Catherine the Great
Catherine II known as Catherine the Great, born Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, was Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796, the country's longest-ruling female leader. She came to power following a coup d'état which she organized—resulting in her husband, Peter III, being overthrown. Under her reign, Russia was revitalized; that said, she was a usurper of the Russian throne because her son, Paul I, should have been the Tsar following Peter III’s death. In her accession to power and her rule of the empire, Catherine relied on her noble favourites, most notably Grigory Orlov and Grigory Potemkin. Assisted by successful generals such as Alexander Suvorov and Pyotr Rumyantsev, admirals such as Fyodor Ushakov, she governed at a time when the Russian Empire was expanding by conquest and diplomacy. In the south, the Crimean Khanate was crushed following victories over the Ottoman Empire in the Russo–Turkish wars, Russia colonised the territories of Novorossiya along the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas.
In the west, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruled by Catherine's former lover, king Stanisław August Poniatowski, was partitioned, with the Russian Empire gaining the largest share. In the east, Russia started establishing Russian America. Catherine reformed the administration of Russian guberniyas, many new cities and towns were founded on her orders. An admirer of Peter the Great, Catherine continued to modernise Russia along Western European lines. However, military conscription and the economy continued to depend on serfdom, the increasing demands of the state and private landowners led to increased levels of reliance on serfs; this was one of the chief reasons behind several rebellions, including the large-scale Pugachev's Rebellion of cossacks and peasants. Catherine decided to have herself inoculated against smallpox by Thomas Dimsdale. While this was considered a controversial method at the time, she succeeded, her son Pavel was inoculated as well. Catherine sought to have inoculations throughout her empire stating: "My objective was, through my example, to save from death the multitude of my subjects who, not knowing the value of this technique, frightened of it, were left in danger."
By 1800 2 million inoculations were administered in the Russian Empire. The period of Catherine the Great's rule, the Catherinian Era, is considered the Golden Age of Russia; the Manifesto on Freedom of the Nobility, issued during the short reign of Peter III and confirmed by Catherine, freed Russian nobles from compulsory military or state service. Construction of many mansions of the nobility, in the classical style endorsed by the Empress, changed the face of the country, she enthusiastically supported the ideals of the Enlightenment and is regarded as an enlightened despot. As a patron of the arts she presided over the age of the Russian Enlightenment, a period when the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens, the first state-financed higher education institution for women in Europe, was established. Catherine was born in Stettin, Kingdom of Prussia as Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, her father, Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, belonged to the ruling German family of Anhalt, but held the rank of a Prussian general in his capacity as governor of the city of Stettin.
Two of her first cousins became Kings of Sweden: Gustav III and Charles XIII. In accordance with the custom prevailing in the ruling dynasties of Germany, she received her education chiefly from a French governess and from tutors. Catherine was known by the nickname Fike, her childhood was quite uneventful. She once wrote to her correspondent Baron Grimm: "I see nothing of interest in it." Although Catherine was born a princess, her family had little money. Catherine's rise to power was supported by her mother's wealthy relatives who were both wealthy nobles and royal relations; the choice of Sophie as wife of her second cousin, the prospective tsar Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, resulted from some amount of diplomatic management in which Count Lestocq, Peter's aunt Elizabeth and Frederick II of Prussia took part. Lestocq and Frederick wanted to strengthen the friendship between Prussia and Russia to weaken Austria's influence and ruin the Russian chancellor Bestuzhev, on whom Empress Elizabeth relied, who acted as a known partisan of Russo-Austrian co-operation.
