Portrait of Peter I (1672-1725), Tsar of All Russia (1682-1721), Regency (1682-1689), Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias (1721-1725), 1698
Peter the Great (Russian: Пётр Вели́кий; Пётр I; Пётр Алексе́евич; 9 June 1672 – 8 February 1725) ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from 1689 until his death in 1725, jointly ruling before 1696 with his elder half-brother, Ivan V. Through a number of successful wars, he expanded the Tsardom into a much larger empire that became a major European power. He led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political systems with ones that were modern, scientific, Westernised and based on the Enlightenment. Peter's reforms made a lasting impact on Russia. On 29 January 1676, Tsar Alexis died, leaving the sovereignty to Peter's elder half-brother, the weak and sickly Feodor III of Russia. Throughout this period, the government was largely run by Artamon Matveev. This position changed when Feodor died in 1682. As Feodor did not leave any children, a dispute arose between the Miloslavsky family (Maria Miloslavskaya was the first wife of Alexis I) and Naryshkin family (Natalya Naryshkina was the second wife) over who should inherit the throne. Peter's other half-brother, Ivan V of Russia, was next in line for the throne, but he was chronically ill and of infirm mind. Consequently, the Boyar Duma (a council of Russian nobles) chose the 10-year-old Peter to become Tsar with his mother as regent. This arrangement was brought before the people of Moscow, as ancient tradition demanded, and was ratified. Sophia Alekseyevna, one of Alexis' daughters from his first marriage, led a rebellion of the Streltsy (Russia's elite military corps) in April–May 1682. In the subsequent conflict some of Peter's relatives and friends were murdered, including Matveev, and Peter witnessed some of these acts of political violence. The Streltsy made it possible for Sophia, the Miloslavskys (the clan of Ivan) and their allies to insist that Peter and Ivan be proclaimed joint Tsars, with Ivan being acclaimed as the senior. Sophia acted as regent during the minority of the sovereigns and exercised all power. For seven years, she ruled as an autocrat.
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