The Info List - Peter The Great

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PETER THE GREAT (Russian : Пётр Вели́кий, tr. Pyotr Velikiy; IPA: ), PETER I (Russian : Пётр I, tr. Pyotr I; IPA: ) or PETER ALEXEYEVICH (Russian : Пётр Алексе́евич; IPA: ; 9 June 1672 – 8 February 1725) ruled the Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
and later the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
from 7 May (O.S. 27 April) 1682 until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his elder half-brother, Ivan V . Through a number of successful wars he expanded the Tsardom into a much larger 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, westernized, and based on The Enlightenment . Peter's reforms made a lasting impact on Russia
and many institutions of Russian government trace their origins to his reign.


* 1 Title

* 2 Life

* 2.1 Early years * 2.2 Early reign * 2.3 Grand Embassy * 2.4 Great Northern War * 2.5 Later years * 2.6 Religion

* 3 Marriages and family

* 3.1 Issue * 3.2 Death * 3.3 Ancestors

* 4 Popular culture * 5 See also

* 6 Notes

* 6.1 Footnotes * 6.2 Citations

* 7 References

* 7.1 In Russian

* 8 Further reading * 9 External links * 10 Further reading


The imperial title of Peter the Great
Peter the Great
was the following:

By the grace of God , the most excellent and great sovereign prince Pyotr Alekseevich the ruler all the Russias: of Moscow
, of Kiev
, of Vladimir , of Novgorod
, Tsar
of Kazan
, Tsar
of Astrakhan and Tsar
of Siberia
, sovereign of Pskov
, great prince of Smolensk
, Tversk, Yugorsk, Permsky, Vyatsky, Bulgarsky and others, sovereign and great prince of Novgorod
Nizovsky lands, Chernigovsky, of Ryazan
, of Rostov , Yaroslavl
, Belozersky, Udorsky, Kondiisky 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 Circassian and Mountain princes and many other states and lands western and eastern here and there and the successor and sovereign and ruler.



Named after the apostle , and described as a newborn as "with good health, his mother 's black, vaguely Tatar
eyes, and a tuft of auburn hair", from an early age Peter's education (commissioned by his father, Tsar
Alexis of Russia ) was put in the hands of several tutors, most notably Nikita Zotov , Patrick Gordon
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 . Throughout this period, the government was largely run by Artamon Matveev , an enlightened friend of Alexis, the political head of the Naryshkin family 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 was the first wife of Alexis I) and Naryshkin family ( Natalya Naryshkina was the second wife) over who should inherit the throne. Peter's other half-brother, Ivan V of Russia , was next in line for the throne, but he was chronically ill and of infirm mind. Consequently, the Boyar
Duma (a council of Russian nobles) chose the 10-year-old Peter to become Tsar
with his mother as regent.

This arrangement was brought before the people of Moscow, as ancient tradition demanded, and was ratified. Sophia Alekseyevna , one of Alexis' daughters from his first marriage, led a rebellion of the 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. Peter the Great
Peter the Great
as a child

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 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 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 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 planned to take power from his half-sister Sophia, whose position had been weakened by two unsuccessful Crimean campaigns. When she learned of his designs, Sophia conspired with the leaders of the Streltsy, who continually aroused disorder and dissent. Peter, warned by the Streltsy, escaped in the middle of the night to the impenetrable monastery of 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 Nataliya died in 1694 that Peter became an independent sovereign. Formally, Ivan V remained a co-ruler with Peter, although he was ineffective. Peter became the sole ruler when Ivan died in 1696.

Peter grew to be extremely tall as an adult, especially for the time period. Standing at 6 ft 8 in (203 cm) in height, the Russian tsar was literally head and shoulders above his contemporaries both in Russia and throughout Europe. Peter, however, lacked the overall proportional heft and bulk generally found in a man that size. Both Peter's 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 , a form of epilepsy . Capture of Azov
, 1696, by Robert Ker Porter


Peter implemented sweeping reforms 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. He faced much opposition to these policies at home, but brutally suppressed any and all rebellions against his authority: Streltsy , Bashkirs
, Astrakhan , and the greatest civil uprising of his reign, the Bulavin Rebellion
Bulavin Rebellion

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 and robes in September 1698.

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 at Arkhangelsk
. The Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
was at the time controlled by Sweden in the north, while the Black Sea
Black Sea
and the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
were controlled by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
and Safavid Empire respectively in the south.

