Peter I of Russia

Peter I of Russia

Overview
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov ( – )Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

. All other dates in this article are New Style
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

.
ruled the Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

 and later the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V
Ivan V of Russia
Ivan V Alekseyevich Romanov was a joint Tsar of Russia who co-reigned between 1682 and 1696. He was the youngest son of Alexis I of Russia and Maria Miloslavskaya. His reign was only formal, since he had serious physical and mental disabilities...

. He carried out a policy of modernization and expansion that transformed the Tsardom into a 5000000 square miles (12,949,940.6 km²) Empire, and a major European power.

From an early age, Peter's education (commissioned by Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Alexis I) was put in the hands of several tutors, most notably Nikita Zotov
Nikita Zotov
Count Nikita Moiseevich Zotov was a childhood tutor and life-long friend of Russian Tsar Peter the Great. Historians disagree on the quality of Zotov's tutoring. Robert K...

, Patrick Gordon
Patrick Gordon
Patrick Leopold Gordon was general of the Imperial Russian army, of Scottish origin. He was descended from a Scottish family of Aberdeenshire, holders of the small estate of Auchleuchries, the family were connected with the house of Haddo.- Life :He was raised and remained a lifelong Catholic, at...

, and Paul Menesius
Paul Menesius
Paul Menesius was a Scottish soldier and diplomat, who spent most of his life in the service of the Russian Tsar Alexei.-Life:...

.
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Timeline

1698   In an effort to Westernize his nobility, Tsar Peter I of Russia imposes a tax on beards for all men except the clergy and peasantry.

1703   Tsar Peter the Great founds the city of Saint Petersburg.

1708   Peter the Great defeats the Swedes at the Battle of Lesnaya.

1718   Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich of Russia, Peter the Great's son, mysteriously dies after being sentenced to death by his father for plotting against him.

1724   The Russian Academy of Sciences is founded in St. Petersburg by Peter the Great, and implemented by Senate decree. It is called the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences until 1917.

 
Encyclopedia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov ( – )Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

. All other dates in this article are New Style
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

.
ruled the Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

 and later the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V
Ivan V of Russia
Ivan V Alekseyevich Romanov was a joint Tsar of Russia who co-reigned between 1682 and 1696. He was the youngest son of Alexis I of Russia and Maria Miloslavskaya. His reign was only formal, since he had serious physical and mental disabilities...

. He carried out a policy of modernization and expansion that transformed the Tsardom into a 5000000 square miles (12,949,940.6 km²) Empire, and a major European power.

Early years


From an early age, Peter's education (commissioned by Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Alexis I) was put in the hands of several tutors, most notably Nikita Zotov
Nikita Zotov
Count Nikita Moiseevich Zotov was a childhood tutor and life-long friend of Russian Tsar Peter the Great. Historians disagree on the quality of Zotov's tutoring. Robert K...

, Patrick Gordon
Patrick Gordon
Patrick Leopold Gordon was general of the Imperial Russian army, of Scottish origin. He was descended from a Scottish family of Aberdeenshire, holders of the small estate of Auchleuchries, the family were connected with the house of Haddo.- Life :He was raised and remained a lifelong Catholic, at...

, and Paul Menesius
Paul Menesius
Paul Menesius was a Scottish soldier and diplomat, who spent most of his life in the service of the Russian Tsar Alexei.-Life:...

. On 29 January 1676, Tsar Alexis died, leaving the sovereignty to Peter's elder half-brother, the weak and sickly Feodor III. Throughout this period, the government was largely run by Artamon Matveev
Artamon Matveev
Artamon Sergeyevich Matveyev was a Russian statesman, diplomat and reformer.Because his father - Sergey Matveyev - was a notable diplomat, Artamon Matveyev was brought up at the royal court since the age of thirteen, where he would become close friends with Alexius I...

, an enlightened friend of Alexis, the political head of the Naryshkin family
Naryshkin family
The Naryshkin family was a Moscow boyar family. It became allied to the ruling house in 1671 when the great beauty Natalia Naryshkina married Alexis of Russia, later becoming the mother of Peter the Great...

