Tsardom of Russia
St Petersburg FoundedSt. Petersburgh, Russia
Swedish colonists built Nyenskans, a fortress at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, which was later called Ingermanland, which was inhabited by Finnic tribe of Ingrians. The small town of Nyen grew up around it. At the end of the 17th century, Peter the Great, who was interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, wanted Russia to gain a seaport to trade with the rest of Europe. He needed a better seaport than the country's main one at the time, Arkhangelsk, which was on the White Sea in the far north and closed to shipping during the winter. The city was built by conscripted peasants from all over Russia; a number of Swedish prisoners of war were also involved in some years under the supervision of Alexander Menshikov. Tens of thousands of serfs died building the city. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712.