Peter III

1728-62, czar of Russia 1762 (husband of Catherine II; father of Paul I).

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I
Russian Pyotr Fyodorovich orig. Karl Peter Ulrich, duke von Holstein-Gottorp

born Feb. 21, 1728, Kiel, Holstein-Gottorp
died July 18, 1762, Ropsha, near St. Petersburg, Russia

Tsar of Russia (1762).

Grandson of Peter I, the young duke was brought to Russia by his aunt Elizabeth when she became empress (1741). Proclaimed the heir to the Russian throne, he was unpopular at court for his pro-Prussian attitude. After he succeeded Elizabeth (1762), he reversed her foreign policy, making peace with Prussia and withdrawing from the Seven Years' War. He offended the Orthodox church by trying to force it to adopt Lutheran practices. After six months he was forced to abdicate by a group of nobles, in collusion with his own wife, Catherine (later Catherine II), and Count Grigory Orlov, and was murdered while in the conspirators' custody.
II
Spanish Pedro known as Peter the Great

born 1239
died Nov. 11, 1285, Villafrance del Panades, Catalonia

King of Aragon (1276–85) and of Sicily (as Pedro I, 1282–85).

He married the Hohenstaufen heiress of Sicily (1262) and ended the Sicilian revolt (1282), becoming king despite Guelph and papal opposition (see Sicilian Vespers). Unhappy with his Sicilian venture, nobles and municipalities in Aragon forced Peter to confirm their legal rights and to diminish crown rights. In 1285 he defeated Philip III of France, who had invaded Aragon in an effort to dethrone him.

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▪ emperor of Russia
Russian in full  Pyotr Fyodorovich,  original name  Karl Peter Ulrich, Herzog (duke) von Holstein-Gottorp  
born Feb. 21 [Feb. 10, old style], 1728, Kiel, Holstein-Gottorp
died July 18 [July 7, O.S.], 1762, Ropsha, near St. Petersburg

      emperor of Russia from Jan. 5, 1762 (Dec. 25, 1761, O.S.), to July 9 (June 28, O.S.), 1762.

      Son of Anna, one of Peter I the Great's daughters, and Charles Frederick, duke of Holstein-Gottorp, the young duke was brought to Russia by his aunt Elizabeth shortly after she became empress of Russia (Dec. 5–6, 1741). Renamed Peter (Pyotr Fyodorovich), he was received into the Russian Orthodox Church (Nov. 18 [Nov. 7, O.S.], 1742) and proclaimed the heir to the Russian throne. On Aug. 21, 1745, he married Sophie Frederike Auguste, a princess from Anhalt-Zerbst, in Germany, who took the name Catherine (Yekaterina Alekseyevna (Catherine II)).

      Peter, who was mentally feeble and extremely pro-Prussian, not only alienated the affections of his wife soon after their marriage but also failed to gain the favour of politically powerful court cliques. His popularity diminished further after he succeeded Elizabeth and, reversing her foreign policy, made peace with Prussia and withdrew from the Seven Years' War (1756–63), formed an alliance with Prussia, and prepared to engage Russia in a war against Denmark to help his native Holstein gain control of Schleswig. Even when he relieved the gentry of their obligation to serve the state (March 1, 1762), he did not gain supporters. When he offended the Russian Orthodox Church by trying to force it to adopt Lutheran religious practices and also alienated the imperial guards by making their service requirements more severe and threatening to disband them, Catherine, who suspected that he was planning to divorce her, conspired with her lover Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov and other members of the guard to overthrow him.

      On July 9 (June 28, O.S.), 1762, Catherine, with the approval of the guard, the senate, and the church, became Catherine II, empress of Russia. Peter, who was at his residence at Oranienbaum (now Lomonosov), near St. Petersburg, formally abdicated on July 10 (June 29, O.S.); he was arrested and taken to the village of Ropsha, where, while in the custody of one of the conspirators, Aleksey Grigoryevich Orlov, he was killed.

▪ king of Aragon and Sicily
byname  Peter The Great,  Spanish  Pedro El Grande 
born 1239
died Nov. 11, 1285, Villafranca del Panades, Catalonia
 king of Aragon from July 1276, on the death of his father, James I, and king of Sicily (as Peter I) from 1282.

      In 1262 he had married Constance, heiress of Manfred, the Hohenstaufen king of Sicily; and after the revolt of the Sicilians in 1282 he invaded the island and was proclaimed king at Palermo, despite strong Guelph and papal opposition (see Sicilian Vespers). His Sicilian enterprise was unpopular in Aragon, where an association of nobles and some municipalities, the Unión Aragonesa, forced him to grant a privilege not only confirming the Aragonese fueros (legal rights) but diminishing some of the crown's rights. In 1285 Philip III of France invaded Aragon to dethrone Peter but was disastrously defeated. Peter, however, soon died. His great stature and physical strength were famous. Among his children were Alfonso III of Aragon, James I of Sicily (II of Aragon), and Frederick III of Sicily.

▪ king of Portugal

born July 5, 1717, Lisbon
died May 25, 1786, Ajuda, Port.

      king consort of Portugal from 1777, with Queen Maria I. The younger son of John V of Portugal, he was married in July 1760 to the daughter of his elder brother, King Joseph. When she became queen as Maria I (February 1777), Peter became nominally king. He devoted himself entirely to religious practices.

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Universalium. 2010.

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