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Title: Name: ____________________________

Name ____________________________
European State Building Strategies 1450-1750
Task Read pp. 475-483 (Bentley Text) Identify
strategies for state building for each of the
following Portugal, England, Netherlands (the
Dutch), Spain, and Russia Annotate the map (on
reverse) with key locations and/or information
regarding state building
Portuguese English Dutch Spanish Russian

Portuguese English Dutch Spanish Russian

Name ____________________________
Mapping European State Building Strategies
Name ____________________________
Mapping European State Building Strategies
European Interest in Asia Overview
  • India, China, and Japan Strong govts
  • No European ports (initially)
  • Just grateful to trade
  • SE Asia Weak govts
  • Desirable products
  • Ripe for domination
  • Portuguese stronghold
  • Spain takes Philippines (Named after King Philip
  • Search for water routes to Asia
  • B/C Muslim domination of Silk Road (Ottomans)
  • Late 1400s - 1500s Access to Asian
  • Dominated by Portugal and Spain
  • 1600s England and the Netherlands challenge S
    P for dominance
  • Political, religious, and nationalist reasons

European State Building Strategies
1450-1750 Directions for Each Station
Portuguese English Dutch Spanish Russian
  • Review Maps
  • Add locations to your world map
  • Color code based on empire
  • Review Materials
  • Materials include Maps, Text, Art, Timelines
  • Evenly divide tasks and resources between group
  • Your Notes
  • Be sure to address
  • Motivations for imperial expansion
  • Development / State Building Strategies
  • Impact of Interactions

Portuguese Strategies
  • Late 1400s
  • Prince Henry the Navigator
  • Using navigational developments compass
  • Portuguese Developing a slave trade in Africa
  • Indian Ocean Trade
  • Vasco da Gama rounded Cape of Good Hope
  • 1498 Calicut
  • Alfonso dAlburquerque
  • Fortified stations at Aden, Ormuz, Goa, Malacca
  • Strategic locations to control trade!!!

Portuguese 1
A Century of Portuguese Domination of SE Asia
  • Controlled lucrative spice and exotic goods trade
  • China Posts on Macao and Ilha Formosa (Taiwan)
  • Control of shipping lanes
  • Piracy in areas not under their control
  • Portuguese Zealously Catholic and anti-Muslim
  • Christian missionaries

Portuguese 2
Portuguese Holdings/Possessions
Vasco da Gama 1490s
Treaty of Tordesillas 1494
Portuguese MAP 1
Portuguese MAP 2
The Portuguese in Africa, 14151600   Access to
commodities such as fabrics, spices, and gold
motivated a European quest for a faster means to
reach South Asia. It was this search that led the
Portuguese down the coast of West Africa to
Sierra Leone in 1460. Due to several
technological and cultural advantages, Portugal
dominated world trade for nearly 200 years, from
the fifteenth to the sixteenth centuries. While,
in the fifteenth century, the rest of Europe was
decimated by the Black Plague, Portugal was
protected by its physical isolation.
Additionally, Portugal had an unusually strong
national identity, due to its natural geographic
borders, allowing the pooling of the considerable
economic resources necessary to fund these
ambitious explorations. Additionally Portugal's
extended contact with Islam, and therefore with
its superior mathematical knowledge and sailing
technologies, including sail shapes, hull
designs, and maritime weaponry, resulted in a
Portuguese fleet capable of negotiating the high
Atlantic seas. As a consequence, most of the West
African coast was explored in the period from
1415 into the 1600s. Preserved maps from this
period show a remarkably accurate understanding
of the complicated coastline. African exports
consisted primarily of gold, ivory, and pepper.
However, over 175,000 slaves were also taken to
Europe and the Americas during this period. In
1600, with the involvement of the Dutch and
English, the magnitude of the slave trade grew
exponentially. From the time of their arrival
on the shores of Sierra Leone in 1460, and until
their gradual decline as leaders in world
exploration in the sixteenth century, the
Portuguese had an ambiguous relationship with
their African trading partners. Disembarking at
cities that were equally large, complex, and
technologically advanced as Lisbon at the time,
the Portuguese actually experienced far less
culture shock than we might expect. In fact, they
encountered urban centers in West Africa
comparable to those back in Europe, governed by
elaborate dynasties, organized around
apprenticeship-based artistic guilds, and with
agricultural systems capable of feeding their
large populaces. Many African cities were even
deemed to be larger, more hygienic, and better
organized than those of Europe. Additionally, the
Portuguese shared many beliefs about magic, the
supernatural, and the treatment of illness with
the African societies they encountered.
Protective amulets in both cultures were
considered medicinally valuable, and sickness in
general was attributed to witchcraft. Source
Emma George Ross Department of Arts of Africa,
Oceania, and the Americas, The Metropolitan
Museum of Art
Portuguese Text
Portuguese Timeline
  1. What is the salt cellar holding? Why?
  2. Why would this image appear to European buyers?
  3. How does the representation of the Portuguese
    differ in the 2 works?
  4. What can you infer about Portuguese African

