HBICs of history » Catherine the Great

Catherine was daughter of an obscure German prince and was chosen at age 14 to be the wife of the future Peter III. The marriage was a complete failure because her neurotic husband was incapable of ruling. The ambitious Catherine saw the possibility of eliminating him and governing Russia herself. After Peter became emperor in 1762, she conspired with her lover, Count Orlov, to force Peter to abdicate (he was murdered soon after) and have herself proclaimed empress. In her 34-year reign she led Russia into full participation in European political and cultural life. With her ministers she reorganized the administration and law of the Russian Empire and extended Russian territory, adding the Crimea and much of Poland. She had great energy and wide interests, and her personal life was notable for her many lovers, including Grigory Potemkin.






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