 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 Naryshkin and Miloslavsky
Maria Miloslavskaya
Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya was the first wife of tsar Alexis of Russia and mother of the tsars Feodor III of Russia and Ivan V of Russia, as well as regent princess Sophia Alekseyevna.-Biography:...

 families over who should inherit the throne. Peter's other half-brother, Ivan V, was next in line for the throne, but he was chronically ill and of infirm mind. Consequently, the Boyar Duma
Boyar
A boyar, or bolyar , was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Moscovian, Kievan Rus'ian, Bulgarian, Wallachian, and Moldavian aristocracies, second only to the ruling princes , from the 10th century through the 17th century....

 (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
Sophia Alekseyevna
Sophia Alekseyevna was a regent of Russian Tsardom who allied herself with a singularly capable courtier and politician, Prince Vasily Galitzine, to install herself as a regent during the minority of her brothers, Peter the Great and Ivan V...

, one of Alexis' daughters from his first marriage, led a rebellion
Moscow Uprising of 1682
Moscow Uprising of 1682, also known as Streltsy Uprising of 1682 , was an uprising of the Moscow Streltsy regiments which resulted in supreme power being devolved on Sophia Alekseyevna...

 of the Streltsy
Streltsy
Streltsy were the units of Russian guardsmen in the 16th - early 18th centuries, armed with firearms. They are also collectively known as Marksman Troops .- Origins and organization :...

 (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 museum 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
Toy army of Peter I
The toy army of Peter I was initially called hi kiel evans and was a collection of young Peter's playmates, noblemens' sons and attendants of his father Aleksei's court....

. Peter's mother sought to force him to adopt a more conventional approach, and arranged his marriage to Eudoxia Lopukhina
Eudoxia Lopukhina
Tsarina Evdokiya Feodorovna Lopukhina was the first wife of Peter I of Russia. They married in 1689 but divorced in 1698...

 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 Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

n 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
Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. The monastery is situated in the town of Sergiyev Posad, about 70 km to the north-east from Moscow by the road leading to Yaroslavl, and currently is home to...

; there he slowly gathered adherents who perceived he would win the power struggle. She 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 quite tall as an adult, especially for the time period. Standing at 6 ft 8 in (200 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
Absence seizure
Absence seizures are one of several kinds of seizures. These seizures are sometimes referred to as petit mal seizures ....

, a form of epilepsy
Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

.

Filippo Baltari, a young Italian visitor to Peter's court, wrote:
"Tsar Peter was tall and thin, rather than stout. His hair was thick, short, and dark brown; he had large eyes, black with long lashes, a well-shaped mouth, but the lower lip was slightly disfigured ... For his great height, his feet seemed very narrow. His head was sometimes tugged to the right by convulsions."


Few contemporaries, either in or outside of Russia, commented on Peter's great height or appearance.

Children


Peter the Great had two wives, with whom he had fourteen children;three of them survived to adulthood. 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.


Early reign


Peter implemented sweeping reforms aimed at modernizing
Modernization
In the social sciences, modernization or modernisation refers to a model of an evolutionary transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. The teleology of modernization is described in social evolutionism theories, existing as a template that has been generally followed by...

 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
Bashkirs
The Bashkirs are a Turkic people indigenous to Bashkortostan extending on both parts of the Ural mountains, on the place where Europe meets Asia. Groups of Bashkirs also live in the republic of Tatarstan, Perm Krai, Chelyabinsk, Orenburg, Tyumen, Sverdlovsk, Kurgan, Samara and Saratov Oblasts of...

, Astrakhan
Astrakhan
Astrakhan is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on the left bank of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of below the sea level. Population:...

, and the greatest civil uprising of his reign, the Bulavin Rebellion
Bulavin Rebellion
The Bulavin Rebellion ' is the name given to a violent civil uprising in Imperial Russia between the years 1707 and 1708. It takes its name from the Don Cossack Kondraty Bulavin who rose to its forefront as a sort of figurehead...

. Peter implemented social modernization in an absolute manner by requiring courtiers, state officials, and the military to shave their beards and adopt modern clothing styles.

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
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

 at Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk , formerly known as Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina River near its exit into the White Sea in the north of European Russia. The city spreads for over along the banks of the river...

. The Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 was at the time controlled by Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 in the north, while the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 was controlled by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in the south. Peter attempted to acquire control of the Black Sea; to do so he would have to expel the Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 from the surrounding areas. As part of an agreement with Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 which ceded Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 to Russia, Peter was forced to wage war against the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

n Khan and against the Khan's overlord, the Ottoman Sultan. Peter's primary objective became the capture of the Ottoman fortress of Azov
Azov
-External links:** *...

