Empress of Russia (1725–27). She was a Lithuanian servant girl who was first the mistress and then the second wife of Peter I. On his death she was proclaimed ruler with the support of her husband's favourite, Menshikov, and the guards regiments. Menshikov became the effective head of government, working through the newly established Privy Council, but fell from power on Catherine's death. Her daughter Elizabeth Petrovna became empress (1741–62).
Subjects: World History.