Born on the 9th of June, 1672, in Moscow, Peter the Great- originally born as Pyotr Alekseyevich- was a Russian Czar whose reign lasted all throughout the 17th century. He is best known for his hand and producing extensive reforms in his attempt to establish Russia as an outstanding and powerful nation. From creating an impeccable navy at par with western standards, to controlling the Orthodox Church, as well as introducing new administrative as well as territorial sections of Moscow, Peter the Great did many a wonderful deed. To learn more about the Russian icon, here are 10 things you need to know about Peter the Great:
Fact 1: Peter the Great was the 14th child of his father and his second wife, Czar Alexis and Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina, respectively. His father ruled the nation alongside his brother, Ivan V. When the latter died during the year 1696, his son Peter was officially named the Sovereign of all Russia.
Fact 2: Peter had married twice in his lifetime, and had fathered 11 children, most of which died very early on in their infancy. He had his first born and eldest son Alexei secretly executed back in the year 1718, because he was convicted of high treason. Peter the Great had passed away without naming an heir to the throne.
Fact 3: The greatest Czar who’s ever lived was known to be quite a tall fellow! Towering at over 6 feet and 7 inches, he was a force to be reckoned with, be it the private and diplomatic affairs of the palace, to serving as a foot soldier in his own army to vanquish the Turks.
Fact 4: Peter the Great was a Jack of all trades, and was adamant about learning from the lowest of the low in order to win the prize. This philosophy led him to leave behind his power and social status, and pursue work that would otherwise be looked upon by his courtiers, such as: carpenter, boatman, ship builder, foot soldier, barber, and even dentist!
Fact 5: Peter may have succeeded in modernizing Russia and making things simpler back in the day without having to borrow a penny or two from the state, but he achieved by taxing his citizens heavily. For instance, because European men were always clean shaven, he taxed any Russian man who grew a beard.
Fact 6: St. Petersburg came to be when Peter, wanting to ensure sound relationship and continuous contact with the West, took it upon himself to capture the Baltic Sea from Swedish troops, where he built its new capital, St. Petersburg snugly on its shores.
Fact 7: Peter the Great was truly one of a kind, a remarkable monarch who wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty or put in the elbow grease when needed. His bravery came into full view when he dove into an ice cold ocean in order to assist a ship rescue. The dive and its freezing temperatures led to his illness, and ultimately, his death.
Fact 8: The monarch’s first wife was named Euxodia, and they both wed early on in their teenage years because together, their alliance was a political prayer answered. She bore him one son, named Alexei. The young marriage wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies, because after his grand tour of Europe, he had Euxodia locked up inside a monastery.
Fact 9: Alexei was sentenced to death because unlike his father, he was adverse to the horrors of military work and war efforts. His father was displeased. Alexei flea to seek protection from the Holy Roman Empire, only to be sentenced with High Treason when he returned to Russia. He died in prison from all the torture even before his father could sign the warrant for his death.
Fact 10: He was able to snag the throne of Sweden at only 15 years old!