Russia and Orthodox Christianity abroad Russia in the 18th century

Peter the Great, 1689-1725 : Foreign Policy

In 1686 an ETERNAL PEACE was signed with Poland, in 1689 the TREATY OF NERCHINSK with China.
During Peter's minority, V.V. Golitsyn undertook two campagns into the Crimea (1687, 1689); Peter himself undertook another one in 1695, which failed. Peter the Great regarded a harbour, either on the Baltic or on the Black Sea, a necessity, in order to better facilitate contacts with the west. On July 18th 1696 he succeeded in taking AZOV from the Ottoman Turks. Yet, the Ottoman Turks controlled the Bosphorus, and Azov, for the time being, did not meet Peter's expectations.
He hoped to gain such a harbour on the Baltic Sea by retaking INGRIA (ceded by Russia to Sweden in 1617). This meant the begin of the GREAT NORTHERN WAR (1700-1721). A Russian force of 30.000 laid siege to Narva, when Swedish King Charles XII., just 18 years old, appeared at the head of an army of merely 8.000 and defeated the Russians. However, Charles found himself up against a coalition of Russians, Poles, Saxons, Brandenburgians and Danes. He turned his attention on Poland. The Russians soon resumed their move into Ingria, and in 1702 construction of the new city ST. PETERSBURG was begun, in swampland on the banks of the Neva. Peter demanded that every Boyar family had to erect a stone house in his new capital.
Meanwhile, Charles XII., undefeated and victorious, in 1709 lead his army into the plains of Ukraine. The Russian army retreated, leaving only ashes behind (SCORCHED EARTH POLICY). The auxiliary troops promised to Charles by the Cossacks did not show up, and in the BATTLE OF POLTAVA the Russians annihilated Charles' force. In 1714 the Russians won another victory off HANGOE. The war continued until 1721, when Sweden, in the PEACE OF NYSTAD, ceded LIVONIA with Riga, ESTONIA with Reval, Ingria and Eastern Karelia to Russia. Russia had fulfilled it's goal, and, once and for all, eliminated Sweden as a great power.
Charles XII. had fled from the battlefield of Poltava to the Sultan, convinced him to give him command over a Turkish army and declare the RUSSO-TURKISH WAR of 1710-1711. Charles defeated the Russians another time in the BATTLE ON THE PRUTH (1711), a defeat the Ottomans used to regain Asov in negotiations (1711).
In 1722-1724 Peter fought a war with the Persians, in which he gained the Persian provinces adjacent to the Caspian Sea.

Peter the Great, encyclopedic biography from Important Rulers
Peter the Great, from History House
Peter the Great - a man who changed history ?, from the History Channel
Peter I., from Univ. Yaroslavl
Biography : Peter the Great, from Ursula's History Web
DOCUMENTS Peter the Great and the Rise of Russia, 1682-1725, from Modern History Sourcebook
Voltaire, Histoire de'l Empire du Russie sur Pierre le Grand, from Voltaire Integral

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on August 24th 2006

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