Peter the Great
a. Born 1672. As youngest son not expected to become tsar.
1. He was allowed to play with whom he wanted and do what he wanted.
2. He played soldier with local village boys and formed entire regiments, even designing the uniforms.
b. 1676. Tsar Alexis, Peter's father, dies. Eldest son Theodore assumes throne.
c. 1682. Theodore suddenly dies. He leaves no heir.
1. Peter named co-tsar with half-brother Ivan
2. Since Alexis had been married twice, two boyar families competed for power. The Miloslavskys inspired certain soldiers to rebel and kill leading members of the Naryshkin family. The Miloslavskys take over the govt.
d. 1689. Peter's family, the Naryshkins, and its faction at court gain effective control of the government thanks to disastrous military campaigns that discredited the Miloslavskys.
e. 1696. Ivan dies and Peter is left as sole ruler.
a. Traits: energy, unbending will, determination; violent temper, frequent cruelty.
b. Toured Europe twice to learn, 1697-98 and in 1717.
1. Began sending students to Europe, particularly to study shipbuilding and navigation.
1. Immediately upon his return in 1698 he demanded that beards be shaved, that officials wear foreign dress, and that years were now to be counted from Christ's birth and not the beginning of the world.
2. . Began to establish schools that taught mathematics, science and technology. Desired compulsory education for the gentry.
3. Creates modern army and navy.
a. Drafted both aristocrats and peasants into army. Everyone had to work their way up from the bottom and merit determined promotion.
b. Builds a navy from scratch. Eventually ends up with 48 major warships, 787 minor craft and a navy of 28,000 men.
4. Court officials, govt. administrators etc., all receive salaries. "Kormlenie" comes to an end.
5. 1721. Church established as branch of govt.
6. 1722. Table of Ranks
a. Fourteen ranks, from 14 to 1, for those employed in the military, civil, and court services. Somewhat similar to our civil service rankings.
b. attaining the eighth rank permitted one of non gentry origin to become hereditary members of the gentry.
c. Great Northern War.
1. August 19, 1700 Russia declares war against Sweden.
2. 1703 begins building St. Petersburg near the mouth of the Neva river.
a. Tsar rapidly began to build a navy.
b. Building of St. Petersburg, basically located in an inhospitable swamp, took thousands of lives.
3. July 8, 1709 Russia destroys Swedish army in the battle of Poltava.
Description of Peter the Great's impact by Mikhail Pogodin
The Russia of today, that is, European Russia, diplomatic, political, military, commercial, industrial, scholastic, literary—is a creation of Peter the Great -... Wherever we look, everywhere we meet this colossal figure which throws a long shadow over our entire past and even eliminates old history from our field of vision—which at this moment is still stretching, as it were, its arms over us and which, it appears, will never drop out of sight, no matter how far we advance in the future…
Yes, Peter the Great did much for Russia. One looks and one does not believe it, one keeps adding and one cannot reach the sum. We cannot open our eyes, cannot make a move, cannot turn in any direction without encountering him everywhere, at home, in the streets, in the church, in the school, in the court, in the regiment, at a promenade—it is always he, always he, every day, every minute, at every step!
We wake up. What day is it today? January 1, 1841, — Peter the Great ordered us to count years from the birth of Christ; Peter the Great ordered us to count the months from January.
It is time to dress — our clothing is made according to the fashion established by Peter the First, our uniform according to his model. The cloth is woven in a factory which he created; the wool is shorn from the sheep which he started to raise.
A book strikes our eyes—Peter the Great introduced this script and himself cut out the letters. You begin to read it—this language became a written language, a literary language at the time of Peter the First, the earlier church Language being forced out.
Newspapers are brought in—Peter the Great introduced them.
You must buy different things—they all, from the silk neckerchief to the sole of your shoe, will remind you of Peter the Great: some were ordered by him, others were brought into usage, improved, carried on his ships, into his harbors, on his canals, on his roads.
At dinner, all the courses, from salted herring and potatoes which he ordered to be grown to wine from the grapes which he began to cultivatet will speak to you of Peter the Great.
After dinner you drive out for a visit—this is an assemblée of Peter the Great. You meet the ladies there—they were allowed into masculine company by a command of Peter the Great.
Let us go to the University—the first secular school was founded by Peter the Great.
You receive a rank—according to Peter the Great's Table of Ranks.
The rank gives me gentry status— Peter the Great so arranged.
I must file a complaint—Peter the Great prescribed its form, It will be received— in front of Peter the Great's mirror of justice. It will be acted upon—on the basis of the General Reglament.
You decide to travel abroad—following the example of Peter the Great; you will be received well— Peter the Great placed Russia among the European states and began to instill respect for her; and so on, and so on, and so forth.