Peter the Great (1672-1725) wanted to build a city that he could make the capital of the Russian Empire. In 1703, he captured the Swedish fortress Nyenskans, which he rebuilt into St. Petersburg.
To get man power, Peter forced tens of thousands of serfs to leave their homes to build. Also, Peter refused to pay the serfs for their work, and each person was required to pay for their needs and bring their own food. Thousands died under the harsh working and living conditions.
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