SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Peter the Great (1672-1725), also called Peter I and Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov, Tsar and Autocrat of all the Russias. Crowned in 1682, Tsar Peter instituted reforms which made Russia a global power. He opened the country to the West: inviting in engineers, craftsmen, architects and merchants, and sending thousands of Russians into Europe to get the best possible education. In the North he started a war with Sweden to gain control of the Baltic Sea and its trade, eventually winning it to make St Petersburg, his newly formed capital, a major sea port.
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