Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Seize the Throne!

Šćepan Mali (aka Stephen the Little) was an ordinary Russian farmer who had a big dream. He wanted to become King. Most people would give up on an impossible dream like that, but Stephen patiently waited for the opportune time. One day in 1762, he finally found his chance. Tsarina Catherine II had her husband, Tsar Peter III, murdered.  

         Stephen the Little
Tsar Peter III (They look so similar...)
Sorry, this is not a love story. Tsarina Catherine II does not fall madly in love with a farmer, sadly. Instead another improbable plan was executed. Stephen landed on the border of Montenegro and announced to Russia that he was the Tsar. He also had a whole entourage of two people swearing that Stephen was the real thing. All of a sudden, a rumor started to spread stating that the Tsar had escaped from his assassination and safely arrived at Montenegro. 
Tsarina Catherine II
Everything going according to plan, Stephen was able to seize the throne and was ready to start exercising his authority. Surprisingly, the farmer was pretty good at the whole diplomacy thing. He was able to unite Montenegro, organize the first census, create roads, and even cut crime by establishing a police force. He was amazing! The people loved him. However, Catherine was not thrilled and sent a noble and 30 men to denounce the impostor. 

Older Stephen

Don't worry, Stephen had a plan. When the men arrived he threw them a huge house party. Everyone was so happy that they stayed for a week. Nobody said a word. His only punishment for his crime was to serve a day of house arrest.  

Life as a Tsar continued. Until one day, Stephen had his biggest obstacle. The Turks. They were not too thrilled at the fact that Montenegro was growing and unifying. So they decided to attack with 100,000 men, which is way more than Stephen's 2,000. Again, Stephen prevails and was declared a hero. His popularity spread all throughout Europe. He was able to successfully rule for six years.

In 1776, the Turks finally got their revenge and had him strangled by his personal barber. 


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