Peter II

Peter II
1923-70, king of Yugoslavia 1934-45.

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born Sept. 6, 1923, Belgrade, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
died Nov. 3, 1970, Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.

Last king of Yugoslavia.

The son of Alexander I, he became titular king on his father's assassination (1934), but he ruled under the regency of his uncle Prince Paul (1893–1976). After a coup deposed Paul (1941), Peter ruled for several weeks until the German invasion forced him to flee to London. He led a government-in-exile until the Yugoslav monarchy was abolished in 1945. He moved to the U.S., where he worked in public relations.
Russian Pyotr Alekseyevich

born Oct. 23, 1715, St. Petersburg, Russia
died Jan. 29, 1730, Moscow

Tsar of Russia (1727–30).

The grandson of Peter I, he was named heir to the throne by Catherine I and on her death was crowned at age 11. Peter's regency was directed by Aleksandr Menshikov. He fell under the influence of the aristocratic Dolgoruky family, which ousted Menshikov as regent, moved the capital to Moscow (1728), and arranged Peter's betrothal to one of its princesses. On the day set for the wedding, Peter died of smallpox at age 14.

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▪ duke of Brittany
died Sept. 22, 1457, Nantes, Fr.

      duke of Brittany (from 1450), son of John V (or VI) and brother of his predecessor Francis I. He made an important innovation in limiting the right of asylum in churches and monasteries, enabling him to pursue his enemies at will. To preserve the family line, he adhered to the testament of Francis I and made his uncle Arthur, constable de Richemont, his successor, as Arthur III.

▪ emperor of Russia
Russian  in full Pyotr Alekseyevich  
born Oct. 23 [Oct. 12, old style], 1715, St. Petersburg
died Jan. 29 [Jan. 18, O.S.], 1730, Moscow

      emperor of Russia from 1727 to 1730. Grandson of Peter I the Great (ruled 1682–1725), Peter II was named heir to the Russian throne by Catherine I (ruled 1725–27) and was crowned at the age of 11 (May 18 [May 7, O.S.], 1727).

      Because Catherine had named the Supreme Privy Council to act as regent for the youth, Aleksandr D. Menshikov (Menshikov, Aleksandr Danilovich), who had been a close adviser to both Peter I and Catherine I and had become the most prominent member of the council, dominated the first months of Peter's reign. Menshikov installed the young emperor in his own household and arranged for his daughter and Peter to become betrothed. Peter, however, did not welcome the domineering kindness of his guardian and turned to the Dolgorukys, an old aristocratic family. In September 1727 the Dolgoruky family arrested Menshikov, exiled him to Siberia, and replaced him as the dominant political figures in Russia. They subsequently moved Peter's capital from St. Petersburg to Moscow (1728) and prepared for Peter's marriage to Princess Yekaterina Alekseyevna Dolgorukaya (1729). On the day set for the wedding, however, Peter II died of smallpox.

▪ king of Aragon
byname  Peter The Catholic,  Spanish  Pedro El Católico 
born 1174
died Sept. 12, 1213, Muret, Fr.

      king of Aragon from 1196 to 1213, the eldest son and successor of Alfonso II.

      Peter married (1204) Mary, lady of Montpellier, and thus greatly extended Aragonese power in southern France. Despite the violent objections of his subjects, he had himself crowned by Pope Innocent III in Rome and declared his kingdom a feudatory of the Holy See (1204). Peter, with other Spanish kings, took a prominent part in the victory over the Moors at Las Navas de Tolosa (July 16, 1212); but he then went to support his brother-in-law Raymond VI of Toulouse against the crusader Simon de Montfort in Languedoc. There he was killed in the Battle of Muret. His son James I succeeded him.

▪ king of Portugal

born April 26, 1648, Lisbon
died Dec. 9, 1706, Lisbon

      king of Portugal whose reign as prince regent (1668–83) and as king (1683–1706) was marked by the consolidation of royal absolutism and the reduction of the significance of the Cortes (National Assembly); at the same time he encouraged economic development and guided his nation through a troubled period in Europe.

      After the death of his father, John IV, in 1656, Peter's feebleminded and profligate elder brother Afonso VI brought Portugal to a very low condition. In November 1667 Afonso was sent into confinement in the Azores, and Peter became regent. Shortly thereafter, his brother's marriage (1666) to Marie Françoise Elisabeth of Savoy-Nemours was annulled, and Peter married her. He quickly made peace with Spain (Feb. 13, 1668), forgoing advantages that might have been expected from the Portuguese victories of 1663–65. When Afonso died on Sept. 12, 1683, Peter became king.

      In the last years of the 17th century, the goldfields of Brazil provided Peter with great wealth and enabled him to govern without seeking revenue from the Cortes, which was not convoked after 1697. To stimulate Portuguese industry and commerce, Peter concluded the Methuen Treaty (1703) with England, which agreed to reduce customs duties on Portuguese wines in return for favourable treatment of English woollen goods. The treaty largely resulted from Peter's having finally adhered (May 1703) to the Anglo-Austrian side in the War of the Spanish Succession, though at first he had allied himself with France. Peter died in the midst of the war, leaving his throne to John V, his son by his second wife, Maria Sophia of Palatinate-Neuburg, whom he had married in 1687, four years after the death of his first wife.

▪ king of Yugoslavia
Serbo-Croatian in full  Petar Karađorđevič 
born Sept. 6, 1923, Belgrade
died Nov. 3, 1970, Los Angeles

      the last king of Yugoslavia.

      The son of Alexander I, who was assassinated during a visit to France on Oct. 9, 1934, Peter became titular king at 11, but the actual rule was in the hands of a regent, his uncle Prince Paul. After Paul was deposed by a coup of officers led by Gen. Dušan Simović on March 27, 1941, Peter ruled for a few weeks until Axis troops invaded. He then fled into exile in London, where he led an émigré government. In 1944 he married Princess Alexandra of Greece, and, after the Yugoslav monarchy was abolished by Tito in 1945, he settled in the U.S. He wrote A King's Heritage (1955) and worked in public relations in New York.

▪ prince-bishop of Montenegro
Montenegrin in full  Petar Petrović Njegoš  
born Nov. 13, [Nov. 1, old style], 1813, Njegoš, Montenegro
died Oct. 31 [Oct. 19, O.S.], 1851, Cetinje

      the vladika or prince-bishop of Montenegro from 1830 to 1851, renowned as an enlightened ruler, an intrepid warrior, and especially as a poet. His principal works were “The Ray of the Microcosm,” “The False Tsar Stephen the Small,” and “The Mountain Wreath.”

      On succeeding his uncle Peter I, he took the title of Peter II rather than his own Christian name of Rado. As part of the tradition of theocratic Montenegro, Peter was consecrated bishop in 1833 (the practice was discontinued by his successor). While maintaining his lands in wars against the traditional enemy, the Turks, Peter II conducted reforms that were financed in part by an annual subsidy from Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. Schools were founded, and the first printing press was installed at Cetinje, the capital. Peter strengthened his government by eliminating the office of civil governor, which had been held on a hereditary basis by the Radonić family, and by transferring the power of local chieftains to a senate of 12 leading chiefs, meeting in Cetinje under his supervision.

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Universalium. 2010.

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