- Originally founded in Kiel by Duke Karl Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Cottorp in commemoration of his wife Anna Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great. However, about 150 years later, the Order was re-established by Paul I of Russia in 1797, and considered to be named after St.Anne, Mother of famous Virgin Mary.
- The insignia of the Order is known to be given to the Russian citizens since 1742, when son of Karl Friedrich, Karl Peter Ulrich, who later became a short-lived Czar of Russia Peter III, moved to Russia.
- The Order originally had 1 Class, then re-founded by Paul I, 3 Classes, and finally, in 1815, the Fourth Class was added (by Alexander I). The Fourth Class insignia was worn mounted on a sword.
- Until 1845, all Classed of the Order assumed hereditary nobility rights, but later only the First Class retained the honour.
- Awarded mostly for long and distinguished services in Civil Service, and valor and outstanding achievements in the Military division. Military type insignia came with swords, also, in some exceptional cases, the insignia of 1st and 2nd Classes might come with diamonds.
- Between 1828 and 1874, recipients of the Order received the insignia with the Imperial Crown, surmounted by diamonds.
- Non-Christian version of the Order had cross and the figure of the St.Anne in the center medallion replaced for the Imperial Eagle.
- The annual feast day of the Order was celebrated on february 14th of each year.