Chervonets (ducat) with the map of four seas

[11.05.2020 15:49:55]

Dreams of Peter the Great about Russia, the great sea power, were also reflected in coins that were issued during his reign. Under Peter the Great the minting of gold coins – chervonets started and for two years, in 1710 and 1711, the coins depicted an unusual coat of arms - a double-headed eagle, which holds maps in his paws and beaks. These are maps of the seas to which Russia had exits in 1710: the White, Caspian, Azov and Baltic seas. In 1711 the minting of such coins was stopped.

The coast of the White Sea has belonged to Russia since ancient times, here was founded the first Russian commercial port, Arkhangelsk, through which once passed the main trade routes connecting Russia with Europe.

Russia established itself on the Caspian Sea in the 16th century, when Ivan the Terrible took Kazan and Astrakhan, thus making the Volga free for Russian traders. A maritime merchant fleet was founded on the Caspian Sea, and Astrakhan became a trading gateway to Asia, primarily to India and Persia. Thus, by the beginning of the reign of Peter I Russia had a permanent access to two seas.

And the maps of the other two seas, the Sea of Azov and the Baltic Sea, were symbols of important conquests of the Peter the Great era. So important that they could be reflected in the golden chervonets. These coins were not only the largest coins in value, but also had to go abroad.

Peter dreamed of getting access to the Black Sea, where Turkey dominated, and the Baltic, which was under Swedish control. The result of Peter's Azov campaigns was Russia's gaining access to the Sea of Azov in 1696. Soon there appeared the first harbor of the Russian fleet (Taganrog) and the first access to the southern seas. Through Kerch strait Peter hoped to seize an exit to Black sea. These attempts turned out to be unsuccessful, and, having gained a foothold in Azov, Peter threw his forces at conquering an exit to another sea - the Baltic Sea.

From 1700 to 1721 the Northern War for access to the Baltic Sea continued. Thanks to military successes, already in 1703 St. Petersburg was founded and gained access to the Baltic waters, and after the victory at Poltava in 1709 Russia gained an undeniable advantage in the war and gained a foothold in the Baltic.

In the following 1710 at the Kadashevsky Mint in Moscow began minting coins with maps of the four seas, to which Russia got an access. It should be noted that sometimes in the literature there is a mention of flags instead of maps of the seas.

However, the four maps in the paws of the eagle were not long a heraldic symbol of the maritime power of Russia. After the success near Poltava, Russia entered another one the Russian-Turkish war, which failed. According to the Prut Treaty of 1711, Russia was forced to return to Turkey the hard-earned Azov, destroy Taganrog and thus lose access to the Azov Sea. After that Russia had only three seas left, and the maps disappeared out of coins.

Our museum exhibits Peter the Great's gold chervonets of different years of minting, including the chervonets with maps, issued in Moscow in 1711.