Catherine the Great

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Catherine the Great




Women fell under her spell as well as men, for underlying her engaging femininity was a masculine strength which gave her the courage to present a bland and smiling mask in the face of the greatest tribulations. Sophia Augusta Frederica was born into a small Prussian kingdom in 1729. Her hometown was in Stettin, Germany. Her birth was a great disappointment to her parents, her father, Prince Christian August of Anhalt- Zerbst and her mother, Johanna Elizabeth, daughter of the prince of Holstein Gottorp. Both parents had hoped for a son. After they did finally have a son, she was neglected even more. Although, when her parents discovered that she had a good memory, they encouraged her to study religion, history and geography. Besides learning, Sophia also became more interested in hunting and riding horses rather than what were considered more feminine past times and was somewhat of a tomboy. Throughout her life, her mother only spoke to her to criticize her. Her father cared very much for her, but was too engrossed with his military work to show her much affection. She spent much time with her governess who taught her to question everything and everybody and to trust her own common sense. Her guidance from her governess and her ability to be independent at a young age helped her to later become a strong leader.
At a very young age, she wished to marry her second cousin, Peter Ulrich, who later changed his name to Peter Fyodorvich. Elizabeth I of Russia chose her to marry her son, Peter Fyodorvich. Catherine prepared for the role of czarina by studying the Russian language intently. Love played no role in her thoughts to marry Peter; Catherine was only interested in the throne. As a strict Lutheran, Catherines father was very unhappy about Catherine marrying a Russian Orthodox. Her father wrote her letters begging her not to abandon Lutheranism. Catherine was determined to gain the respect of the Russian orthodox, so when she became deathly ill, she called for a Russian orthodox priest instead of a Lutheran. She won the trust and sympathy of Russia. On June 28, 1744, Catherine was baptized into the Russian orthodox faith. The next day she and peter Fyodovich had an elaborate betrothal at the Cathedral of St. Sophia. She married Peter in August of1745, and their marriage was a disaster from the beginning. Peter was very immature and spent most of his time playing with toy soldiers. 2/1/952 The marriage was a compl...