The Grand Embassy
(Великое посольство in Russian) was a Russian diplomatic mission, sent to Western Europe in 1697-1698 by Peter the Great.
of this mission was to strengthen and broaden the Holy League, Russia's alliance with a number of European countries against the Ottoman Empire in its struggle for the
northern coastline of the Black Sea, hire foreign specialists for Russian service,
order and acquire military supplies and weapons.
A statue of Peter I working incognito
at a Dutch wharf.
the Grand Embassy was headed by the "grand ambassadors
, Fedor Golovin
and Prokopy Voznitsyn
. In fact, it was led by
Peter himself, who went along incognito
under the name of Peter
conducted negotiations with Duke of Courland and concluded an alliance with Kurfürst of Brandenburg. After unsuccessful negotiations in the
Netherlands, the Grand Embassy had to limit itself to acquiring
different equipment and hiring foreign specialists.
part of the mission also went to Great Britain for 3 months, where the tsar
conducted negotiations with William III of England, acquainted
himself with shipbuilding, visited
shipyards and artillery plants, and recruited foreign
On the way
back to Russia, the Grand Embassy conducted fruitless negotiations
in Vienna with
Russia's former allies in the Holy League, Austrian foreign minister and Venetian ambassador, trying to prevent Austria's separate
peace treaty with Turkey. An intended visit to Venice was
cancelled due to the news about the Streltsy Uprising in Moscow and Peter's
hasty return to Russia.
Embassy failed to accomplish its main goal, but it gathered
valuable information about the international situation, ascertained
the impossibility of strengthening the anti-Turkish coalition due
to the imminent War of the
Spanish Succession, and brought back the plans for gaining
access to the Baltic
Sea. On his way back to Russia, Peter the Great
met with Augustus II of Poland
and conducted negotiations with him, which would form the basis for
the Russo-Polish alliance against Sweden in the
Great Northern War.