Who is Peter? What are the reasons behind of his greatness? Family Background, Education
Peter the Great was very powerful, ambitions, intelligent, receptive and forward looking emperor. When he became tsar of Russia in 1682, at the age of ten, the country was a backward country and did not compare well and favorably with other European countries. He made up his mind to transform Russia into a major European power and nation.
Peter became joint tsar of the country in 1682 with his half-brother Ivan V. Their half-sister Sophia ruled as regent while they were young. Ivan was feeble of mind and unreliable and felt frustrated; however, in 1689 Peter seized full power and became a sovereign.
Inspired by his ambition and dynamism, Peter embarked upon many viral reforms. He was very energetic and spared no efforts to transform Russia into a super power form a backward State. He was well aware of the great potentialities of his country and began to exploit them very wisely.
How Peter’s Grew their country resources? Explorations, Siberia?
He used the resources of his country suitable, laws, planned and construed magnificent cities, towns and buildings. He devotes most of his time and energy in the improvement of the condition of his country and soon he was successful in making Russia a major European power.
He started exploration in Siberia and exploited the mineral rich Ural Mountains and generated many new resources of wealth and power. For a long period 18 months, he toured many Western European countries learning what was going on there. He met kings, princes, engineers, scientists, craftsman, and ordinary people who knew about Business, industry, farming, ship-building, military craft etc.
At some places he even disguised himself as an ordinary and unknown workman and took employment for a very short time. Such was his enthusiasm to know and learn things and have firsthand knowledge.
Russians Boyars, Why Peter cuts their peoples beards? Beards Taxes ?, How he Built Russian Army’s, Baltic Sea and Black Sea’s
He reduced the power of the Russian boyars or nobles. They belonged to the hereditary ruling class since the tenth century and were opposed to reforms and advancement. They favored status quo and wanted to preserve old traditions to protect their own selfish interests.
He made them cut of their beards as a sign to their obeisance to him. When he returned to Russia from his tour to European countries, he put his vast knowledge to practical use to make Russia a modern and powerful country.
He builds up Russian navy and army anew. He set up new industries, built new roads and irrigation canals to help business and farming in a big way. He encouraged all types of business and developmental activities and expanded his armies. He felt that Russia would remain isolated until and unless he had an outlet to the West and it could be either through the Baltic Sea or Black Sea.
These both seas were under the influence of Sweden and the Ottomans respectively. Therefore, Peter began a military expedition against the Ottomans and conquering the coastal territory form they captured Azor on the Black Sea. This was a very significant victory which gave him access to all a weather warm port.
Battle against Sweden
In 1721 he won a decisive battle against Sweden and captured Estonia and Livonia, both of these were ports on the Baltic Sea. This gave him a freehold on the Baltic coast.
Peter moved his capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg to reflect his growing power, influence and wealth. Under administratative reforms he created a new civil service following the European pattern and made his people adopt Western ways and manners.
He had brought many skills craftsman, artists and engineers to build his new and magnificent capital at St. Petersburg. It was elaborately designed in the new Baroque style and executed with due care and diligence.
New Country made by Peter
Peter felt very proud of this new city and ever growing wealth and power under him. But the serfs and peasants in the countryside were poor and worse off. Peter increased their taxes and did nothing to improve their conditions.
At times he was cruel and iron-handed with his subjects and this made him unpopular. However, Russia was more rich power, secure, and influential under him than ever before.
What is the reason behind Peters Death?
He died in 1725 by drowning in the river Neva while trying to rescue some drawing sailors. He was succeeded by another powerful and ambitious ruler Catherine II. Like Peter, she too encouraged Western thinking and ideas as took resort to military expeditions to gain more power, influence and new territories. They both together transformed Russia into one of the superpowers of the modern Europe.