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Peter the Great facts for kids

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Peter I
Peter der-Grosse 1838.jpg
Portrait by Paul Delaroche, 1838
Tsar / Emperor of Russia
Reign 7 May 1682 – 8 February 1725
Coronation 25 June 1682
Predecessor Feodor III
Successor Catherine I
Co-monarch Ivan V (1682–1696)
Regent Sophia Alekseyevna (1682–1689)
Born (1672-06-09)9 June 1672
Moscow, Tsardom of Russia
Died 8 February 1725(1725-02-08) (aged 52)
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Burial Peter and Paul Cathedral
  • Eudoxia Lopukhina
  • Martha Skavronskaya
among others
Full name
Peter Alekseyevich Romanov
House Romanov
Father Alexis of Russia
Mother Natalya Naryshkina
Religion Russian Orthodoxy
Signature Peter I's signature

Peter the Great (born in 1672, died in 1725) was a czar of Russia. He transformed Russia from an isolated kingdom into a transcontinental superpower. He became czar of Russia in 1682 and 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 embezzling 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.

Map of St. Petersburg (Einseitige Farbkarte)
An old map of St. Petersburg and Kronstadt, the cities built by Peter

Popular culture

Peter the Great tomb
Tomb of Peter the Great in Peter and Paul Fortress

Peter has been featured in many books, plays, films, and games, including the poems The Bronze Horseman, Poltava and the unfinished novel The Moor of Peter the Great, all by Alexander Pushkin. The former dealt with The Bronze Horseman, an equestrian statue raised in Peter's honour. Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy wrote a biographical historical novel about him, named Pëtr I, in the 1930s.

  • The 1922 German silent film Peter the Great directed by Dimitri Buchowetzki and starring Emil Jannings as Peter
  • The 1937–1938 Soviet Union (Russia) film Peter the First
  • The 1976 film Skaz pro to, kak tsar Pyotr arapa zhenil (How Tsar Peter the Great Married Off His Moor), starring Aleksey Petrenko as Peter, and Vladimir Vysotsky as Abram Petrovich Gannibal, shows Peter's attempt to build the Baltic Fleet.
  • The 2007 film The Sovereign's Servant depicts the unsavoury brutal side of Peter during the campaign.
  • Peter was played by Jan Niklas and Maximilian Schell in the 1986 NBC miniseries Peter the Great.
  • A character based on Peter plays a major role in The Age of Unreason, a series of four alternate history novels written by American science fiction and fantasy author Gregory Keyes. Peter is one of many supporting characters in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle – mainly featuring in the third novel, The System of the World.
  • Peter was portrayed on BBC Radio 4 by Isaac Rouse as a boy, Will Howard as a young adult and Elliot Cowan as an adult in the radio plays Peter the Great: The Gamblers written by Mike Walker and which were the last two plays in the first series of Tsar. The plays were broadcast on 25 September and 2 October 2016.

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