Salt Cellar
Portuguese / Benin ART 1
  1. What is the salt cellar holding? Why?
  2. Why would this image appear to European buyers?
  3. How does the representation of the Portuguese
    differ in the 2 works?
  4. What can you infer about Portuguese African

Bronze Plaque
Portuguese / Benin ART 2
  • Wanted in on Indian Ocean Trade couldnt crack
    Portuguese dominance
  • Needed a different route
  • 1492
  • 1519-1522 Ferdinand Magellan Circumnavigation
  • Philippines Colonized and Christianized
  • Manila Hub and Entrepôt of trade between China,
    Spanish controlled Americas, and Spain

Manila-Acapulco galleon
Spanish 1
Spanish Holdings/Possessions
Treaty of Tordesillas 1494
Spanish MAP 1
Spanish MAP 2
Manila-Acapulco Trade
Spanish Trade 1
Columbian Exchange
Casta System
-Peninsulares -Criollos -Mestizos -Mulatos -Indios
-African Slaves
Triangular Trade
Spanish Trade 2
Spanish Timeline
Spanish Colonial Empire Portugal, not Spain,
was the first European nation to make contact
with the Far East. Under the able leadership and
training of Prince Henry, the Navigator,
Portuguese mariners pushed down the West Coast of
Africa opening trade in ivory, gold and slaves as
they looked for a direct route to the Far East .
In 1486 Bartholomew Diaz rounded the Cape of Good
Hope. A short time later, by following the
African route, Vasco da Gama reached India in
1498 and opened a Far Eastern trade that brought
prosperity to Portugal. By the early decades of
the 16th century Portugal had established
lucrative trading post in Africa, India, China,
Japan and the East Indies. However, Portugal's
monopoly over the eastern sea route forced Spain
to the east by sailing westward. Following the
accidental Columbus discovery of the Bahamas in
1492,believing that Spain had a God-given right
to dominate non-Christian peoples and bring to
them the word of Christ and that the "new" lands
were revealed to Columbus while he sailed under
the Spanish flag was proof enough of divine
intent, the Spanish monarchy began to
commissioned several New World expeditions. 1493
Columbus's second voyage to the New World. Gold
mines produced 1,000,000 on an annual basis In
1500 Spaniards arrive in Hispaniola (Haiti). By
1515 the Spaniards took controlled of several
islands, including Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Cuba.
The voyage of Americus Vespucius Proved that
America was a continent. In 1513 Balboa and
several hundred men traveled across Panama to the
continental divide. Viewing the Pacific Ocean
from the mountains, he named it the South Seas
and claimed all the land (beaches) for Spain.
Spanish claims were further legitimized by Pope
Alexander VI, himself a Spaniard, who issued a
papal bull in 1493 giving Spain the right to
explore westward and southward and claim any
territory not already under Christian rulership.
Both Spain and Portugal laid claim to the newly
discovered land int the west. In 1493 Spain and
Portugal agreed to divide between themselves the
right to explore and conquer unknown parts of the
world. The Treaty of Tordesillas declared a line
of demarcation, which passed through the Atlantic
Ocean 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands
(which Portugal already claimed). Spain had
rights to everything to the west of this line
Portugal over all lands to the east. Spain,
though intending to claim all of America, had
inadvertently yielded to Portugal the
eastward-projecting mass of Brazil. Once
Spain's rights to American territory had thus
been formally recognized, the process of
invading, remapping and conquering these lands
began.Native peoples who declined to recognize
Spanish dominion were by definition rebelling
against their lawful rulers and thus inviting
violent retaliation and suppression. Native
groups that submitted peacefully to Spanish rule
were merely performing their duty as Spanish
subjects. This "myth of pacification" served to
justify the Spanish invasion and mask its
accompanying brutality behind a facade of
legitimate statecraft. The conquest of America
was an aggressive campaign against peoples who
had never heard of, let alone threatened, Spain.
The new frontier provided new employment for
soldiers and new opportunities for sons of the
aristocracy to rule over territory and subjects
that they had helped to conquer. Spain had been
purged of Jews and Muslims, and the new lands
also would be uniformly Christian. Also, the
economic decline of Spain could be temporarily
stalled by an influx of wealth from America.
Although the cities of gold that filled Spanish
dreams never materialized, Spanish colonists
extracted enough silver, gold, and other precious
substances to enrich their homeland. However, the
result of flooding Europe's markets with American
silver was similar to what would happen if a
modern nation sought to offset economic problems
by printing additional currency It set off a
cycle of inflation that only furthered Spain's
long-term decline. Thus, even though millions of
pounds of silver poured into Spain, its New World
colonies were never profitable.
Spanish Text
The Dutch
  • Independence from Phillip II of Spain in 1581
  • Hapsburgs, Treaty of Westphalia
  • Dutch Republic 1581-1795
  • Republic of the 7 United Netherlands
  • Provinces- autonomous (own govnt)
  • Represented in the Hague
  • Grew to become one of the major seafaring and
    economic powers of the 17th century
  • 1st thoroughly capitalist country in the world
  • Wealthiest city Amsterdam
  • 1st full time stock exchange

