When in the 16th century Novgorod was subdued by Moscow, the lands along the Neva River became part
of the centralized Russian state, Muscovite Russia. However, at the beginning of the 17th century
serious unrest started in Russia, after the last tsar of the Ryurik dynasty, Feodor Ioannovich (the son
of Ivan the Terrible), had died leaving no heirs to the throne. The new ruler, Vasily Shuisky, invited the
Swedes to fight on his side. The Swedes realized how weak Russia was, and decided to occupy a
significant portion of North-Western Russia instead. Even after the new Romanov dynasty had been
established in 1613, Russia had to admit some territorial losses. A new border between Russia and
Sweden was set by the Stolbovo Treaty of 1617. For the remainder of the century the Neva River area
became a part of Sweden, and the Swedes effectively cut off Russia from the Baltic trade.
By the end of the 17th century this situation could no longer be tolerated. Peter the Great was keen on
regaining access to the Baltic Sea and establishing strong ties with the West. In the hope of achieving
these goals he had started the Northern War with Sweden (1700-1721). In 1703 the Russians gained
control over the Neva river and on May 16, 1703 (May 27 by the modern calendar) St.Petersburg was founded.