, near the Don River. In the summer of 1695 Peter organized the Azov campaigns
Azov campaigns
Azov campaigns of 1695–96 , two Russian military campaigns during the Russo-Turkish War of 1686–1700, led by Peter the Great and aimed at capturing the Turkish fortress of Azov , which had been blocking Russia's access to the Azov Sea and the Black Sea...

 to take the fortress, but his attempts ended in failure. Peter returned to Moscow in November of that year 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
Taganrog
Taganrog is a seaport city in Rostov Oblast, Russia, located on the north shore of Taganrog Bay , several kilometers west of the mouth of the Don River. Population: -History of Taganrog:...

.

Peter knew that Russia could not face the Ottoman Empire alone. In 1697 he traveled incognito to Europe on an 18-month journey with a large Russian delegation
Delegation
Delegation is the assignment of authority and responsibility to another person to carry out specific activities. However the person who delegated the work remains accountable for the outcome of the delegated work. Delegation empowers a subordinate to make decisions, i.e...

–the so-called "Grand Embassy"
Grand Embassy of Peter I
The Grand Embassy was a Russian diplomatic mission, sent to Western Europe in 1697-1698 by Peter the Great....

—to seek the aid of the European monarchs. Peter's hopes were dashed; France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 was a traditional ally of the Ottoman Sultan, and Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 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
Charles II of Spain
Charles II was the last Habsburg King of Spain and the ruler of large parts of Italy, the Spanish territories in the Southern Low Countries, and Spain's overseas Empire, stretching from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies...

 than about fighting the Ottoman Sultan.

The "Grand Embassy", although failing to complete the mission of creating an anti-Ottoman alliance, continued. While visiting Holland, Peter learned much about life in Western Europe. He studied shipbuilding in Zaandam
Zaandam
Zaandam is a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is the main city of the municipality of Zaanstad, and received city rights in 1811...

 (the house he lived in is now a museum, the Tsar Peter house) and Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, and later put this learning to use in helping build Russia's navy. Thanks to the mediation of Nicolaas 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
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

, 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
Lock (water transport)
A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied; whereas in a caisson lock, a boat lift, or on a canal inclined plane, it is...

, fortresses, shipwrights, and seamen—including Cornelis Cruys, a vice-admiral who became, under Franz Lefort
Franz Lefort
Franz Lefort was a Russian military figure of Swiss origin, general admiral , and close associate of Peter the Great....

, the Tsar's advisor in maritime affairs. Peter paid a visit to Frederik Ruysch
Frederik Ruysch
Frederik Ruysch was a Dutch botanist and anatomist, remembered for his developments in anatomical preservation and the creation of dioramas or scenes incorporating human parts...

, 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
Jan van der Heyden was a Dutch Baroque-era painter, draughtsman, printmaker, a mennonite and inventor who significantly contributed to contemporary firefighting. He improved the fire hose in 1672, with his brother Nicolaes, who was a hydraulic engineer...

 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
Joan Huydecoper II
Joan Huydecoper van Maarsseveen II was the eldest son of burgomaster Joan Huydecoper van Maarsseveen I and the brother-in-law of the collector Jan J. Hinlopen and the sheriff Jacob Boreel. He was mayor of Amsterdam for 13 terms between 1673 and 1693...

, who had to sit between Lefort and the Tsar and drink.
In England Peter met with King William III
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

, visited Greenwich
Greenwich
Greenwich is a district of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich.Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time...

 and Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, was painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller
Godfrey Kneller
Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1st Baronet was the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and was court painter to British monarchs from Charles II to George I...

, and saw a Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 Fleet Review at Deptford. He travelled to the city of Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 to learn the techniques of city-building he would later use to great effect at Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

. The Embassy next went to Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, and Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. He spoke with August the Strong and Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
| style="float:right;" | Leopold I was a Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and King of Bohemia. A member of the Habsburg family, he was the second son of Emperor Ferdinand III and his first wife, Maria Anna of Spain. His maternal grandparents were Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria...

.

Peter's visit was cut short in 1698, when he was forced to rush home by a rebellion of the Streltsy
Streltsy Uprising
The Streltsy Uprising of 1698 was an uprising of the Moscow Streltsy regiments. Some Russian historians believe that the Streltsy uprising was a reactionary rebellion against progressive innovations of Peter the Great...

. The rebellion was, however, 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.

Also, upon his return from his European tour
Grand Tour
The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage...

