Peter the Great (Russian: Пётр Вели́кий, tr. Pyotr Velikiy, IPA: [ˈpʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj]), Peter I (Russian: Пётр I, tr. Pyotr I, IPA: [ˈpʲɵtr ˈpʲɛrvɨj]) or Peter Alexeyevich (Russian: Пётр Алексе́евич, IPA: [ˈpʲɵtr ɐlʲɪˈksʲejɪvʲɪtɕ]; 9 June [O.S. 30 May] 1672 – 8 February [O.S. 28 January] 1725)[b] ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from 7 May [O.S. 27 April] 1682 until his death in 1725, 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 and also laid the groundwork for the Russian navy after capturing ports at Azov and the Baltic Sea. 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. Peter's reforms made a lasting impact on Russia, and many institutions of Russian government trace their origins to his reign. He is also known for founding and developing the city of Saint Petersburg, which remained the capital of Russia until 1917.
Portrait by Paul Delaroche, 1838
|Tsar / Emperor of Russia[a]|
|Reign||7 May 1682 – 8 February 1725|
|Coronation||25 June 1682|
|Co-monarch||Ivan V (1682–1696)|
|Regent||Sophia Alekseyevna (1682–1689)|
|Born||9 June 1672|
Moscow, Tsardom of Russia
|Died||8 February 1725 (aged 52)|
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
|Father||Alexis of Russia|
The imperial title of Peter the Great was the following:
By the grace of God, the most excellent and great sovereign prince Pyotr Alekseevich the ruler of 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, 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.
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, then age 17, planned to take power from his half-sister Sophia, whose position had been weakened by two unsuccessful Crimean campaigns against 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 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. Foy de la Neuville records that Sophia requested influential members of Peter's family, notably her aunts Tatyana and Anna, to mediate with him. 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 age 22, 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 was 24 years old.
Peter grew to be extremely tall as an adult, especially for the time period. Standing at 6 ft 8 (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 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, a form of epilepsy.
During his youth, Peter befriended Patrick Gordon, Franz Lefort and several other foreigners in Russian service and was a frequent guest in Moscow's German Quarter, where he met his Dutch mistress Anna Mons.
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 rebellions against his authority, including by the Streltsy, Bashkirs, Astrakhan, and the greatest civil uprising of his reign, the 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.
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 to marry his niece, Anna Ivanovna. He used the wedding in order to launch his new capital, St Petersburg, where he had already ordered building projects of westernized palaces and buildings. Peter hired Italian and German architects to design it.
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 was at the time controlled by Sweden in the north, while the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea were controlled by the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Empire respectively in the south.
Peter attempted to acquire control of the Black Sea, which would require expelling the Tatars from the surrounding areas. As part of an agreement with Poland that 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.
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 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 over who would succeed the childless King Charles II of Spain than about fighting the Ottoman Sultan.
The "Grand Embassy" continued nevertheless. 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 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. 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, visited Greenwich and Oxford, posed for Sir Godfrey Kneller, and saw a Royal Navy Fleet Review at Deptford. He studied the English techniques of city-building he would later use to great effect at Saint Petersburg. When he left he gave the singer, and his mistress, Letitia Cross £500 to thank her for her hospitality. Cross said it was not enough. The Embassy next went to Leipzig, Dresden, and Vienna. He spoke with 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 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, 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.
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 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.
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 in 1703, in Ingermanland (a province of the Swedish Empire that he had captured). It was named after his patron saint 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 in 1732–1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of imperial Russia.
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.
Charles XII refused to retreat to Poland or back to Sweden and 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 Russian-ruled 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 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, 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 (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. 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, 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.
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, 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 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 to the 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 increased Russian influence for the first time in the Caucasus and 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, 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 Treaties of Resht and 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 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, a palace near Saint Petersburg, was completed. Peterhof (Dutch for "Peter's Court") was a grand residence, becoming known as the "Russian Versailles".
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.[c]
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.
