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Peter the Great ( rus, Пётр Вели́кий, Pyotr Velíkiy, ˈpʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj), Peter I ( rus, Пётр Первый, Pyotr Pyervyy, ˈpʲɵtr ˈpʲɛrvɨj) or Pyotr Alekséyevich ( rus, Пётр Алексе́евич, p=ˈpʲɵtr ɐlʲɪˈksʲejɪvʲɪtɕ;  – )Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are in the
Julian calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century B ...
with the start of year adjusted to 1 January. All other dates in this article are in
Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A calendar date, date is the designation of a single, speci ...
(see Adoption of the Gregorian calendar#Adoption in Eastern Europe).
ruled the
Tsardom of Russia The Tsardom of Russia or Tsardom of Rus' (russian: Русское царство, translit=Russkoye tsarstvo, later changed to: ), also externally referenced as the Tsardom of Muscovy, was the centralized Russian state from the assumption of the ...
and later the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, succeeding the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad that ended the Great Northern War. ...
from until his death in 1725, jointly ruling before 1696 with his elder half-brother,
Ivan V Ivan V Alekseyevich (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росс ...
. Through a number of successful wars, he captured ports at
Azov Azov ( rus, , with the stress on the second syllable), formerly known as Azoff or Azak, is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in dif ...

Azov
and the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
, laying the groundwork for the
Imperial Russian Navy The Imperial Russian Navy () operated as the navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a Nation's armed forces principally designated for naval warfare, naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral ...
, ending uncontested
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langua ...

Swedish
supremacy in the Baltic and beginning the Tsardom's expansion into a much larger
empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...

empire
that became a major European power. He led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political systems with ones that were modern, scientific, Westernised and based on
the Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link=n ...
. Peter's reforms had a lasting impact on Russia, and many institutions of the Russian government trace their origins to his reign. He adopted the title of Emperor in place of the old title of Tsar in 1721, and founded and developed the city of
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...

Saint Petersburg
, which remained the capital of Russia until 1917. However, the formation of local elites domestically was not his main priority, and the first Russian university was founded only a year before his death, in 1724.
The second one
The second one
was founded 30 years after his death, during the reign of his daughter
Elizabeth Elizabeth or Elisabeth may refer to: People * Elizabeth (given name), a female given name (including people with that name) * Elizabeth (biblical figure), mother of John the Baptist Ships * HMS Elizabeth, HMS ''Elizabeth'', several ships * Elisab ...

Elizabeth
.


Title

The imperial title of Peter the Great was the following:
By the grace of God By the Grace of God (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repub ...
, the most excellent and great sovereign emperor Pyotr Alekseevich the ruler of all the Russias: of
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
, of
Kiev Kyiv ( uk, Київ) or Kiev . is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also share ...

Kiev
, of
Vladimir Vladimir or Wladimir may refer to: Names * Vladimir (name) for the Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak and Slovenian spellings of a Slavic name * Uladzimir for the Belarusian version of the name * Volodymyr f ...
, of
Novgorod Veliky Novgorod ( rus, links=yes, Великий Новгород, p=vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj ˈnovɡərət), also known as just Novgorod (russian: Новгород, lit=newtown, links=yes), is the largest city and administrative center of Novgorod O ...

Novgorod
, Tsar of
Kazan Kazan ( ; russian: Каза́нь, p=kɐˈzanʲ; tt, Казан IPA: Help:IPA/Tatar, ɑzan is the capital city, capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia. The city lies at the confluence of the Volga and the Kazanka ( ...

Kazan
, Tsar of
Astrakhan Astrakhan ( rus, Астрахань, p=ˈastrəxənʲ), is the largest city and administrative centreAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration ...

Astrakhan
and Tsar of
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
, sovereign of
Pskov Pskov ( rus, Псков, a=pskov-ru.ogg, p=pskof; see also names in other languages) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1 ...

Pskov
, great prince of
Smolensk Smolensk ( rus, Смоленск, p=smɐˈlʲensk, a=smolensk_ru.ogg) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The ...

Smolensk
, of
Tver Tver ( rus, Тверь, p=tvʲerʲ) is a types of inhabited localities in Russia, city and the administrative centre of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 414,606 (2015 est.); 403,606 (Russian Census (2010), 2010 Census); 408,903 (Russian Census (20 ...

Tver
, of Yugorsk, of Perm, of Vyatka, of
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
and others, sovereign and great prince of the
Novgorod Veliky Novgorod ( rus, links=yes, Великий Новгород, p=vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj ˈnovɡərət), also known as just Novgorod (russian: Новгород, lit=newtown, links=yes), is the largest city and administrative center of Novgorod O ...

Novgorod
Lower lands, of
Chernigov Chernihiv ( uk, wikt:Чернігів, Чернігів, ) also known as Chernigov (russian: Черни́гов, p=tɕɪrˈnʲiɡəf; pl, Czernihów, ) is a List of cities in Ukraine, city and List of hromadas of Ukraine, municipality in norther ...
, of
Ryazan Ryazan ( rus, Рязань, p=rʲɪˈzanʲ, a=ru-Ryazan.ogg) is the largest and of , . The city is located on right bank of the in , southeast of . Ryazan is among the most ancient cities of Russia. As of the 2010 Census, Ryazan had a popu ...
, of
Rostov Rostov ( rus, Ростов, p=rɐˈstof) is a types of inhabited localities in Russia, town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, one of the oldest in the country and a tourist center of the Golden Ring of Russia, Golden Ring. It is located on the shore ...
, of
Yaroslavl Yaroslavl ( rus, Ярослáвль, p=jɪrɐˈsɫavlʲ) is a types of inhabited localities in Russia, city and the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow. The historic part of the city, a World Heritag ...

Yaroslavl
, of
Belozersk Belozersk (russian: Белозе́рск) is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The w ...
, of Udora, of
Kondia Kondia or Konda was the name of a Mansi people, Mansi principality which existed independently until the mid-18th century. The last native Prince to be awarded the title "Prince of Konda" by the Russian Emperor was in 1842. The Russian Emperors t ...
and the sovereign of all the northern lands, and the sovereign of the Iverian lands, of the Kartlian and Georgian Kings, of the Kabardin lands, of the
Circassia Circassia (; also known in some sources with the distorted Latinization Cherkessia; ady, Адыгэ Хэку, Адыгей, lit=, translit=Adıgə Xəku, Adıgey; ; ) was a country and historical region in the along the northeast shore of the Bl ...

Circassia
n and
Mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, typically rising at least ...
princes and many other states and lands western and eastern here and there and the successor and sovereign and ruler.


Early life

Named after
the apostle#REDIRECT The Apostle ''The Apostle'' is a 1997 American drama film In film and television show, television, drama is a category of narrative fiction (or docudrama, semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humour, humorous in tone. Drama ...

the apostle
, and described as a newborn as "with good health, his mother's black, vaguely
Tatar The Tatars (; tt, , , , crh, tatarlar; otk, 𐱃𐱃𐰺, Tatar) is an umbrella term for different Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic groups bearing the name "Tatar." Initially, the ethnonym ''Tatar'' possibly referred to the Tatar confederation ...

