Catherine II, known as Catherine the Great, was born Princess Sophie Auguste Friederike of Anhalt-Zerbst in Stettin, Prussia on May 2, 1729. She was the daughter of Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst and Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. Both of her parents were obscure upper-class rulers. It is said that Catherine’s mother was not very fond of her own daughter since her birth since she wanted a son. For this reason, her story of rise to power is seen as a rags to riches story for some. She was never intended to become a ruler.

Young Catherine, 1845 | Source: Wikimedia

Early Life of Catherine

Catherine was considered charming, smart, and very lively. This caught the attention of Empress Elizabeth who had recently gained power. Around this time Peter III was chosen the heir of Empress Elizabeth. She invited Catherine and her mother Johanna to Russia and at the age of seventeen years old, she married Peter III of Russia. He was a very troubled young man, and his crude upbringing would also be his downfall. Many accounts portray him as abusive towards Catherine. During their marriage there was trouble with her getting pregnant and there were rumors that her son was from a lover and not from Peter III.

Empress Elizabeth | Source: Wikimedia

Ascension To Power

On January 5, 1762, Empress Elizabeth dies and a scorned, bitter Peter III rose to power. He becomes drunk with power, and many see him as a liability to the future of empire. One of his first objectives is to get rid of his wife Catherin. Catherine along with one of her lovers who was a military officer plan a coup against Peter III. The plan goes accordingly. A few days later her husband Peter III is assassinated.

Peter III & Catherine | Source: Wikimedia

In 1762 she officially becomes Empress of Russia and rules for thirty-four years until her death in 1796. She made many contributions to Russian history including her expansion of territories into Europe such as Poland and Crimea. She also brought about many social reforms such as abolishing serfdom which was slavery for those who worked on land owned by nobles or royalty.

Russia 100 Rubles Ft. Catherine The Great | 1910 | Source: Banknote World Educational

Currency Ft. Catherine The Great

Her most famous accomplishment however is her establishment of Russian culture through education which included starting schools for girls so they could be educated beyond traditional household duties such as cooking or sewing; something previously thought impossible because women were considered inferior beings at this time due to their gender.

Catherine the Great Coin and Stamp Box | Source: Banknote World

Her legacy lives on today through countless books written about her life including the recent tv series. In addition you can find her featured on currency. For example the Catherine the Great Coin and Stamp Box contains a 5-kopek copper coin that features Catherine the Great’s monogram on one side and the two-headed Romanov eagle on the other side. It also includes a stamp issued during the reign of the last tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, featuring the Empress of Russia in profile. Also the 10 Transnistrian ruble coin features Catherine the Great.

Transnistria 10 Rubles, 2014 Ft. Catherine The Great | Source: Banknote World


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *