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NORTHERN WAR WITH SWEEDEN (1700-1721)

The Russian navyIn this war Russia was fighting for access to the Baltic Sea and to regain control over the lands of North-Western Russia lost in 1613. The first battle of Narva (1700) proved to be a massive disaster for the Russian forces of Peter the Great. The Russian tzar rearranged his army, built the Baltic fleet and at the very end of 1701 the Russian army started winning. In October 1702 the Russian had took the fortress of Noteburg (Oreshek) on the upper Neva River, then in 1703 another fort - Nienchanz (within the city limits of modern St. Petersburg). In May 1703 St Petersburg was founded. The Peter and Paul fortress was supposed to protect the Neva delta from possible Swedish attacks.

Meanwhile, the Swedes had defeated Russia's allies (Denmark, Saxony and Poland), and in 1708 the Swedish army of King Charles XII invaded Russia. Despite the obvious strength of the Swedes they were heavily defeated in 1709 at the battle of Poltava (Pultava). The wounded Swedish king managed to escape, but died before the end of the war. Between 1710 and 1718 the Russians had captured Vyborg, Riga, Revel (now Tallinn) and most of Finland. After several Russian naval victories, at Gangut (1714), Esel (1719) and Grengam (1720), and an invasion of Sweden the Nistadt Peace Treaty was signed in 1721. The Swedes lost control over the Baltic and the Russians could keep their newly-gained lands and new capital city - St Petersburg.

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