, Peter sought to end his unhappy marriage. He divorced the Tsaritsa
Tsaritsa
Tsaritsa , formerly spelled czaritsa , is the title of a female autocratic ruler of Bulgaria or Russia, or the title of a tsar's wife....

, Eudoxia Lopukhina. The Tsaritsa had borne Peter three children, although only one, the Tsarevich Alexei, had survived past his childhood.

In 1698 Peter sent a delegation to Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 under boyar Boris Petrovich Sheremetyev, to observe the training and abilities of the Knights of Malta
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 and their fleet. Sheremetyev 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 cut off their long beards—causing his Boyars, who were very fond of their beards, great upset—and wear European clothing. Boyars who sought to retain their beards were required to pay an annual beard tax
Beard tax
A beard tax is one of several taxes introduced throughout history on men who wear beards.-In England:In 1535, King Henry VIII of England, who wore a beard himself, introduced a tax on beards. The tax was a graduated tax, varying with the wearer's social position...

 of one hundred rubles
Russian ruble
The ruble or rouble is the currency of the Russian Federation and the two partially recognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Formerly, the ruble was also the currency of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union prior to their breakups. Belarus and Transnistria also use currencies with...

. He 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
Anno Mundi
' , abbreviated as AM or A.M., refers to a Calendar era based on the Biblical creation of the world. Numerous efforts have been made to determine the Biblical date of Creation, yielding varying results. Besides differences in interpretation, which version of the Bible is being referenced also...

, but after Peter's reforms, they were to be counted from the birth of Christ
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

. Thus, in the year 7207 of the old Russian calendar, Peter proclaimed that the Julian Calendar
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

 was in effect and the year was 1700.

Great Northern War



Peter made a temporary peace with the Ottoman Empire that allowed him to keep the captured fort of Azov, and turned his attention to Russian maritime supremacy. He sought to acquire control of the Baltic Sea, which had been taken by the Swedish Empire
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...

 a half-century earlier. Peter declared war on Sweden, which was at the time led by King Charles XII
Charles XII of Sweden
Charles XII also Carl of Sweden, , Latinized to Carolus Rex, Turkish: Demirbaş Şarl, also known as Charles the Habitué was the King of the Swedish Empire from 1697 to 1718...

. Sweden was also opposed by Denmark-Norway, Saxony
Electorate of Saxony
The Electorate of Saxony , sometimes referred to as Upper Saxony, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. It was established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate by the Golden Bull of 1356...

, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

.
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
Battle of Narva (1700)
The Battle of Narva on 19 November 1700 was an early battle in the Great Northern War. A Swedish relief army under Charles XII of Sweden defeated a Russian siege force three times its size. Before, Charles XII had forced Denmark-Norway to sign the Treaty of Travendal...

 in 1700. In the conflict, the forces of Charles XII used 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. At the end of February 1701 he met with Polish King Augustus II the Strong
Augustus II the Strong
Frederick Augustus I or Augustus II the Strong was Elector of Saxony and King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania ....

 in Biržai
Biržai
Biržai is a city in northern Lithuania. Biržai is famous for its reconstructed Biržai Castle manor, and the whole region is renowned for its many traditional-recipe beer breweries.-Names:...

, where the rulers, after several days of drinking, arranged a cannon shooting competition, won by the Polish King.

As the Poles and Lithuanians fought against the Swedes, Peter founded the city of Saint Petersburg (Germanically named after Saint Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 the Apostle) in Ingermanland
Ingria
Ingria is a historical region in the eastern Baltic, now part of Russia, comprising the southern bank of the river Neva, between the Gulf of Finland, the Narva River, Lake Peipus in the west, and Lake Ladoga and the western bank of the Volkhov river in the east...

 (province of Swedish empire
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...

, 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. He also took Martha Skavronskaya as a mistress. Martha converted to the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 and took the name Catherine, allegedly marrying Peter in secret in 1707. Peter valued Catherine and married her again (this time officially) at Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Saint Isaac's Cathedral or Isaakievskiy Sobor in Saint Petersburg, Russia is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city...

 in Saint Petersburg on 9 February 1712.