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 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 Philaret (1619–1633) and 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.
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 Polish-Lithuanian 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 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 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.
|By Eudoxia Lopukhina|
|Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia||18 February 1690||26 June 1718, age 28||Married 1711, Charlotte Christine of Brunswick-Lüneburg; had issue|
|Alexander Petrovich||13 October 1691||14 May 1692, age 7 months|
|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, age 18 months||Born and died before the official marriage of her parents|
|Anna Petrovna||27 January 1708||15 May 1728, age 20||Married 1725, Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp; had issue|
later Empress Elizabeth
|29 December 1709||5 January 1762, age 52||Reputedly married 1742, Alexei Grigorievich, Count Razumovsky; no issue|
|Maria Petrovna||20 March 1713||27 May 1715, age 2|
|Margarita Petrovna||19 September 1714||7 June 1715, age 9 months|
|Peter Petrovich||15 November 1715||19 April 1719, age 3|
|Pavel Petrovich||13 January 1717||14 January 1717, age 1 day|
|Natalia Petrovna||31 August 1718||15 March 1725, age 6|
|Peter Petrovich||7 October 1723||7 October 1723, born and died same day|
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. 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.
| Tsar of Russia
with Ivan V
|New title|| Emperor of Russia
| Duke of Estonia and Livonia|
"Gannibal" redirects here. For Abram Gannibal's son and Russian general, see Ivan Gannibal.Abram Petrovich Gannibal, also Hannibal or Ganibal, or Abram Hannibal or Abram Petrov (Russian: Абра́м Петро́вич Ганниба́л; 1696 – 14 May 1781), was a Russian military engineer, general, and nobleman of African origin. Kidnapped as a child, Gannibal was taken to Russia and presented as a gift to Peter the Great, where he was freed, adopted and raised in the Emperor's court household as his godson.Gannibal eventually rose to become a prominent member of the imperial court in the reign of Peter's daughter Elizabeth. He had 11 children, most of whom became members of the Russian nobility; he was a great-grandfather of the author and poet Alexander Pushkin.Ağa Yusuf Pasha
Ağa Yusuf Pasha (Yusuf Pasha the Agha), also known as Gürcü Yusuf Pasha (Yusuf Pasha the Georgian), was an 18th-century Ottoman military leader and Grand vizier.
Yusuf Pasha was of Georgian origin and a devshirme. In 1710, he was appointed Agha of the Janissaries, commander of the Janissary corps. As a military leader, he became successful during the Pruth River Campaign (1710–1711). By the Treaty of Pruth (1711), Peter the Great of the Russian Empire agreed to provide a free passage for King Charles XII of Sweden to return to his country. The next year, Ağa Yusuf Pasha was appointed grand vizier. However, although a component commander, he lacked the skill of a statesman. When Peter the Great refused to allow a free passage for Charles XII, Ottoman Sultan Ahmet III (r. 1703–1730) decided to declare war on Russia. But Ağa Yusuf Pasha persuaded the Sultan to give up the idea believing that Peter the Great would finally follow the terms of the treaty. However, the Russian Tsar was still reluctant, and the angered Sultan dismissed Ağa Yusuf Pasha from his post as grand vizier on 11 November 1712. Although he was exiled to the island of Rhodes, soon he was executed.Bronze Horseman
The Bronze Horseman (Russian: Медный всадник, literally "copper horseman") is an equestrian statue of Peter the Great in the Senate Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Commissioned by Catherine the Great, it was created by the French sculptor Étienne Maurice Falconet. The name comes from an 1833 poem of the same name by Aleksander Pushkin, which is widely considered one of the most significant works of Russian literature. The statue is now one of the symbols of Saint Petersburg.