Dutch 1
Dutch Holdings/Possessions
Dutch MAP 1
Dutch East India Company
  • Established in 1602
  • 21-year monopoly
  • To carry out colonial activities in Asia
  • Remained powerful for nearly 200 years!!!
  • 1st multi-national corporation
  • 1st company to issue stock
  • Possessed quasi-governmental powers
  • Ability to wage war, negotiate treaties, coin
    money, establish colonies

Dutch Batavia in the 17th Century, built in what
is now North Jakarta
Dutch Trade 1
Merchant Ship of the Dutch East India Company,
1782 Nagasaki School, published by
Toshimaya Hand coloured woodblock print. 65 x
58 cm
Dutch Trade 2
The Dutch East Indies
Dutch MAP 2
The submission of Prince Diponegoro to General De
Kock at the end of the Java War in 1830
Dutch Trade 3
Dutch MAP 3
Dutch East India Company, Trade Network, 18th
Century The Dutch East India Company (VOC
Verenigde Oost-indische Compagnie), founded in
1602, is often considered as the first true
multinational corporation. From the 17th to the
18th century trading companies such as VOC (and
its British counterpart the East India Trading
Company) acted on behalf of European governments
in Asia. As joint stock companies they were
private mercantilist tools with a guarantied
trade monopoly in exchange of rights paid to
their respective governments. They were almost
states by themselves with their own ships
(military and merchant) and military forces.
Their initial goal was to develop trade links for
prized commodities such as pepper and as time
progressed they became increasingly involved in
the control and development of their respective
territories. In 1610, VOC gained a foothold in
Batavia (Indonesia / Dutch East Indies) and
conquered most of the island of Ceylon (Sri
Lanka) by 1640, establishing the stronghold of
Galle. The major trading hub of Malacca was taken
from the Portuguese in 1641. By the mid seventeen
century VOC has replaced most local trading
networks with their own with a series of
fortified trading posts. Cape Town (South Africa)
was also founded in 1652 as a crucial stage for
the long Europe-Asia voyage. Later, plantations,
which forced the introduction of new forms of
cultivation such as coffee in West Java (1723),
were established. It resulted in a growing
quantity and variety of cargo being traded. The
company essentially achieved for about a century
a monopoly on nutmeg (meat preserver) and
cinnamon trade and raked substantial profits.
Most of it was coming from the "Spice Islands" in
the Dutch East Indies. By 1750, VOC employed
around 25,000 people and was doing business in 10
Asian countries. However, mainly due to
corruption and mismanagement the company faced
bankruptcy in 1799 with its holdings transferred
to the Dutch Crown. When VOC first came to Asia,
ships made the long distance trip back and forth
from Europe. Later, a trade network composed of
two layers was established, reminiscent of a
hub-and-spoke structure. A regional trade network
was serviced by smaller ships that called along
coastal trading routes a variety of ports
throughout the region. The goods where then
collected in large warehouses in protected
strongholds Batavia (Indonesia) and Galle (Sri
Lanka) were the most significant. Traded
commodities included textiles, pepper and yarn
from India cinnamon, cardamon, and gems from Sri
Lanka. Some were traded only over short
distances, while others traveled greater
distances, such as between Indonesia, China and
Japan. Other commodities, such a cinnamon and
nutmeg were mainly exported back to Europe. To do
so, much larger "return ships" of 500 to 1,000
tons were used for the long haul which included a
stopover in Cape Town. The route and the season
these ships traveled was configured to take
maximum advantage of dominant winds. On the
inbound route from Amsterdam, ships essentially
crossed the Atlantic to reach the South American
coast and then catch the fast Westerlies that
would bring them to Cape Town. From there, the
Westerlies brought the ships straight across the
Indian Ocean towards Australia and then a sharp
turn north to Batavia or Galle. The return route
was more direct and took advantage of the
southeast bound winter monsoon winds.
Dutch Text
"First British Empire" (1583-1783)
  • 1578 Sir Humphrey Gilbert granted a patent by Q
    E I for discovery and overseas exploration
    (West Indies)
  • Failed
  • 1583 2nd attempt, Newfoundland (died)
  • 1584 Sir Walter Raleigh (Gilberts cousin),
    granted a patent for Roanoke colony, NC
  • 1600s Treaty with Spain
  • Free to colonize overseas
  • North America and smaller islands of the
  • North America 13 colonies

