Foreign Affairs: The Great Northern War 1700-1721

Peter the great, Sweden and the Baltic

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Russian Ambitions

  • Regain 'Russian' territory in the Baltic
  • Get a 'Window on the West' - port - enable Western influence to come to Russia 
  • In 1697 the new Swedish king was only 14 
  • Sweden was overstretched in maintaining an army 
  • On the Great Embassy there was interest in a coalition against Sweden 

Denmark and Poland 

  • In 1699 Treaty of Carlowitz Peter had peace with Turkey concentrate on Sweden
  • 1700 joined the Danish-Polish alliance against Sweden 
  • Augustus (Saxony and Poland) began 'the great northern war' by invading Livonia in 1699
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Narva 1700

  • Denmark had been forced to make peace at Travendal when Sweden threatened Copenhagen 
  • Russia had a massive defeat 

Russia had 40,000 men to Sweden's 8,000!!!

  • Russian officers showed a lack of discipline and incompetence 

Some troops murdered their own foreign officers and Peter fled the field and hid

  • Troops were badly equipped and trained 
  • 10,000 were killed, 20,000 were taken prisoner and all artillery was taken 

Sweden won a short term victory at Narva but in the longer term Russia gained the most from the battle. 

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Between Narva and Poltava

  • Peter raided Baltic lands 
  • 1703 St Petersburg began 
  • Peter began a Baltic fleet and had Kronstadt naval base 
  • Developed a lighter shallower vessel which was successful at outmanoeuvring larger Swedish warships 
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Poltava 1709

  • By 1707 Charles was ready to re-invade Russia
  • Peter withdrew before the invading Swedish troops carrying out a scorched earth policy so that the Swedes couldn't get supplies
  • Charles made the mistake in joining Mazeppa in the Ukraine 

Charles persuaded him to join him with 50, 000 troops but Peter sent Menshikov to sort it out and only 1300 joined Charles

  • Winter of 1708/9 was one of the coldest on record - many Swedes froze to death
  • When the Swedes attacked the Russian supply base at Poltava they were outnumbered 2:1 (42,000 to 19000) 
  • Charles fled into Turkish territory
  • Poltava proved the turning point of the Great Northern War
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Treaty of Nystadt 1721

  • 1710 Peter took control of Karelia and occupied Livonia
  • 1714 used new galleys for manoeuvring in shallow waters and took Helsinki
  • crushed the Swedish fleet at Cape Hango in June 1714
  • Russian troops took the Aaland Islands and raided Swedish mainland 
  • 1717 persuaded France to stop subsidising Sweden 
  • Charles XII was killed in 1718
  • Sweden was encouraged to make peace by George 1st who was unwilling to jeopardise trading links between Britain and Russia
  • Russia gained LIKE (livonia, Ingria, Karelia and Estonia) 
  • The Aaland islands and Finland were returned to Sweden - didn't want a vengeful Sweden 
  • Sweden was allowed to buy livonian grain at a reduced price 
  • Marked the end of Sweden as a great power
  • Peter proclaimed 'Father of the Fatherland, Peter the Great, Emperor of all the Russias". 
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