Peter I of Russia Biography

Peter I Alexeyevich, better known as Peter I of Russia, The Great (Moscow, Russia, 9 June 1672 – St. Petersburg, 28 January 1725). Military leader, politician, tsar and Emperor of Russia, ruling this territory for forty-two years, between 1682 and 1725.


He is known for having carried out the modernization of Russia, turning his sights to Europe, and seeking the Westernization of the Muscovite territory. Belonging to the Romanov Dynasty he is held as one of the most important and influential Russian rulers in history.

Assumption to the throne

Peter I was born in Moscow Russia on June 9, 1672. He was the son of Tsar Alijo I and his second wife Natalia Narshkina, of boyar origin. He was also the half-brother of Fyodor Alexeievich (Theodore III), as well as Ivan Alekseievich (Ivan V) and the zarevna Sofia Aleks-yevna.


His father, Tsar Alejo I died in 1676, when Peter I was just four years old. He was succeeded immediately by his son and half-brother of Peter, Theodore III. However, he also died shortly after.

Having no children, the succession doubts arose, for although the direct heir to the line of succession was Ivan, it was considered that he did not have sufficient capacity to assume power.

The boyar council leaned over Peter, appointing him tsar, and placing his mother Natalia as his guide to the age of majority, as the little monarch was only ten years old. However, the Zarevna Sofia did not accept the decision and led a rebellion starring Russia’s elite military corps, whose members were called the Streltsí.

After several murders of family and friends of Peter I, Sofia managed to get her brother Ivan to ascend to the throne, remaining as tsars Peter I and Ivan V, while she served as an adviser to the two, until they came of age.

As for the tsar’s education, it was totally overlooked. Her childhood was lived without any guidance. At that time, he met the foreigners’ quarter in Moscow, where he had contact with European merchants, with whom he acquired political and military training. He could also see the advances that came from the West.

By that time he was renowned for his great stature. It reached two meters and four centimeters, although it is thought that his height was due to a genetic condition, since his limbs and head have been described as very small. He is also believed to have suffered from seizures.

Take back from power

In 1689, his mother forced him to marry Eudoxia Lopujiná. That same year, Peter I decided to take back power at the hands of Sofia. Although it again planned a rebellion supported by the Streltsi, Peter managed to escape, taking refuge in the Monastery of Tróitsky. He managed to overthrow her and forced her into a convent, where she had to leave her position and name. However, his mother Natalia Narshkina assumed power until 1694, when he died.

Two years later, in 1696, his half-brother Ivan V with whom he shared the throne also died. Peter I then assumed the post of absolute tsar of Russia.

The Great Embassy

He immediately undertook a series of reforms aimed at modernizing Russia, with the West as a guide. He reorganized the Army according to the organization of the European troops. It was tapped to position the Russian nation at sea. He decided to march against the Ottomans, in order to gain control over the Black Sea, although he failed in his early campaigns.

He formed a large and strong armada and on 12 September 1698 managed to establish the first naval base in Russia, called Taganrog. However, Peter I had understood that he could not take Ottoman territory without support.

Despite internal oppositions, in 1697, Peter created a group called the Grand Embassy, where he traveled incognito to Europe, in order to seek help against the Ottomans. He visited France and Austria, England, the Roman Empire and the Netherlands, where he learned much more about sailing and naval combat.

Reforms and final years

On his return he forced his wife into a convent, ending their marriage. At this time only one of the three sons of the union had survived: Alejo Petrovisc.

In the early 1700s he became involved in the Northern War, against Charles XII’s Sweden, which ended in 1721 with the signing of the Treaty of Nystad, through which Russia took possession of Ingria, Estonia, Livonia and much of Karelia. In exchange for most of the Philed Territory.

In 1703 he founded St. Petersburg. In 1707 she secretly married Marta Skavrónskaya, who took the name Catherine I of Russia, in 1724 when she was crowned Tsarina.

Convinced that European customs were more advanced, he decreed that all nobles shave their beards, placing a tax on whoever decided to keep it, which caused great commotion in the Russians who were proud of them. He abolished the use of the Russian calendar, decreeing the use of the Julian, which was used until the Bolshevik revolution. Europe, for its part, adopted the Gregorian.

She authorized women to show their faces and integrate into social life. He imposed on the boyars (Russian nobles) the reading of a book of manners. He advocated public education and created higher education institutions such as the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Polytechnic School. He also promoted the publishing of books and the creation of the first Russian newspaper.

In 1721 he was endowed as “the Great, father of the Fatherland, emperor of all Russia”, a position that adhered to his title of tsar. On January 28, 1725, Peter the Great died of complications in his urinary tract. He was succeeded by his wife Catherine I.

Of their fourteen children, only two women Ana Petronova, who was the mother of Peter III of Russia, survived; and Elizabeth I, who had no offspring.

Image source: difundir.org

Peter I of Russia Biography
Source: Education  
July 31, 2019


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