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A space between two worlds: St. Petersburg in the early eighteenth century

Keenan, Paul (2015) A space between two worlds: St. Petersburg in the early eighteenth century. In: Stock, Paul, (ed.) The Uses of Space in Early Modern History. Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, pp. 97-124. ISBN 9781349504343

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Identification Number: 10.1057/9781137490049_5

Abstract

In May 1703, Tsar Peter I of Russia is alleged to have led a small military foray to the Baltic coastline, near the mouth of the river Neva. Accounts of this occasion, both contemporary and retrospective, vary considerably on the precise chronology of the decision-making process and the question of whether the tsar himself was actually present. Regardless of the precise details, the area was claimed (or, some argue, reclaimed) in the name of Russia and plans were made to build a fortress in order to consolidate the Russian presence. This foundation and the associated myths, which have been explored by many writers and historians over the intervening centuries, feature in most discussions of St. Petersburg’s history. One such myth, which presents Peter creating his new city out of nothing, in a wilderness, was essentially poetic license on the part of later writers such as Vasilii Trediakovskii and Aleksandr Pushkin. In fact, the area was the site of a Swedish fortress known as “Nienschants,” the town of Nien, with a population of around four thousand, and a number of smaller settlements nearby that existed before the city was founded. Indeed, given the paucity of usable stone in the region, the ruins of the old fortress likely provided material used in the initial stage of St. Petersburg’s construction, particularly in the foundations of buildings.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL: https://www.palgrave.com/gb
Additional Information: © 2015 Palgrave Macmillan
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
Sets: Departments > International History
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2018 08:59
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2019 23:16
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/88195

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