Peter III

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Peter III,

1728–62, czar of Russia (1762), son of Charles Frederick, dispossessed duke of Holstein-Gottorp, and of Anna Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his aunt, Czarina Elizabeth. One of his first acts was to take Russia out of the Seven Years War and to conclude an alliance with Frederick II of Prussia, whom he passionately admired. He thus saved Prussia from almost certain defeat and sacrificed all the advantages Russian arms had gained in the conflict. In 1744, Peter had married Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, who was to become Czarina Catherine IICatherine II
or Catherine the Great,
1729–96, czarina of Russia (1762–96). Rise to Power

A German princess, the daughter of Christian Augustus, prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, she emerged from the obscurity of her relatively modest background in 1744
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. Although he was dissolute and, it is alleged, mentally unbalanced, Peter's domestic policy was in some respects liberal. He abolished the secret police and granted greater religious freedom, and he virtually ended the nobles' obligation to give service to the state. He aroused hostility, however, by his contempt for the Orthodox Church and by his concern with gaining Holstein. In the summer of 1762 a conspiracy against Peter, headed by Catherine's lover Grigori OrlovOrlov, Grigori Grigoryevich, Count
, 1734–83, Russian nobleman. One of the first lovers of Catherine II, he and his brother led the conspiracy that deposed Peter III and put her on the throne.
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 and his brother Aleksey, was set in motion. Catherine was proclaimed sole ruler, and the imperial guards, led by Catherine in person (who had donned the guards' uniform), set out for Peterhof, where they forced Peter to sign his abdication. A few days later he was assassinated by his guards, probably led by Aleksey Orlov. Catherine's role in this is uncertain. Peter's claim to ducal Holstein passed to his son Paul (later Czar Paul I), in whose name Catherine ceded it to Denmark in exchange for Oldenburg in 1773.

Peter III

(Peter the Great), 1239?–1285, king of Aragón and count of Barcelona (1276–85) and king of Sicily (1282–85); son and successor of James I. In 1280 he established Aragonese influence on the northern shores of Africa. From his marriage (1262) to Constance, daughter and heir of ManfredManfred
, c.1232–1266, king of Sicily (1258–66), the last Hohenstaufen on that throne. An illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, Manfred was regent in Sicily for his brother Conrad IV.
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 of Sicily, were derived the claims of the house of Aragón to Sicily and S Italy. After the insurrection of the Sicilian VespersSicilian Vespers,
in Italian history, name given the rebellion staged by the Sicilians against the Angevin French domination of Sicily; the rebellion broke out at Palermo at the start of Vespers on Easter Monday, Mar. 30, 1282.
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 against Charles ICharles I
(Charles of Anjou), 1227–85, king of Naples and Sicily (1266–85), count of Anjou and Provence, youngest brother of King Louis IX of France. He took part in Louis's crusades to Egypt (1248) and Tunisia (1270).
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 of Anjou, Peter was offered the crown of Sicily and took possession of the island (1282). Pope Martin IV excommunicated him and declared him deprived of his states on the basis of Peter II's declaration of vassalage to the Holy See. A crusade against Aragón was organized by the pope and the French, who invaded Catalonia but were repulsed by Peter and defeated at sea by Roger of LoriaRoger of Loria,
c.1245–1304, Sicilian-Aragonese admiral. An adherent of Manfred, last Hohenstaufen king of Sicily, he left Sicily for Aragón after Manfred's defeat (1266) by the Angevin claimant to the throne.
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. Peter's Sicilian venture was unpopular with the Aragonese nobility and towns, and he was compelled to grant them wide privileges to quell their opposition. He founded the first university in Aragón at Huesca. Peter was succeeded in Aragón by his eldest son, Alfonso III, and in Sicily by his second son, James (later James II of Aragón).

Peter III,

1717–86, king of Portugal (1777–86), younger brother of Joseph. He married his niece Maria IMaria I,
1734–1816, queen of Portugal (1777–1816), daughter of Joseph I. She was married (1760) to her uncle, who assumed joint rule with her as Peter III. Neither of them was much interested in affairs of state, but they did immediately bring about the fall of
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 and was joint ruler with her, though she generally was the dominant figure.

Peter III

 

(Peter III Fedorovich; Karl Peter Ulrich). Born Feb. 10 (21), 1728, in Kiel, Germany; died July 7 (18), 1762, in Ropsha, near St. Petersburg. Russian emperor from 1761 to 1762. Son of Charles Frederick, duke of Holstein-Gottorp, and Anna Petrovna, the daughter of Emperor Peter I the Great.

Peter III’s aunt, the Russian empress Elizaveta Petrovna, declared him her heir in 1742. In 1745 he married Princess Sophia Augusta Frederica of Anhalt-Zerbst (later, Empress Catherine II). An admirer of Frederick It’s Prussian system, Peter III ignored Russia’s national interests and in 1762 ended military operations against Prussia in the Seven Years’ War (1756-63), concluding a peace agreement with Frederick II. An ignorant man who occupied himself primarily with court diversions, Peter III left the tasks of governing to the court nobility and the highest administrators (A. I. Glebov, M. I. Vorontsov, and D. V. Volkov, for example). They adopted a number of measures in the interests of the dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry), including a decree freeing the dvorianstvo from service obligations (1762) and a decree abolishing the Tainaia Kantseliariia (Secret Office). Some of the changes aroused the discontent of the clergy—for example, the reestablishment of the Collegium of the Economy to administer ecclesiastical, monastery, and synodal estates, and preparations for the secularization of monasterial property.

An opposition movement headed by Peter Ill’s wife, Catherine, developed in the guards regiments in response to the tsar’s antinational foreign policy, his contempt for Russian customs, and the introduction of Prussian practices in the army. Peter III was deposed, arrested, and sent to his country home at Ropsha, where, with Catherine’s consent, he was murdered. The palace coup of 1762 gave rise to unfounded rumors that Peter III had been overthrown by the dvoriane (nobility or gentry) because of his intention to emancipate the peasants. E. I. Pugachev claimed to be Peter III.

REFERENCES

Solov’ev, S. M. Istoriia Rossii s drevneishikh vremen, book 13, vols. 23-25.
Moscow, 1965. Firsov, N. N. Petr III i Ekaterina II: Pervye gody ee tsarstvovaniia. St. Petersburg, 1915.

Peter III

1728--62, grandson of Peter I and tsar of Russia (1762): deposed in a coup d'état led by his wife (later Catherine II); assassinated