Tatar
eyes, and a tuft of auburn hair", from an early age Peter's education (commissioned by his father,
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
Alexis of Russia Alexei Mikhailovich ( rus, Алексе́й Миха́йлович, p=ɐlʲɪkˈsʲej mʲɪˈxajləvʲɪtɕ; – ) was the Tsar of Russia This is a list of all reigning monarchs in the history of Russia. It includes the princes of medieval ...
) was put in the hands of several tutors, most notably
Nikita Zotov
Nikita Zotov
,
Patrick Gordon , Russia Patrick Leopold Gordon of Auchleuchries (31 March 1635 in Auchleuchries, Aberdeenshire, Scotland – 29 November 1699 in Moscow, Russia) was a general and rear admiral in Russia, of Scotland, Scottish origin. He was descended from a family ...

Patrick Gordon
, and Paul Menesius. On 29 January 1676, Tsar Alexis died, leaving the sovereignty to Peter's elder half-brother, the weak and sickly
Feodor III of Russia Feodor III Alexeyevich (in Russian: ''Фёдор III Алексеевич'') or Fyodor III Alekseevich (9 June 1661 – 7 May 1682) was the Tsar of Russia This is a list of all reigning monarchs in the history of Russia. It includes the tit ...

Feodor III of Russia
. Throughout this period, the government was largely run by
Artamon Matveev
Artamon Matveev
, an enlightened friend of Alexis, the political head of the
Naryshkin family:''For those with this surname who were not members of this family, see Naryshkin.'' The Naryshkin family (russian: Нарышкины) was a noble Moscow boyar A boyar or bolyar was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Bulgarian, Rus ...
and one of Peter's greatest childhood benefactors. This position changed when Feodor died in 1682. As Feodor did not leave any children, a dispute arose between the Miloslavsky family (
Maria Miloslavskaya Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya (, 1 April 1624 – 1669) was a Russian tsaritsa as the first spouse of tsar Alexis of Russia. She was the mother of tsar Feodor III of Russia, tsar Ivan V of Russia, and the princess regent Sophia Alekseyevna. ...

Maria Miloslavskaya
was the first wife of Alexis I) and Naryshkin family (
Natalya Naryshkina Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina (russian: Ната́лья Кири́лловна Нары́шкина; 1 September 1651 – 4 February 1694) was the Tsaritsa of Russia from 1671–1676 as the second spouse of Tsar of Russia, Tsar Alexis I of ...
was the second wife) over who should inherit the throne. Peter's other half-brother,
Ivan V of Russia Ivan V Alekseyevich (Russian: ''Иван V Алексеевич'', – ) was a joint- Tsar of Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It i ...
, was next in line for the throne, but he was chronically ill and of infirm mind. Consequently, the
Boyar Duma A duma (дума) is a Russian assembly with advisory or legislative functions. The term comes from the Russian verb wiktionary:думать, думать (''dumat’'') meaning "to think" or "to consider." The first formally constituted duma ...
(a council of Russian nobles) chose the 10-year-old Peter to become Tsar with his mother as
regent A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...
. This arrangement was brought before the people of Moscow, as ancient tradition demanded, and was ratified.
Sophia Sophia means "wisdom" in Greek language, Greek. It may refer to: *Sophia (wisdom) *Sophia (Gnosticism) *Sophia (given name) Places *Niulakita or Sophia, an island of Tuvalu *Sophia, North Carolina, an unincorporated community in Randolph County * ...

Sophia
, one of Alexis' daughters from his first marriage, led a
rebellion Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behavio ...

rebellion
of the
Streltsy , image = 01 106 Book illustrations of Historical description of the clothes and weapons of Russian troops.jpg , image_size = , alt = , caption = , dates = 1550–1720 , disbanded = , country = Tsardom of Russia The Tsardom of Russia or T ...

Streltsy
(Russia's elite military corps) in April–May 1682. In the subsequent conflict, some of Peter's relatives and friends were murdered, including Matveev, and Peter witnessed some of these acts of political violence. The Streltsy made it possible for Sophia, the Miloslavskys (the clan of Ivan) and their allies to insist that Peter and Ivan be proclaimed joint Tsars, with Ivan being acclaimed as the senior.
Sophia Sophia means "wisdom" in Greek language, Greek. It may refer to: *Sophia (wisdom) *Sophia (Gnosticism) *Sophia (given name) Places *Niulakita or Sophia, an island of Tuvalu *Sophia, North Carolina, an unincorporated community in Randolph County * ...

Sophia
acted as regent during the minority of the sovereigns and exercised all power. For seven years, she ruled as an autocrat. A large hole was cut in the back of the dual-seated throne used by Ivan and Peter. Sophia would sit behind the throne and listen as Peter conversed with nobles, while feeding him information and giving him responses to questions and problems. This throne can be seen in the
Kremlin Armoury The Kremlin Armoury,Officially called the "Armou/ory Chamber" but also known as the cannon yard, the "Armou/ory Palace", the "Moscow Armou/ory", the "Armou/ory Museum", and the "Moscow Armou/ory Museum" but different from the Kremlin Arsenal Th ...

Kremlin Armoury
in Moscow. Peter was not particularly concerned that others ruled in his name. He engaged in such pastimes as shipbuilding and sailing, as well as mock battles with his toy army. Peter's mother sought to force him to adopt a more conventional approach and arranged his marriage to
Eudoxia Lopukhina Tsarina Eudoxia Feodorovna Lopukhina (russian: Евдоки́я Фёдоровна Лопухина́; in Moscow Moscow (, ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the capital and largest city of Russi ...

Eudoxia Lopukhina
in 1689. The marriage was a failure, and ten years later Peter forced his wife to become a nun and thus freed himself from the union. By the summer of 1689, Peter, then age 17, planned to take power from his half-sister
Sophia Sophia means "wisdom" in Greek language, Greek. It may refer to: *Sophia (wisdom) *Sophia (Gnosticism) *Sophia (given name) Places *Niulakita or Sophia, an island of Tuvalu *Sophia, North Carolina, an unincorporated community in Randolph County * ...

Sophia
, whose position had been weakened by two unsuccessful Crimean campaigns against the
Crimean Khanate The Crimean Khanate ( crh, , or ), own name — Great Horde and Desht-i Kipchak (), in old European historiography and geography — Little Tartary ( la, Tartaria Minor) was a Crimean Tatars, Crimean Tatar state existing from 1441 to 1783, the ...

Crimean Khanate
in an attempt to stop devastating Crimean Tatar raids into Russia's southern lands. When she learned of his designs, Sophia conspired with some leaders of the Streltsy, who continually aroused disorder and dissent. Peter, warned by others from the Streltsy, escaped in the middle of the night to the impenetrable monastery of
Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra The Trinity Lavra A lavra or laura ( el, Λαύρα; Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () ...

Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra
; there he slowly gathered adherents who perceived he would win the power struggle. Sophia was eventually overthrown, with Peter I and Ivan V continuing to act as co-tsars. Peter forced Sophia to enter a convent, where she gave up her name and her position as a member of the royal family. Still, Peter could not acquire actual control over Russian affairs. Power was instead exercised by his mother, Natalya Naryshkina. It was only when Natalya died in 1694 that Peter, now aged 22, became an independent sovereign. Formally, Ivan V was a co-ruler with Peter, though being ineffective. Peter became the sole ruler when Ivan died in 1696 without male offspring, while Peter was 24 years old. Peter grew to be extremely tall as an adult, especially for the time period, reportedly standing . Peter, however, lacked the overall proportional heft and bulk generally found in a man that size. Both his hands and feet were small, and his shoulders were narrow for his height; likewise, his head was small for his tall body. Added to this were Peter's noticeable facial tics, and he may have suffered from '' petit mal seizures'', a form of epilepsy. During his youth, Peter befriended
Patrick Gordon , Russia Patrick Leopold Gordon of Auchleuchries (31 March 1635 in Auchleuchries, Aberdeenshire, Scotland – 29 November 1699 in Moscow, Russia) was a general and rear admiral in Russia, of Scotland, Scottish origin. He was descended from a family ...

Patrick Gordon
,
Franz LefortFranz may refer to: People * Franz (given name) * Franz (surname) Places * Franz (crater), a lunar crater * Franz, Ontario, a railway junction and unorganized town in Canada * Franz Lake, in the state of Washington, United States – see Franz ...

Franz Lefort
and several other foreigners in Russian service and was a frequent guest in Moscow's
German Quarter. ''At the German Quarter'' (1911) German Quarter (russian: Неме́цкая слобода́, ''Nemetskaya sloboda''), also known as the Kukuy Quarter (), was a neighborhood in the northeast of Moscow, located on the right bank of the Yauz ...
, where he met his Dutch mistress
Anna Mons Anna Mons (; 1672–1714) was a Dutch commoner who almost succeeded in marrying Tsar , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate East and South Slav ...

Anna Mons
.


Reign

Peter implemented sweeping
reforms Reform ( lat, reformo) means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc. The use of the word in this way emerges in the late 18th century and is believed to originate from Christopher Wyvill#The Yorkshire Associatio ...
aimed at modernizing Russia. Heavily influenced by his advisors from Western Europe, Peter reorganized the Russian army along modern lines and dreamed of making Russia a
maritime power A maritime power is a nation with a very strong navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a Nation's armed forces principally designated for naval warfare, naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral ...
. He faced much opposition to these policies at home but brutally suppressed rebellions against his authority, including by the
Streltsy , image = 01 106 Book illustrations of Historical description of the clothes and weapons of Russian troops.jpg , image_size = , alt = , caption = , dates = 1550–1720 , disbanded = , country = Tsardom of Russia The Tsardom of Russia or T ...

Streltsy
,
Bashkirs , native_name_lang = bak , flag = Bashkir people.jpg , flag_caption = Famous Bashkir people , population = approx. 2 million , image = , caption = , popplace = 1,584,554 1,172,287 , reg ...

Bashkirs
,
Astrakhan Astrakhan ( rus, Астрахань, p=ˈastrəxənʲ), is the largest city and administrative centreAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration ...

Astrakhan
, and the greatest civil uprising of his reign, the
Bulavin Rebellion The Bulavin Rebellion ( Astrakhan Revolt) is the name given to a war of Don Cossacks against the Tsardom of Muscovy, soon to be renamed Imperial Russia, between the years 1707 and 1708. The war was led by Kondraty Bulavin, a democratically e ...
. Peter implemented social modernization in an absolute manner by introducing French and western dress to his court and requiring courtiers, state officials, and the military to shave their beards and adopt modern clothing styles. One means of achieving this end was the introduction of
taxes for long beards
taxes for long beards
and robes in September 1698. In his process to westernize Russia, he wanted members of his family to marry other European royalty. In the past, his ancestors had been snubbed at the idea, but now, it was proving fruitful. He negotiated with
Frederick William, Duke of Courland Frederick William (german: Friedrich Wilhelm; 19 July 1692 – 21 January 1711) was Duke of Courland and Semigallia from 1698 to 1711. Frederick Wilhelm was the son of Friedrich Kasimir Kettler, Duke of Courland and Semigallia and Princess Elis ...
to marry his niece,
Anna Ivanovna Anna Ioannovna (russian: Анна Иоанновна; ), also russified as Anna Ivanovna and sometimes anglicization of names, anglicized as Anne, served as regent of the duchy of Courland from 1711 until 1730 and then ruled as Emperor of Russia, ...

Anna Ivanovna
. He used the wedding in order to launch his new capital,
St Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...
, where he had already ordered building projects of westernized palaces and buildings. Peter hired Italian and German architects to design it. As part of his reforms, Peter started an industrialization effort that was slow but eventually successful. Russian manufacturing and main exports were based on the mining and lumber industries. For example, by the end of the century Russia came to export more iron than any other country in the world. To improve his nation's position on the seas, Peter sought to gain more maritime outlets. His only outlet at the time was the
White Sea The White Sea (russian: Белое море, ''Béloye móre''; Karelian language, Karelian and fi, Vienanmeri, lit. Dvina Sea; yrk, Сэрако ямʼ, ''Serako yam'') is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of ...
at
Arkhangelsk Arkhangelsk (, ; rus, Арха́нгельск, p=ɐrˈxanɡʲɪlʲsk), also known in English as Archangel and Archangelsk, is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: P ...
. The
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
was at the time controlled by
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
in the north, while the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
and the
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
were controlled by the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
and
Safavid Empire Safavid Iran or Safavid Persia (), also referred to as the Safavid Empire, '. was one of the greatest Iranian peoples, Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Persia, ruled from 1501 to 1736 by the Safavid dynasty. It is often ...
respectively in the south. Peter attempted to acquire control of the Black Sea, which would require expelling the
Tatars The Tatars (; tt, , , , crh, tatarlar; otk, 𐱃𐱃𐰺, Tatar) is an umbrella term for different Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic groups bearing the name "Tatar". Initially, the ethnonym ''Tatar'' possibly referred to the Tatar confederation ...
from the surrounding areas. As part of an agreement with
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
that ceded
Kiev Kyiv ( uk, Київ) or Kiev . is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also share ...

Kiev
to Russia, Peter was forced to wage war against the
Crimea Crimea; crh, Къырым, translit=Kirim/Qırım; grc, Κιμμερία/Ταυρική, translit=Kimmería/Taurikḗ is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural ...

Crimea
n
Khan
Khan
and against the Khan's overlord, the Ottoman Sultan. Peter's primary objective became the capture of the Ottoman fortress of
Azov Azov ( rus, , with the stress on the second syllable), formerly known as Azoff or Azak, is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in dif ...