Following several defeats, the Polish King August II 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
Battle of Holowczyn
The Battle of Holowczyn or Golovchin was fought between the Russian army, led by Field Marshal Boris Sheremetyev, and the Swedish army, led by Charles XII of Sweden, only 26 years of age at the time. Despite difficult natural obstacles and superior enemy artillery, the Swedes were able to achieve...

 in July. In the Battle of Lesnaya
Battle of Lesnaya
The Battle of Lesnaya , was one of the major battles of the Great Northern War. It took place on September 28, 1708 / September 29, 1708 / October 9, 1708 between a Russian army of 18,000 men commanded by the Princes Repnin and Menshikov, and a Swedish force of about 13,000 men, under the...

, Charles suffered his first loss after Peter crushed a group of Swedish reinforcements marching from Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

. 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, instead invading Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. Peter withdrew his army southward, destroying along the way any property 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
Battle of Poltava
The Battle of Poltava on 27 June 1709 was the decisive victory of Peter I of Russia over the Swedish forces under Field Marshal Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld in one of the battles of the Great Northern War. It is widely believed to have been the beginning of Sweden's decline as a Great Power; the...

 on 27 June. The battle was a decisive defeat for the Swedish forces, ending Charles' campaign in Ukraine and forcing him into exile in the Ottoman Empire. In Poland, August 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. 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. Peter's campaign in the Ottoman Empire was disastrous, and in the ensuing peace treaty, Peter was forced to return the Black Sea ports he had seized in 1697. In return, the Sultan expelled Charles XII, but Russia was forced to guarantee safe passage to the Swedish king, who in the end traveled back to Sweden through Germany.

Peter's northern armies took the Swedish province of Livonia (the northern half of modern Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, and the southern half of modern Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

), driving the Swedes into Finland. In 1714 the Russian fleet won the Battle of Gangut
Battle of Gangut
The Battle of Gangut took place on July 27Jul./ August 7, 1714Greg. during the Great Northern War , in the waters of Riilahti Bay, north of the Hanko Peninsula, near the site of the modern-day city of Hanko, Finland, between the Swedish Navy and Imperial Russian Navy...

. Most of Finland was occupied by the Russians
Greater Wrath
The Greater Wrath is a term used in Finnish history for the Russian invasion and subsequent military occupation of Eastern Sweden, now Finland, from 1714 until the treaty of Nystad 1721, which ended the Great Northern War, although sometimes the term is used to denote all of the Great Northern...

. In 1716 and 1717, the Tsar revisited the Netherlands, and went to see Herman Boerhaave
Herman Boerhaave
Herman Boerhaave was a Dutch botanist, humanist and physician of European fame. He is regarded as the founder of clinical teaching and of the modern academic hospital. His main achievement was to demonstrate the relation of symptoms to lesions...

. 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
Electorate of Hanover
The Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg was the ninth Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation...

 and the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

. 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
Treaty of Nystad
The Treaty of Nystad was the last peace treaty of the Great Northern War. It was concluded between the Tsardom of Russia and Swedish Empire on 30 August / 10 September 1721 in the then Swedish town of Nystad , after Sweden had settled with the other parties in Stockholm and Frederiksborg.During...

 ended what became known as the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

. Russia acquired Ingria
Ingria
Ingria is a historical region in the eastern Baltic, now part of Russia, comprising the southern bank of the river Neva, between the Gulf of Finland, the Narva River, Lake Peipus in the west, and Lake Ladoga and the western bank of the Volkhov river in the east...

, Estonia
Reval Governorate
The Governorate of Estonia or Estland, also known as the Government of Estonia or Province of Estonia, was a governorate of the Russian Empire in what is now northern Estonia.-Historical overview:...

, Livonia
Riga Governorate
The Governorate of Livonia or Livland Governorate, also known as the Government of Livonia or Province of Livonia, was one of the Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire, now divided between the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Estonia.It was originally called the Riga Governorate after...

, and a substantial portion of Karelia
Old Finland
thumb|right|260px|The areas that Sweden lost to Russia in the wars of 1721 and 1743Old Finland is a name used for the areas that Russia gained from Sweden in the Great Northern War and in the Russo-Swedish War...

. In turn, Russia paid two million Riksdaler and surrendered most of Finland. The Tsar retained some Finnish lands close to Saint Petersburg, which he had made his capital in 1712.

Later years


Peter's last years were marked by further reform in Russia. On 22 October 1721, soon after peace was made with Sweden, he was officially proclaimed Emperor of All Russia. Some proposed that he take the title Emperor of the East, but he refused. Gavrila Golovkin, the State Chancellor, was the first to add "the Great, Father of His Country, Emperor of All the Russias
All the Russias
All the Russias is the standard English translation of a term which was used to refer either to the Russian Empire, or to the Russian-inhabitated lands of the Russian Empire...

