Grand Embassy of Peter the Great
The goal of this mission was to strengthen and broaden the Holy League, Russia's alliance with a number of European countries against the Ottoman Empire in its struggle for the northern coastline of the Black Sea, hire foreign specialists for Russian service, and to order and acquire military supplies and weapons. Officially, the Grand Embassy was headed by the "grand ambassadors" Franz Lefort, Fedor Golovin and Prokopy Voznitsyn. In fact, it was led by Peter himself, who went along incognito under the name of Peter Mikhailov.
Peter conducted negotiations with the Duke of Courland and concluded an alliance with the Elector of Brandenburg. After unsuccessful negotiations in the Netherlands, the Grand Embassy had to limit itself to acquiring different equipment and hiring foreign specialists. Peter and part of the mission also went to England for 3 months, where the tsar conducted negotiations with William III of England, acquainted himself with shipbuilding, visited shipyards and artillery plants, and recruited foreign specialists.
On the way back to Russia, the Grand Embassy conducted fruitless negotiations in Vienna with Russia's former allies in the Holy League, Austrian foreign minister and Venetian ambassador, trying to prevent Austria's separate peace treaty with Turkey. An intended visit to Venice was cancelled due to the news about the Streltsy Uprising in Moscow and Peter's hasty return to Russia.
The Grand Embassy failed to accomplish its main goal, but it gathered valuable information about the international situation, ascertained the impossibility of strengthening the anti-Turkish coalition due to the imminent War of the Spanish Succession, and brought back the plans for gaining access to the Baltic Sea. On his way back to Russia, Peter the Great met with Augustus II of Poland and conducted negotiations with him, which would form the basis for the Russo-Polish alliance against Sweden in the Great Northern War.
- Jacob Abbott (1869). History of Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia. Harper. pp. 141–51.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grand Embassy of Peter the Great.|