The statue's pedestal is the enormous Thunder Stone, the largest stone ever moved by humans. The stone originally weighed about 1500 tonnes, but was carved down during transportation to its current size.Cyrillic script
The Cyrillic script is a writing system used for various alphabets across Eurasia, particularly in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and North Asia. It is based on the Early Cyrillic alphabet developed during the 9th century AD at the Preslav Literary School in the First Bulgarian Empire. It is the basis of alphabets used in various languages, especially those of Orthodox Slavic origin, and non-Slavic languages influenced by Russian. As of 2011, around 250 million people in Eurasia use it as the official alphabet for their national languages, with Russia accounting for about half of them. With the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union on 1 January 2007, Cyrillic became the third official script of the European Union, following Latin and Greek.Cyrillic is derived from the Greek uncial script, augmented by letters from the older Glagolitic alphabet, including some ligatures. These additional letters were used for Old Church Slavonic sounds not found in Greek. The script is named in honor of the two Byzantine brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, who created the Glagolitic alphabet earlier on. Modern scholars believe that Cyrillic was developed and formalized by early disciples of Cyril and Methodius.
In the early 18th century, the Cyrillic script used in Russia was heavily reformed by Peter the Great, who had recently returned from his Grand Embassy in western Europe. The new letterforms became closer to those of the Latin alphabet; several archaic letters were removed and several letters were personally designed by Peter the Great (such as Я, which was inspired by the Latin R). West European typography culture was also adopted.Elizabeth of Russia
Elizabeth Petrovna (Russian: Елизаве́та (Елисаве́та) Петро́вна) (29 December [O.S. 18 December] 1709 – 5 January 1762 [O.S. 25 December 1761]), also known as Yelisaveta or Elizaveta, was the Empress of Russia from 1741 until her death. She led the country during the two major European conflicts of her time: the War of Austrian Succession (1740–48) and the Seven Years' War (1756–63).
Her domestic policies allowed the nobles to gain dominance in local government while shortening their terms of service to the state. She encouraged Mikhail Lomonosov's establishment of the University of Moscow and Ivan Shuvalov's foundation of the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. She also spent exorbitant sums of money on the grandiose baroque projects of her favourite architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, particularly in Peterhof and Tsarskoye Selo. The Winter Palace and the Smolny Cathedral in Saint Petersburg are among the chief monuments of her reign. She remains one of the most popular Russian monarchs due to her strong opposition to Prussian policies and her decision not to execute a single person during her reign.Government reform of Peter the Great
The government reforms of Peter I aimed to modernize the Tsardom of Russia (later the Russian Empire) based on Western and Central European models.
Peter ascended to the throne at the age of 10 in 1682; he ruled jointly with his half-brother Ivan V. After Ivan's death in 1696, Peter started his series of sweeping reforms. At first he intended these reforms to support the Great Northern War of 1700-1721; later, more systematic reforms significantly changed the internal structure and administration of the state.Kunstkamera
The Kunstkamera (or Kunstkammer; Russian: Кунсткамера) is the first museum in Russia. Established by Peter the Great and completed in 1727, the Kunstkammer Building hosts the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Russian: Музей антропологии и этнографии имени Петра Великого Российской академии наук), with a collection of almost 2,000,000 items. It is located on the Universitetskaya Embankment in Saint Petersburg, facing the Winter Palace.Obsolete Russian units of measurement
A native system of weights and measures was used in Imperial Russia and after the Russian Revolution, but it was abandoned after July 21, 1925, when the Soviet Union adopted the metric system, per the order of the Council of People's Commissars.
