Peter The Great
Peter the Great was 10 years old when he took over the throne of Russia in the year of 1682. He was not very well educated but he had a very curious mind.
Russia was a country very far behind in technology and arts, untouched by the Renaissance and isolated from Europe. In 1697, King Peter set out in disguise to learn about western Europe's culture. He went to many European countries taking notes on people's social behaviors and he went to art galleries and doctors to teach him about their advanced arts and medical advancements from the Renaissance.
He wanted to strengthen the military, expand Russian borders, and centralize royal power. Under his rule serfdom (Serfdom is the status of many peasants under feudalism) spread in Russia, long after it had died out in Western Europe. Further, he forced some serfs to become soldiers or to work as laborers on roads, canals, and other government projects.
Peter Expands Russia’s Borders
Peter created the largest standing army in Europe, built a navy from scratch, and extended Russian borders to the west and south. Russian seaports were frozen over during the winter. To increase Russia’s trade with the West, Peter desperately wanted a warm water port.