Peter the Great, Father of His Country, Emperor of All the Russias

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Peter the Great lived from 1672 to 1725. He had a large build, he was 6'7" to 6'9", with green eyes, and very muscular. He was the Czar of Russia from 1682 to 1725. He was famous because he carried out westernization and made an extensive reform of Russia, and established Russia as a major European power. A Senate chancellor made his traditional title "Peter, the Great, Father of His Country, Emperor of All Russias." Peter I said that he practiced fifteen trades including carpentry, stonecutting, printing, shipbuilding, navigation, sailing, and even dentistry.

He was born early in the morning of May 30, 1672. As a child he played with boys from the Moscow suburb that where of humble birth and most were foreigners. Later during his reign, these same boys formed the nucleus of his army, navy, and civil government. At the age of 7 he was taught by private tutors, but his education was interrupted after 3 years when Czar Feoder died with out naming his successor.

Peter's parents where Czar Alexei Mikhailovich of Russia, and his second wife Nataliya Kyrillovna Naryshkina, born in Moscow. Alexei's first wife was Maria Niloslavshaya and they had 5 sons and 8 daughters together. He had three siblings that were alive at his birth. Peter had two half-brothers, Feoder and Ivan, and one half-sister, Sophia.

Czar Alexei died when Peter was three-years-old. So Feoder was named Czar, but he was sickly. He had a six year reign that was uneventful. Feoder died without having any children or naming his successor. The Naryshkin and Miloslavski families had a big dispute over who was the next successor. Ivan was next in line, but he was half-blind, defective in speech, and cretinous.

The council of Russian nobles chose ten-year-old Peter to become the next Czar of Russia, but Ivan's older sister Sophia led a rebellion with the streltsy (Russia's elite military corps) on her side. Many of Peter's relatives and friends were brutally murdered. Peter himself had witnessed the gory butchery of one of his uncles by a mob. This memory was thought to have caused trauma during his later years. Ivan V and Peter I where made co-Czars with Sophia acting as regent (one who rules during the minority, absence, or disability of a monarch.)

Peter I was not at all concerned that others were ruling in his name, he took this time and engaged in a lot of shipbuilding and sailing. His mother arranged his marriage to Eudoxia Lopukhina in 1689. This marriage was a complete failure, and a decade later Peter forced Eudoxia to become a nun, which freed him from their marriage.

By the summer of 1689 he had a plan to take the power away from Sophia. She heard about it beforehand and ran back to the streltsy to help her. They also had been plotting against Sophia, and she was overthrown. Sophia was then forced to join a convent and give up her name, and royal heritage. Peter I and Ivan V continued to act as co-Czars, but this time Peter's mother was the one who exercised power instead of Sophia. It wasn't until Peter's mother died in 1694 that Peter became independent. Formally Ivan V was still Peter's co-Czar, but was still just as ineffective. Peter became Sole Ruler when Ivan V died in 1696, two year's after the death of Peter's mother.

During the early part of Peter's reign he dreamed of making Russia a maritime power. Not only was he facing opposing forces outside of Russia, but he was facing many rebellions inside of Russia. He brutally suppressed all rebellions that tried to question his authority. Peter soon realized that the only water outlet for Russia at the time was the White Sea. So he made a decision to attempt to acquire the Caspian Sea from the great Ottoman Empire. His first attempt to capture it turned into a defeat, and after this defeat Peter decided he needed to build a large navy. He also realized that he couldn't defeat this mighty Ottoman Empire alone.

In 1697 he traveled to Europe with a large Russian...
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