Empress Elizabeth Petrovna (1709-1761) was the daughter of Peter the Great and Catherine I. Empress Elizabeth was as devoted to Russia as her father but lacked his European tastes and education. Her reign of power was a decadent affair involving endless shopping trips, palaces, hunting expeditions and an enormous national budget deficit.
In 1741 Elizabeth made her ascent to the throne with the help of officers from one of the military troops. She arrested the young emperor Ivan VI and his family and officially proclaimed herself as the new Russian empress.
Elizabeth was a beautiful, colorful woman and relatively smart, who was responsible for much of the beauty of Russia. She was devoted to the arts (to a Russian peasant named Razumovsky, in particular , a beautiful singer with whom she fell in love) and adored colorful and expensive jewelry, so much so that Russia became, in the period between 1820 to 1850, the richest country in the world for it's resources of precious stones, and the world's leading producer of fine porcelain.
For twenty years, from her coronation until her death, she made Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli her court architect, who not only designed every major building inside and outside the capital, but in honor of Elizabeth, designed the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo and the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
Common people liked her because she knew Russian customs and tradition. She was also known to be both religious and superstitious. Although she was not politically ambitious, a good amount of activity did happen during her 20 year reign and she was considered a very welcome change from the cruel political regime of the empress Anna Ivanovna and her German advisors including Duke Biron. Elizabeth also had advisors, of course, but they were of Russian origin and far more...