Timeline Description: The reign of Peter the Great (1682 - 1725) had such a great impact on Russia's history that it became known as the Petrine era. Prior to Peter's reign, Russia was seen as backward and medieval. As czar, Peter oversaw the construction of the capital of St. Petersburg, reformed the government along western lines, and introduced many other western European cultural traditions. Russia quickly modernized to rival the power of other European countries.
|April 27, 1682||Peter I comes to the throne as co-czar with his brother Ivan V.
Peter I and his brother, Ivan V, rule as co-czars from a young age, with their sister Sofia as regent. Later, Peter's mother Natalia serves as regent.
|1695||Peter begins constructing the Russian navy.
After losing a war with Turkey because of the Turks' superior naval power, Peter begins building a fleet of thirty vessels and nearly a thousand barges. Prior to Peter's reign, there has been no Russian navy. When Peter attacks the Turks again in May 1696, Russia wins, and Peter officially founds the Russian navy in October 1696.
|1696||Peter claims all power for himself.
When Ivan dies in 1696, Peter becomes the sole ruler of Russia. When he first takes power, Russia is severely underdeveloped compared to other European countries. While the Renaissance and Reformation have profoundly changed Europe, Russia has rejected all modernization and westernization.
|1697||Peter becomes the first czar to travel abroad in centuries.
Peter travels around Vienna, the Netherlands, and England to learn everything he can about western technology and practices. With this trip he becomes the first czar to travel abroad since the 10th century. He studies museums, factories, shipyards, architecture, and dentistry for over a year.
|1698||Peter sends a delegation to Malta.
After cutting short his European visit, Peter sends a delegation to Malta to observe military and naval training. Peter's visits and knowledge of the west convince him to require his officials to cut off their beards and wear European clothes.
|December 1699||Peter changes the date of the New Year.
Aiming to align Russia with the European nations using the Julian calendar, Peter changes the date of the New Year. Previously Russia celebrated the New Year on September 1 with the Gregorian calendar, but now the nation celebrates on January 1.
|December 1700||Sweden defeats Russia at Narva.
Inspired by his trip abroad, Peter plans to make Russia a powerful member of Europe. He challenges Sweden's dominance of the northern part of the continent, but Sweden defeats Russia at Narva. This launches the Great Northern War.
|1703||Peter founds a naval fleet in the Baltic Sea.
Inspired by his study of British shipbuilding technology, Peter establishes a naval fleet in the Baltic Sea. By the end of his reign, 28,000 men serve there, with 49 ships and 800 smaller vessels.
|May 27, 1703||Peter founds a new capital, St. Petersburg.
Having won a window on the Baltic Sea with his victories in the Great Northern War, Peter founds the city of St. Petersburg as Russia's new capital. This construction is yet another step in Russia's path to prominence among European powers.
|July 8, 1709||The Battle of Poltava turns the tide of the Great Northern War.
After his defeat at Narva, Peter completely reforms the army, borrowing ideas from Austria, France, and Sweden. He establishes a permanent army of 200,000 with another 100,000 Cossacks in reserve, demanding that the entire country bear the cost of this army. He wins a decisive victory in the Battle of Poltava, which turns the tide of the Great Northern War in Russia's favor.
|February 28, 1714||Compulsory education is established.
Aiming to educate a force of bureaucrats on par with western officials, Peter issues a decree calling for compulsory education. All Russian children of the nobility, government clerks, and officials must learn basic mathematics and geometry.
|January 1721||Peter establishes the Holy Synod.
Since his youth, Peter has hated the conservative Muscovite clergy, and when the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church dies, Peter refuses to appoint another prelate. In 1721 Peter replaces the Patriarchate with the Holy Synod, a state committee of clerics. This is one of his most radical reforms.
|September 1721||Russia wins the Great Northern War.
Russia wins a decisive victory against Sweden in the Great Northern War in 1721. This victory brings Russia undisputed importance as a key military power in Europe.
|October 22, 1721||Peter takes the title of Emperor.
Soon after his victory over Sweden, Peter abandons the title of Czar and instead takes the title of Emperor of All Russia. This title symbolizes his identification with western traditions.
|January 28, 1725||Peter dies.
In November 1724 Peter jumps into a freezing lake to help rescue sailors whose ship has been grounded. He contracts a fever and dies several months later. His successors do not come close to matching his dominance until Catherine II comes to the throne in 1762.