1747: German Prince who was the Father of Russian Empress Catherine the Great

1747: German Prince who was the Father of Russian Empress Catherine the Great
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 16. March 1747
  • Prince Christian August von Anhalt-Zerbst had the rank of field marshal in the army of famous King Frederick II the Great (known for his rivalry with Austrian empress Maria Theresa). He was also a knight of the Order of the Black Eagle, the highest knightly order of the Prussian kings.

This day in 1747 in Germany marked the death of the father of Russian empress Catherine the Great. He was called Christian August von Anhalt-Zerbst, and was a member of the respected House of Ascania, which owned territories on the area of Anhalt since the Middle Ages.

While these principalities in Anhalt were among the smallest in all of Germany, they still gave their rulers the status of sovereigns, which allowed them to marry the ruling families of much larger European countries, including kingdoms and even empires.

Christian August’s tiny state was called the Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst, and was located southwest of Berlin, near the Elbe River. The capital of the statelet was called Zerbst, and it was also the place where Christian August died on this day.

His daughter married Peter, the heir to the Russian throne, who was also a German from the Holstein Gottorp dynasty. He became the Russian emperor Peter III, but was soon removed from power by his wife, Catherine the Great.

Prince Christian August von Anhalt-Zerbst had the rank of field marshal in the army of famous King Frederick II the Great (known for his rivalry with Austrian empress Maria Theresa).

He was also a knight of the Order of the Black Eagle, the highest knightly order of the Prussian kings. He was succeeded by his son, Frederick August, brother of Empress Catherine the Great.

Interestingly, that brother supported the British during the American War of Independence (a significant number of mercenaries participated in the war on the British side, as a mercenary force).

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