" to Peter's traditional title Tsar following a speech by the archbishop of Pskov
Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...

 in 1721.

Peter's imperial title was recognized by Augustus II of Poland, Frederick William I of Prussia
Frederick William I of Prussia
Frederick William I of the House of Hohenzollern, was the King in Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg from 1713 until his death...

, and Frederick I of Sweden
Frederick I of Sweden
Frederick I, , was a prince consort of Sweden from 1718 to 1720, and a King of Sweden from 1720 until his death and also Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel from 1730...

, 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
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 had claimed suzerainty over all Christian nations.

During Peter's reign the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 was reformed. 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. In 1721 Peter followed the advice of Feofan Prokopovich
Feofan Prokopovich
thumb|Theophan ProkopovichFeofan/Theophan Prokopovich was an archbishop and statesman in the Russian Empire, of Ukrainian descent. He elaborated and implemented Peter the Great's reform of the Russian Orthodox Church...

 and created the Holy Synod
Holy Synod
In several of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, the patriarch or head bishop is elected by a group of bishops called the Holy Synod...

, a council of ten clergymen, to take the place of the Patriarch and Coadjutor. 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. In 18th-century Russia, few people lived to over a half century; therefore very few men became monks during Peter's reign, much to the dismay of the Russian Church.

In 1722 Peter created a new order of precedence
Order of precedence
An order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance of items. Most often it is used in the context of people by many organizations and governments...

 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
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

. 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
Poll tax
A poll tax is a tax of a portioned, fixed amount per individual in accordance with the census . When a corvée is commuted for cash payment, in effect it becomes 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 serf
SERF
A spin exchange relaxation-free magnetometer is a type of magnetometer developed at Princeton University in the early 2000s. SERF magnetometers measure magnetic fields by using lasers to detect the interaction between alkali metal atoms in a vapor and the magnetic field.The name for the technique...

s and paupers.

In 1724 Peter had his second wife, Catherine
Catherine I of Russia
Catherine I , the second wife of Peter the Great, reigned as Empress of Russia from 1725 until her death.-Life as a peasant woman:The life of Catherine I was said by Voltaire to be nearly as extraordinary as that of Peter the Great himself. There are no documents that confirm her origins. Born on...

, crowned as Empress, although he remained Russia's actual ruler. All of Peter's male children had died—the eldest son, Alexei
Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich of Russia
Alexei Petrovich Romanov , was a Russian Tsarevich. He was born in Moscow, the son of Tsar Peter I and his first wife Eudoxia Lopukhina.-Childhood:...

, had been tortured and killed on Peter's orders in 1718 because he had disobeyed his father and opposed official policies. 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 mistress, Anna Mons
Anna Mons
Anna Mons was a German commonner who almost succeeded in marrying Tsar Peter the Great.- Biography :In 1691, during one of his visits to the German Quarter, young Peter I of Russia became enamoured of Anna Mons, the daughter of Dutch wine merchant Johann Mon. It is generally thought he was from...

, in 1704.

In 1725 construction of Peterhof
Peterhof Palace
The Peterhof Palace in Russian, so German is transliterated as "Петергoф" Petergof into Russian) for "Peter's Court") is actually a series of palaces and gardens located in Saint Petersburg, Russia, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great. These Palaces and gardens are sometimes referred as the...

, a palace near Saint Petersburg, was completed. Peterhof (Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 for "Peter's Court") was a grand residence, becoming known as the "Russian Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

".

Death




In the winter of 1723, Peter, whose overall health was never robust, began having problems with his urinary tract and bladder
Urinary bladder
The urinary bladder is the organ that collects urine excreted by the kidneys before disposal by urination. A hollow muscular, and distensible organ, the bladder sits on the pelvic floor...

. 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, it was in November, while at Lakhta
Lakhta, Saint Petersburg
Lakhta is a historical area in Lakhta-Olgino Municipal Okrug of St. Petersburg, Russia, situated west of Lake Lakhta . It was formerly owned by Peter the Great, Count Grigory Orlov, and Count Stenbock-Fermor . The Lakhta railway station of the Primorsky Railway connects Lakhta to Central...

 along the Finnish Gulf to inspect some ironworks, that Peter saw a group of soldiers drowning not far from 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
Uremia
Uremia or uraemia is a term used to loosely describe the illness accompanying kidney failure , in particular the nitrogenous waste products associated with the failure of this organ....

