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Peter the Great 1672-1725


Born in Moscow, Russia on June 9, 1672, Peter the Great was a Russian czar in the late 17th century who is best known for his extensive reforms in an attempt to establish Russia as a great nation. He created a strong navy, reorganized his army according to Western standards, secularized schools, administered greater control over the reactionary Orthodox Church, and introduced new administrative and territorial divisions of the country.

During his reign, Peter undertook extensive reforms in an attempt to reestablish Russia as a great nation. Peter overcame opposition from the country's medieval aristocracy and initiated a series of changes that affected all areas of Russian life. He created a strong navy, reorganized his army according to Western standards, secularized schools, administered greater control over the reactionary Orthodox Church, and introduced new administrative and territorial divisions of the country.

Peter was a far-sighted and skillful diplomat who abolished Russia's archaic form of government and appointed a viable Senate, which regulated all branches of administration, as well as making, groundbreaking accomplishments in Russia's foreign policy. Peter acquired territory in Estonia, Latvia and Finland; and through several wars with Turkey in the south, he secured access to the Black Sea. In 1709, he defeated the Swedish army by purposely directing their troops to the city of Poltva, in the midst of an unbearable Russian winter. In 1712, Peter established the city of St. Petersburg on the Neva River and moved the capital there from its former location in Moscow. Shortly after, St. Petersburg was deemed Russia's "window to Europe."

Under Peter's rule, Russia became a great European nation. In 1721, he proclaimed Russia an empire and was accorded the title of Emperor of All Russia, Great Father of the Fatherland, and "the Great." Although he proved to be an effective leader, Peter was also known to be cruel and tyrannical. The high taxes that often accompanied his various reforms led to revolts among citizens, which were immediately suppressed by the imposing ruler. Peter, a daunting 6 1/2 feet tall, was a handsome man who drank excessively and harbored violent tendencies. Peter the Great died on February 8, 1725, without nominating an heir. He is entombed in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, located in in St. Petersburg.


Source: http://www.biography.com/people/peter-the-great-9542228

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