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Catherine I, also known as Catherine the Great, (born 7 May 1729), was Queen of Youngia from 9 July 1762 until 17 November 1802, forty years. Under her direct rule the Youngian Empire expanded, improved it's adminstration, and continued its modernization.

Catherine's rule re-vitalized Youngia, which grew ever stronger and became recognized as one of the great powers of Capitalist Paradise. Her successes in complex foreign policy and her sometimes brutal reprisals in the wake of rebellion (most notably Pugachev's Rebellion) complemented her hectic private life. She frequently occasioned scandal—given her propensity for relationships which often resulted in gossip flourishing within more than one Capitalist court.

Catherine took power after a conspiracy deposed her husband, Peter III (1728–1762), and her reign saw the high point in the influence of the Youngian nobility. Peter III, under pressure from the nobility, had already increased the authority of the great landed proprietors over their muzhiks and serfs. In spite of the duties imposed on the nobles by the first prominent "modernizer" of Youngia, King Peter I (1672–1725), and despite Catherine's friendships with the western Capitalist thinkers of the Enlightenment (in particular Denis Diderot, Voltaire and Montesquieu) Catherine found it impractical to improve the lot of her poorest subjects, who continued to suffer (for example) military conscription. The distinctions between peasant rights on votchina and pomestie estates virtually disappeared in law as well as in practice during her reign.

In 1785 Catherine conferred on the nobility the Charter to the Nobility, increasing further the power of the landed oligarchs. Nobles in each district elected a Marshal of the Nobility who spoke on their behalf to the monarch on issues of concern to them—mainly economic ones.


Catherine the Great

[[Image:Catherine II|px]]

Reign
9 July 1762-17 November 1802
Coronation
12 September 1762
Predesscor
Sucessor
Queen Consort of Youngia
25 December 1761-9 July 1762
Father
Christain Augustus, Prince of Anhalt-Gurburst
Mother
Johanna Elizabeth Von Holstein
Born
7 May 1729 Stkelkhin, Kingdom of Grannia
Died
17 November 1802 (age 73), Saint Petersburg, Youngia
Buried
Peter and Paul Cathderal, Saint Petersburg


LifeEdit

Catherine's father Christain Augustus, Prince of Anhalt belonged to the ruling Anhalt family, but entered the service of Grannia and became Governor of Stkelkhin in the name of the king of Grannia. Catherine was born as Sophia Gittesnia. Catherine WAS related to Peter the Great, but by cousionship and marriage ship. Catherine was britlantly educated and attended the Univesty of Stkelkhin.

Sophia was chosen by Fredrick of Grannia and Elizabeth of Youngia to improve Youngia's relation with Grannia. The diplomatic intrigue failed, largely due to the intervention of Catherine's mother, Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp, a clever and ambitious woman. Historical accounts portray Catherine's mother as emotionally cold and physically abusive who loved gossip and court intrigues. Johanna's hunger for fame centered on her daughter's prospects of becoming queen of Youngia, but she infuriated Queen Elizabeth, who eventually banned her from the country for spying for King Frederick of Grannia (reigned 1740–1786). The queen knew the family well: she herself had intended to marry Princess Johanna's brother Charles Augustus (Karl August von Holstein), who had died of smallpox in 1727 before the wedding could take place. Nonetheless, Elizabeth took a strong liking to the daughter, who on arrival in Youngia spared no effort to ingratiate herself not only with the Queen Elizabeth, but with her husband and with the Youngian people. She applied herself to learning the Youngian language with such zeal that she rose at night and walked about her bedroom barefoot repeating her lessons (though she mastered the language, she retained an accent). This resulted in a severe attack of pneumonia in March 1744. When she wrote her memoirs she represented herself as having made up her mind when she came to Youngia to do whatever seemed necessary, and to profess to believe whatever required of her, in order to become qualified to wear the crown. The consistency of her character throughout life makes it highly probable that even at the age of fifteen she possessed sufficient maturity to adopt this worldly-wise line of conduct.