Azov
, near the
Don River The Don ( rus, Дон, p=don) is the List of rivers of Europe#Rivers of Europe by length, fifth-longest river in Europe. Flowing from Central Russia to the Sea of Azov in Southern Russia, it is one of List of rivers of Russia, Russia's largest riv ...
. In the summer of 1695 Peter organized the
Azov campaigns Azov ( rus, , with the stress on the second syllable), formerly known as Azoff or Azak, is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to disting ...
to take the fortress, but his attempts ended in failure. Peter returned to Moscow in November 1695 and began building a large navy. He launched about thirty ships against the Ottomans in 1696, capturing Azov in July of that year. On 12 September 1698, Peter officially founded the first
Russian Navy )Slow – "''Гвардейский встречный марш Военно-морского флота''" () , mascot = , equipment = 1 aircraft carrier An aircraft carrier is a that serves as ...
base,
Taganrog Taganrog ( rus, Таганрог, p=təɡɐnˈrok) is a port city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Enc ...

Taganrog
.


Grand Embassy

Peter knew that Russia could not face the Ottoman Empire alone. In 1697, he traveled "incognito" to Western Europe on an 18-month journey with a large Russian delegation–the so-called "Grand Embassy". He used a fake name, allowing him to escape social and diplomatic events, but since he was far taller than most others, he did not fool anyone of importance. One goal was to seek the aid of European monarchs, but Peter's hopes were dashed. France was a traditional ally of the Ottoman Sultan, and
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...
was eager to maintain peace in the east while conducting its own wars in the west. Peter, furthermore, had chosen an inopportune moment: the Europeans at the time were more concerned about the
War of Spanish Succession The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was an early-18th-century European war, triggered by the death in November 1700 of the childless Charles II of Spain. It established the principle that dynastic rights were secondary to maintain ...
over who would succeed the childless King
Charles II of Spain Charles II of Spain ( es, Carlos II; 6 November 1661 – 1 November 1700), known as the Bewitched ( es, El Hechizado, links=no), was the last Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ...

Charles II of Spain
than about fighting the Ottoman Sultan. The "Grand Embassy" continued nevertheless. While visiting the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...
, Peter learned much about life in Western Europe. He studied shipbuilding in
Zaandam Zaandam () is a city in the province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivisi ...

Zaandam
(the house he lived in is now a museum, the Czar Peter House) and
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
, where he visited, among others, the upper-class de Wilde family.
Jacob de Wilde Jacob de Wilde (1645–1721) was a citizen of the Dutch Republic. Of modest stock, he married well and rose socially to become ontvanger-generaal (or collector-general, responsible for collecting taxes) of the Admiralty of Amsterdam. He is better kn ...
, a collector-general with the
Admiralty of Amsterdam The Admiralty of Amsterdam was the largest of the five Dutch admiralties at the time of the Dutch Republic. The administration of the various admiralties was strongly influenced by provincial interests. The territory for which Amsterdam was respo ...
, had a well-known collection of art and coins, and de Wilde's daughter
Maria de Wilde Maria de Wilde (7 January 1682 – 11 April 1729) was a Dutch engraver and playwright of the Dutch Republic. She was born and died in Amsterdam, where she played an active part in the upper-class bourgeois world of artists and writers, and gained a ...

Maria de Wilde
made an engraving of the meeting between Peter and her father, providing visual evidence of "the beginning of the West European classical tradition in Russia". According to Roger Tavernier, Peter the Great later acquired de Wilde's collection. Thanks to the mediation of
Nicolaes Witsen (1701) Nicolaes Witsen (8 May 1641 – 10 August 1717; Dutch language, modern Dutch: ''Nicolaas Witsen'') was a Dutch statesman who was mayor of Amsterdam thirteen times, between 1682 and 1706. In 1693 he became administrator of the Dutch East ...
, mayor of Amsterdam and an expert on Russia, the Tsar was given the opportunity to gain practical experience in the largest shipyard in the world, belonging to the
Dutch East India Company The Dutch East India Company, officially the United East India Company ( nl, Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie; VOC), was a multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—u ...

Dutch East India Company
, for a period of four months. The Tsar helped with the construction of an
East Indiaman East Indiaman was a general name for any sailing ship operating under charter or licence to any of the East India trading companies of the major European trading powers of the 17th through the 19th centuries. The term is used to refer to vesse ...

East Indiaman
ship specially laid down for him: ''Peter and Paul''. During his stay the Tsar engaged many skilled workers such as builders of locks, fortresses, shipwrights, and seamen—including Cornelis Cruys, a vice-admiral who became, under
Franz LefortFranz may refer to: People * Franz (given name) * Franz (surname) Places * Franz (crater), a lunar crater * Franz, Ontario, a railway junction and unorganized town in Canada * Franz Lake, in the state of Washington, United States – see Franz ...

Franz Lefort
, the Tsar's advisor in maritime affairs. Peter later put his knowledge of shipbuilding to use in helping build Russia's navy. Peter paid a visit to surgeon
Frederik Ruysch Frederik Ruysch (; March 28, 1638 – February 22, 1731) was a Dutch botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise ...
, who taught him how to draw teeth and catch butterflies, and to Ludolf Bakhuysen, a painter of seascapes.
Jan van der Heyden Jan van der Heyden (5 March 1637, Gorinchem – 28 March 1712, Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,6 ...

Jan van der Heyden
, the inventor of the fire hose, received Peter, who was keen to learn and pass on his knowledge to his countrymen. On 16 January 1698 Peter organized a farewell party and invited Johan Huydecoper van Maarsseveen, who had to sit between Lefort and the Tsar and drink. In England, Peter met with King
William III
William III
, visited
Greenwich Greenwich ( , , , or ) is a town in South London, south-east London, England, located in the Historic county of England, historic county of Kent and the Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Greater London. It is situated east ...

Greenwich
and
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
, posed for Sir
Godfrey Kneller Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1st Baronet (born Gottfried Kniller; 8 August 1646 – 19 October 1723), was the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and was court painter to Kingdom of England, English and Bri ...
, and saw a
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
Fleet Review A fleet review or naval review is an event where a gathering of ships from a particular navy is paraded and reviewed by a reigning head of state and/or other official civilian and military dignitaries. A number of national navies continue to hold ...
at
Deptford Deptford is an area on the south bank of the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England Southern England, or the South of England, also known a ...
. He studied the English techniques of city-building he would later use to great effect at
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...

Saint Petersburg
. When he left he gave the singer, and his mistress,
Letitia Cross Letitia Cross (1681/1682 – 4 April 1737) was a United Kingdom, British singer and actor. She appeared at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Drury Lane Theatre and was the mistress of Peter the Great when he visited England. Life Cross was born in Sur ...
£500 to thank her for her hospitality. Cross said it was not enough. The Embassy next went to
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
,
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
,
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
and
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, mos ...

Vienna
. He spoke with
Augustus II the Strong Augustus II; lt, Augustas II; in Saxony also known as Frederick Augustus I – Friedrich August I (12 May 16701 February 1733), most commonly known as Augustus the Strong, was Elector of Saxony from 1694 as well as King of Poland and Grand Duk ...
and
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (Leopold Ignaz Joseph Balthasar Felician; hu, I. Lipót; 9 June 1640 – 5 May 1705) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanorum, german: Kaise ...
. Peter's visit was cut short in 1698, when he was forced to rush home by a rebellion of the Streltsy. The rebellion was easily crushed before Peter returned home from England; of the Tsar's troops, only one was killed. Peter nevertheless acted ruthlessly towards the mutineers. Over one thousand two hundred of the rebels were tortured and executed, and Peter ordered that their bodies be publicly exhibited as a warning to future conspirators. The Streltsy were disbanded, some of the rebels were deported to
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
, and the individual they sought to put on the Throne — Peter's half-sister Sophia — was forced to become a nun. In 1698, Peter sent a delegation to
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

Malta
, under boyar
Boris Sheremetev Count Boris Petrovich Sheremetev (russian: Бори́с Петро́вич Шереме́тев, tr. ; – ) was a Russian diplomat and general field marshal ''Generalfeldmarschall'' ( en, general field marshal, field marshal general, or field ...

