THE State of Muscovy, or Russia, had been populated by Norse and Slavonic settlers who were later brutalised by Tartar oppression. Ivan the Great laid the foundations of a modern state in the fifteenth century. During the life of that frightful fiend, Ivan the Terrible, a contemporary of Elizabeth, trade with England began. Peter, Tsar from 1696 to 1725, was a boor in manners and a coward in war, but he extended the territory of Russia, suppressed the nobles, established Azov on the Black Sea and Petersburg (Leningrad) on the Baltic, westernised the language and dress of his subjects, and collected technical experts from civilised countries. He left an organisation and a political testament on which Russian policy was modelled for several reigns to come. Russia was still in the rudimentary stage of civilisation; popular education, for instance, played no part in the policy of her rulers.

Russia, which originally no more counted as part of Europe than China does to-day, took part in the alliance against Frederick the Great, helped to partition Poland, and began her hundred-year attempt to partition Turkey. At the end of the century she had reached the North Pacific coasts where other civilised powers already had interests, and soon afterwards she took part in several campaigns of the Napoleonic wars.