British 1
British Holdings/Possessions
British MAP 1
British East India Company aka The Honourable
East India Company
  • Early English joint-stock company
  • Trade with India and SE Asia
  • Main Trade Tea, cotton, silk, indigo dye,
    saltpeter, and opium
  • English Royal Charter by Q E I on Dec 31, 1600
  • 21-year monopoly
  • Virtually ruled India and other Asian colonies
  • Until 1858 British Crown assumed direct rule
  • Finally dissolved January 1, 1874

British Trade 1
  • Caribbean
  • Original lucrative colonies
  • 1600s St. Lucia, St. Kits, Barbados, Nevis,
    Jamaica, Bahamas, Bermuda
  • Sugar plantations slave labor, triangular trade
  • Asia
  • Challenge Portuguese dominance
  • Intense rivalry with Netherlands (Dutch)
  • India Madras, Bombay, Calcuttato be continued

British Trade 2
British Timeline
Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, became the first
British Governor of Bengal
British Trade 3
The British East India Company The East India
Company had the unusual distinction of ruling an
entire country. Its origins were much humbler. On
31 December 1600, a group of merchants who had
incorporated themselves into the East India
Company were given monopoly privileges on all
trade with the East Indies. The Company's ships
first arrived in India, at the port of Surat, in
1608. Sir Thomas Roe reached the court of the
Mughal Emperor, Jahangir, as the emissary of King
James I in 1615, and gained for the British the
right to establish a factory at Surat. Gradually
the British eclipsed the Portugese and over the
years they saw a massive expansion of their
trading operations in India. Numerous trading
posts were established along the east and west
coasts of India, and considerable English
communities developed around the three presidency
towns of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. In 1717,
the Company achieved its hitherto most notable
success when it received a firman or royal dictat
from the Mughal Emperor exempting the Company
from the payment of custom duties in Bengal. The
Company saw the rise of its fortunes, and its
transformation from a trading venture to a ruling
enterprise, when one of its military officials,
Robert Clive, defeated the forces of the Nawab of
Bengal, Siraj-ud-daulah , at the Battle of
Plassey in 1757. A few years later the Company
acquired the right to collect revenues on behalf
of the Mughal Emperor, but the initial years of
its administration were calamitous for the people
of Bengal. The Company's servants were largely a
rapacious and self-aggrandizing lot, and the
plunder of Bengal left the formerly rich province
in a state of utter destitution. The famine of
1769-70, which the Company's policies did nothing
to alleviate, may have taken the lives of as many
as a third of the population. The Company,
despite the increase in trade and the revenues
coming in from other sources, found itself
burdened with massive military expenditures, and
its destruction seemed imminent. State
intervention put the ailing Company back on its
feet, and Lord North's India Bill, also known as
the Regulating Act of 1773, provided for greater
parliamentary control over the affairs of the
Company, besides placing India under the rule of
a Governor-General. The first Governor-General
of India was Warren Hastings. Under his
dispensation, the expansion of British rule in
India was pursued vigorously, and the British
sought to master indigenous systems of knowledge.
Hastings remained in India until 1784 and was
succeeded by Cornwallis, who initiated the
Permanent Settlement, whereby an agreement in
perpetuity was reached with zamindars or
landlords for the collection of revenue. For the
next fifty years, the British were engaged in
attempts to eliminate Indian rivals, and it is
under the administration of Wellesley that
British territorial expansion was achieved with
ruthless efficiency. Major victories were
achieved against Tipu Sultan of Mysore and the
Marathas, and finally the subjugation and
conquest of the Sikhs in a series of Anglo- Sikh
Wars led to British occupation over the entirety
of India. In some places, the British practiced
indirect rule, placing a Resident at the court of
the native ruler who was allowed sovereignty in
domestic matters. Lord Dalhousie's notorious
doctrine of lapse, whereby a native state became
part of British India if there was no male heir
at the death of the ruler, was one of the
principal means by which native states were
annexed but often the annexation, such as that
of Awadh Oudh in 1856, was justified on the
grounds that the native prince was of evil
disposition, indifferent to the welfare of his
subjects. The annexation of native states, harsh
revenue policies, and the plight of the Indian
peasantry all contributed to the Rebellion of
1857-58, referred to previously as the Sepoy
Mutiny. In 1858 the East India Company was