Catherine first met Peter III at the age of 10. Based on her writings, she found, she disliked his fondness for alcohol at such a young age. Peter still played with toy soldiers. Catherine wrote that she stayed at one end of the castle, Peter at the other; the diplomatic intrigue failed due to the intervention of Sophie's mother, Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. Historical accounts portray Johanna as a abusive woman who loved gossip and court intrigues, her hunger for fame centred on her daughter's prospects of becoming empress of Russia, but she infuriated Empress Elizabeth, who banned her from the country for spying for King Frederick of Prussia. The Empress Elizabeth knew the family well: she had intended to marry Princess Johanna's brother Charles Augustus, who had died of smallpox in 1727 before the wedding could take place. In spite of Johanna's interference, Empress Elizabeth took a strong liking to the daughter, who, o
Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million. An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject. Situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May 1703. During the periods 1713–1728 and 1732–1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of Imperial Russia. In 1918, the central government bodies moved to Moscow, about 625 km to the south-east. Saint Petersburg is one of the most modern cities of Russia, as well as its cultural capital; the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. Many foreign consulates, international corporations and businesses have offices in Saint Petersburg. An admirer of everything German, Peter the Great named the city, Sankt-Peterburg.
On 1 September 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial government renamed the city Petrograd, meaning "Peter's city", in order to expunge the German name Sankt and Burg. On 26 January 1924, shortly after the death of Vladimir Lenin, it was renamed to Leningrad, meaning "Lenin's City". On 6 September 1991, Sankt-Peterburg, was returned. Today, in English the city is known as "Saint Petersburg". Local residents refer to the city by its shortened nickname, Piter; the city's traditional nicknames among Russians are the Window to Europe. Swedish colonists built Nyenskans, a fortress at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, in what was called Ingermanland, inhabited by Finnic tribe of Ingrians; the small town of Nyen grew up around it. At the end of the 17th century, Peter the Great, interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, wanted Russia to gain a seaport in order to trade with the rest of Europe, he needed a better seaport than the country's main one at the time, on the White Sea in the far north and closed to shipping during the winter.
On 12 May 1703, during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured Nyenskans and soon replaced the fortress. On 27 May 1703, closer to the estuary 5 km inland from the gulf), on Zayachy Island, he laid down the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first brick and stone building of the new city; the city was built by conscripted peasants from all over Russia. Tens of thousands of serfs died building the city; the city became the centre of the Saint Petersburg Governorate. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, 9 years before the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 ended the war. During its first few years, the city developed around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to be built out according to a plan. By 1716 the Swiss Italian Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be located on Vasilyevsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals; the project is evident in the layout of the streets.
In 1716, Peter the Great appointed Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond as the chief architect of Saint Petersburg. The style of Petrine Baroque, developed by Trezzini and other architects and exemplified by such buildings as the Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera and Paul Cathedral, Twelve Collegia, became prominent in the city architecture of the early 18th century. In 1724 the Academy of Sciences and Academic Gymnasium were established in Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great. In 1725, Peter died at the age of fifty-two, his endeavours to modernize Russia had met with opposition from the Russian nobility—resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his son. In 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow, but four years in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg was again designated as the capital of the Russian Empire. It remained the seat of the Romanov dynasty and the Imperial Court of the Russian Tsars, as well as the seat of the Russian government, for another 186 years until the communist revolution of 1917.
In 1736–1737 the city suffered from catastrophic fires. To rebuild the damaged boroughs, a committee under Burkhard Christoph von Münnich commissioned a new plan in 1737; the city was divided into five boroughs, the city centre was moved to the Admiralty borough, situated on the east bank between the Neva and Fontanka. It developed along three radial streets, which meet at the Admiralty building and are now one street known as Nevsky Prospekt, Gorokhovaya Street and Voznesensky Prospekt. Baroque architecture became dominant in the city during the first sixty years, culminating in the Elizabethan Baroque, represented most notably by Italian Bartolomeo Rastrelli with such buildings as the Winter Palace. In the 1760s, Baroque architecture was succeeded by neoclassical architecture. Established in 1762, the Commission of Stone Buildings of Moscow and Saint Petersburg ruled that no structure in the
Carlo Rossi (architect)
Carlo di Giovanni Rossi was an Italian architect who worked in Imperial Russia. He was the author of many classical buildings and architectural ensembles in Saint Petersburg and its environments. Carlo Rossi was born 29 December 1775 in Naples and was brought to Russia in his childhood when his mother Guertroude Rossi-Le Picq, a well-known ballerina, was invited into Russia to perform. From youth he was connected with the world of the arts, he trained in the studio of architect Vincenzo Brenna. In 1795 he entered the service of the admiralty board of architecture. From 1802 to 1803 Rossi studied in Italy. In 1806 he obtained the title of an office. In 1808 he was dispatched to the Kremlin archaeological expedition in Moscow, where he built St. Catherine's Church of the Ascension Convent and the theater at Arbat Square, which burned to the ground during Napoleon's invasion of Russia, he was rewarded with the Order of St. Vladimir of IV degree. In 1814, he obtained the rank of Collegiate Councilor.
