Peter the Great

The last Tsar and the first Emperor of Russia (1682–1725)

Peter the Great (Russian: Пётр Вели́кий, tr. Pyotr Velikiy, IPA: [ˈpʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj]), Peter I (Russian: Пётр Первый, tr. Pyotr Pyerviy, IPA: [ˈpʲɵtr ˈpʲɛrvɨj]) or Pyotr Alekseevich (Russian: Пётр Алексе́евич, IPA: [ˈpʲɵtr ɐlʲɪˈksʲejɪvʲɪtɕ]; 9 June [O.S. 30 May] 1672 – 8 February [O.S. 28 January] 1725)[b] was a czar of Russia. He transformed Russia from an isolated kingdom into a transcontinental superpower.

Peter I
Portrait by Jean-Marc Nattier, after 1717
Tsar / Emperor of All Russia[a]
Reign7 May 1682 – 8 February 1725
Coronation25 June 1682
PredecessorFeodor III
SuccessorCatherine I
Co-monarchIvan V (1682–1696)
RegentSophia Alekseyevna (1682–1689)
Born(1672-05-30)30 May 1672
Moscow, Tsardom of Russia
Died28 January 1725(1725-01-28) (aged 52)
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
(m. 1707)
among others
Full name
Peter Alekseyevich Romanov
FatherAlexis of Russia
MotherNatalya Naryshkina
ReligionRussian Orthodoxy
SignaturePeter I's signature

He became czar of Russia in 1682, after his sister Sophia Alekseyevna of Russia lost a war. In 1697 he visited Western Europe and decided Russia must have access to the sea. He built the city and seaport of St. Petersburg which became the capital of Russia in 1711. He changed Russia's society, by making new laws so it would be modern like the European countries of the new Age of Enlightenment. Prince Alexander Danilovich Menshikov was a close friend of the emperor but was later disgraced due to embezzlement of national funds.

These are the wars that Russia fought in when Peter the Great was in charge:

The Great Turkish War: In this war Russia fought against the Ottoman Empire and won. Russia got some fortresses in the town of Azov from the Ottoman Empire.

Great Northern War: Russia was fighting Sweden during the Great Northern War. In 1700 Saxony, Denmark and Russia attacked Sweden. Sweden invaded Russia in 1709 which was not a good idea. The Russian Army retreated so the Swedish Army had to chase them. When a very cold winter came, half of the Swedish soldiers died in the cold. Eventually the Swedish army caught up to the Russian army and they had a battle, called the battle of Poltava. Russia won the battle but most of the Swedish soldiers, including their king, Charles XII of Sweden escaped and went to the Ottoman Empire. Peter didn't like this so he declared war on the Ottoman Empire but he lost and had to give the town of Azov back to the Ottomans.

After that Russia invaded Sweden and conquered Estonia, Livonia, and Finland. By 1719 Russia had conquered all of Sweden. Even though Sweden had clearly lost, they did not give up until 1721. In 1721 Sweden signed the Treaty of Nystad where they agreed to give Estonia, Livonia and Ingria to Russia.

Because Russia was a major power after the war, Peter the Great changed its name from the Tsardom of Russia to the Russian Empire.

Russo-Persian War: At the start of the war Persia was already in chaos and was about to collapse. Peter the Great took advantage of this and invaded Persia. The war went from 1722 to 1723. In the end, Russia won and gained lots of land from Persia but had lost a lot of men from fighting. After Peter died, his heirs struggled for power and all the lands that Russia had conquered were given back to Persia.

  1. Office renamed from "Tsar" to "Emperor" on 2 November 1721.
  2. Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are in the Julian calendar with the start of year adjusted to 1 January. All other dates in this article are in Gregorian calendar (see Adoption of the Gregorian calendar#Adoption in Eastern Europe).