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Peter the Great

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Peter the Great by Robert Massie, book reviewBorn in 1672, Peter the Great is credited as being the Russian Tsar who pulled Russia out of the medieval world it was living in, and transformed it into a Westernized empire, becoming a great European power in the process. Peter was the son of Alexis I, by his second wife, and came to the throne after the death of his sickly half-brother Feodor III. Ruling initially as joint tsar with another half brother, Ivan, Peter became sole ruler in 1696. Having spent much time in the company of Europeans in his youth, Peter was determined to turn the Muscovite people into a European nation, and brought in many reforms, including forbidding beards. He expanded Russia’s territories, with wars against the Ottoman Empire and Sweden. He had a huge love for the sea, and turned Russia into a naval power. On land won from Sweden in the Baltic, he built his new capital, St Petersburg, and insisted that the court move there. Peter the Great died in 1725, still issuing decrees to improve Russia.

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