Women's History Theme
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Who is this woman?   

This amazing woman was born a poor German princess and became one of Russia's greatest emperors.

She was born Princess Sophia August Frederika on May 2, 1729, in the Baltic seaport town of Stettin, then a part of German Pomerania. Her father was an obscure German military prince named Christian August, and her mother was Princess Joanna Elizabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. Her father was ruler of the tiny principality of Anhalt-Zerbst, but the greater part of his life was spent as an officer in the service of Prussia.

In 1744, she arrived in Moscow with her mother to marry Peter, the Grand Duke of Holstein, grandson of Peter the ____ and heir to the Russian throne (later Peter III). Their marriage was an unhappy one. ____ (now baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church under that name) spent much of her time preparing for her future reign.

In 1761, Peter was crowned emperor. Supported by the Russian military, ____ overthrew Peter in 1762 and became ____ II. She quickly began to make changes in government and society based on ideas learned from French philosophers of the Enlightenment and the authors of ancient Rome.

She was a friend of Voltaire and other European writers, and wrote stories and plays. She supported French writer and philosopher Denis Diderot when he was broke -- she bought his library, hired him to look after it at his own house, for which she paid him a salary for the next 50 years in advance.

____ patronized the arts, music and education, and she put millions of rubles into the creation of the Hermitage Museum, which today is the delight of Russia and the world. No other Russian monarch appreciated beauty as much as ____. She set the stage for the emergence of a national Russian culture that would become something unique and wonderful in the 19th century.

____ established the first schools for women, including the Smolny Institute for girls in St. Petersburg. Also, Russia's first public schools and universities were founded during her reign.

Her rule was one of the most prosperous periods of the Russian Empire. She undertook a wide range of internal political reforms, waged two successful wars against the Ottoman Empire and occupied vast territories on Russia's southern boundaries, eventually advancing the country's border to the Black Sea.

____ died from an unexpected stroke on November 17, 1796, at the age of 67.

She bought Denis Diderot's library, then hired him to look after it at his own house.

She was responsible for establishing the first schools for women.

Her marriage was unhappy and she spent much of her time preparing for her future reign.

She had one son, Paul, whom she did not like very much.

Who is this woman?
     Catherine the Great
     Indira Gandhi
     Amelia Mary Earhart
     Golda Meir
     Elizabeth Blackwell

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