Sophia [sō fē′ə, sōfī′ə]
< Gr sophia, skill, wisdom < sophos, wise
a feminine name: dim. Sophie, Sophy

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Russian Sofya Alekseyevna

born Sept. 27, 1657, Moscow, Russia
died July 14, 1704, Moscow

Regent of Russia (1682–89).

Daughter of Tsar Alexis, she objected to the succession of her half brother Peter I (the Great) as tsar (1682) and instigated an uprising by the streltsy (household troops). She arranged to have her brother Ivan V proclaimed coruler with Peter and assumed the role of regent. With help from her chief adviser and lover, Vasily Golitsyn, she promoted the development of industry and concluded peace treaties with Poland (1686) and China (1689). After sponsoring two disastrous military campaigns against the Crimean Tatars (1687, 1689), she tried to regain her influence by inciting the streltsy to oust Peter and his advisers. She was instead overthrown by Peter in 1689 and forced to enter a convent.
(as used in expressions)
Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg Strelitz
Cecilia Sophia Anna Maria Kalogeropoulos
Loren Sophia

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▪ electress of Hanover
also called  Sophia of the Palatinate , German  Sophie von der Pfalz 
born Oct. 14, 1630, The Hague
died June 8, 1714, Herrenhausen, Hanover

      electress of Hanover and heir to the British throne, whose son became George I of Great Britain.

      Sophia was the 12th child of Frederick V, elector Palatine of the Rhine, by his wife Elizabeth, a daughter of the English king James I. Residing after 1649 at Heidelberg with her brother, the restored elector Palatine, Charles Louis, she married in 1658 Ernest Augustus, who became elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in 1692.

      Sophia became a widow in 1698, but before then her name had been mentioned in connection with the English throne. When considering the Bill of Rights in 1689 the House of Commons refused to place her in the succession, and the matter rested until 1700, when the state of affairs in England was more serious. William III was ill and childless; William, duke of Gloucester, the only surviving child of the princess Anne, had just died. The electress was the nearest Protestant heir. Accordingly, by the Act of Settlement (Settlement, Act of) of 1701 the English crown, in default of issue from either William or Anne, was settled upon “the most excellent princess Sophia, electress and duchess-dowager of Hanover” and “the heirs of her body, being Protestant.” Sophia watched affairs in England during the reign of Queen Anne with great interest, although her son, the elector George Louis, objected to any interference in that country, and Anne disliked all mention of her successor. An angry letter from Anne possibly hastened Sophia's death in June 1714; less than two months later her son, George Louis, became king of Great Britain and Ireland as George I, on the death of Anne.

▪ regent of Russia
Russian in full  Sofya Alekseyevna  
born September 17 [September 27, New Style], 1657, Moscow
died July 3 [July 14], 1704, Moscow
 regent of Russia from 1682 to 1689.

      The eldest daughter of Tsar Alexis (ruled 1645–76) and his first wife, Mariya Miloslavskaya, Sophia was tutored by the Belorussian monk Simeon Polotsky, from whom she received an exceptionally good education. When her brother Fyodor III died (April 27 [May 7], 1682), her half brother Peter (Peter I), son of Alexis and his second wife, Natalya Naryshkina, was proclaimed tsar. Sophia, as leader of the Miloslavsky family, however, objected to a government dominated by the Naryshkins and incited the discontented streltsy (household troops) to riot. After several members of the Naryshkin family were murdered, Sophia calmed the streltsy by arranging for her younger brother Ivan V to be proclaimed coruler with Peter; she assumed the role of regent (May 29 [June 8], 1682).

      Ruling under the guidance of her chief adviser and lover, Prince Vasily V. Golitsyn (Golitsyn, Vasily Vasilyevich, Knyaz), Sophia took steps to consolidate her regime. To prevent the unreliable streltsy from reversing their position and removing her, she replaced their commander, Ivan Andreyevich Khovansky (who was executed for treason), with one of her favourites, Fyodor Leontyevich Shaklovity. In addition, she transferred 12 of the 19 Moscow regiments from the city to guard the frontier and revoked many of the privileges she had granted the troops when she seized power.

      Sophia also promoted the development of industry and encouraged foreign craftsmen to settle in Russia. Despite Golitsyn's numerous plans for domestic reform, however, the regent failed to meet discontent among the peasants and religious dissidents. She also overruled several of her advisers and approved Golitsyn's plan to conclude a permanent peace with Poland (1686; which confirmed a truce of 1667), by which Russia obtained Kiev and the territory east of the Dnieper River in exchange for a promise to join a European coalition against the Turks; in 1687 and 1689 she sponsored two disastrous military campaigns, led by Golitsyn, against the vassals of the Turks, the Crimean Tatars. Although her government also concluded the favourable Treaty of Nerchinsk with China (1689), setting Russia's eastern border at the Amur River, Golitsyn's failures reinforced the increasing dissatisfaction among both the Naryshkins and the general population with her rule. Recognizing this and hoping to eliminate Peter, the figurehead of her rivals, Sophia tried once more to incite the streltsy against the Naryshkins (August 1689); many of the streltsy colonels, however, supported Peter, who overthrew Sophia and forced her to enter the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow (September 1689).

      In 1698 an unsuccessful attempt was made by her supporters among the streltsy to restore her to the throne; although Sophia did not initiate the plot, she was afterward tried by a special tribunal and compelled to take the veil (October 1698).

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Universalium. 2010.

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