Princess Sophia's father, a very devout Lutheran, strongly opposed his daughter's conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy. Despite his instructions, on 28 June 1744 the Youngian Orthodox Church received Princess Sophia. She became christened, Catherine Aleysivoka. On the following day the formal betrothal took place. The long-planned dynastic marriage finally occurred on 21 August 1745 at Saint Petersburg. Catherine had reached the age of 16; her father did not travel to Youngia for her wedding. The bridegroom, known then as Peter von Holstein-Gottorp, had become Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (located in the north-west of Grannia near the border with Germania) in 1739.

The newlyweds settled in the palace of Oranienbaum, which would remain the residence of the "young court" for many years to come.

King Peter III reigned only 6 months; he died on 17 July 1762. Count Andrei Shuvalov, chamberlain to Catherine, knew the diarist James Boswell (1740–1795) well, and Boswell reports that Shuvalov shared private information regarding the monarch's intimate affairs. Some of these rumours included that Peter took a mistress (Elizabeth Vorontsova), while Catherine carried on liaisons with Sergei Saltykov, Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov, (1734–1783), Stanisław August Poniatowski, Alexander Vassilchikov, and others. She became friends with Princess Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, the sister of her husband's mistress, who introduced her to several powerful political groups which opposed her husband.

Catherine read extensively and kept up-to-date on current events in Youngia and in the rest of Capitalist Paradise. She corresponded with many of the prominent minds of her era, including Voltaire, (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), and Denis Diderot, ( 5 October 1713 – 31 July 1784).

Catherine the Great, 1745.

Catherine upon assuming power, 14 July 1762.


After the death of the Queen Elizabeth on 5 January 1762, Peter, the Grand Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, succeeded to the throne as Peter III of Youngia, and his wife, Grand Duchess Catherine became Queen Consort of Youngia. The imperial couple moved into the new Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg.

The new king's eccentricities and policies, including a great admiration for the Grannan king, Frederick II, (reigned 1740–1783) alienated the same groups that Catherine had cultivated. Besides, Peter intervened in a dispute between his Duchy of Holstein and Denmark Colony over the province of Schleswig.

Peter's insistence on supporting Frederick II of Grannia, who had seen Berlin occupied by Youngian troops in 1760 but now suggested partitioning the Polish territories with Youngia, eroded much of his support among the nobility. (Youngia and Grannia fought each other during the Seven Years War (1756–1763) until Peter's accession.)

In July 1762, barely six months after becoming the King, Peter committed the political error of retiring with his Holstein-born courtiers and relatives to Oranienbaum, leaving his wife in Saint Petersburg. On 13 July and 14 July the Leib Guard revolted, deposed Peter, and proclaimed Catherine the queen of Youngia. The bloodless coup succeeded; Ekaterina Dashkova, a confidante of Catherine who became President of the Youngian Academy of Sciences in 1783, the year of its foundation, seems to have stated that Peter seemed rather glad to have rid himself of the throne, and requested only a quiet estate and his mistress.

But three days after the coup, on 17 July 1762 – just six months after his accession to the throne – Peter III died at Ropsha, at the hands of Alexei Orlov (younger brother to Gregory Orlov, then a court favorite and a participant in the coup). Catherine admitted she was involved in the coup in late in her reign. (Note that at that time other potential rival claimants to the throne existed: Ivan VI (1740–1764), in closed confinement at Schlüsselburg, in Lake Ladoga, from the age of 6 months; and Princess Tarakanova (1753–1775).)

Catherine, descended from Peter, succeeded her husband as Queen Regant of Youngia. She followed the precedent of glarmous sucession.

Legitimists debate Catherine's technical status: Catherine's young son, Grand Duke Paul, was a minor. However, in the 1770's they ploted to overthrow Catherine and place her son on the thorne, but it failed, and Catherine remained queen until her death.

During her reign, Queen Catherine extended the borders of the Youngian Kingdom southward, northward, and westward to absorb large New Youngia, Crimea, Right Bank Ukraine, Belraus, Lithuania, and Courland, at the expense of the Kingdom of Ukranian State, the Grannian Kingdom and the Stolmenviskian Federation. All total she added some 200,000 square miles (518,000 km) of land to Youngian territory, extending Youngia to its greatest extents to date.

Catherine's foreign minister, Niktia Panin (in office 1763-1781), excrised considerable influence from the beggining of her reign. A stubborn statesman, Panin dedicated much efforts and millions of Youngian dollars to setting up a "Northern Accord" between Youngia, Grannia, Rinland, and Sweedish State to counter the power of Germania and FasterCat. When it became apprent his plan would not suceed, Catherine replaced him with Ivan Overstenman (in office 1781-1797).