. Legend has it that before lapsing into unconsciousness Peter asked for a paper and pen and scrawled an unfinished note that read: "Leave all to ... " and then, exhausted by the effort, asked for his daughter Anna to be summoned.The 'Leave all ... " story first appears in H-F de Bassewitz Russkii arkhiv 3 (1865). Russian historian E.V. Anisimov contends that Bassewitz's aim was to convince readers that Anna, not Empress Catherine, was Peter's intended heir.

Peter died between four and five in the morning 8 February 1725. An autopsy
Autopsy
An autopsy—also known as a post-mortem examination, necropsy , autopsia cadaverum, or obduction—is a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present...

 revealed his bladder to be infected with gangrene
Gangrene
Gangrene is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that arises when a considerable mass of body tissue dies . This may occur after an injury or infection, or in people suffering from any chronic health problem affecting blood circulation. The primary cause of gangrene is reduced blood...

. He was fifty-two years, seven months old when he died, having reigned forty-two years.

Ancestors


Issue


By his two wives, he had fourteen children, including three sons named Pavel, all of whom died in infancy and three sons named Peter, all of whom died in infancy.
NameBirthDeathNotes
By Eudoxia Lopukhina
HIH Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia 18 February 1690 26 June 1718 Married 1711, Princess Charlotte of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel; had issue
HIH Alexander Petrovich, Grand Duke of Russia 13 October 1691 14 May 1692  
HIH Pavel Petrovich, Grand Duke of Russia 1693 1693  
By Catherine I
Pavel Petrovich 1704 1707 Born and died before the official marriage of his parents
Peter Petrovich 1705 1707 Born and died before the official marriage of his parents
Catherine Petrovna 7 February 1707 1708 Born and died before the official marriage of her parents
HIH Anna Petrovna, Tsesarevna of Russia 27 January 1708 15 May 1728 Married 1725, Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp; had issue
HIM Empress Elizabeth 29 December 1709 5 January 1762 Reputedly married 1742, Alexei Grigorievich, Count Razumovsky; no issue
HIH Maria Petrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia 20 March 1713 27 May 1715  
HIH Margarita Petrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia 19 September 1714 7 June 1715  
HIH Peter Petrovich, Grand Duke of Russia 15 November 1715 19 April 1719  
HIH Pavel Petrovich, Grand Duke of Russia 13 January 1717 14 January 1717  
HIH Natalia Petrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia 31 August 1718 15 March 1725  
HIH Peter Petrovich, Grand Duke of Russia 7 October 1723 7 October 1723  

Popular culture




Peter has been featured in many books, plays, films, and games, including the poems The Bronze Horseman
The Bronze Horseman (poem)
The Bronze Horseman: A Petersburg Tale is a narrative poem written by Aleksandr Pushkin in 1833 about the equestrian statue of Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg. Widely considered to be Pushkin's most successful narrative poem, "The Bronze Horseman" has had a lasting impact on Russian...

, Poltava
Poltava (poem)
Poltava is a narrative poem written by Aleksandr Pushkin in 1828-9 about the involvement of the Ukrainian Cossack hetman Ivan Mazepa in the Battle of Poltava between Sweden and Russia. The poem intertwines a love plot between Mazepa and Maria with an account of Mazepa's betrayal of Tsar Peter I...

and the unfinished novel Peter the Great's Negro
Peter the Great's Negro
Peter the Great's Negro is an unfinished historical novel by Alexander Pushkin. Written in 1827-1828 and first published in 1837 the novel is the first prose work of the great Russian poet.-Background:...

, all by Alexander Pushkin. The former dealt with a The Bronze Horseman
The Bronze Horseman
The Bronze Horseman is an equestrian statue of Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Commissioned by Catherine the Great, it was created by the French sculptor Étienne Maurice Falconet. It is also the name of a narrative poem written by Aleksandr Pushkin about the statue in 1833, widely...

