Catherine I (1725-1727)

Used to be called Marta Skavronskaya before converting to the Orthodox faith, Catherine was employed as a servant at Prince A.D. Menshikov’s house where in 1703 Peter the Great saw her and took her as his mistress. They got married on February 19, 1712 at the wooden Admiralty Church and since that time never separated. After Peter the Great’s death, his second wife was enthroned at the age of 43 at the Kremlin’s Dormition Cathedral in 1724, and for most of the rest of the 18th century Russia was ruled by woman, whose taste did much to set the celebrated architectural tone of St.Petersburg. Catherine was placed on the throne by the guard’s regiments; she pasted all affairs of the state to Alexander Menshikov, and her only considerable achievement was the creation of seventeen new bridges across rivers and canals in the Northern Venice. Catherine was a reigning empress only for two years - in early 1727 she fell ill and died on May 6, 1727, having made a will to appoint Peter - Peter the Great’s grandson, then at the age of twelve, her successor.

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