Peter the Great  

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Peter I the Great (9 June [O.S. 30 May] 1672 – 8 February [O.S. 28 January] 1725) ruled Russia and later the Russian Empire from 7 May [O.S. 27 April] 1682 until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his weak and sickly half-brother, Ivan V. Peter the Great carried out a policy of Westernization and expansion that transformed the Tsardom of Russia into the 3-billion acre Russian Empire, a major European power.



In 1724, Peter had his second wife, Catherine, crowned as Empress, although he remained Russia's actual ruler. All of Peter's male children had died—the eldest son, Alexei, had been tortured and killed on Peter's orders in 1718 because he had disobeyed his father and opposed official policies. At the same time, Alexei's mother Eudoxia had also been punished; she was dragged from her home and tried on false charges of adultery. A similar fate befell Peter's beautiful mistress, Anna Mons, in 1704.


Peter the Great had two wives with whom he had fourteen children; just three of them surviving to adulthood. His eldest child and heir, Alexei, was suspected of being involved in a plot to overthrow the Emperor. Alexei was tried and confessed during the tortured questioning conducted by a secular court, where he was convicted and sentenced to be executed. The sentence could only be carried out with Peter's signed authorization, and Alexei died in prison as Peter hesitated before making the decision. Alexei's death most likely resulted from the injuries suffered during his torture.

In popular culture

Peter has been featured in many books, plays, films and games including the poems The Bronze Horseman, Poltava and the unfinished novel Peter the Great's Negro, all by Alexander Pushkin. The former dealt with a famous equestrian statue, raised in Peter's honour. Alexey Nikolayevich Tolstoy wrote a biographical historical novel about him, named Pëtr I, in the 1930s, which, along with its adaptations, became a major influence on Peter's subsequent portrayals.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Peter the Great" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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