11.10.

1739: Prince Grigory Potemkin – Powerful Favorite of Catherine the Great

1739: Prince Grigory Potemkin – Powerful Favorite of Catherine the Great
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 11 October 1739
  • The powerful Potemkin is considered the founder of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The term “Potemkin village” is still used to describe fake villages the prince allegedly had constructed in order to impress Empress Catherine the Great.

This day in 1739 is considered the birthday of Grigory Potemkin, a Russian aristocrat and one of the most powerful favorites of Empress Catherine II the Great.

During his life, Potemkin amassed a large number of honors, titles, and functions, which were given to him by the empress.

He even received two princely titles: Prince of the Holy Roman Empire (Princeps Sancti romani Imperii) and Prince of the Russian Empire. He also bore the title of field marshal, and was was the president of the Russian College of War, placing him at the top of the Russian military hierarchy.

Potemkin was born in the village of Chizovo near Smolensk, into a noble family of medium wealth. He caught the eye of Empress Catherine the Great when he was a young officer in 1762. Even though she was 10 years older than him, they became lovers when she was 44, and he almost 34.

As her favorite, he soon received some of the highest offices in the Russian Empire. There exists a high probability that Catherine and Potemkin were secretly married.

The powerful Potemkin is considered the founder of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The term “Potemkin village” is still used to describe fake villages the prince allegedly had constructed in order to impress Empress Catherine the Great.

In Saint Petersburg, Potemkin owned a huge palace named the Tauride Palace, after the historical name for the Crimea.

Potemkin died in 1791 on the territory of what is now Romania, where he was on military duty. He was 52 at the time, while Empress Catherine outlived him for five years.

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