By: Scott RossPublished: October 11, 2022

Grigory Potemkin

While it seems highly unlikely that Catherine the Great actually met her demise whilst engaged in the most strenuous of equestrian sports, she most certainly shared a bed with Grigory Potemkin, who was definitely her favorite, possibly her husband, was the head of Russia's armed forces and held the titles of both Prince of the Holy Roman Empire and Prince of the Russian Empire.

Potemkin was born on October 11, 1739, the youngest of Alexander and Daria Potemkin's six children. By the time he was 24, he was made governor of the newly annexed Crimea. Catherine decided in 1787 to take a trip down the Dnipro river to survey her recently acquired lands and to drum up support for a coming war.

Worried that Catherine would freak out at the state of things, Potemkin is said to have instructed his men to build fake mobile villages, which were to be set up and inhabited by the men just ahead of Catherine's arrival--these were the original Potemkin Villages.

Sadly, though it's a great story and though many notorious Potemkin Villages have been built down through the ages, there is ample reason to believe that the story is a myth and that Potemkin's duplicity likely went no further than sending men ahead to spruce things up a bit.

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