Catherine the Great By Gabe RicharDson

Early life

Catherine the Great was an empress of Russia in 1762-1796. She was born on May 2, 1729, in Stettin, Prussia. Her birth name was Sophie Friederike Auguste, and she grew up in Stettin in a small principality called Anhalt-Zebst. She was raised by governess Babette to be a ruler. She was taught by tutors in religious studies with a military chaplain, but she questioned much of what he taught her. She also had learned German, French and Russian i this time.

Catherine the Great

1700's Russia

The area shown is 1584-1796 Russian rulers territory. From 1772-1796 Catherine the Great had expanded Russia's territory the greatest distance west and south.

Before Catherine's rule

Befor Catherine the Great could become ruler she had traveled to Russia with her mother, in 1744, to seek help for her self, given that she was sick. When she recovered, she moved forward with her relationship to Grand Duke Peter. They then had become engaged, and Catherine converted to the Russian Orthodox faith. Along with her new religion, she also received a new name Ye katerina, or Catherine. Soon after Peter bored Catherine causing her to begin to read immensely.

Royal family

Catherine, after years of failure bore a son, Peter, on September 20, 1754. It is believed that Paul's father was actually Sergei Saltykov, a Russian noble and member of the court. Soon after his birth Elizabeth took over raising the child.


Assuming the throne

After Empress Elizabeth's death in December 25, 1761, Catherine's husband assumed the throne, becoming Peter III, while she received the title of Empress Consort. Peter often was abusing Catherine, and threatening her to be replaced by his mistress. After six months of this abusing Catherine staged a coup to overthrow Peter, and it succeeded.

Changes to the Kingdom

During her rule she had put together a document called the Nakaz, on how the country's legal system should run. This allowed for capital punishment and torture to be outlawed and calling for every man to be declared equal. Catherine had also desired to change the situation of the country's serfs. The Senate protested any suggestion of changing the feudal system. After finishing the Nakaz, Catherine brought delegates together from different social and economic classes to form the Legislative Commission in 1767. No laws came out of the commission, but it was the first time that Russians from across the empire had been able to express their thoughts about the country's needs and problems.

This is a picture of the nakaz passed by Catherine.

Final Days

In mid-November of 1796 she was found unconscious on the floor of her bathroom. It was thought at the time that she suffered a stroke. Catherine had lived on until the following night, and never regained consciousness. She died on November 17, 1796.

Cited work

Catherine II Biography

Author Editors

Access Date April 11, 2017

Publisher A&E Television Networks

Last Updated October 6, 2015

Author Barbara Maranzanit

Published 2012

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Catherine the Great

Last updated April 11, 2017

Publisher A+E Network

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