Peter the Great's first military expedition, a disastrous declaration of war against Turkey in 1695, is the failure or mistake that ultimately defined his reign as Czar of Russia. In spite of this failure, Peter the Great claimed the territories of Finland, Latvia and Estonia in his bid to expand the Russian nation.
Born Pyotr Alekseyevich in 1672, Peter ruled with his brother from 1682, then was named Russia's sovereign leader upon his brother's death in 1696. Peter proved to be an effective military leader and skilled diplomat, but was known by his people to be a cruel and oppressive man. Peter's imposition of high taxes caused revolts among the people, which were put down violently by the ruler who drank excessively and was prone to violent outbursts.