Elizabeth's nephew and heir Peter III, great-grandson of Peter the Great. She was also a scholar, a brilliant stateswoman and the most voracious art collector the world has ever known. She is now the presiding spirit of Russia's greatest museum.
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In a letter she wrote to Friedrich Melchior Grimm, a Parisian gossip and journalist, in 1790, six years before her death, Catherine was able to congratulate herself on having a collection that outclassed those of all other monarchs of her day. "Besides the paintings and the Raphael Loggia," she wrote, referring to her 4,000 Old Masters and her copies of frescoes Raphael painted for the Vatican Palace in Rome.
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Part of Catherine the Great's reign included a cultivation of the arts. She built monuments all over the empire, patronized music, education , and the arts, and spent millions of rubles on the Hermitage art collection. Indeed, Catherine, herself, corresponded with leading philosophers and politicians and wrote plays, fables, satires.

Photo Gallery
Activities
Find-a-Word
APRIL, AUGUST, CATHERINE, EMPRES, EUROPE, FREDERIKA, GERMANY, GREAT, MONARCH, PATRONAGE, PAUL, PETERSBURG, POLAND, PRINCESS, PRUSSIA, RUSSIA, SOPHIE, STETTIN, SZCZECIN, WOMEN.
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Crossword puzzle
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Clues:
Across
1. The modern Stettin
4. Catherine's place of birth
7. The continent which Catherine stayed in throughout her life
9. Another way of saying 'queen'
13. Catherine the
14. What Catherine was famed as
15. Catherine was considered by many as an enlightened _
17. Catherine's middle name
18. The month which Catherine the Great was born
Down
1. The daughter of an Emperor
2. The country which Catherine first travelled to
3. Catherine's son, also future emperor of Russia
4. Where Catherine died
5. The modern Russsia
6. Catherine's first name
8. Catherine's birth name
10. Heroine/Villainess
11. The city where Catherine was born
12. The name given of a Russian Empress
16. Catherine was the empress of

Catherine Cryptogram
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Unscramble the words
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Acrostic Poem
Your task is to write an acrostic poem using the following format:
C
A
T
H
E
R
I
N
E

T
H
E

G
R
E
A
T
Recommended Reading List
  • Women Who Changed the World,
  • "Catherine the Great".Emusuem Biographies. 12 July 2011
  • Cracraft, James. "Catherine the Great". World Book Encyclopedia. 12 July 2011
  • Zoe Oldenbourg. Catherine the Great. New York: Random House, Inc., 13 July 2011
  • Troyat, Henri. Catherine the Great. New York: E.P. Dutton, 13th July 2011
  • Erickson, Carolly. Great Catherine. New York, Crown Publishers, Inc., 13th July 2011
  • "Catherine the Great". 20th July 2011.
  • Atchinson, Bob. "Empress Catherine II 'the Great'". Alexander Palace Biographies. 21st July 2011
  • Riasanovsky, Nicholas. "Catherine the Great." Encarta Encyclopedia. 22nd July 2011

By: Anni