Mother Russia

Russia from 1550 to 1800

Brief History of Russia

Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) became the first Czar of all of Russia. Before that, there were minor kingdoms, like the Kingdom of Kiev and the Moscow State. There was also Mongol influences to the rule, through Ivan I. Ivan IV's mother was a boyar who took the throne after his father died. With his iron fist and significant military power, Ivan gained control of all the individual kingdoms.

Czars of Russia from 1533 to 1801

  • Ivan IV “Ivan the Terrible”

  • Feodor Ivanovich

  • Boris Godunof “Usurper”

  • The false Dmitri

  • Vasili Shuiski

  • Mikhail Romanov

  • Alexis Romanov

  • Feodor Alexievich

  • Ivan V.

  • Peter Romanov I “Peter the Great”

  • Catherine I

  • Peter II

  • Anna Ivanovna

  • Ivan VI

  • Elizabeth Petronova

  • Peter III

  • Catherine II “Catherine the Great” (she had one of the longest reigns, spanning 24 years)

  • Paul I

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Essential Questions:

1. Why was it so important that Peter the Great have a seaport on the Baltic?

It is important because they needed a sea port that wouldn’t freeze up in the winter. Before Russia’s port on the Baltic sea, Russia was completely shut down during the winter. They needed to have the ability to trade throughout the year.

2. What did Russia gain by acquiring lands on the Baltic Coast?

Russia gained St. Petersburg when they acquired lands because St. Petersburg is located on the Baltic Coast. By gaining St. Petersburg, Russia acquired a window to the west and a base for their upcoming navy.

Important, Frequently Used Vocabulary

Czar- The Russian word for Caesar, it is a title taken by most Russian rulers.

Ivan IV- Also known as Ivan the Terrible, he ruled with an iron fist. He was the first ruler to take the title of czar.

Boyars- Another name for Russian nobility. Ivan the Terrible crushed the boyars during his reign with his ruthless temper to prevent an overtaking.

Michael Romanov- Michael ended the Time of Troubles after the reign of Ivan the Terrible ended. He became czar in 1613 when the zemsky sobor, or national assembly, chose him.

Peter the Great- He became czar in 1689. Peter was an absolutist monarch who claimed it was his divine right, his right from God, to rule.

St. Petersburg- A base for the new Russian navy and a window to the West. Located on the Baltic Coast.

(The picture is of Michael Romanov.)

Michael Romanov. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015. <>.

Some of Our Famous Rulers:

Peter the Great: Legacy and Heirs -

This video explains, in detail, about Peter's legacy and his heirs. The video also touches on Catherine the Great.

Wars Fought

Peters first war was against the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. The goal of the war was to take control of the sea of Azov at the mouth of the Don River. The reason for this was because he wanted to have access to the Baltic Sea through the water. Peter won the war by having a fleet of ships perform a surprise attack from the water.

Great Northern War. Peter waged war against the swedes from 1700 to 1721. The goal of the war was to have a year-round sea port in the Baltic Sea. The Russians ended up driving the Swedes away and having a year round seaport in the Baltic Sea.

Catherine II tried to break up the Ottoman Empire in a series of wars attempting to gain land for Russia. She ended up gaining land on the northern coast of the black sea by annexing Crimea.

The Poltava was the turning point in the Great Northern War in 1700-21. The war began with a combined attack by Russia, Denmark and Saxony- Poland. Their allies hoped to partition Sweden’s Baltic empire between them. They greatly underestimated Sweden’s power and Denmark and Saxony- Poland quickly were defeated within a few months. Russia remained at war but could do nothing to help their allies. Poltava was the first big win for Russia against the Swede’s in Ukraine.


Denmark and Saxony- Poland joined Russia at the beginning of the Great Northern war, but quickly were destroyed, leaving Russia alone.

The church played a role of influence to the people.
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The Battle of Poltava

What Changed During the Age of Absolutism

Peter I introduced more western customs, practices, and manners into Russia. eg, he insisted that Russian men shave their beards and shorten their coats and upper-class women could remove the veils that originally covered their faces and move out into society. Peter acquired lands he had sought after a long war with Sweden.
He created a new Russian navy. St. Petersburg opened a window to the west.

New Ideas

Peter I tried to spread the idea of a police state as well as create a stronger central government, mainly by dividing Russia into provinces and creating more governing by law. However, this plan backfired when he was met with fear instead of submission, and he used threats of beheading as a way to get people to listen. This idea ultimately failed.

Use of Power

The use of power is autocratic, meaning it is the Czar’s way or the highway. An example of this is when Ivan III invaded and seized Novgorod because the city seemed to leaned toward Lithuania and the west. Ivan held extensive executions, deported thousand of the city’s boyars and merchants and abolished the veche. To add even more insult, Ivan seized the famous Novgorod bell, a symbol of its republican way of life, and took it away to Moscow.


By the end of the 17th century, most of Russia was Eastern Orthodox while most of Western Europe was Roman Catholicism. This divide happened because the Eastern Roman Empire was Eastern Orthodox, while Rome and the Western Roman Empire was Roman Catholic.


Peter the Great left the legacy of one of the formative periods in Russian history. His actions brought Russia out of the feudal past and brought it up to speed with the rest of Western Europe. He shaped Russia to include St. Petersburg and the Baltic Sea into Russia’s land which is still true today.

The Romanov Dynasty was the last imperial dynasty to rule Russia. It lasted from 1613 until 1917. During the Romanov rule, Russia became and remained a major European power.
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"Romanov Dynasty." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.

The Romanov started in 1613 with Michael Romanov, also known as Michael I. The famous dynasty ended in 1917. Some famous Romanovs include Anastasia,



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Kort, Michael. A Brief History of Russia. New York: Facts On File, 2008. Print.

Parmele, Mary Platt. A Short History of Russia. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1906. Print.

Fader, Kim Brown. Russia. San Diego, CA: Lucent, 1998. Print.


Peter the Great - Legacy and Heirs. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015. <>.


"The Emergence of Russia (Overview)." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.

"Romanov Dynasty | Russian Dynasty." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.


Catherine the Great. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2015. <,cs_srgb,dpr_1.0,h_1200,q_80,w_1200/MTE1ODA0OTcxNTgyNTg4NDI5.jpg

Novgorod Bell. Digital image. Skyscarpercity. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015. <>.

Michael Romanov. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015. <>.

Peter the Great. Digital image. History Learning Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015. <>.

Ivan the Terrible. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015. <>.

Map of Russia. Digital image. New North. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <>.

"Romanov Dynasty." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.

Battle of Poltava. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <>.