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 Catherine I of Russia 

Born:   April, 5th (15) 1684
Deceased:   May, 6th (17) 1727

Russian Empress


The birthplace and nationality of Catherine I of Russia still remain vague. Catherine I of Russia (real name Martha), the daughter of Lithuanian peasant Samuil Skavronsky, was the second wife of Peter I of Russia. In 1715 during baptizing into Orthodox Christianity she was named Yekaterina Alekseyevna. Catherine was a weak woman, subject to influences. She had no program of action of her own and relied on advisers in everything. For solving important state affairs the Supreme Privy Council consisting of six persons was founded. The Council had powers of a legislature: no decree of the Empress could be published without discussion in the Council.

After Peter's death all responsibility for ruling the country was laid down on his successors who mostly turned incapable of independent constructive activities. Long wars that Russia led badly affected the country’s financial situation. Because of poor harvests price bread became more expensive and mass discontent accrued. To prevent revolts, the capitation tax was lowered from 74 to 70 kopecks. The Supreme Privy Council abolished the bodies of local authorities established by Peter I, and restored the power of warchiefs.

During the reign of Catherine I the Academy of Sciences was opened, V.Bering's expedition was organized, and St. Alexander Nevsky's award was founded.

Under Catherine I Russia waged war with Turks in Dagestan and Georgia. Catherine’s plan to return Schleswig taken away by Danes back to Duke Holsteinsky led to military attacks of England and Denmark against Russia. In relation to Poland Russia tried to sustain peace policy.

Enterprising and far-sighted Aleksandr Menshikov understood that after the passing of the throne to Peter II, he would lose his influence at court, and therefore Menshikov gained the consent of weakening Catherine to the marriage of his daughter with Tsarevitch Peter II Alekseyevich. In spring of 1727 Catherine fell ill with burning ague and died on May, 6th.

In the will, signed by Tsarevna Elizabeth of Russia instead of her sick mother, Tsarevitch Peter II Alekseyevich was appointed the successor to the throne.

Tags: Catherine I of Russia Russian history The Romanov Family   

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