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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:

The Age of Catherine the Great: A Summary of Russian History
Russia Symbol Introduction
Russia Symbol The Husband
Russia Symbol The Enlightened Absolutist Monarch
Russia Symbol Catherine's Foreign Policy
Russia Symbol Paul I
The Age of Catherine the Great: A Summary of World History
The Americas

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.




Russia Symbol
  A Global Empire’s Attention and Favor
NYPL, Spencer Collection

After easily overthrowing her husband, who notoriously displayed a lack of political judgment during his six months as emperor, Catherine II (r. 1762–96) began her thirty-four-year reign. A wide-ranging reform program, a partnership with the elite, and a coming of age in the arts marked her domestic policy. While Peter the Great (r. 1682–1725) had won military respect throughout Europe, Catherine brought renown to Russian cultural endeavors that reflected their western models. The outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, however, brought an end to the empress’s progressive policies, as she began to fear their consequences.

In foreign policy, Russian sway was extended to the Black Sea, the Crimean, and the Caucasus, in addition to the forcible acquisition of Polish territories. Such expansion, plus the continued program of exploration, enriched Russian culture, but the incorporation of so many peoples of different religions and ethnicities would result in discrimination, injustice, and, eventually, the disintegration of the empire.



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