Portrait of Anna Ioannovna (1693-1740), Empress and Autocrat of All the Russias (1730-1740), Duchess consort of Courland (1710-1711), 1732
Anna Ioannovna (Russian: Анна Иоанновна; 7 February 1693 – 28 October 1740), was regent of the duchy of Courland from 1711 until 1730 and then ruled as Empress of Russia from 1730 to 1740. Anna was born in Moscow as the daughter of Tsar Ivan V by his wife Praskovia Saltykova. Ivan V was co-ruler of Russia along with his younger half-brother Peter the Great, but he was mentally disabled and incapable of administering the country, and Peter effectively ruled alone. Although Anna was the fourth child of her parents, she had only one surviving elder sister, Catherine, and one younger sister, Praskovia. The three girls were raised in a disciplined and austere manner by their widowed mother. Born into a family of relatively modest means, Praskovia Saltykova had been an exemplary wife to a mentally challenged man, and expected her daughters to live up to her own high standards of morality and virtue. In 1710, Peter the Great arranged for the 17-year-old Anna to marry Frederick William, Duke of Courland, who was the same age as her. After her husband died, Anna proceeded to Jelgava, the capital of Courland (now western Latvia) and ruled that province for almost twenty years, from 1711 to 1730. In 1730, Tsar Peter II died childless at a young age. His death rendered extinct the male line of the Romanov dynasty, which had ruled Russia for over a century, since 1613. The Russian Supreme Privy Council led by Prince Dmitri Golitzyn selected Anna, to be the new Empress of Russia. The Supreme Privy Council preferred the childless and widowed Duchess of Courland.
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