Yelizaveta Petrovna (Елизаве́та Петро́вна) (December 29, 1709 - January 5, 1762) was an Empress of Russia (1741 - 1762).
Life before becoming Empress
Born in Kolomenskoye, Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter I and of his second wife, Catherine I (a former Latvian peasant, Martha Skavronskaya), became empress on December 6, 1741 due to an internal struggle between factions. The current emperor, the infant Ivan VI, ruled through the regency of his mother, Anna Leopoldovna. Anna allowed Germans serious political influence in Russia, and Elizabeth sided against her, gaining favor with the imperial guards. She staged a bloodless revolt, leading the coup herself.
After gaining the throne, Elizabeth leaned heavily on A. P. Bestuzhev-Ryumin, her chancellor in her quest to rid Russia of German political influences. As German influence waned, French cultural influence became more prevalent. She took Russia into the War of Austrian succession from 1740 - 1748 and into the Seven Years' War in 1756 against Frederick II of Prussia. Her death in 1762 heralded the end of Russian participation in the Seven Years' War.
Elizabeth took part in the founding of the University of Moscow and the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg
Her domestic policies allowed the nobles to gain dominance in local government while shortening their terms of service to the state.
Elizabeth brought her nephew, Peter, back to Russia from Holstein and arranged his marriage to Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst, who later became Catherine the Great.