Boris Sheremetev
, to observe the training and abilities of the
Knights of Malta The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta ( it, Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta; l ...

Knights of Malta
and their
fleet Fleet may refer to: Vehicles *Fishing fleet A fishing fleet is an aggregate of commercial fishing Ship, vessels. The term may be used of all vessels operating out of a particular port, all vessels engaged in a particular type of fishing (as in t ...
. Sheremetev investigated the possibility of future joint ventures with the Knights, including action against the Turks and the possibility of a future Russian naval base. Peter's visits to the West impressed upon him the notion that European customs were in several respects superior to Russian traditions. He commanded all of his courtiers and officials to wear European clothing and cut off their long beards, causing his Boyars, who were very fond of their beards, great upset. Boyars who sought to retain their beards were required to pay an annual
beard tax A beard tax is a government policy that requires men to pay for the privilege of wearing a beard. Russia In 1698, Emperor Peter I of Russia instituted a beard tax to bring Russian society in line with Western European models. To enforce th ...
of one hundred
rubles The ruble or rouble (; rus, рубль, p=rublʲ) is the currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-Debt-Gillray ...
. Peter also sought to end arranged marriages, which were the norm among the Russian nobility, because he thought such a practice was barbaric and led to domestic violence, since the partners usually resented each other. In 1699, Peter changed the date of the celebration of the new year from 1 September to 1 January. Traditionally, the years were reckoned from the purported creation of the World, but after Peter's reforms, they were to be counted from the
birth of Christ The nativity of Jesus, nativity of Christ, birth of Christ or birth of Jesus is described in the Biblical gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts agree that Jesus Jesus; he, יֵשׁוּעַ, '' Yēšū́aʿ''; ar, عيسى, ...
. Thus, in the year 7207 of the old Russian calendar, Peter proclaimed that the
Julian Calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century B ...
was in effect and the year was 1700.


Great Northern War

Peter made a temporary peace with the Ottoman Empire that allowed him to keep the captured fort of Azov, and turned his attention to Russian maritime supremacy. He sought to acquire control of the Baltic Sea, which had been taken by the
Swedish Empire The Swedish Empire was a European great power that exercised territorial control over much of the Baltic region during the 17th and early 18th centuries ( sv, Stormaktstiden, "the Era of Great Power"). The beginning of the empire is usually take ...

Swedish Empire
a half-century earlier. Peter declared war on Sweden, which was at the time led by the young King
Charles XII Charles XII, sometimes Carl XII ( sv, Karl XII) or Carolus Rex (17 June 1682 – 30 November 1718 O.S.), was the King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state of Sweden,See the #IOG, Instrument of Government ...
. Sweden was also opposed by
Denmark–Norway Denmark–Norway (Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestr ...
,
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...
, and the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is ...
. Russia was ill-prepared to fight the Swedes, and their first attempt at seizing the Baltic coast ended in disaster at the Battle of Narva in 1700. In the conflict, the forces of Charles XII, rather than employ a slow methodical siege, attacked immediately using a blinding snowstorm to their advantage. After the battle, Charles XII decided to concentrate his forces against the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which gave Peter time to reorganize the Russian army. While the Poles fought the Swedes, Peter founded the city of
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...

Saint Petersburg
in 1703, in Ingermanland (a province of the
Swedish Empire The Swedish Empire was a European great power that exercised territorial control over much of the Baltic region during the 17th and early 18th centuries ( sv, Stormaktstiden, "the Era of Great Power"). The beginning of the empire is usually take ...

Swedish Empire
that he had captured). It was named after his patron saint
Saint Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτρος, Petros; cop, Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ, Petros; lat, Petrus; ar, شمعون الصفـا, Sham ...

Saint Peter
. He forbade the building of stone edifices outside Saint Petersburg, which he intended to become Russia's capital, so that all stonemasons could participate in the construction of the new city. Between 1713 and 1728, and from 1732 to 1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of imperial Russia. Following several defeats, Polish King
Augustus II the Strong Augustus II; lt, Augustas II; in Saxony also known as Frederick Augustus I – Friedrich August I (12 May 16701 February 1733), most commonly known as Augustus the Strong, was Elector of Saxony from 1694 as well as King of Poland and Grand Duk ...
abdicated in 1706. Swedish king Charles XII turned his attention to Russia, invading it in 1708. After crossing into Russia, Charles defeated Peter at
Golovchin
Golovchin
in July. In the
Battle of Lesnaya The Battle of Lesnaya (russian: Битва при Лесной ''Bitva pri Lesnoy'', sv, Slaget vid Lesna, pl, Bitwa pod Leśną) was one of the major battles of the Great Northern War. It took place on September 28, 1708 ( O.S.) / September 29 ...

Battle of Lesnaya
, Charles suffered his first loss after Peter crushed a group of Swedish reinforcements marching from
Riga Riga (; lv, Rīga , liv, Rīgõ, ) is the capital of Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links ...

Riga
. Deprived of this aid, Charles was forced to abandon his proposed march on Moscow. Charles XII refused to retreat to Poland or back to Sweden and instead invaded
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
. Peter withdrew his army southward, employing
scorched earth A scorched-earth policy is a military strategy Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organization Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the s of a so as to offer such as a may req ...

scorched earth
, destroying along the way anything that could assist the Swedes. Deprived of local supplies, the Swedish army was forced to halt its advance in the winter of 1708–1709. In the summer of 1709, they resumed their efforts to capture Russian-ruled Ukraine, culminating in the
Battle of Poltava A mass burial of Russian soldiers who died in The Battle of Poltava, alt= The Battle of Poltava; russian: Полта́вская би́тва; uk, Полта́вська би́тва (8 July 1709) was the decisive victory of Peter the Great (P ...