dissolved, despite a valiant defense of its
purported achievements by John Stuart Mill, and
the administration of India became the
responsibility of the Crown.
British Text
British MAP 2
The "triangular trade Ships travelled from
Europe to Africa with goods to exchange for
captives. In the second leg (the "middle
passage", c.two months) they crossed the
Atlantic "Human cargo" was sold, and the vessel
returned home with sugar, rum and tobacco The
journey lasted a year
For centuries (c15001860) European merchant
ships transported captive Africans across the
Atlantic to the Americas. These people were
victims of the transatlantic slave trade, a
global phenomenon binding together three
continents and bringing about the African
diaspora the largest forced migration in human
history. An estimated 11 million Africans endured
the infamous "middle passage" to the Americas,
where they and their descendants played a
formative role in shaping the modern Atlantic
world. Britain played a major part in this slave
trade. As the recently compiled transatlantic
slave trade database reveals every second slave
entering the Americas between 1660 and 1807
arrived on a British vessel. Altogether, more
than three million people were transported on
British ships, with the great majority
disembarking in the Caribbean. Jamaica and
Barbados were the main points of entry, and a
staggering 980,000 Africans are estimated to have
arrived in Jamaica alone between 1700 and 1800.
Most of these people were put to work on
plantations growing cane sugar, the primary
export crop of the British Caribbean. http//www.
British MAP 3 and Trade 4
The Princes of Moscow
  • State Building
  • Theoretical justification
  • Liberation from the Mongols
  • Gathering of the lands
  • Centralization of administrative power
  • Claim to the throne of Vladimir
  • Gathering lands of ancient Kiev
  • Claimed to be successors of princes of Kiev

Cap of Monomakh
The great lawgiver of Kievan Russia
Russia 1a
Russia 1b
Development of Russia
Kievan Russia 800s Slavs Byzantines (St,
Cyril) Vikings (Novgorod)
100 years behind, Still feudal
Warm Water Ports!!!
Rise of Moscow Independence from Mongols 1480
Golden Horde Mongol Rule 1230s 1450s
Peter the Great 1672-1729 Window on the West
Ivan the Terrible 1560 St. Basils Cathedral
Boyars Beard Tax
More Asian than European
Catherine the Great 1762-1796 Pugachevs
Rebellion 1774-1775
Russia Timeline
The rise of Moscow was a complex process. It
included not only the defeat of the Mongols and
the gathering of the many Russian principalities
under the authority of Moscow but also the
centralization of administration and justice.
Of course, that centralization was very
imperfect. The government in Moscow had neither
the money nor the personnel necessary to govern
the country and the rules of law were often
violated. But the princes of Moscow sketched
out the shape of Russia's future absolute
government and laid a solid foundation for the
later tsars. They also established the
theoretical justification of the tsars' authority
by basing their right to rule both on the
traditions of the past and on the authority of
the Church.
Russia MAP 1
A charter dated 1501 may be considered the first
evidence of the arrival of Roma in the Russian
Empire. In this document Alexander Kazimirovich,
Prince of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and King
of Poland allowed the Senior voyt Vassil and his
Gypsies full freedom of travel in the lands of
the duchy and gave their leader the right to
judge Gypsies and resolve all disputes among
them. Whether these territories, which were
added to the Russian Empire only later, could be
called a part of the Russian Empire is a subject
of dispute. With certainty Gypsies in the
Russian Empire are mentioned for the first time
in 1733 in a decree issued by Empress Anna
Ioanovna, which concerns the settlement of the
annuity of three regiments through taxes,
gathered from the population of certain
territories, including Gypsies. Not much later
a new decree was adopted by the Senate of St.
Petersburg, in answer to a petition by Gypsies,
born in these lands, which allowed them to
reside and trade with horses in the area around
the capital St. Petersburg, with the obligation
to register wherever they wish. The passus
born in these lands points to an earlier
settlement of Roma in the Russian Empire. Ills.
Russia MAP 2
Ivan the Terrible
  • Before 1560
  • After 1560
  • Reformer
  • Revised Law Code
  • Reformed Orthodox Church
  • Allowed self-government for regions (sort of)
  • Defeated the last of the Golden Horde
  • Death of wife (suspected Boyar plot)
  • Split kingdom in 2
  • Ruled 1 absolute
  • Boyars ruled 1
  • Reign of terror
  • Destruction/massacre of Novgorod
  • War with Poland Sweden
  • Blocked from sea trade by Hanseatic League
  • Killed son (accidently?)

