Powerful Monarchs (03:24)
Lucy Worsley visits Russia for the first time. This video will explore their rise to power and legacy of the Romanovs.
Proposed Leader (02:42)
When Poland marched into Russia, leaders realized they needed to unite around a Tsar. The Muscovy, or elite power brokers from Moscow, traveled to the Ipatiev Monastery to tell their intended ruler.
Ipatiev Monastery (02:02)
When the Muscovy told 16 year old Mikhail Romanov, he would become Tsar, he burst into tears and his mother was furious. He was selected because he was related to Ivan the Terrible, and the Muscovy thought they could easily manipulate him.
Mikhail traveled to Moscow and received the Divine Seal of Approval at the Cathedral of the Assumption— 50 years of prosperity and stability followed. Worsley visits the Tretyakov gallery in Moscow to see a painting of Tsar Alexei I.
Vast Russia (02:58)
Worsley dons a traditional Sarafan dress. While the serf population of other countries was dying out in the mid-17th Century, Russia's was on the rise.
Peter the Great (03:03)
Peter wanted to modernize Russia. Worsley sees a wax figure of the ruler that was molded immediately following his death. When he was nine, two of his uncles were murdered by insurgents during a revolt.
Travels to Lake Pleshcheyevo (02:02)
Peter the Great employed several foreign experts to teach him to sail and how to build boats. He created many flotillas.
Peter the Great's Grand Embassy (02:23)
Peter believed the only way to ensure prosperity and security was to create a powerful navy. In 1697, he traveled to Europe to study maritime science and ship building. He spent several months in Holland working in a shipyard.
Science and Technology in London (02:02)
Peter the Great visited the Royal Observatory escorted by John Flamsteed, the first royal astronomer. King William III gave him a ship, the "Royal Transport" as a bribe.
"Royal Transport" (02:33)
Peter and the ship's designer, the Marquis of Carmarthan, became friends. Sarah Young explains that Peter the Great was a rowdy tenant.
Back to Moscow (04:19)
Peter the Great hired experts to travel to Russia to teach shipbuilding and navigation. In August 1698, palace guards rebelled— Peter killed 1,000 guards and punished hundreds more. He forced Sophia (who he blamed for initiating the resistance) to become a nun.
Modernizing Russia (02:00)
Peter instituted a modern dress code among the Muscovy. Mikhail Smetnick models a traditional Russian outfit.
Change of Dress Code (03:27)
Peter chopped off men's beards with an ax. Smetnick models 18th Century attire. Peasants and clergy could pay a tax, which allowed to them to keep beards.
Removing Traditions (03:44)
In 1703, Peter the Great left Moscow to travel east; it took him several weeks on horseback. When he arrived at the edge of the Baltic Sea, he declared a city would be built— St. Petersburg was erected.
St. Petersburg (03:43)
Peter the Great declared war on Sweden and built a navy. Worsley tours a replica of the Shtandart, the first ship created by the Russians. The ship's steering wheel and cannons were innovative.
Russia Surprised Sweden (02:07)
Peter solidified his position in the Baltic Sea with his navy. The Great Northern war lasted over two decades— Charles XII proved a talented tactician. Peter won a decisive victory at the Battle of Poltava in 1709.
Battle of Poltava (02:40)
Mikhail Lomonosov created a mosaic that hangs in St. Petersburg. In 1712, Peter declared St. Petersburg Russia's capital.
Building Russia's Capital (02:06)
Forty Thousand serfs and involuntary laborers were drafted each year to work on the St. Petersburg and thousands died. Peter forced his first wife Eudoxia to become a nun and return to Moscow, preferring Catherine I's company.
Alexei II (02:20)
Peter the Great wrote Alexei a stern letter, demanding he take an interest in matters of the state— Alexei fled Russia for Vienna. When Alexei returned he was tortured, interrogated, and found guilty of treason. He died in his cell under mysterious circumstances.
St. Petersburg Statue (04:26)
Peter the Great died from gangrene on February 8th, 1725. Worsley summarizes the episode. The next installment in the series will talk about Catherine the Great.
Credits: Reinventing Russia: Empire of the Tsars (00:36)
Credits: Reinventing Russia: Empire of the Tsars
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