This website is part of The New York Public Library's Online Exhibition Archive. For current classes, programs, and exhibitions, please visit
Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825
1453 Through the Reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) The Time of Troubles to the First Romanovs (1598-1682) Peter the Great and His Legacy (1682-1762) The Age of Catherine the Great (1762-1801) The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825)


Explore this Section:

  Russia Events
Russia Symbol The June Coup (June 28, 1762)
Russia Symbol Red Convocation of the Legislative Commission (1767)
Russia Symbol Pugachev Rebellion (1773–74)
Russia Symbol Charter of the Towns (1785)
Russia Symbol Founding of the Smolnyi Institute
  World Events
World Symbol
The French Revolution Begins, 1789
World Symbol Revolt on the Island of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), 1791
World Symbol
The French Expedition to Egypt, 1798–99
World Symbol
The French Civil Code Is Issued, 1804

Russia's Globalization:
A Key

Events marked Russia Symbol are specific to Muscovy/Russia's internal development.
Those marked World Symbol are important world historical or cultural events.
Engagement Symbol indicates specific points of sociocultural or military engagement between Muscovy/Russia and foreign powers or individuals.




With widespread dissatisfaction over the reign of Peter III (r. 1761–62), Catherine saw her opportunity to fulfill her dream of becoming ruler of Russia. Self-preservation added to her ambition, since her estranged husband had threatened to divorce her and send her to a convent. When one of her conspirators was arrested, she decided to act. With the help of the Orlov brothers, one of whom was her lover, she secured the allegiance of the long-established guards regiments. She then visited key areas in St. Petersburg and received the support of elite and commoners alike. A forceful accession manifesto portrayed her as Russia’s savior from Peter’s malfeasances. The emperor timidly abdicated.