Peter attempted to acquire control of the Black Sea; to do so he would have to expel the Tatars
from the surrounding areas. As part of an agreement with Poland
which ceded Kiev
to Russia, Peter was forced to wage war against the Crimean Khan and against the Khan's overlord, the Ottoman Sultan. Peter's primary objective became the capture of the Ottoman fortress of Azov
, near the Don River . In the summer of 1695 Peter organized the Azov campaigns 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 base, Taganrog . The Peter the Great
Peter the Great
statue in Taganrog by Mark Antokolski


Main article: Grand Embassy of Peter the Great

Peter knew that Russia
could not face the Ottoman Empire
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" . Since he was far taller than almost anyone else, his fake name allowed him to escape social and diplomatic events, but did not fool anyone of importance. One goal was to seek the aid of the European monarchs. Peter's hopes were dashed; France was a traditional ally of the Ottoman Sultan, and Austria
was eager to maintain peace in the east while conducting its own wars in the west. Peter, furthermore, had chosen the most inopportune moment; the Europeans at the time were more concerned about who would succeed the childless Spanish King Charles II than about fighting the Ottoman Sultan.

The "Grand Embassy", although failing to complete the mission of creating an anti-Ottoman alliance, continued. While visiting the Netherlands , Peter learned much about life in Western Europe. He studied shipbuilding in Zaandam (the house he lived in is now a museum, the Czar Peter House ) and Amsterdam
, where he visited, among others, the upper-class de Wilde family.

Jacob de Wilde , a collector-general with the Admiralty of Amsterdam , had a well-known collection of art and coins, and de Wilde's daughter 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
Peter the Great
later acquired de Wilde's collection.

Thanks to the mediation of Nicolaes Witsen , mayor of Amsterdam
and 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 , for a period of four months. The Tsar helped with the construction of an East Indiaman especially 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 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 Frederik Ruysch , who taught him how to draw teeth and catch butterflies. Ludolf Bakhuysen , a painter of seascapes and Jan van der Heyden
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. Portrait of Peter I by Godfrey Kneller
Godfrey Kneller
, 1698. This portrait was Peter's gift to the King of England.

In England Peter met with King William III , visited Greenwich
and Oxford
, posed for Sir Godfrey Kneller
Godfrey Kneller
, and saw a Royal Navy
Royal Navy
Fleet Review at Deptford . He travelled to the city of Manchester
to learn the techniques of city-building he would later use to great effect at Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
. The Embassy next went to Leipzig
, Dresden
, and Vienna
. He spoke with Augustus II the Strong
Augustus II the Strong
and Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor

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 1,200 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, 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
under boyar Boris Sheremetev , to observe the training and abilities of the Knights of Malta
and their fleet. 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 of one hundred rubles .

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 . Thus, in the year 7207 of the old Russian calendar, Peter proclaimed that the Julian Calendar was in effect and the year was 1700.


Main article: Great Northern War

Peter made a temporary peace with the Ottoman Empire
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 a half-century earlier. Peter declared war on Sweden, which was at the time led by the young King Charles XII . Sweden
was also opposed by Denmark–Norway
, Saxony , and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
. Peter I of Russia
pacifies his marauding troops after retaking Narva in 1704 by Nikolay Sauerweid , 1859

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. Peter the Great Meditating the Idea of Building St Petersburg at the Shore of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
by Alexandre Benois , 1916 Portrait of Peter I

While the Poles fought the Swedes, Peter founded the city of Saint Petersburg , after his patron saint Saint Peter
Saint Peter
, in Ingermanland (province of Swedish empire , which he had captured) in 1703. 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.

Following several defeats, Polish King Augustus II the Strong 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 in July. In the Battle of Lesnaya , Charles suffered his first loss after Peter crushed a group of Swedish reinforcements marching from Riga
. Deprived of this aid, Charles was forced to abandon his proposed march on Moscow. Peter I in the Battle of Poltava (a mosaic by Mikhail Lomonosov )

Charles XII refused to retreat to Poland
or back to Sweden, but instead invaded Ukraine
. Peter withdrew his army southward, employing 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 Ukraine, culminating in the 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 and to seek refuge in the Ottoman Empire. Russia
had defeated what was considered to be one of the worlds best militaries and their victory turned on its head 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
Ottoman Empire
was disastrous, and in the ensuing peace treaty (Treaty of Pruth) , Peter was forced to return the Black Sea
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 (the northern half of modern Latvia
, and the southern half of modern Estonia
), driving the Swedes into Finland . In 1714 the Russian fleet won the Battle of Gangut . Most of Finland was occupied by the Russians .

