Peter the Great began Russia's modernization during the Early 1700s which is the period after the Italian Renaissance and the Sea based movements into the New World of the Western Hemisphere.
He began studying Western Europe's governments and Industry to see what he could bring back to Russia to grow their economy and status around the World. The neighbors of Russia included Swedish Empire and the Ottoman Empire for which Peter developed plans to handle regarding both. Also during Peter's time Louis the XIV Sun King was the biggest government ruling over Europe's France. In Sweden, Charles the XII was ruling over the Swedish Empire who controlled the Baltic Sea. Most of the time Peter was ruling Ahmed III was the Caliph of Ottoman Empire.
Peter developed his talents and learning from Western Europe's industry's during an envoy historians label the Great Embassy trip through Europe. During this time Peter's goal was to learn from Holland, nearby Swedish towns, France, Habsburg Empire, and also England. He spent time working in Ports in foreign terroritories developing sea-faring vessels and other industries Russia needed to grow for themselves in their territory.
During this time away from Russia's Capital Moscow, Peter fell in love with the St Petersburg area and spent his life developing that city into Russia's capital. He spent time building the sea ports near there into international hubs of trade.
The main military success of Peter's empire took place against the Swedish Empire for which this success helped balance power in the Baltic sea and neighboring cities along the route to St Petersburg and Russia. However, the first battle against the Swedes did not go well for Peter and Russia, he learned quickly what must be done. The Battle of Narva was where Swedish obliterated the Russian Military, which Peter was helping first hand.
he Battle of Narva taught Peter from the mistakes made and what Russia must do against Charles's more trained Imperial Forces. The Great Northern war is the term given to the Russia-Swedish skirmishes.
To the South of Russia lie the Ottoman Empire along the Black Sea. Peter, after Narva led a successful battle of Azov vs Turkish Forces. Later in Peter's reign the Turkish forces again went up against Peter's Military and overpowered them during Peter's attempted alliance with Wallachia and Moldavia. This was Peter's last attempt going Southern attacks near the Ottoman Territories. Their army was far more developed and higher in numbers and Peter learned to tread carefully in his adventures near Turkish territory.
In between his military adventures he spent time modernizing the government of Russia and developing the Baltic ocean bordering towns into major sources of trade. He developed Governement Reforms in order to make control of Russian State Finances and actions more manageable.
Peter was very handy and cherished working in the ports developing Russia's Navy. During his time travelling Western Europe he was also known to work very hard in their Sea Ports working directly. This gave him respect among all those that were close to him and his trust level was very high in the people who dealt with him directly and also his subjects in Russia. His industry skills and government reforms is what made him unique among the Tsars of Russia.
Back to the Great Northern War with Sweden which continued for most or Peter's Reign, Russia started to employ more strategy versus Charles XV military. Alliances between Russia and the neighboring empires of Denmark-Norway and Augustus of Saxony helped Russia manage the outbreaks of Violence with Sweden. Another strategy was the burning of rations and supplies anywhere the Swedish military may advance on the Russians. In this day Muskets and Artillery were the major modern weapons, while a lot of combat was horse based and hand to hand bayonet. Swedish soldiers taken by captive by Russia were held and a lot of Russians learned from them on how else to modernize Russia as they lived out the rest of their days away from Sweden.
The main Russian military success occured in the Battle of Poltava which turned the Polish/Ukranian front of the Swedes in their attempt at a Moscow invasion into a Russian victory. This was the decisive moment in the Swedish vs Russian wars.
After Poltava Charles XV fled into Ottoman government where he lived many years in exile.
Although Peter lived to be only 52 years old, he took advantage of every year and Historians label his reign as the defining turning point during Imperial Russia.
I highly recommend the main source I used for this knowledge, Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie.
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