Birthday: October 23, 1715
Died At Age: 14
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Pyotr Alekseyevich Romanov
Born Country: Russia
Born in: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Famous as: Emperor of Russia
Emperors & Kings
father: Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia
mother: Charlotte Christine of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Died on: January 30, 1730
place of death: Lefortovskiy Palace of Ekaterina Naryshkina, Moscow, Russia
Cause of Death: Smallpox
City: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Who was Peter II of Russia?
Peter II of Russia was the emperor of Russia from 1727 to 1730. He was still a minor when he ascended to the throne. He died an untimely death while still reigning over his kingdom. Born in Saint Petersburg, to Prince Alexis, he became an orphan soon after his birth. His father died in prison after he was accused of treason by Peter’s grandfather. His mother passed away when Peter was 10 days old. This led Peter and his sister to become orphans when they were 3 and 4 years old, respectively. His grandfather, Peter the Great, abhorred Peter and did not care about his upbringing or education. Following the death of Peter the Great in 1725, one of the ministers of his court, Aleksandr Menshikov, appointed an intellectual to educate Peter. By then, Catherine I had ascended to the throne. After she passed away, Peter could not be ignored for long as a male heir. He was made the emperor of the Russian Empire in 1727. Menshikov, the minister who had raised Peter, made the most of the opportunity and took full control of Peter, but Menshikov was later sent into exile. However, Peter was not considered a good ruler and was criticized by the nobles of his kingdom. Peter passed away at dawn on January 30, 1730.
Childhood & Early Life
Peter II of Russia was born Peter II Alexeyevich, to Prince Alexis and Princess Charlotte Christine, on October 23, 1715, in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire. Unfortunately, his mother passed away when he was 10 days old, and his father was also in constant trouble with Peter’s grandfather and the emperor of Russia, Peter the Great.
Prince Alexis was constantly accused of treason by his own father. He was also jailed based on those accusations. He passed away in prison in 1718. Hence, this left a 3-year-old Peter orphaned. He also had an elder sister named Natalia, who was 4 years old back then.
Naturally, Peter the Great had to take over the responsibility to raise his grandkids. However, he abhorred his son, Alexis, and this made him deny the responsibility. Hence, Peter and his sister were kept in seclusion during the first few years after being orphaned. However, since Alexis was Peter the Great’s only surviving son till his death, the king knew that his grandson, Peter, was the rightful heir to the throne.
Peter was initially raised by a local woman, who was the wife of a tailor. A sailor named Norman also took him under his care and taught him the basics of navigating through the oceans. When he got older, a Hungarian nobleman named Janos Zeikin took care of him.
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As the Heir Apparent to the Throne
Peter the Great passed away in 1725. Before that, in 1722, he had issued a new law that stated that the reigning emperor must appoint his/her heir during their rule. He had his second wife, Catherine, in mind as a future ruler of the empire, and he practically made her a co-ruler in 1724. He was forced to do so, because of the 14 children that he had fathered during his lifetime, only three had survived: Alexis and two daughters.
Catherine I’s accession to the throne provided an opportunity for the opposers of Peter the Great to look for other options. Peter came ahead as the obvious choice to replace Catherine. Hence, he began receiving more attention from the noblemen of the royal court. However, the powerful minister Aleksandr Menshikov fully supported Catherine I as the empress and began focusing on Peter as a future emperor.
Peter’s incompetent teachers were replaced by count Andrey Ivanovich Osterman. Hence, Peter began taking lessons in geography, history, and foreign languages. However, he showed no keen interest in these subjects, as he was more interested in feasting and hunting. Thus, he already gave signs that he would be a bad ruler, if at all he ever took to the throne. Nevertheless, Peter was appointed as an heir to the throne.
As an Emperor
Catherine I died of tuberculosis on May 17, 1727. Following this, Peter ascended to the throne as the emperor of Russia. Menshikov thought that as he had acted as a mentor to Peter, he would have full control over the young ruler who was just 11 years old back then. He brought Peter to his home and took full credit and responsibility for all his actions.
However, the old nobility from the royal court came to know of Menshikov’s actions and went against him. He was forced to go into exile in Siberia and was deprived of all his offices, wealth, and titles. The nobility then took an oath of allegiance to Peter II of Russia.
He was officially crowned as the king in January 1728. However, he was still too young to take important decisions regarding the betterment of the empire. His closest friends were Prince Aleksey Dolgorukov and his son, Ivan. Ivan and Peter drank together, played cards, and feasted on exotic dishes. Peter was, right from the beginning of his reign, considered a bad ruler.
Peter also moved the court from St. Petersburg to Moscow, which was a painful decision for the noblemen, as they had to travel all the way with their families.
Peter was considered an intelligent young man but was stubborn and rigid. Many people compared him to his grandfather, Peter the Great. However, there was one difference: Peter the Great had a keen desire to learn how to rule, while Peter II had no such interest. He never appeared at the ‘Supreme Privy Council,’ and the Russian fleet was also in a bad condition under his reign. This caused a lot of frustration among the general public and the royal administration.
All of Russia went into a chaotic mess. Robberies increased, people were hungry, and Russia plunged into huge debts.
Peter II visited St. Petersburg from time to time, but with time, his irresponsible behavior toward his empire continued. He led his life without assuming any responsibility and continued to indulge in entertainment and women.
Famous Russian historian Nikolay Kostomarov later stated that it was not entirely Peter’s fault, as he was given the responsibility of his kingdom at a tender age. He further stated that Peter had not yet grown into a man. The noblemen in the court were in awe of his good heart and intelligence and hoped that he would come to his senses, but that never happened.
Personal Life & Death
Peter II of Russia fell in love with Ekaterina Alekseyevna Dolgorukova, the daughter of Prince Alexei and the sister of Ivan, his good friend. However, his aunt Elizabeth Petrovna was against the marriage and successfully managed to change Peter’s feelings about Ekaterina. However, by then, it had been decided that they would be married in January 1730.
However, in December 1729, Peter fell gravely ill. He was diagnosed with smallpox. People around him made attempts so that he would accept Ekaterina as his heir, but he was unconscious. In his delirium, he wished to meet his sister Natalya, who had died of tuberculosis. They were quite close to each other. Peter II passed away a few minutes later, at dawn on January 30, 1730. He was to be married on the same day.
Peter was the last male ruler of the Romanov dynasty. The line ended with his demise. Anna Ivanovna was made the ruler of the Russian empire following his demise. She was the daughter of Peter the Great’s half-brother, Ivan V.