Peter the Great: A Micro Biography
Peter's reign began in 1682 and ended with his death in 1725. He was a larger than life figure; quite literally as he stood at just over 6'7'' tall. He was a very driven and almost schizophrenic man. He married twice and had two daughters, one of whom was also to rule Russia, Elizabeth; Peter did have a son, but he died under torture. Peter was succeeded, for two years, by his second wife, Catherine, an illiterate Lithuanian peasant.
Peter was driven by a desire to make Russia a great European Power, and to achieve this defeated Sweden in the so called 'Great Northern War'. He protected his southern flank with war against The Persian Empire. At home he introduced Western styles both in social matters and in military. His greatest and lasting legacy was the building of a new capital named after him, St Petersburg. Variously known as 'The Window onto the West' and 'The city built on bones' is itself an example of what we might call his dual personality.
Today he is honoured in Russia as one of its greatest, if not the greatest, Tsar.