In 1716 and 1717, the Tsar
revisited the Netherlands, and went to see Herman Boerhaave . He continued his travel to the Austrian Netherlands and France. The Tsar's navy was so powerful that the Russians could penetrate Sweden. Peter also obtained the assistance of the Electorate of Hanover and the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia

Still, Charles XII of Sweden
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 what became known as the Great Northern War . Russia
acquired Ingria , Estonia
, Livonia , and a substantial portion of 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.


Diamond order of Peter the Great
Peter the Great

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
in 1721.

Peter's imperial title was recognized by Augustus II of Poland, Frederick William I of Prussia
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 1718 Peter investigated why the ex 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. The new agencies were originally nine in number: Foreign affairs, war, navy, expense, income, justice, inspection. Later others were added. Each college consisted of a president, a vice-president and a number of councilors, assessors in addition to one 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 them in full charge of the different departments. Peter preferred to rely on groups of individuals who would keep check on one another. Decisions depended on the majority vote. The 1782 statue of Peter I in Saint Petersburg, informally known as the Bronze Horseman

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 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 it at the end of their studies.

Peter introduced new taxes to fund improvements in Saint Petersburg. He abolished the land tax and household tax, and replaced them with a 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.

By this same time, the once powerful Persian Safavid Empire to its neighbouring south was heavily declining. Taking advantage of the profitable situation, Peter launched the Russo-Persian War of 1722-1723 otherwise known as "The Persian Expedition of Peter the Great", which drastically increase Russian influence for the first time in the Caucasus
and Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
, and prevented the Ottoman Empire from making territorial gains in the region at the expense of declining Safavid Iran.

After considerable successes and the capture of many provinces and cities in the Caucasus
and northern mainland Persia, the Safavids were forced to hand over their territories to Russia, comprising Derbent
, Shirvan , Gilan , Mazandaran , Baku
, and Astrabad . However, 9 and 12 years later all territories would be ceded back to Persia, now led by the charismatic and military genius Nader Shah
Nader Shah
, as part of the Treaties of Resht and Ganja respectively, and the Russo-Persian alliance against the Ottoman Empire, which was the common enemy of both.

In 1725 the construction of Peterhof , a palace near Saint Petersburg, was completed. Peterhof (Dutch for "Peter's Court") was a grand residence, becoming known as the "Russian Versailles ".


Peter was not religious and had a low regard for the Church, and kept it under tight governmental control. The traditional leader of the Church was the 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 thought that a patriarch could have power superior to the Tsar, as indeed had happened in the case of Philaret (1619–33) and Nikon (1652-66). He therefore abolished the Patriarchy, replacing it with a Holy Synod that was under the control of a senior bureaucrat; the Tsar
appointed all bishops.

In 1721 Peter followed the advice of Theophan Prokopovich in designing the Holy Synod. It was 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 50. 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.


Peter I interrogating his son Alexei , a painting by Nikolai Ge (1871)

Peter the Great
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 , 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 Germany, 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 Martha Skavronskaya , a peasant, as a mistress some time between 1702 and 1704. Martha 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 Dec 1707 in St. Petersburg. Peter valued Catherine and married her again (this time officially) at Saint Isaac\'s Cathedral in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
on 9 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 and tried on false charges of adultery. A similar fate befell Peter's earlier mistress, Anna Mons , in 1704.

In 1724 Peter had his second wife, Catherine , crowned as Empress, although he remained Russia's actual ruler. All of Peter's male children had died.


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.



Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia 18 February 1690 26 June 1718 Married 1711, Charlotte Christine of Brunswick-Lüneburg ; had issue

Alexander Petrovich 13 October 1691 14 May 1692

Pavel Petrovich 1693 1693


Peter Petrovich 1704 in infancy Born and died before the official marriage of his parents

Paul Petrovich 1705 in infancy Born and died before the official marriage of his parents

Catherine Petrovna Dec 1706 Jun 1708 Born and died before the official marriage of her parents

Anna Petrovna 27 January 1708 15 May 1728 Married 1725, Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp ; had issue

Yelisaveta Petrovna, later Empress
Elizabeth 29 December 1709 5 January 1762 Reputedly married 1742, Alexei Grigorievich, Count Razumovsky ; no issue

Maria Petrovna 20 March 1713 27 May 1715

Margarita Petrovna 19 September 1714 7 June 1715

Peter Petrovich 15 November 1715 19 April 1719

Pavel Petrovich 13 January 1717 14 January 1717

Natalia Petrovna 31 August 1718 15 March 1725

Peter Petrovich 7 October 1723 7 October 1723


Peter the Great
Peter the Great
on his deathbed, by Nikitin

In the winter of 1723, Peter, whose overall health was never robust, began having problems with his urinary tract and 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 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 Stählin 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.

