|Name:||Peter the Great|
|Birth Day:||June 9, 1672|
|Death Date:||Feb 8, 1725 (age 52)|
|Birth Place:||Moscow, Russia|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Peter the Great died on Feb 8, 1725 (age 52).
He became Tsar when he was just ten years old.
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, one of Alexis' daughters from his first marriage, led a rebellion of the Streltsy (Russia's elite military corps) in April–May 1682. In the subsequent conflict, some of Peter's relatives and friends were murdered, including Matveev, and Peter witnessed some of these acts of political violence.
Peter 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.
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 Holland, Anna Mons.
Still, Peter could not acquire actual control over Russian affairs. Power was instead exercised by his mother, Natalya Naryshkina. It was only when Natalya died in 1694 that Peter, now aged 22, became an independent sovereign. Formally, Ivan V was a co-ruler with Peter, though being ineffective. Peter became the sole ruler when Ivan died in 1696, while Peter was 24 years old.
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.
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.
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.
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 ship 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 surgeon Frederik Ruysch, who taught him how to draw teeth and catch butterflies, and to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 from 1732 to 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.
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 December 1707 in St. Petersburg. Peter valued Catherine and married her again (this time officially) at Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg on 19 February 1712.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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".
Peter's legacy has always been a major concern of Russian intellectuals. Riasanovsky points to a "paradoxical dichotomy" in the black and white images such as God/Antichrist, educator/ignoramus, architect of Russia's greatness/destroyer of national culture, father of his country/scourge of the common man. Voltaire's 1759 biography gave 18th-century Russians a man of the Enlightenment, while Alexander Pushkin's "The Bronze Horseman" poem of 1833 gave a powerful romantic image of a creator-god. . Slavophiles in mid-19th century deplored Peter's westernization of Russia. Western writers and political analysts recounted "The Testimony" or secret will of Peter the Great. It supposedly revealed his grand evil plot for Russia to control the world via conquest of Constantinople, Afghanistan and India. It was a forgery made in Paris at Napoleon's command when he started his invasion of Russia in 1812. Nevertheless it is still quoted in foreign policy circles. the Communist executed the last Romanoff, and their historians such as Mikhail Pokrovsky presented strongly negative views of the entire dynasty. Stalin however admired how he strengthened the state, and wartime, diplomacy, industry, higher education, and government administration. Stalin wrote in 1928, when Peter the Great, who had to deal with more developed countries in the West, feverishly built works in factories for supplying the Army and strengthening the country's defenses, this was an original attempt to leap out of the framework of backwardness." As a result Soviet historiography emphasizes both the positive achievement, and the negative factor of oppressing the common people.
After the fall of Communism in 1991, scholars and the general public in Russia and the West gave fresh attention to Peter and his role in Russian history. His reign is now seen as the decisive formative event in the Russian imperial past. Many new ideas have merged, such as whether he strengthened the autocratic state or whether the tsarist regime was not statist enough given its small bureaucracy. Modernization models have become contested ground. Historian Ia. Vodarsky said in 1993 that Peter, "did not lead the country on the path of accelerated economic, political and social development, did not force it to 'achieve a leap' through several stages.... On the contrary, these actions to the greatest degree put a brake on Russia's progress and created conditions for holding it back for one and a half centuries!" The autocratic powers that Stalin admired appeared as a liability to Evgeny Anisimov, who complained that Peter was, "the creator of the administrative command system and the true ancestor of Stalin."
The son of Tsar Alexis I and Natalya Naryshkina, he was born in Moscow, Russia. Peter's marriages to Eudoxia Lopukhina and Martha Skavronskaya (Catherine I of Russia) produced a total of fourteen children (eight sons and six daughters).
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Currently, Peter the Great is 349 years, 4 months and 17 days old. Peter the Great will celebrate 350th birthday on a Thursday 9th of June 2022. Below we countdown to Peter the Great upcoming birthday.