Battle of Poltava
on 27 June. The battle was a decisive defeat for the Swedish forces, ending Charles' campaign in Ukraine and forcing him south to seek refuge in the Ottoman Empire. Russia had defeated what was considered to be one of the world's best militaries, and the victory overturned the view that Russia was militarily incompetent. In Poland, Augustus II was restored as King. Peter, overestimating the support he would receive from his Balkan allies, attacked the Ottoman Empire, initiating the Russo-Turkish War of 1710. Peter's campaign in the Ottoman Empire was disastrous, and in the ensuing
Treaty of the Pruth The Treaty of the Pruth was signed on the banks of the river Prut between the Ottoman Empire and the Tsardom of Russia on 23 July 1711 ending the Russo-Turkish War (1710–1711), Russo-Turkish War of 1710–1711. The treaty was a political victory ...
, Peter was forced to return the Black Sea ports he had seized in 1697. In return, the Sultan expelled Charles XII. Normally, the Boyar Duma would have exercised power during his absence. Peter, however, mistrusted the boyars; he instead abolished the Duma and created a Senate of ten members. The Senate was founded as the highest state institution to supervise all judicial, financial and administrative affairs. Originally established only for the time of the monarch's absence, the Senate became a permanent body after his return. A special high official, the Ober-Procurator, served as the link between the ruler and the senate and acted, in Peter own words, as "the sovereign's eye". Without his signature no Senate decision could go into effect; the Senate became one of the most important institutions of Imperial Russia. Peter's northern armies took the Swedish province of
Livonia Livonia ( liv, Līvõmō, et, Liivimaa, fi, Liivinmaa, German and North Germanic languages, Scandinavian languages: ', archaic German: ''Liefland'', nl, Lijfland, Latvian language, Latvian and lt, Livonija, pl, Inflanty, archaic English ...
(the northern half of modern
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
, and the southern half of modern
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
), driving the Swedes into
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...
. In 1714 the Russian fleet won the
Battle of Gangut The Battle of Gangut (russian: Гангутское сражение, fi, Riilahden taistelu, Finland Swedish: ''Slaget vid Rilax'', sv, Sjöslaget vid Hangöudd) took place on 27 JulyJulian calendar, Jul./ 7 August 1714Gregorian calendar, Gre ...
. Most of Finland was occupied by the Russians. In 1716 and 1717, the Tsar revisited the Netherlands and went to see
Herman Boerhaave Herman Boerhaave (, 31 December 1668 – 23 September 1738Underwood, E. Ashworth. "Boerhaave After Three Hundred Years." ''The British Medical Journal'' 4, no. 5634 (1968): 820–25. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20395297.) was a Dutch botanist ...

Herman Boerhaave
. He continued his travel to the Austrian Netherlands and France. Peter obtained the assistance of the Electorate of Hanover and the Kingdom of Prussia. The Tsar's navy was powerful enough that the Russians could penetrate Sweden. Still, Charles XII refused to yield, and not until his death in battle in 1718 did peace become feasible. After the battle near Åland, Sweden made peace with all powers but Russia by 1720. In 1721, the Treaty of Nystad ended the Great Northern War. Russia acquired Ingria, Reval Governorate, Estonia, Riga Governorate, Livonia, and a substantial portion of Old Finland, Karelia. In turn, Russia paid two million Riksdaler and surrendered most of Finland. The Tsar retained some Finnish lands close to Saint Petersburg, which he had made his capital in 1712.


Later years

Peter's last years were marked by further reform in Russia. On 22 October 1721, soon after peace was made with Sweden, he was officially proclaimed ''Emperor of All Russia''. Some proposed that he take the title ''Emperor of the East'', but he refused. Gavrila Golovkin, the State Chancellor, was the first to add "the Great, Father of His Country, Emperor of All the Russias" to Peter's traditional title Tsar following a speech by the archbishop of
Pskov Pskov ( rus, Псков, a=pskov-ru.ogg, p=pskof; see also names in other languages) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1 ...

Pskov
in 1721. Peter's imperial title was recognized by Augustus II of Poland, Frederick William I of Prussia, and Frederick I of Sweden, but not by the other European monarchs. In the minds of many, the word ''emperor'' connoted superiority or pre-eminence over kings. Several rulers feared that Peter would claim authority over them, just as the Holy Roman Emperor had claimed suzerainty over all Christian nations. In 1717, Alexander Bekovich-Cherkassky led the first Russian military expedition into Central Asia against the Khanate of Khiva. The expedition ended in complete disaster when the entire expeditionary force was slaughtered. In 1718, Peter investigated why the formerly Swedish province of Livonia was so orderly. He discovered that the Swedes spent as much administering Livonia (300 times smaller than his empire) as he spent on the entire Russian bureaucracy. He was forced to dismantle the province's government. After 1718, Peter established colleges in place of the old central agencies of government, including foreign affairs, war, navy, expense, income, justice, and inspection. Later others were added. Each college consisted of a president, a vice-president, a number of councilors and assessors, and a procurator. Some foreigners were included in various colleges but not as president. Peter believed he did not have enough loyal and talented persons to put in full charge of the various departments. Peter preferred to rely on groups of individuals who would keep check on one another. Decisions depended on the majority vote. In 1722, Peter created a new order of precedence known as the Table of Ranks. Formerly, precedence had been determined by birth. To deprive the Boyars of their high positions, Peter directed that precedence should be determined by merit and service to the Emperor. The Table of Ranks continued to remain in effect until the Russian monarchy was February Revolution, overthrown in 1917. Peter decided that all of the children of the nobility should have some early education, especially in the areas of sciences. Therefore, on 28 February 1714, he issued a decree calling for compulsory education, which dictated that all Russian 10- to 15-year-old children of the nobility, government clerks, and lesser-ranked officials must learn basic mathematics and geometry, and should be tested on the subjects at the end of their studies. The once powerful Persian
Safavid Empire Safavid Iran or Safavid Persia (), also referred to as the Safavid Empire, '. was one of the greatest Iranian peoples, Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Persia, ruled from 1501 to 1736 by the Safavid dynasty. It is often ...
to the south was in deep decline. Taking advantage of the profitable situation, Peter launched the Russo-Persian War (1722-1723), Russo-Persian War of 1722–1723, otherwise known as "The Persian Expedition of Peter the Great", which drastically increased Russian influence for the first time in the Caucasus and
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
region, and prevented the Ottoman Empire from making territorial gains in the region. After considerable success and the capture of many provinces and cities in the Caucasus and northern mainland Persia, the Safavids were forced to hand over territory to Russia, comprising Derbent, Shirvan, Gilan Province, Gilan, Mazandaran Province, Mazandaran, Baku, and Astrabad. However, within twelve years all the territories would be ceded back to Persia, now led by the charismatic military genius Nader Shah, as part of the Treaty of Resht, Treaties of Resht and Treaty of Ganja, Ganja respectively, and the Russo-Persian alliance against the Ottoman Empire, which was the common enemy of both. Peter introduced new taxes to fund improvements in Saint Petersburg. He abolished the land tax and household tax and replaced them with a Tax per head, poll tax. The taxes on land and on households were payable only by individuals who owned property or maintained families; the new head taxes, however, were payable by serfs and paupers. In 1725 the construction of Peterhof Palace, Peterhof, a palace near Saint Petersburg, was completed. Peterhof (Dutch language, Dutch for "Peter's Court") was a grand residence, becoming known as the "Russian Palace of Versailles, Versailles".