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.



16. Nikita Romanovich

8. Feodor Nikitich Romanov

17. Varvara Ivanovna Khovrina

4. Michael I of Russia

9. Kseniya Shestova

2. Alexis of Russia

10. Lukyan Stepanovich Streshnyov

5. Eudoxia Streshneva

22. Konstantin Romanovich Volkonsky

11. Anna Konstantinovna Volkonskaya


12. Poluekt Ivanovich Naryshkin

6. Kirill Poluektovich Naryshkin

3. Natalya Naryshkina

14. Leonti Dmitrievich Leontiev

7.Anna Lvovna Leontieva

15. Praskovia Ivanovna Raevskaya


The tomb of Peter the Great
Peter the Great
in Peter and Paul Fortress Monument to Peter the carpenter in St. Petersburg

Peter has been featured in many books, plays, films, and games, including the poems The Bronze Horseman , Poltava and the unfinished novel The Moor of Peter the Great , all by Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin
. The former dealt with a 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
Peter the Great
directed by Dimitri Buchowetzki and starring Emil Jannings
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
Peter the Great
Married Off His Moor), starring Aleksey Petrenko as Peter, and Vladimir Vysotsky
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
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
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 and which were the last two plays in the first series of Tsar. The plays were broadcast on 25 September and 2 October 2016.


* Biography portal * Russia
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Russian Empire
portal * Monarchy portal

* Government reform of Peter the Great * History of the administrative division of Russia * Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy , a Russian Navy battle cruiser named after Peter the Great * History of Russia (1721–1796)
History of Russia (1721–1796)
* Rulers of Russia family tree * Peter the Great Statue * Military history of the Russian Empire#Peter the Great modernization of the Russian history under Peter the Great * List of people known as The Great



* ^ Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are in the Julian calendar with the start of year adjusted to 1 January. All other dates in this article are in Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
(see Adoption of the Gregorian calendar#Adoption in Eastern Europe ). * ^ 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.


* ^ Cracraft 2003 . * ^ Лакиер А. Б. §66. Надписи вокруг печати. Соответствие их с государевым титулом. // Русская геральдика. — СПб., 1855 * ^ Robert K. Massie , Peter the Great: His Life and World, Random House Publishing Group (2012), p. 22 * ^ Riasanovsky 2000 , p. 214. * ^ A B Riasanovsky 2000 , p. 218. * ^ A B Riasanovsky 2000 , p. 216. * ^ A B Hughes 2007 , p. 179-182. * ^ Evgenii V. Anisimov, The Reforms of Peter the Great: Progress Through Violence in Russia
(Routledge, 2015) * ^ Riasanovsky 2000 , p. 221. * ^ Abbott, Peter (1902). "Peter the Great". Project Gutenberg online edition. * ^ Wes 1992 , p. 14. * ^ Tavernier 2006 , p. 349. * ^ Farquhar 2001 , p. 176. * ^ Massie 1980 , p. 191. * ^ Riasanovsky 2000 , p. 220. * ^ "Russian Grand Priory — Timeline". 2004. Retrieved 9 February 2008. * ^ O.L. D'Or. " Russia
as an Empire" (PHP). The Moscow
News weekly. pp. , Russian. Retrieved 21 March 2008. * ^ Dmytryshyn 1974 , p. 21. * ^ Oudard 1929 , p. 197. * ^ Massie 1980 , p. 453. * ^ A B Riasanovsky 2000 , p. 224. * ^ A History of the Modern World & R.R Palmer 1992 , pp. 242–243 * ^ Cracraft 2003 , p. 37. * ^ Pipes 1974 , p. 281. * ^ Palmer 1992 , p. 245 * ^ Dmytryshyn 1974 , p. 10-11. * ^ Lee 2013 , p. 31. * ^ Dmytryshyn 1974 , p. 18. * ^ James Cracraft, The church reform of Peter the Great
Peter the Great
(1971). * ^ Lindsey Hughes, Russia
in the Age of Peter the Great
Peter the Great
(1998) pp 332-56. * ^ A B C Hughes 2004 , p. 134. * ^ Hughes 2004 , p. 133. * ^ Hughes 2004 , p. 131,134. * ^ Hughes 2004 , p. 131. * ^ Hughes 2004 , p. 136. * ^ Massie 1980 , p. 76,377,707. * ^ A B C D E F G H Hughes 2004 , p. 135. * ^ Nisbet 1905 . * ^ BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
- Drama, Tsar, Peter the Great: The Gamblers * ^ BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
- Drama, Tsar, Peter the Great: Queen of Spades