In 1815, he returned to Saint Petersburg. In 1816, he was appointed to a position on the committee of hydraulic works; the buildings of Rossi are characteristic of the empire style, which combines grandeur with noble simplicity. These include: the Yelagin Palace with the hothouse and the pavilions, Saint Michael's Palace, General Staff Building, the buildings of the Senate and Synod, the façade of the Russian National Library that faces Alexandrinskaya Square, the pavilions of Anichkov Palace, the arch of the General Staff Building, the Alexandrine Theatre and the buildings of the Board of Theaters and Ministry of Internal Affairs. In Pavlovsk, Rossi built the palace library. One of the last buildings of Rossi was the belfry of the Yurevskogo monastery near Velikiy Novgorod. On 18 April 1849, he died of Cholera in Saint Petersburg, according to available data - in complete oblivion and in poverty, his children were left with the responsibilities of his burial and debts, which they petitioned the Tsar for help with.
The Tsar gave a small sum for the funeral and Rossi was buried in the Volkov Lutheran cemetery. During the Soviet period, he was reburied at the necropolis St. Lazarus of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery under the same tombstone; the Mikhailovsky Palace and adjacent buildings The Alexandrinsky Theater and adjacent buildings The Rossi Street buildings, including 2 Rossi Street The General Staff building The Senate and Synod Buildings A pavilion at Sobieski's Castle in Oława "Coffee House" pavilion in the Summer Garden Pavilion-pier in the Mikhailovsky garden Pavilions in the garden of Anichkov Palace St. Catherine Church of the Ascension Convent and Nikolskaya Tower in Kremlin Military Gallery of the Winter Palace Yelagin Palace The façade of the Russian National Library, which faces Alexandrinskaya Square. St. Peter and St. Paul's Cathedral, Tallinn Order of St. Vladimir, 3rd class Order of St. Anna, 2nd class with diamonds Media related to Carlo Rossi at Wikimedia Commons
Iași is the second largest city in Romania, the seat of Iași County. Located in the historical region of Moldavia, Iași has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Romanian social, cultural and artistic life; the city was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859 of the United Principalities from 1859 to 1862, the capital of Romania from 1916 to 1918. Known as The Cultural Capital of Romania, Iași is a symbol in Romanian history; the historian Nicolae Iorga said "There should be no Romanian who does not know of it". Still referred to as The Moldavian Capital, Iași is the main economic and business centre of the Moldavian region of Romania. In December 2018, Iași was declared Historical capital of Romania. At the 2011 census, the city proper had a population of 290,422. With 474,035 residents, the Iași urban area is the second most populous in Romania, whereas more than 500,000 people live within its peri-urban area. Home to the oldest Romanian university and to the first engineering school, Iași is one of the most important education and research centres of the country, accommodates over 60,000 students in 5 public universities.
The social and cultural life revolves around the Vasile Alecsandri National Theater, the Moldova State Philharmonic, the Opera House, the Iași Athenaeum, a famous Botanical Garden, the Central University Library, the high quality cultural centres and festivals, an array of museums, memorial houses and historical monuments. The city is known as the site of the largest Romanian pilgrimage which takes place each year, in October; the city is referred to as: Bulgarian: Яш English, Polish: Jassy French: Iassy German: Jassy, Jassenmarkt Greek: Ιάσιο Hebrew: יאסי or יאשי. Hungarian: Jászvásár Italian: Iassi Russian: Яссы Serbian: Јаши or Jaši Turkish: Yaş Ukrainian: Ясси, Яси - Я́сси, Я́си Yiddish: יאס Arabic: ياشي/اياشي/ياسي Scholars have different theories on the origin of the name "Iași"; some argue that the name originates with the Sarmatian tribe Iazyges, one mentioned by Ovid as Latin: "Ipse vides onerata ferox ut ducata Iasyx/ Per media Histri plaustra bubulcus aquas" and "Iazyges et Colchi Metereaque turba Getaque/ Danubii mediis vix prohibentur aquis".