Illness and death

In the winter of 1723, Peter, whose overall health was never robust, began having problems with his urinary tract and Urinary bladder, bladder. In the summer of 1724, a team of doctors performed surgery releasing upwards of four pounds of blocked urine. Peter remained bedridden until late autumn. In the first week of October, restless and certain he was cured, Peter began a lengthy inspection tour of various projects. According to legend, in November, at Lakhta, Saint Petersburg, Lakhta along the Finnish Gulf to inspect some ironworks, Peter saw a group of soldiers drowning near shore and, wading out into near-waist deep water, came to their rescue. This icy water rescue is said to have exacerbated Peter's bladder problems and caused his death. The story, however, has been viewed with skepticism by some historians, pointing out that the German chronicler Jacob von Staehlin is the only source for the story, and it seems unlikely that no one else would have documented such an act of heroism. This, plus the interval of time between these actions and Peter's death seems to preclude any direct link. In early January 1725, Peter was struck once again with uremia. Legend has it that before lapsing into unconsciousness Peter asked for a paper and pen and scrawled an unfinished note that read: ''"Leave all to ..."'' and then, exhausted by the effort, asked for his daughter Anna to be summoned.The 'Leave all ..." story first appears in H-F de Bassewitz ''Russkii arkhiv'' 3 (1865). Russian historian E.V. Anisimov contends that Bassewitz's aim was to convince readers that Anna, not Empress Catherine, was Peter's intended heir. Peter died between four and five in the morning 8 February 1725. An autopsy revealed his bladder to be infected with gangrene. He was fifty-two years, seven months old when he died, having reigned forty-two years. He is interred in Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Saint Petersburg, Russia.


Religion

Peter was deeply religious, being brought up in the Russian Orthodox faith, but he had low regard for the Church hierarchy, which he kept under tight governmental control. The traditional leader of the Church was the List of Metropolitans and Patriarchs of Moscow, Patriarch of Moscow. In 1700, when the office fell vacant, Peter refused to name a replacement, allowing the Patriarch's Coadjutor (or deputy) to discharge the duties of the office. Peter could not tolerate the patriarch exercising power superior to the Tsar, as indeed had happened in the case of Patriarch Philaret of Moscow, Philaret (1619–1633) and Patriarch Nikon of Moscow, Nikon (1652–66). Peter therefore abolished the Patriarchy, replacing it with a Holy Synod that was under the control of a senior bureaucrat, and the Tsar appointed all bishops. In 1721, Peter followed the advice of Theophan Prokopovich in designing the Holy Synod as a council of ten clergymen. For leadership in the church, Peter turned increasingly to Ukrainians, who were more open to reform, but were not well loved by the Russian clergy. Peter implemented a law that stipulated that no Russian man could join a monastery before the age of fifty. He felt that too many able Russian men were being wasted on clerical work when they could be joining his new and improved army. A clerical career was not a route chosen by upper-class society. Most parish priests were sons of priests, were very poorly educated, and very poorly paid. The monks in the monasteries had a slightly higher status; they were not allowed to marry. Politically, the church was impotent.


Marriages and family

Peter the Great had two wives, with whom he had fourteen children, three of whom survived to adulthood. Peter's mother selected his first wife,
Eudoxia Lopukhina Tsarina Eudoxia Feodorovna Lopukhina (russian: Евдоки́я Фёдоровна Лопухина́; in Moscow Moscow (, ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the capital and largest city of Russi ...

Eudoxia Lopukhina
, with the advice of other nobles in 1689. This was consistent with previous Romanov tradition by choosing a daughter of a minor noble. This was done to prevent fighting between the stronger noble houses and to bring fresh blood into the family. He also had a mistress from Holland,
Anna Mons Anna Mons (; 1672–1714) was a Dutch commoner who almost succeeded in marrying Tsar , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate East and South Slav ...

Anna Mons
. Upon his return from his European tour in 1698, Peter sought to end his unhappy marriage. He divorced the Tsaritsa and forced her to join a convent. The Tsaritsa had borne Peter three children, although only one, Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia, had survived past his childhood. He took Marta Helena Skowrońska, a Polish-Lithuanian peasant, as a mistress some time between 1702 and 1704. Marta converted to the Russian Orthodox Church and took the name Catherine. Though no record exists, Catherine and Peter are described as having married secretly between 23 Oct and 1 December 1707 in St. Petersburg. Peter valued Catherine and married her again (this time officially) at Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg on 19 February 1712. His eldest child and heir, Alexei, was suspected of being involved in a plot to overthrow the Emperor. Alexei was tried and confessed under torture during questioning conducted by a secular court. He was convicted and sentenced to be executed. The sentence could be carried out only with Peter's signed authorization, and Alexei died in prison, as Peter hesitated before making the decision. Alexei's death most likely resulted from injuries suffered during his torture. Alexei's mother Eudoxia had also been punished; she was dragged from her home, tried on false charges of adultery, publicly flogged, and finally confined in monasteries while forbidden to be talked to. In 1724, Peter had his second wife, Catherine I of Russia, Catherine, crowned as Empress, although he remained Russia's actual ruler. All of Peter's male children had died.


Issue

By his two wives, he had fourteen children. These included three sons named ''Pavel'' and three sons named ''Peter'', all of whom died in infancy.


Legacy

Peter's legacy has always been a major concern of Russian intellectuals. Riasanovsky points to a "paradoxical dichotomy" in the black and white images such as God/Antichrist, educator/ignoramus, architect of Russia's greatness/destroyer of national culture, father of his country/scourge of the common man. Voltaire's 1759 biography gave 18th-century Russians a man of the Enlightenment, while Alexander Pushkin's "The Bronze Horseman (poem), The Bronze Horseman" poem of 1833 gave a powerful romantic image of a creator-god. Slavophiles in mid-19th century deplored Peter's westernization of Russia. Western writers and political analysts recounted "The Testimony" or secret will of Peter the Great. It supposedly revealed his grand evil plot for Russia to control the world via conquest of Constantinople, Afghanistan and India. It was a forgery made in Paris at Napoleon's command when he started his invasion of Russia in 1812. Nevertheless it is still quoted in foreign policy circles. The Communists executed the last Romanoffs, and their historians such as Mikhail Pokrovsky presented strongly negative views of the entire dynasty. Stalin however admired how Peter strengthened the state, and wartime, diplomacy, industry, higher education, and government administration. Stalin wrote in 1928, "when Peter the Great, who had to deal with more developed countries in the West, feverishly built works in factories for supplying the army and strengthening the country's defenses, this was an original attempt to leap out of the framework of backwardness." As a result Soviet historiography emphasizes both the positive achievement and the negative factor of oppressing the common people. After the fall of Communism in 1991, scholars and the general public in Russia and the West gave fresh attention to Peter and his role in Russian history. His reign is now seen as the decisive formative event in the Russian imperial past. Many new ideas have merged, such as whether he strengthened the autocratic state or whether the tsarist regime was not statist enough given its small bureaucracy. Modernization models have become contested ground. Historian Ia. Vodarsky said in 1993 that Peter, "did not lead the country on the path of accelerated economic, political and social development, did not force it to 'achieve a leap' through several stages.... On the contrary, these actions to the greatest degree put a brake on Russia's progress and created conditions for holding it back for one and a half centuries!" The autocratic powers that Stalin admired appeared as a liability to Evgeny Anisimov, who complained that Peter was, "the creator of the administrative command system and the true ancestor of Stalin." While the cultural turn in historiography has downplayed diplomatic, economic and constitutional issues, new cultural roles have been found for Peter, for example in architecture and dress. James Cracraft argues: :The Petrine revolution in Russia—subsuming in this phrase the many military, naval, governmental, educational, architectural, linguistic, and other internal reforms enacted by Peter’s regime to promote Russia’s rise as a major European power—was essentially a cultural revolution, one that profoundly impacted both the basic constitution of the Russian Empire and, perforce, its subsequent development.


