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1700 - 1800: Russia becomes the largest producer of hemp

Czar Peter the Great on board of his yacht en route to the Pieter en Paul.At the end of the 17th century Czar Peter came to power in Russia, he was determined to modernise Russia, which was still an archaic, isolated backwater which had missed out on the European Renaissance.

The Dutch Republic was the leading European power, and Czar Peter tought of it as the perfect model for Russia. He made several trips to Western Europe to learn about culture and science.

In Amsterdam Czar Peter  worked at the Dutch East India Company shipyard and helped build a ship. There he learned the importance of hemp in the shipbuilding proces.  In 1698, the ship on which the tsar had worked, the Pieter en Paul was launched.[1] Next to shipbuilding the czar also learned about watch-making, making coffins, etchings, post-mortems, paper making and silk spinning.