* Anisimov, Evgenii V. (2015) The Reforms of Peter the Great: Progress Through Violence in Russia
(Routledge) * Bain, R. Nisbet (1905). Peter the Great
Peter the Great
and his pupils. Cambridge UP. * Bushkovitch, Paul (2003). Peter the Great. Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 0847696391 . * Bushkovitch, Paul (2001). Peter the Great: The Struggle for Power, 1671–1725. Cambridge UP. * Bushkovitch, Paul A. (January 1990). "The Epiphany Ceremony of the Russian Court in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries". Russian Review. 49 (1): 1–17. JSTOR
130080 . doi :10.2307/130080 . * Cracraft, James (2003). The Revolution of Peter the Great. Harvard UP. * Dmytryshyn, Basil (1974). Modernization of Russia
Under Peter I and Catherine II. Wiley. * Farquhar, Michael (2001). A Treasure of Royal Scandals. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-7394-2025-9 . * Graham, Stephen . Peter the Great: A Life of Peter I of Russia called The Great. * Grey, Ian (1960). Peter the Great: Emperor
of All Russia. * Hughes, John R (2007). "The seizures of Peter Alexeevich". Epilepsy & Behavior. 10 (1): 179–182. doi :10.1016/j.yebeh.2006.11.005 . * Hughes, Lindsey (2004). "Catherine I of Russia, Consort to Peter the Great". In Campbell Orr, Clarissa. Queenship in Europe 1660-1815: The Role of the Consort. Cambridge UP. pp. 131–154. ISBN 0-521-81422-7 . * Hughes, Lindsey (1998). Russia
in the Age of Peter the Great. Yale UP. ISBN 0-300-08266-5 . online * Hughes, Lindsey (2001). Peter the Great
Peter the Great
and the West: New Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-92009-0 . * Hughes, Lindsey (2002). Peter the Great: A Biography. Yale UP. ISBN 0-300-10300-X . * Lee, Stephen J. (2013). Peter the Great. Routledge. * Massie, Robert K. (1980). Peter the Great: His Life and World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-307-29145-5 . , a popular biography; online * Oudard, Georges (1929). Peter the Great. Translated by Atkinson, Frederick. New York: Payson and Clarke. * Pipes, Richard (1974). Russia
under the old regime. * Raeff, Mafrc, ed. (1963). Peter the Great, Reformer or Revolutionary?. * Riasanovsky, Nicholas (2000). A History of Russia
(6th ed.). Oxford: Oxford
UP. online * Tavernier, Roger (2006). Russia
and the Low Countries: An International Bibliography, 1500–2000. Barkhuis. p. 349. ISBN 978-90-77089-04-0 . * Troyat, Henri (1987). Peter the Great. New York: E.P. Dutton. ISBN 0-525-24547-2 . * Wes, Martinus A. (1992). Classics in Russia, 1700–1855: Between Two Bronze Horsemen. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-09664-6 . * Zitser, Ernest A (Spring 2005). "Post-Soviet Peter: New Histories of the Late Muscovite and Early Imperial Russian Court". Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. 6 (2): 375–392. doi :10.1353/kri.2005.0032 .


* (in Russian) Brickner Alexander Gustavovich. (1902–1903) An Illustrated History of Peter the Great (Иллюстрированная история Петра Великого) at Runivers.ru in DjVu and PDF


* Anderson, M. S. " Russia
under Peter the Great
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 716–740. * 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
Peter the Great
(2003) online * Oliva, Lawrence Jay. ed. Russia
in the era of Peter the Great (1969), excerpts from primary and secondary sources two week borrowing * Raef, Mark, ed. Peter the Great, Reformer or Revolutionary? (1963) excerpts from scholars and primary sources 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
Peter the Great
to the Revolution (Cambridge UP, 2004) 361 pp. scholarly essays


* Romanovs. The third film. Peter I, Catherine I on YouTube
– Historical reconstruction "The Romanovs". StarMedia. Babich-Design(Russia, 2013)


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