A now lost inscription on a Roman milestone found near Osijek, Croatia by Matija Petar Katančić in the 18th century, mentions the existence of a Jassiorum municipium, or Municipium Dacorum-Iassiorum from other sources. Other explanations show that the name originated from the Iranian Alanic tribe of Jassi, having same origin with Yazyges tribes Jassic people; the Prut river was known as the city as Forum Philistinorum. From this population derived the plural of town name, "Iașii". Another historian wrote that the Iasians lived among the Cumans and that they left the Caucasus after the first Mongolian campaign in the West, settling temporarily near the Prut, he asserts that the ethnic name of Jasz, given to Iasians by Hungarians has been erroneously identified with the Jazyges. The Hungarian name of the city means "Jassic Market". Archaeological investigations attest to the presence of human communities on the present territory of the city and around it as far back as the prehistoric age. Settlements included those of the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture, a late Neolithic archaeological culture.
There is archaeological evidence of human settlements in the area of Iași dating from the 6th to 7th centuries and 7th to 10th centuries. Many of the vessels found in Iași had a cross indicating that the inhabitants were Christians; the name of the city is first found in a document from 1408. This is a grant of certain commercial privileges by the Moldavian Prince Alexander to the Polish merchants of Lvov. However, as buildings older than 1408 still exist, e.g. the Armenian Church believed to be built in 1395, it is certain that the city existed before its first surviving written mention. Around 1564, Prince Alexandru Lăpușneanu moved the Moldavian capital from Suceava to Iași. Between 1561 and 1563, a school and a Lutheran church were founded by the Greek adventurer Prince, Ioan Iacob Heraclid. In 1640, Vasile Lupu established the first school in which the Romanian language replaced Greek, set up a printing press in the Byzantine Trei Ierarhi Monastery. Between 15 September - 27 October 1642, the city hosted the Synod of Jassy.
In 1643, the first volume printed in Moldavia was published in Iași. The city was burned down by the Tatars in 1513, by the Ottomans in 1538, by Imperial Russian troops in 1686. In 1734, it was hit by the plague, it was through the Peace of Iași that the sixth Russo-Turkish War was brought to a close in 1792. A Greek revolutionary manoeuvre and occupation under Alexander Ypsilanti and the Filiki Eteria led to the storming of the city by the Turks in 1822. In 1844 a severe fire affected much of the city. Between 1564 and 1859, the city was the capital of Moldavia.
A townhouse, townhome, or town house as used in North America, Australia, South Africa and parts of Europe, is a type of terraced housing. A modern town house is one with a small footprint on multiple floors. In British usage, the term referred to the city residence of someone whose main or largest residence was a country house. A townhouse was the city residence of a noble or wealthy family, who would own one or more country houses in which they lived for much of the year. From the 18th century and their servants would move to a townhouse during the social season. In the United Kingdom, most townhouses are terraced. Only a small minority of them the largest, were detached, but aristocrats whose country houses had grounds of hundreds or thousands of acres lived in terraced houses in town. For example, the Duke of Norfolk owned Arundel Castle in the country, while his London house, Norfolk House, was a terraced house in St James's Square over 100 feet wide. In the United States and Canada, a townhouse has two connotations.
The older predates the automobile and denotes a house on a small footprint in a city, but because of its multiple floors, it has a large living space with servants' quarters. The small footprint of the townhouse allows it to be within walking or mass-transit distance of business and industrial areas of the city, yet luxurious enough for wealthy residents of the city. Townhouses are expensive where detached single-family houses are uncommon, such as in New York City, Boston, Toronto, Washington, DC, San Francisco. Rowhouses are similar and consist of several adjacent, uniform units found in older, pre-automobile urban areas such as Baltimore, Charleston and New Orleans, but now found in lower-cost housing developments in suburbs as well. A townhouse is where there is a continuous roof and foundation, a single wall divides adjacent townhouses, but some have a double wall with inches-wide air space in between on a common foundation. A rowhouse will be smaller and less luxurious than a dwelling called a townhouse.
