PETER III., FEODOROVITCH, Czar of Russia, grandson of Peter the great (being the son of Ids eldest daughter Anna Petrowna, wife of Karl Friedrich, duke of Holstein was born at Kiel, Mar. 4, 1728, and on Nov. 18, 1742, was declared by the czarina Elizabeth (q.v.), her successor on the throne of Russia. From the time of his being publicly proclaimed heir, he lived at the Russian court; and,. in obedience to the wishes of the czarina, married Sophia-Augusta, a princess of Anhalt-Zerbst, who, on entering the Greek church (a necessary condition of marriage of a foreigner with the czar present or presumptive), assumed the name of Catharine Alexiowna. Peter suc ceeded Elizabeth on her death, June 5, 1762; and his first act of authority was to with draw from the confederate league of France, Austria-, and Russia against Prussia, restoring to heroic monarch of the latter kingdom, Frederic II., the provinces of Prussia Proper, which had been conquered (hiring the seven years' war, and sending to his aid a force of 15,000 men: a lino of conduct which seems to have been prompted solely by his admiration for the Prussian sovereign. He also recalled many of the political exiles from Siberia, among whom were L'Estoeq, "Mundich, and the duke of Courland; abol ished the sanguinary law which proscribed any one who should utter a word against the Greek church, the czar, or the government; and then attempted the realization of his favorite project, which was to recover from Denmark that portion of Slesvig which had been ceded to her in 1713, and to avenge the tyranny and annoyances to which his family —that of Holstein-Gottorp—bad been subjected But before the army he had dispatched could reach its destination, a formidable conspiracy, headed by his wife, and supported by the principal nobles, had-broken out against hint. This conspiracy originated in the
general discontent which was felt at the czar's conduct and government, the nobility were offended at his liberal innovations, and the preference be showed for Germans; the people and clergy, at his indifference to the national religion, and his ill-concealed contempt for Russian manners and customs; while the whole nation murmured at his servility to Frederic II. of Prussia. Histwife had still deeper cause for dislike; for though he was himself addicted to drunkenness and debauchery, he never ceased to reproach her with her infidelities, and had even planned to divorce her, disinherit her son Paul (q.v.), and elevate his mistress Elizabeth Woronzof to the conjugal throne. The revolution broke out on the night of July 8, 1769; Peter was declared to have for feited his crown, and his wife.Cathariue was proclaimed czarina of Catharine II. (q.v.) by the guards, the clergy, and the nobility. Peter who was then at Oranienbaum, neglecting the counsels of field-marshal Munnich, who proposed to march at once on the capital at thehead of the regiments which were still faithful, or at any rate to take secure possession of Cronstadt and the fleet, soon found even the opportunity of flight cut off, and was compelled to submit. He abdicated the crown on July 10, and on the 14th of the same month was put to death by Odd (q.v.), to secure the safety of the conspirators.