Peter the Great

        Peter the Great or Czar Peter I was born in 1672, son of Alexis I and Natalia Naryshkin.  After a violent childhood, Pater enheirited the throne in April 1682.  Because Peter was only nine years old at the time, he became czar while his mother became regent.  In May, Peter's half-sister, Sofia, seized power for her sickly brother, Ivan.  Ivan then became senior czar and Peter was junior czar.  Peter was married to Eudoxia Lopukhina in 1689.  After the death of Natalia Naryshkin in 1694, Peter was viewed as the ruler of Russia and in 1696, when Ivan V died, it was official.  He took full power and sought to modernize Russia.  Also in 1696, the Ottoman Empire surrenered to Peter after a one-year war.
        Peter received hardly any formal education, however he learned about many things in relaxed, informal environment.  Peter established the Grand Embassy, a group of 250 men that visited European countries and sometimes traveled with them.  In 1698, after the streltsy (who wanted Peter's half-sister, Sofia, to take the throne) rebelled, Peter executed more then 1,000 of them.  Peter encouraged Western ideas and styles and even adopted the western calendar based on the birth of Jesus.  in 1703, after Peter had defeated Sweden, he founded St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland.  Peter literally created the Russian navy and changed the Russian Orthodox Church greatly.  He also gave women more rights, expanded the Russian Empire, and built a new capital, St. Petersburg.  Peter the Great died in 1725 after he tried to save dying soldiers.