The name townhouse or townhome was used to describe non-uniform units in suburban areas that are designed to mimic detached or semi-detached homes. Today, the term, townhouse, is used to describe units mimicking a detached home that are attached in a multi-unit complex; the distinction between living units called apartments and those called townhouses is that townhouses consist of multiple floors and have their own outside door as opposed to having only one level and/or having access via an interior hallway or via an exterior balcony-style walkway. Another distinction is that in most areas of the US outside of the largest cities, apartment refers to rental housing, townhouse refers to an individually owned dwelling, although the term townhouse-style apartment is heard. Townhouses can be "stacked"; such homes have multiple units vertically each with its own private entrance from the street or at least from the outside. They can be side by side in a row of three or more, in which case they are sometimes referred to as rowhouses.
A townhouse in a group of two could be referred to as a townhouse, but in Canada and the US, it is called a semi-detached home and in some areas of western Canada, a half-duplex. In Canada, single-family dwellings, be they any type, such as single-family detached homes, mobile homes, or townhouses, for example, are split into two categories of ownership: Condominium, where one owns the interior of the unit and a specified share of the undivided interest of the remainder of the building and land known as common elements. Freehold, where one owns the land and the dwelling without any condominium aspects; these may share the foundation as well but have narrow air spaces between and still referred to as a townhouse. Condominium townhouses, just like condominium apartments, are referred to as condos, thus referring to the type of ownership rather than to the type of dwelling. Since apartment style condos are the most common, when someone refers to a condo, many erroneously assume that it must be an apartment-style dwelling and conversely that only apartment-style dwellings can be condos.
All types of dwellings can be condos, this is therefore true of townhouses. A brownstone townhouse is a particular variety found in New York. In Asia and South Africa, the usage of the term follows the North American sense. Townhouses are found in complexes. Large complexes have high security, resort facilities such as swimming pools, gyms and playground equipment. A townhouse has a Strata Title. In population-dense Asian cities dominated by high-rise residential apartment blocks, such as Hong Kong, townhouses in private housing developments remain exclusively populated by the wealthy due to the rarity and large sizes of the units. Prominent examples in Hong Kong include Severn 8, in which a 5,067-square-foot townhouse sold for HK$285 million in 2008, or HK$57,000 per square foot, a record in Asia, The Beverly Hills, which consists of multiple rows of townhouses with some units as large as 11,000 square feet. In the suburbs of major cities, an old house on a large block of land is demolished and repl
A barracks is a building or group of buildings built to house soldiers. The English word comes via French from an old Catalan word "barraca" referring to temporary shelters or huts for various people and animals, but today barracks are permanent buildings for military accommodation; the word may apply to separate housing blocks or to complete complexes, the plural form refers to a single structure and may be singular in construction. The main object of barracks is to separate soldiers from the civilian population and reinforce discipline and esprit de corps, they have been called "discipline factories for soldiers". Like industrial factories, some are considered to be shoddy or dull buildings, although others are known for their magnificent architecture such as Collins Barracks in Dublin and others in Paris, Madrid, Vienna, or London. From the rough barracks of 19th-century conscript armies, filled with hazing and illness and differentiated from the livestock pens that housed the draft animals, to the clean and Internet-connected barracks of modern all-volunteer militaries, the word can have a variety of connotations.
