There are no documents that confirm her origins. Said to have been born on 15 April o. Her mother is named in at least one source as Elizabeth Moritz, the daughter of a Baltic German woman and there is debate as to whether Moritz's father was a Swedish officer. It is likely that two stories were conflated, and Swedish sources suggest that the Elizabeth Moritz story is probably incorrect.
Elizabeth too was childless, and the throne passed to the heir she had selected—her nephew the duke von Holstein-Gottorp, who became Peter III. Peter III made himself personally unpopular with St. Petersburg society; in addition, he allowed his entourage mainly… Origins and early experience Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst was the daughter of an obscure German prince, Christian August von Anhalt-Zerbst, but she was related through her mother to the dukes of Holstein.
At age 14 she was chosen to be the wife of Karl Ulrich, duke of Holstein-Gottorp, grandson of Peter the Great and heir to the throne of Russia as the grand duke Peter.
In Catherine arrived in Russia, assumed the title of Grand Duchess Catherine Alekseyevna, and married her young cousin the following year.
The marriage was a complete failure; the following 18 years were filled with disappointment and humiliation for her. Devoted to much pleasure and luxury and greatly desirous of giving her court the brilliancy of a European court, Elizabeth prepared the way for Catherine.
Catherine, however, would not have become empress if her husband had been at all normal. He was extremely neurotic, rebellious, obstinate, perhaps impotent, nearly alcoholic, and, most seriously, a fanatical worshipper of Frederick II of Prussiathe foe of the empress Elizabeth.
Catherine, by contrast, was clearheaded and ambitious. Her intelligence, flexibility of character, and love of Russia gained her much support. She was humiliated, bored, and regarded with suspicion while at court, but she found comfort in reading extensively and in preparing herself for her future role as sovereign.
Although a woman of little beauty, Catherine possessed considerable charm, a lively intelligence, and extraordinary energy.
Her true passion, however, was ambition; since Peter was incapable of ruling, she saw quite early the possibility of eliminating him and governing Russia herself.
He made no attempt to hide his hatred of Russia and his love of his native Germany ; discrediting himself endlessly by his foolish actions, he also prepared to rid himself of his wife.
Catherine had only to strike: Petersburgwhere Grigory Orlovher lover, was stationed; the court; and public opinion in both capitals Moscow and St. Petersburg and had herself proclaimed empress and autocrat in the Kazan Cathedral.
Peter III abdicated and was assassinated eight days later. Although Catherine probably did not order the murder of Peter, it was committed by her supporters, and public opinion held her responsible.
In Septembershe was crowned with great ceremony in Moscow, the ancient capital of the tsars, and began a reign that was to span 34 years as empress of Russia under the title of Catherine II. Truly dedicated to her adopted country, she intended to make Russia a prosperous and powerful state.
Since her early days in Russia she had dreamed of establishing a reign of order and justiceof spreading education, creating a court to rival Versaillesand developing a national culture that would be more than an imitation of French models.Biography of Catherine II, Empress of Russia.
Find out more about Catherine the Great and other rulers of Russia in St. Petersburg. Catherine I, Russian in full Yekaterina Alekseyevna, original name Marta Skowronska (born April 15 [April 5, Old Style], —died May 17 [May 6], , St. Petersburg, Russia), peasant woman of Baltic (probably Lithuanian) birth who became the second wife of Peter I the Great (reigned –) and empress of Russia (–27).
Nicholas II was the last tsar of Russia under Romanov rule whose handling of Bloody Sunday and Nicholas II Biography. Catherine II was empress of Russia, Born: May 06, Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, was an empress of Russia who ruled from , the longest reign of any female Russian leader.
Catherine was the first woman to rule Imperial Russia, opening the legal path for a century almost entirely dominated by women, including her daughter Elizabeth and granddaughter-in-law Catherine the Great, all of whom continued Peter the Great's policies in modernizing Russia. Biography of Catherine I, Empress of Russia.
Find out more about Catherine I and the history of St. Petersburg, Russia.