Russia 2
Peter the Great 1672-1729 Dragged Russia out of
Medieval era (sort of)
  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Centralized government
  • Civil service meritocracy
  • Never fully utilized
  • Modernized army
  • Created Navy
  • Economy state dominated
  • Agriculture feudal
  • Continued subjugation of peasants
  • Pro or Con?
  • Autocratic Rule
  • Aggressive foreign policy (war with Sweden)
  • Indirect taxes (beard)

Russia 4
Window On The West
Peter the Great and St. Petersburg 1703 New
Capital In 1712 he ordered 1000 men of the
lesser nobility to come with their families to
St. Petersburg A similar order went to 500
merchants and shopkeepers
Russia 5
St. Petersburg to regain access to the Baltic
Sea and Baltic trade
Russia MAP 3
Russia Text
The Russian Empire 1795-1914
  • 18th century
  • Muscovy transformed
  • From a static, somewhat isolated, traditional
  • To more dynamic, partially Westernized, and
    secularized Russian Empire.
  • Although its retention of serfdom precluded
    economic progress of any significant degree

Russia 6
Catherine the Great Catherine II was Empress of
Russia for more than 30 years and one of the
countrys most influential rulers. Sophie
Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst was born on
2 May 1729 in Stettin, then part of Prussia (now
Szczecin in Poland), the daughter of a minor
German prince. In 1745, after being received into
the Russian Orthodox Church, and changing her
name to Catherine, she married Grand Duke Peter,
grandson of Peter the Great and heir to the
Russian throne.
The marriage was unhappy, but the couple did
produce one son, Paul. In 1762 Catherine's
husband became Tsar Peter III but he was soon
overthrown with Catherine being declared empress.
Peter was then killed shortly afterwards and it
is not known whether Catherine had a part in his
death. She subsequently had a series of lovers
whom she promoted to high office, the most famous
and successful of whom was Grigori Potemkin.
Catherine's major influences on her adopted
country were in expanding Russia's borders and
continuing the process of Westernisation begun by
Peter the Great. During her reign she extended
the Russian empire southwards and westwards,
adding territories which included the Crimea,
Belarus and Lithuania. Agreements with Prussia
and Austria led to three partitions of Poland, in
1772, 1793, and 1795, extending Russia's borders
well into central Europe. Catherine began as a
political and social reformer but gradually grew
more conservative as she got older. In 1767 she
convened the Legislative Commission to codify
Russia's laws and in the process modernised
Russian life. She presented the commission with
her Nakaz, (or 'Instruction'), a strikingly
liberal document that presented the empresss
vision of the ideal government. The commission
produced no desired results and the outbreak of
war against the Ottoman Empire in 1768 provided a
good opportunity to disband it.
The Pugachev Rebellion of 1774-1775 gained huge
support in Russia's western territories until it
was extinguished by the Russian army. Catherine
realised her heavy reliance on the nobility to
control the country and instigated a series of
reforms giving them greater control over their
land and serfs. The 1785 Charter to the
Nobility established them as a separate estate
in Russian society and assured their privileges.
Catherine therefore ignored any concern she may
previously have had for the plight of the serfs,
whose status and rights declined further.
Catherine's main interests were in education and
culture. She read widely and corresponded with
many of the prominent thinkers of the
Enlightenment era, including Voltaire and
Diderot. She was a patron of the arts, literature
and education and acquired an art collection
which now forms the basis of the Hermitage
Museum. Catherine died in St Petersburg on 17
November 1796 and was succeeded by her son Paul.
Russia Text
Russia MAP 4
How Russians Viewed the World
Russia MAP 5