Imperial Russian Navy

Imperial Russian Navy

Imperial Russian Navy

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The Imperial Russian Navy refers to the Tsarist fleets prior to the Bolshevik Revolution.

First Romanovs

Under Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, construction of the first three-masted ship, actually built within Russia, was completed in 1636. It was built in Balakhna by Danish shipbuilders from Holstein according to European design and was christened the Frederick. During its maiden voyage on the Caspian Sea, the Frederick unfortunately sailed into a heavy storm and was lost at sea.

During the Russo-Swedish War, 1656-1658, Russian forces seized the Swedish fortresses of Dunaburg and Kokenhausen on the Western Dvina and the latter was renamed Tsarevich-Dmitriev. A boyar named Afanasy Ordin-Nashchokin founded a shipyard at Tsarevich-Dmitriev fortress and began constructing vessels to sail in the Baltic Sea. In 1661, however, Russia was once again forced to abide by the harsh terms of a treaty, this time the Peace of Cardis. Russia agreed to surrender to Sweden all captured territories, and all vessels constructed at Tsarevich-Dmitriev were ordered destroyed.

Boyar Ordin-Nashchyokin, not grieving long over defeat, turned his attention to the Volga River and Caspian Sea. With the Tsar's approval, the boyar brought Dutch shipbuilding experts to the town of Dedinovo near the confluence of the Oka and Volga Rivers. Shipbuilding commenced in the winter of 1667. Within two years, four vessels had been completed: one 22-gun galley, christened the Орёл...
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