King Louis XV's blunderbuss (courtesy centerffthewest.org)

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia (1729-1796) was born Sophie von Anhalt-Zerbst and was the child of a Prussian Prince. At age 15, she was invited to Russia to meet and later marry the next heir to the Russian throne, Peter III of the Romanov family.

King Louis XV's blunderbuss (courtesy centerofthwest.org)

In early 1762, Peter III assumed the throne, but his position was fleeting. In the first six months of his reign, he was essentially overthrown and arrested by his bride. On July 9th of the same year, Peter was forced to abdicate the throne.

King Louis XV's blunderbuss (courtesy centerffthewest.org)

This flintlock blunderbuss was made at Russia’s Imperial Arms Factory in Tula at the behest of Catherine the Great. It’s inlaid with gold and features the royal arms of France and a silver inlaid engraving of a portrait bust of King Louis XV of France.

King Louis XV's blunderbuss (courtesy centerffthewest.org)

We cannot confirm the specific reason for the gift, but it was made around the time that Russia and France concluded an alliance to defeat the Kingdom of Prussia.

King Lousi XV's blunderbuss (courtesy ceterofthewest.org)

Embellished arms always have been a popular symbol of peace and cooperation between countries.

24 Responses to Catherine the Great of Russia’s Blunderbuss Gift to King Louis XV of France

  1. A woman gave a man a weapon of war. Oh, what would Diane Feinstein have said had she and her plastic face been around then?

  2. Unfortunately the blunderbuss was stolen by an imposter along with the plans to the Montgolfier brothers hot air balloon.

  3. “…Russia and France concluded an alliance to defeat the Kingdom of Prussia.”
    how’d that work out for her?

    “the axe of wandsbeck.”

  4. neat trigger. The spectacular engravings appear to feature a mythical scene of a male centaur copulating with a female human or nymph.

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