Popular culture

Peter has been featured in many histories, novels, plays, films, monuments and paintings. They include the poems ''The Bronze Horseman (poem), The Bronze Horseman'', ''Poltava (poem), Poltava'' and the unfinished novel ''The Moor of Peter the Great'', all by Alexander Pushkin. The former dealt with The Bronze Horseman, an equestrian statue raised in Peter's honour. Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy wrote a biographical historical novel about him, named ''Pëtr I'', in the 1930s. * The 1922 German silent film ''Peter the Great (1922 film), Peter the Great'' directed by Dimitri Buchowetzki and starring Emil Jannings as Peter * The 1937–1938 Soviet Union (Russia) film ''Peter the First'' * The 1976 film ''Skaz pro to, kak tsar Pyotr arapa zhenil'' (''How Tsar Peter the Great Married Off His Moor''), starring Aleksey Petrenko as Peter, and Vladimir Vysotsky as Abram Petrovich Gannibal, shows Peter's attempt to build the Baltic Fleet. * The 2007 film ''The Sovereign's Servant'' depicts the unsavoury brutal side of Peter during the campaign. * Peter was played by Jan Niklas and Maximilian Schell in the 1986 NBC miniseries ''Peter the Great (TV series), Peter the Great''. * A character based on Peter plays a major role in ''The Age of Unreason'', a series of four alternate history novels written by American science fiction and fantasy author Gregory Keyes. Peter is one of many supporting characters in Neal Stephenson's ''Baroque Cycle'' – mainly featuring in the third novel, ''The System of the World''. * Peter was portrayed on BBC Radio 4 by Isaac Rouse as a boy, Will Howard as a young adult and Elliot Cowan as an adult in the radio plays ''Peter the Great: The Gamblers'' and ''Peter the Great: The Queen of Spades'', written by Mike Walker (radio dramatist), Mike Walker and which were the last two plays in the first series of ''Tsar''. The plays were broadcast on 25 September and 2 October 2016. * A verse in the ''Godiva's Hymn, Engineers' Drinking Song'' references Peter the Great:
There was a man named Peter the Great who was a Russian Tzar; When remodeling his the castle put the throne behind the bar; He lined the walls with vodka, rum, and 40 kinds of beers; And advanced the Russian culture by 120 years!
* Peter is featured as the leader of the Russian civilization in ''Sid Meier's Civilization VI''.Civilization 6 Leader and Civilization Breakdown - Montezuma to Shaka
GameRant. Retrieved 15 December 2020.


See also

* Government reform of Peter the Great * History of the administrative division of Russia * Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy, Russian battlecruiser ''Pyotr Velikiy'', a Russian Navy battle cruiser named after Peter the Great * History of Russia (1721–96) * Rulers of Russia family tree * Peter the Great Statue * , on the modernization of the Russian military under Peter the Great * List of people known as "the Great"


Notes


Footnotes


Citations


References

* Anisimov, Evgenii V. (2015) ''The Reforms of Peter the Great: Progress Through Violence in Russia'' (Routledge) * *
online
* * * * *
online
* * * * , a popular biography
online
* * * * * *
online
* * *


Historiography and memory

* Brown, Peter B. "Towards a Psychohistory of Peter the Great: Trauma, Modeling, and Coping in Peter's Personality." ''Russian History'' 35#1-2 (2008): 19-44. * Brown, Peter B. "Gazing Anew at Poltava: Perspectives from the Military Revolution Controversy, Comparative History, and Decision-Making Doctrines." ''Harvard Ukrainian Studies'' 31.1/4 (2009): 107-133
online
* Cracraft, James. "Kliuchevskii on Peter the Great." ''Canadian-American Slavic Studies'' 20.4 (1986): 367-381. * Daqiu, Zhu. "Cultural Memory and the Image of Peter the Great in Russian Literature." ''Russian Literature & Arts'' 2 (2014): 19+. * Gasiorowska, Xenia. ''The image of Peter the Great in Russian fiction'' (1979
online
* Platt, Kevin M. F. ''Terror and Greatness: Ivan and Peter as Russian Myths'' (2011) * Raef, Mark, ed. ''Peter the Great, Reformer or Revolutionary?'' (1963) excerpts from scholars and primary source
online
* Resis, Albert. "Russophobia and the" Testament" of Peter the Great, 1812-1980." ''Slavic Review'' 44.4 (1985): 681-69
online
* Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. ''The Image of Peter the Great in Russian History and Thought'' (1985). * Waugh, Daniel Clarke. "We have never been modern: Approaches to the study of Russia in the age of Peter the Great." ''Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas H.'' 3 (2001): 321-34
online in English
* * Zitser, Ernest A. "The Difference that Peter I Made." in ''The Oxford Handbook of Modern Russian History.'' ed. by Simon Dixon (2013
online


Further reading

* Anderson, M.S. "Russia under Peter the Great and the changed relations of East and West." in J.S. Bromley, ed., ''The New Cambridge Modern History: VI: 1688-1715'' (1970) pp. 716–40. * Anisimov, Evgenii V. ''The Reforms of Peter the Great: Progress through Coercion in Russia'' (1993
online
* * Bushkovitch, Paul. ''Peter the Great: The Struggle for Power, 1671–1725'' (2001
online
* Cracraft, James. ''The Revolution of Peter the Great'' (2003
online
* Duffy, Christopher. ''Russia's Military Way to the West: Origins and Nature of Russian Military Power 1700-1800'' (Routledge, 2015) pp 9–4
online
* Graham, Stephen. ''Peter The Great'' (1929
online
* Kamenskii, Aleksandr. ''The Russian Empire in the Eighteenth Century: Searching for a Place in the World''(1997) pp 39–164. * Kluchevsky, V.O. ''A history of Russia'' vol 4 (1926
online
pp 1–230. ** Cracraft, James. "Kliuchevskii on Peter the Great." ''Canadian-American Slavic Studies'' 20.4 (1986): 367-381. * Oliva, Lawrence Jay. ed. ''Russia in the era of Peter the Great'' (1969), excerpts from primary and secondary source
two week borrowing
* Pares, Bernard. ''A History Of Russia'' (1947) pp 193–225
online
* Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, David, and Bruce W. Menning, eds. ''Reforming the Tsar's Army – Military Innovation in Imperial Russia from Peter the Great to the Revolution'' (Cambridge UP, 2004) 361 pp. scholarly essays * Sumner, B. H. ''Peter the Great and the emergence of Russia'' (1950), brief history by schola
online


External links

* – Historical reconstruction ''The Romanovs''. StarMedia. Babich-Design (Russia, 2013)
Peter the Great, a Tsar who Loved Science by Philippe Testard-Vaillant
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