Princess Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova
Princess Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova was one of the most educated women of her time, a participant of the palace coup in 1762 by which Catherine II was raised to the throne.
Princess was born on March 17, 1743. She was the third daughter of Count Roman Vorontsov, a member of the Senate. Her uncle Mikhail Illarionovich and brother Alexander Illarionovich both served as Imperial Chancellors, while her brother Semyon was a celebrated Anglophile. Ekaterina studied at the University of Moscow.
While still a girl, she became one of the leaders of the party that attached itself to the Grand Duchess Catherine Alexeevna. Before she was sixteen, she married Prince Mikhail Dashkov, a prominent Russian nobleman.
In 1769 she went abroad and spent there more than 10 years. She secured the warm friendship and admiration of Voltaire, Diderot, Adam Smith.
In 1782, she returned to the Russian capital. From 1783 to 1795 Ekaterina was Director of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences and first president of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dashkova was the first woman in the world to head a national academy of sciences.
On the accession of the Emperor Paul in 1796, she was deprived of all her offices, and ordered to retire to a miserable village in the government of Novgorod.
The last years of her life Ekaterina spent in Troitskoye village. It was her favorite place and she called it “a true paradise”. Ekaterina first came there in 1765 a year after the death of her husband to participate in the dedication of the Trinity Church. It was in Troitskoye where her famous Notes were written. They became one of the best sources on the history of Russia in the second half of the XVIII century.
Ekaterina Romanovna even wrote a play for her serf theater – The Wedding of Fabian, in 1799.
Dashkova died in Moscow in early January 1810.