The Tatar system is very similar to the Russian one, but some names are different.The system existed since ancient Rus', but under Peter the Great, the Russian units were redefined relative to the English system. Until Peter the Great the system also used Cyrillic numerals, and only in the 18th century did Peter the Great replace it with the Hindu-Arabic numeral system.Peter I Range
Peter I Range, Peter the First Range or Peter the Great Range (Russian: Хребет Петра I or Хребет Петра Первого) is a mountain range in Tajikistan, part of the Pamir Mountain System. The range takes its name from Peter the Great (1672 – 1725).Peter the Great (miniseries)
Peter the Great is a 1986 NBC television mini-series starring Maximilian Schell as Russian emperor Peter the Great, and based on the biography by Robert K. Massie. It won three Primetime Emmy Awards, including the award for Outstanding Miniseries.Peter the Great Gulf
The Peter the Great Gulf (Russian: Залив Петра Великого) is a gulf on the southern coast of Primorsky Krai, Russia, and the largest gulf of the Sea of Japan. The gulf extends for 185 km (115 mi) from the Russian-North Korean border at the mouth of the Tumen River in the west across to Cape Povorotny in the east, and its bays reach 90 km (56 mi) inland.
Vladivostok, the largest city and capital of Primorsky Krai, and Nakhodka, the third largest city in the Krai, are located along the coast of the gulf.Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, abbreviated as SPbPU; also, formerly "Saint Petersburg State Technical University", abbreviated as SPbSTU) is a major Russian technical university situated in Saint Petersburg. Other former names included Peter the Great Polytechnic Institute (Политехнический институт императора Петра Великого) and Kalinin Polytechnic Institute (Ленинградский политехнический институт имени Калинина). The university is considered to be one of the top research facilities in Russian Federation and CIS member states and is a leading educational facility in the field of applied physics and mathematics, industrial engineering, chemical engineering, aerospace engineering and many other academic disciplines. In 2012, SPbPU was ranked among the top 400 in the World. It houses one of the country's most advanced research labs in hydro–aerodynamics. University's alumni include famous Nobel Prize winners, such as Pyotr Kapitsa, prominent nuclear physicists and atomic weapon designers such as Yulii Khariton and Nikolay Dukhov world-class aircraft designers and aerospace engineers, such as Yulii Khariton, Oleg Antonov, Nikolai Polikarpov and Georgy Beriev. The university offers academic programs to Bachelor, Master's and Doctorate degree levels. SPbSPU consists of structural units called Institutes divided into three categories:
Economics and Humanities InstitutesPeterhof Palace
The Peterhof Palace (Russian: Петерго́ф, IPA: [pʲɪtʲɪrˈɡof], German for Peter's Court) is a series of palaces and gardens located in Petergof, Saint Petersburg, Russia, commissioned by Peter the Great as a direct response to the Palace of Versailles by Louis XIV of France. Originally intended in 1709 for country habitation, Peter the Great sought to expand the property as a result of his visit to the French royal court in 1717, inspiring the nickname used by tourists "The Russian Versailles". In the period between 1714 and 1728, the architecture was designed by Domenico Trezzini, and the style he employed became the foundation for the Petrine Baroque style favored throughout Saint Petersburg. Also in 1714, Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond designed the gardens, likely chosen due to his previous collaborations with Versailles landscaper André Le Nôtre. Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli completed an expansion from 1747 to 1756 for Elizabeth of Russia. The palace-ensemble along with the city center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Pierre le Grand (pirate)
Pierre Le Grand (French: Peter the Great) was a French buccaneer of the 17th century. He is known to history only from one source, Alexandre Exquemelin's Buccaneers of America, and may be imaginary.Russian Empire
The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe, Asia, and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires. The rise of the Russian Empire happened in association with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Golden Horde, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Persia and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south.
The House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, and its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east. With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics, ethnicity, and religion. There were numerous dissident elements, who launched numerous rebellions and assassination attempts; they were closely watched by the secret police, with thousands exiled to Siberia.
Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants (until they were freed in 1861). The economy slowly industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility (the boyars) from the 10th through the 17th centuries, and subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III (1462–1505) laid the groundwork for the empire that later emerged. He tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, and laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great (1682–1725) fought numerous wars and expanded an already huge empire into a major European power. He moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, and led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, scientific, Europe-oriented, and rationalist system.
Empress Catherine the Great (reigned 1762–1796) presided over a golden age; she expanded the state by conquest, colonization and diplomacy, continuing Peter the Great's policy of modernization along Western European lines. Emperor Alexander II (1855–1881) promoted numerous reforms, most dramatically the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861. His policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, and Serbia, against the German, Austrian, and Ottoman empires.
The Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and then became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917, largely as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War.Russian nobility
The Russian nobility (Russian: дворянство dvoryanstvo) arose in the 14th century. Counting 1,900,000 members (1.1% of the population) in 1914, the noble estate staffed most of the Russian government apparatus until the February Revolution of 1917.
The Russian word for nobility, dvoryanstvo (дворянство), derives from Slavonic dvor (двор), meaning the court of a prince or duke (kniaz) and, later, of the tsar or emperor. Here, dvor originally referred to servants at the estate of an aristocrat. Later, in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the word dvoryane described the highest rank of gentry, who literally performed duties at the royal court, lived in it (Moskovskie zhiltsy), or were candidates to it (dvorovye deti boyarskie, vybornye deti boyarskie). A nobleman is called a dvoryanin (plural: dvoryane). Pre-Soviet Russia shared with other countries the concept that nobility connotes a status or social category rather than a title. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the title of nobleman in Russia gradually became a formal status, rather than a reference to a member of aristocracy, due to a massive influx of commoners via the Table of ranks. Many descendants of former ancient Russian aristocracy, including royalty, had changed their formal standing to merchants, burghers or even peasants, while people descended from serfs (Vladimir Lenin's father) or clergy (ancestry of actress Lyubov Orlova) gained formal nobility.Russo-Persian War (1722–1723)
The Russo-Persian War of 1722–1723, known in Russian historiography as the Persian campaign of Peter the Great, was a war between the Russian Empire and Safavid Iran, triggered by the tsar's attempt to expand Russian influence in the Caspian and Caucasus regions and to prevent its rival, the Ottoman Empire, from territorial gains in the region at the expense of declining Safavid Iran.
The Russian victory ratified for Safavid Iran's cession of their territories in the North Caucasus, South Caucasus and contemporary northern Iran to Russia, comprising the cities of Derbent (southern Dagestan) and Baku and their nearby surrounding lands, as well as the provinces of Gilan, Shirvan, Mazandaran and Astarabad conform the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1723).The territories remained in Russian hands for 9 and 12 years, when respectively according to the Treaty of Resht of 1732 and the Treaty of Ganja of 1735, they were returned to Iran.Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, tr. Sankt-Peterburg, IPA: [ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk] (listen)) is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million (2015). An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject (a federal city).
Situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May [O.S. 16 May] 1703. On 1 September 1914, the name was changed from Saint Petersburg to Petrograd (Russian: Петрогра́д, IPA: [pʲɪtrɐˈgrat]), on 26 January 1924 to Leningrad (Russian: Ленингра́д, IPA: [lʲɪnʲɪnˈgrat]), and on 1 October 1991 back to its original name. During the periods 1713–1728 and 1732–1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of Imperial Russia. In 1918, the central government bodies moved to Moscow, which is about 625 km (388 miles) to the south-east.
Saint Petersburg is one of the most modern cities of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. Many foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and businesses have offices in Saint Petersburg.Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia (Russian: Русское царство, Russkoje tsarstvo later changed to Российское царство, Rossiyskoye tsarstvo), or the Tsardom of Muscovy, was the centralized Russian state from the assumption of the title of Tsar by Ivan IV in 1547 until the foundation of the Russian Empire by Peter the Great in 1721.
From 1551 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 per year. The period includes the upheavals of the transition from the Rurik to the Romanov dynasties, many wars with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden and the Ottoman Empire as well as the Russian conquest of Siberia, leading up to the ground-changing reign of Peter the Great, who took power in 1689 and transformed the Tsardom into a major European power. During the Great Northern War, he implemented substantial reforms and proclaimed the Russian Empire (Russian: Российская империя, Rossiyskaya imperiya) after victory over Sweden in 1721.
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Tsareviches of Russia
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