, an equestrian statue raised in Peter's honour. Alexey Nikolayevich Tolstoy wrote a biographical historical novel about him, named Pëtr I, in the 1930s.
  • The 1976 film Skaz pro to, kak tsar Pyotr arapa zhenil (How Tsar Peter the Great Married Off His Moor), starring Aleksey Petrenko as Peter, and Vladimir Vysotsky
    Vladimir Vysotsky
    Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky was a Soviet singer, songwriter, poet, and actor whose career had an immense and enduring effect on Russian culture. He became widely known for his unique singing style and for his lyrics, which featured social and political commentary in often humorous street...

     as Abram Petrovich Gannibal
    Abram Petrovich Gannibal
    Major-General Abram Petrovich Gannibal, also Hannibal or Ganibal or Ibrahim Hannibal or Abram Petrov , was brought to Russia as a gift for Peter the Great and became major-general, military engineer, governor of Reval and nobleman of the Russian Empire...

    , shows Peter's attempt to build the Baltic Fleet
    Baltic Fleet
    The Twice Red Banner Baltic Fleet - is the Russian Navy's presence in the Baltic Sea. In previous historical periods, it has been part of the navy of Imperial Russia and later the Soviet Union. The Fleet gained the 'Twice Red Banner' appellation during the Soviet period, indicating two awards of...

    .
  • The 2007 film Sluga Gosudarev depicts the unsavoury brutal side of Peter during the campaign.
  • Peter was played by Jan Niklas
    Jan Niklas
    Jan Niklas is a German actor. He is best known for playing in TV films such as Peter The Great, Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna and Anne Frank: The Whole Story. He also played in the Hungarian film Colonel Redl which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.-Early life:Jan...

     and Maximilian Schell
    Maximilian Schell
    Maximilian Schell is an Austrian-born Swiss actor who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Judgment at Nuremberg in 1961...

     in the 1986 NBC
    NBC
    The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

     miniseries
    Miniseries
    A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

     Peter the Great
    Peter the Great (TV Series)
    Peter the Great is a 1986 NBC television mini-series starring Maximilian Schell as Russian leader Peter the Great, and based on the biography by Robert K. Massie. It won three Primetime Emmy Awards, including the award for Outstanding Miniseries....

    .
  • A character based on Peter plays a major role in The Age of Unreason
    The Age of Unreason
    The Age of Unreason is a series of four novels written by Gregory Keyes:* Newton's Cannon , ISBN 1-56865-829-X* A Calculus of Angels , ISBN 0-7394-0260-9* Empire of Unreason , ISBN 0-345-40609-5...

    , a series of four alternate history novels written by American science fiction and fantasy
    Fantasy
    Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

     author Gregory Keyes
    Gregory Keyes
    Gregory Keyes is an American writer of science fiction and fantasy who has written both original and media-related novels under both the names "J. Gregory Keyes" and "Greg Keyes". He is famous for his quartet The Age of Unreason, a steampunk/alchemical story starring Benjamin Franklin and Isaac...

    . Peter is one of many supporting characters in Neal Stephenson
    Neal Stephenson
    Neal Town Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction.Difficult to categorize, his novels have been variously referred to as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk...

    's Baroque Cycle – mainly featuring in the third novel, The System of the World.

See also

  • Government reform of Peter I
    Government reform of Peter I
    Government reform of Peter I refers to modifications made to the state apparatus of Russia during the rule of Peter I.Peter ascended to the throne in 1682; he ruled jointly with his half-brother Ivan V. After Ivan's death in 1696, Peter implemented a series of sweeping reforms aimed at modernizing...

  • History of the administrative division of Russia
    History of the administrative division of Russia
    The modern administrative-territorial structure of Russia' is a system of territorial organization which is a product of a centuries-long evolution and reforms.-Early history:...

  • Reforms of Peter I of Russia
  • Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy, a Russian Navy battle cruiser named after Peter the Great
  • Russian history, 1682-1796
    Russian history, 1682-1796
    -The era of Russian palace revolutions :Peter changed the rules of succession to the throne after the death of his son, Aleksey, who had opposed his father's reforms and served as a rallying figure for anti-reform groups. A new law provided that the tsar would choose his own successor, but Peter...

  • Tsars of Russia family tree

In Russian

Brickner Alexander Gustavovich. (1902–1903) An Illustrated History of Peter the Great (Иллюстрированная история Петра Великого) at Runivers.ru in DjVu
DjVu
DjVu is a computer file format designed primarily to store scanned documents, especially those containing a combination of text, line drawings, and photographs. It uses technologies such as image layer separation of text and background/images, progressive loading, arithmetic coding, and lossy...

 and PDF formats