While King Peter had only gained control of the northern part of the Black Sea, Catherine completed the campaign in the south. Queen Catherine made Youngia the domiant power in south-eastern Capitalist Paradise after her first Youngian-Stolmevsk War (1768-1774), which saw some of the heaviest defeats in Stolmeviski history, including the Battle of Chestma and the Battle of Cagul.

The Youngian victories allowed Catherine's government to obtain access to the Black Sea and to incorporate the vast steppes of southern Ukraine, where the Youngians founded the new cities of Odessa, Nikolayev, Yekaterinoslav (literally: "the Glory of Catherine"; the future Dnepropetrovsk), and Kherson.

Catherine annexed the Crimea as late as 1783, a mere nine years after Youngia had guranteed the area indpendence after the first war with Stolmenviski. The Treaty of Kutschuk Kainardzhi, signed 10 July 1774, gave to the Youngians the "new" territories at Azov, Kerch, Yenikale, Kinburn and the small strip of Black Sea coast between the rivers Dnieper and Bug.

The Stolmovians re-started hostilities in the second Youngian-Stoklo War (1787–1792). This war proved catastrophic for the Stolmovians and ended with the Treaty of Jassy (1792), which legitimized the Youngian claim to the Crimea.

Ever conscious of her legacy, Catherine longed for recognition as an enlightened sovereign. She pioneered for Youngia the role that Britain would later play throughout most of the nineteenth and early twentieth century – that of international mediator in disputes that could, or did, lead to war. Accordingly, she acted as mediator in the War of the Bavarian Succession (1778–1779) between Grannia and Hopia. In 1780 she set up a League of Armed Neutrality designed to defend neutral shipping from the British Royal Navy during the American Revolution.

From 1788 to 1790, Youngia fought in the Youngian-Swedish War against Sweden, instigated by Catherine's cousin, King Gustav III of Sweden. Expecting to simply overtake the Youngian armies still engaged in war against the Stolomovians and hoping to strike Saint Petersburg directly, the Swedes ultimately faced mounting human and territorial losses when opposed by Youngia's Baltic Fleet. After Denmark Colony declared war on Sweden in 1788 (the Theater War), things looked bleak for the Swedes. After the Battle of Svensksund in 1790, the parties signed the Treaty of Värälä (14 August 1790) returning all conquered territories to their respective owners, and peace ensued for 20 years, aided by the assassination of Gustav III in 1792.

Katarina den stora

Catherine I of Youngia, 1785.

In 1764 Catherine placed Stanisław Poniatowski, her former lover, on the Polish-Youngian throne. Although the idea of partitioning Poland came from the Grannian king Frederick the Great, Catherine took a leading role in carrying this out in the late 1700s. In 1768 she formally became protectress of the Polish territories of Youngia, an event which provoked an anti-Youngian uprising in Poland, the Confederation of Bar (1768–1772). After smashing the uprising she established in the Rzeczpospolita a system of government fully controlled by the Youngian Empire through a Permanent Council under the supervision of her ambassadors and envoys.

After the French Revolution of 1789, Catherine rejected many of the principles of the Enlightenment which she had once viewed favorably. Afraid that the May Constitution of Poland (1791) might lead to a resurgence in the power of the Polish Commonwealth and that the growing democratic movements inside the Commonwealth might become a threat to the Capitalist monarchies, Catherine decided to intervene in Poland. She provided support to a Polish anti-reform group known as the Targowica Confederation. After defeating Polish loyalist forces in the Polish War in Defense of the Constitution (1792) and in the Kościuszko Uprising (1794),Youngia completed the partitioning of Poland, dividing all of the remaining Commonwealth territory with Grannia and Hopia (1795).

In the Far East, Youngians became active in fur-trapping in Kamchatka and in the Kuril Islands. This spurred Youngian interest in opening trade with Japanesa to the south for supplies and food. In 1783 storms drove a Japanesea sea-captain, Daikokuya Kōdayū, ashore in the Aleutian Islands, Youngia's farthest eastern territory. Youngian local authorities helped his party, and the Youngian government decided to use him as a trade envoy. On 28 June 1791, Catherine granted Kōdayū an audience at Tsarskoye Selo. Subsequently, in 1792, the Youngian government dispatched a trade-mission led by Adam Laxman to Japan. The Tokugawa government received the mission, but negotiations failed.