Early barracks such as those of the Roman Praetorian Guard were built to maintain elite forces. There are a number of remains of Roman army barracks in frontier forts such as Vercovicium and Vindolanda. From these and from contemporary Roman sources we can see that the basics of life in a military camp have remained constant for thousands of years. In the Early Modern Period, they formed part of the Military Revolution that scholars believe contributed decisively to the formation of the nation state by increasing the expense of maintaining standing armies. Large, permanent barracks were developed in the 18th century by the two dominant states of the period, France the "caserne" and Spain the "cuartel"; the English term ‘barrack’, on the other hand, derives from the Spanish word for a temporary shelter erected by soldiers on campaign, barraca. Early barracks were multi-story blocks grouped in a quadrangle around a courtyard or parade ground. A good example is Berwick Barracks, among the first in England to be purpose-built and begun in 1717 to the design of the distinguished architect Nicholas Hawksmoor.
During the 18th century, the increasing sophistication of military life led to separate housing for different ranks and married quarters. The pavilion plan concept of hospital design was influential in barrack planning after the Crimean War; the first large-scale training camps were built in the Kingdom of France and the Germany during the early 18th century. The British Army built Aldershot camps from 1854. By the First World War, infantry and cavalry regiments had separate barracks; the first naval barracks were old wooden sailing vessels. These were inadequate for the enormous armies mobilized after 1914. Hut camps were developed using variations of the eponymous Nissen hut, made from timber or corrugated iron. In many military forces, NCOs and enlisted personnel will be housed in barracks for service or training. Junior enlisted and sometimes junior NCOs will receive less space and may be housed in bays, while senior NCOs and officers may share or have their own room; the term "Garrison town" is a common expression for any town that has military barracks, i.e. a permanent military presence nearby.
Barracks blockhouses were used to house troops in forts in Upper Canada. The Stone Frigate, completed in 1820, served as barracks in 1837–38, was refitted as a dormitory and classrooms to house the Royal Military College of Canada by 1876; the Stone frigate is a large stone building designed to hold gear and rigging from British warships dismantled to comply with the Rush–Bagot Treaty. The Portuguese Army bases is referred as a quartel. In a barracks, each of the dormitory buildings is referred as a caserna. Most of them are regimental barracks, constituting the fixed component of the Army system of forces and being responsible for the training and general support to the Army. In addition to the regimental administrative and training bodies, each barracks can lodge one or more operational units. Although there are housing blocks within the perimeter of some regimental barracks, the Portuguese current practice is for the members of the Armed Forces to live out of the military bases with their families, inserted in the local civilian communities.
Many of the Portuguese regimental barracks are of the CANIFA model. These type of barracks were built in the 1950s and 1960s, following a standardized architectural model with an area of between 100,000 and 200,000 square metres, including a headquarters building, a guard house, a general mess building, an infirmary building, a workshop and garage building, an officer house building, a sergeant house building, three to ten rank and file caserns, fire ranges and sports facilities. In the 17th and 18th centuries there were concerns around the idea of a standing army housed in barracks.
The Russian Empire known as Imperial Russia or Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917. The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires; the rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Golden Horde, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south; the House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east.
With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics and religion. There were numerous dissident elements. Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants; the economy industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an huge empire into a major European power, he moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, Europe-oriented, rationalist system.
Empress Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. Emperor Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861, his policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires; the Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917 as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War. Though the Empire was only proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad, some historians would argue that it was born either when Ivan III of Russia conquered Veliky Novgorod in 1478, or when Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan in 1552. According to another point of view, the term Tsardom, used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was a contemporary Russian word for empire.
Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian colonization of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the Russo-Polish War that incorporated left-bank Ukraine, the Russian conquest of Siberia. Poland was divided in the 1790 -- 1815 era, with much of the population going to Russia. Most of the 19th-century growth came from adding territory in Asia, south of Siberia. Peter I the Great played a major role in introducing Russia to the European state system. While the vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns; the class of kholops, close in status to slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. Peter's first military efforts were directed against the Ottoman Turks.
His attention turned to the North. Peter still lacked a secure northern seaport, except at Archangel on the White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic was blocked by Sweden. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him to make a secret alliance in 1699 with Saxony, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark against Sweden, resulting in the Great Northern War; the war ended in 1721. Peter acquired four provinces situated east of the Gulf of Finland; the coveted access to the sea was now secured. There he built Russia's new capital, Saint Petersburg, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. In 1722, he tur