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
* 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
By the grace of God , the most excellent and great sovereign prince
Pyotr Alekseevich the ruler all the Russias: of
Named after the apostle , and described as a newborn as "with good
health, his mother 's black, vaguely
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
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
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
Peter the Great
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
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
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
Peter attempted to acquire control of the Black Sea; to do so he
would have to expel the
Peter returned to
Main article: Grand Embassy of Peter the Great
Peter knew that
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
Jacob de Wilde , a collector-general with the Admiralty of Amsterdam
, had a well-known collection of art and coins, and de Wilde's
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
Peter the Great
Thanks to the mediation of
Nicolaes Witsen , mayor of
During his stay the
Peter paid a visit to
Frederik Ruysch , who taught him how to draw
teeth and catch butterflies.
Ludolf Bakhuysen , a painter of seascapes
Jan van der Heyden
In England Peter met with King William III , visited
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
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.
GREAT NORTHERN WAR
Main article: Great Northern War
Peter made a temporary peace with the
While the Poles fought the Swedes, Peter founded the city of Saint
Petersburg , after his patron saint
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
Charles XII refused to retreat to
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
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
northern half of modern
In 1716 and 1717, the
Still, Charles XII of
Diamond order of
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
Peter's imperial title was recognized by Augustus II of Poland,
Frederick William I of Prussia
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
After considerable successes and the capture of many provinces and
cities in the
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
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
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.
MARRIAGES AND FAMILY
Peter I interrogating his son Alexei , a painting by Nikolai Ge (1871)
Peter the Great
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.
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
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.
NAME BIRTH DEATH NOTES
BY EUDOXIA LOPUKHINA
Alexander Petrovich 13 October 1691 14 May 1692
Pavel Petrovich 1693 1693
BY CATHERINE I
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
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
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.
ANCESTORS OF PETER THE GREAT
17. Varvara Ivanovna Khovrina
9. Kseniya Shestova
10. Lukyan Stepanovich Streshnyov
22. Konstantin Romanovich Volkonsky
11. Anna Konstantinovna Volkonskaya
1. PETER I OF RUSSIA
12. Poluekt Ivanovich Naryshkin
6. Kirill Poluektovich Naryshkin
14. Leonti Dmitrievich Leontiev
7.Anna Lvovna Leontieva
15. Praskovia Ivanovna Raevskaya
Peter has been featured in many books, plays, films, and games,
including the poems The
Bronze Horseman , Poltava and the unfinished
The Moor of Peter the Great , all by
* The 1922 German silent film
Peter the Great
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)
* ^ 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
* ^ Cracraft 2003 .
* ^ Лакиер А. Б. §66. Надписи вокруг
печати. Соответствие их с государевым
титулом. // Русская геральдика. — СПб.,
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
* Anisimov, Evgenii V. (2015) The Reforms of Peter the Great:
Progress Through Violence in
* Anderson, M. S. "
* Romanovs. The third film. Peter I, Catherine I on