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 Peter I the Great Romanov

Born:   09 June 1672
Deceased:   08 February 1725

First Emperor of All Russia, Moscow tsar, outstanding statesman and reformer


The younger son of Tsar Aleksey Mikhailovich Romanov, Peter was born on the night of May, 30th (on June, 9th) 1672.

Peter I was the tsar of Russia from 1682 and the first Emperor of Russia Empire from 1721. He inherited a country, which was lagging far behind all European countries, which had no industry, efficient army, or foreign trade. After Peter the Great death his ancestors inherited an empire, which stretched from Baltic Sea to Kamchatka, from North Sea to Caspian Sea, and which traded with foreign countries and had a significant political authority.

Peter I implemented government reforms: established the Senate, collegiate organs, bodies of the higher state control and political investigation, subordinated the church to the state, divided the country into provinces. In 1703 on banks of Neva River he started building St. Petersburg, which later (1712) became the capital of Russian Empire.

Peter the Great resorted to experience of the West European countries in development of the industry, trade, and culture. He pursued the policy of mercantilism (building manufactories, metallurgical and other factories, shipyards, landing stages, and channels).

The emperor headed the Russian army in the Azov campaigns 1695-1696, Northern war 1700-1721, the Persian campaign 1722-23, etc.; he commanded armies in seizure of Noteborg (1702), battles near Lasnaya Village (1708) and near Poltava (1709).

He personally supervised building of the Russian fleet and foundation of regular army and navy. The tsar promoted consolidation of the financial and political condition of the nobility.

At the initiative of Peter I lots of educational institutions and the Academy of Sciences were opened, the secular alphabet was admitted, and so on.

Reforms of Peter I were introduced by cruel means, with extreme pressure on material and human forces and oppressions of broad masses (i.e. capital tax, etc). Those measures provoked a row of revolts (in 1698, 17051706, 1707-1709) which were ruthlessly suppressed by the government.

The founder of a powerful absolutist state, Peter the Great achieved recognition of Russia as a great power by the West European countries.

In the last years of his reign Peter I was seriously ill (presumably with stone disease aggravated by uraemia). He died on January, 28th (on February, 8th) 1725.

Tags: Peter I Peter the Great The Romanov Family Russian history  

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