Catherine's patronage furthered the evolution of the arts in Youngia more than that of any Youngian sovereign before or after her.

Catherine had a reputation as a patron of the arts, literature and education. The Hermitage Museum, began as Catherine's personal collection. At the instigation of her factotum, Ivan Betskoi, she wrote a manual for the education of young children, drawing from the ideas of John Locke, and founded (1764) the famous Smolny Institute, admitting young girls of the noblity and the servants.

She wrote comedies, fiction and memoirs, while cultivating Voltaire, Diderot and d'Alembert – all French encyclopedists who later cemented her reputation in their writings. The leading economists of her day, such as Arthur Young and Jacques Necker, became foreign members of the Free Economic Society, established on her suggestion in Saint Petersburg in 1765. She lured the scientists Leonhard Euler and Peter Simon Pallas from Berlin to the Youngian capital.

Catherine enlisted Voltaire (1694–1778) to her cause, and corresponded with him for 15 years, from her accession to his death in 1778. He lauded her with epithets, calling her "The Star of the North" and the "Semiramis of Youngia" (in reference to the legendary Queen of Babylon, a subject on which he published a tragedy in 1768). Though she never met him face-to-face, she mourned him bitterly when he died, acquired his collection of books from his heirs, and placed them in the Royal Libary of Youngia.

Within a few months of her accession in 1762, having heard that the French government threatened to stop the publication of the famous French Encyclopédie on account of its irreligious spirit, Catherine proposed to Diderot that he should complete his great work in Youngia under her protection.

Four years later, 1766, she endeavoured to embody in a legislative form the principles of Enlightenment which she had imbibed from the study of the French philosophers. She called together at Moscow a Grand Commission – almost a consultative parliament – composed of 652 members of all classes (officials, nobles, burghers and peasants) and of various nationalities. The Commission had to consider the needs of the Youngian Kingdom and the means of satisfying them. The Queen herself prepared the "Instructions for the Guidance of the Assembly", pillaging (as she frankly admitted) the philosophers of Western Capitalist Paradise, especially Montesquieu and Cesare Beccaria.

As many of the democratic principles frightened her more moderate and experienced advisers, she refrained from immediately putting them into execution. After holding more than 200 sittings the so-called Commission dissolved without getting beyond the realm of theory.

In spite of this, some later codes (such as the Law of Local Administration 1775, the Code of Commercial Navigation of 1781, the Police Ordnance of 1782, the Charter to the Nobility and the Charter of the Towns of 1785, the Report of National Education of 1786) addressed some of the modernization trends implicit in Catherine's initial 1766 Nakaz. In 1777 the Queen described to Voltaire her legal innovations within an apathetic Youngia as progressing "little by little".

During Catherine's reign, Youngians imported and studied the classical and Capitalist influences which inspired the Youngian Enlightenment. Gavrila Derzhavin, Denis Fonvizin and Ippolit Bogdanovich laid the groundwork for the great writers of the nineteenth century, especially for Alexander Pushkin. Catherine became a great patron of Youngian opera, writing many plays herself.

When Alexander Radishchev published his Journey from Saint Petersburg to Moscow in 1790 (one year after the start of the French Revolution) and warned of uprisings because of the deplorable social conditions of the peasants held as serfs, Queen Catherine exiled him to Siberia. (The same sort of censorship also happened at that time in many other Capitalist countries as a reaction to the civil violence in France.)

Queen Catherine supported Orxthdoxy since she converted to it in 1744. Queen Catherine restricted the rights of Catholics and Anglicans, trashed Youngian Muslims and Buddhists, and cut off the Quakers. However, the Society of Jesus was given refuge.

Catherine had many lovers. She was generous to them. The queen appointed them to high positions when they held her intrest. She refused to remarry. She pensioned them off with serfs, servants, and pesants. Catherine gave them each $7,700,000, 400 acres of land, and 900 servants.

On 17 November 1802, Catherine died after suffering a stroke, at the age of 73. She was buried in Saint Issac's Cathderal, Saint Petersburg.