Peter Kropotkin Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Anupama Ghosh
Feb 08, 2024 By Anupama Ghosh
Originally Published on Feb 15, 2023
Edited by Anupama Ghosh
Read all about the amazing life of Peter Kropotkin.
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About Peter Kropotkin

Russian philosopher and activist Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was also known as Peter Kropotkin.

He supported anarchism, which is defined as a society devoid of any central authority. It is built on the voluntary association and aspirations of its individuals.

Peter Kropotkin was a scientist who also had a keen interest in biology and geography. He was born into a Russian aristocratic family and was destined to join the military. However, in his pursuit of anarchism, he gave up his princely status.

Kropotkin was born a Russian prince, enjoying privileges that few people will ever be able to enjoy. These privileges reportedly included 1,200 serfs who were connected to the family's properties, 50 house servants, four coachmen to look after a dozen horses, and three cooks for the masters.

A few years later, young Kropotkin enrolled at the Tsar's Corps of Pages after receiving significant instruction from private professors on various topics. He was afterward put on the path to a career in the imperial military's highest echelons as a result.

As it turned out, Peter would start acting out and trying to avoid the punishment given to him. This was due to his boredom and annoyance with the rules of his restrictive life, as well as his rising anti-authoritarian stance. This was further exacerbated after being promoted from the Corps to the army on an expedition to Siberia.

Kropotkin's 50,000-mile journey through one of the harshest regions of the planet expanded his long-developed proclivities for scientific inquiry. It also strengthened his character by enabling him to understand the hardship animals face in harsh climates, including the self-governing humans of the Siberian village communities.

Kropotkin believed that capitalism and feudalism merely supported privilege for a few and generated artificial scarcity. Instead, he advocated for a decentralized economy where human development may advance through voluntary collaboration, mutual aid, and support. According to Peter Kropotkin, these characteristics already existed in various communities. They needed to be embraced by all of humanity in order for them to survive.

He opposed the idea of private property and using money as a vehicle of exchange for goods and services. He believed that individuals should give to society in accordance with their talents without receiving any compensation. Humans should also receive from society whatever they need without sacrificing their needs for money. He advocated distributing a man's material wealth equally among the community after his death.

Childhood And Education

Peter Kropotkin was born as Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin December 9, 1842. He was born in Moscow into a long-gone Russian aristocratic dynasty. His father was Major General Prince Alexei Petrovich Kropotkin. He was a member of the Rurik family, who controlled Russia before the establishment of the Romanovs.

Pyotr Kropotkin had an elder brother named Alexander, who subsequently committed suicide. His mother died of tuberculosis in 1846. Peter's father possessed substantial land holdings and almost 1,200 male serfs in three districts. In 1848, his father wed Yelizaveta Markovna Korandina after losing his wife.

At the age of 12, under the influence of republican beliefs, Kropotkin renounced his royal status. Kropotkin enrolled in the Corps of Pages at St. Petersburg in 1857 when he was 14 years old. This privileged corps combined the characteristics of a military school with exclusive rights and of a court institution connected to the Imperial Household. It only educated 150 boys, most of whom were nobility children who belonged to the court. The hazing and other forms of mistreatment of pages for which the Corps was well-known are described in Kropotkin's memoirs.

In Moscow, Kropotkin began to take an interest in the state of the peasants, an interest that would last his whole life. The Tsar's decision to emancipate the serfs in 1861 made Kropotkin skeptical about the Tsar's reputation as a 'liberal'. In St. Petersburg, he read widely on his own account and paid particular attention to the works of the French encyclopaedists and French history. Russia's intellectual forces grew from 1857 to 1861, and Kropotkin was influenced by the new liberal-revolutionary literature, which generally reflected his own goals.

Kropotkin joined the Tsarist army in 1862 after graduating top in his class from the Corps of Pages. Each corps member had the prescriptive right to choose the regiment to which they would be assigned. Kropotkin made the tough decision to enlist in an Eastern Siberian Cossack unit out of a wish to be useful. He also served as the governor of Transbaikalia's aide de camp in Chita for a period of time. Later, at Irkutsk, he was named the governor-general of East Siberia's attaché for Cossack matters.

Family and Relationship

Peter Kropotkin was married to Sophie Anaiev, another Russian exile. The couple married in 1867 and had a daughter together. She was named Alexandra.

Career And Professional Highlights

Best Known For…

Peter Kropotkin conducted scientific journeys across North Manchuria in 1864. He traveled from Transbaikalia up to Amur and then along the Sungari River after finding very little administrative work at Irkutsk.

He began reading the writings of French anarchists and political intellectuals after realizing that no changes could ever take place in Siberia. He read the works of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, John Stuart Mill, Alexander Herzen, and more.

Peter Kropotkin left the army in 1867. He enrolled in the 'Saint Petersburg Imperial University' to study mathematics. Because he left the military and joined the geography division of the 'Russian Geographical Society', his father disinherited him. Around this period, he carried out glacier formation research for the Society in Sweden and Finland.

He received high praise for his findings on the topography and structure of the Siberian region. In 1971, he was elected as secretary of the 'Imperial Geographical Society of St. Petersburg'. However, he declined that position.

In 1972, Peter Kropotkin traveled to Switzerland, where he joined the local International Workmen's Association chapter and went to the Jura Federation centers.

Kropotkin came to appreciate the value of natural simplicity while on his journey. He recognizes how little man truly needs as soon as he emerges from the magical circle of conventional civilization. He also made the earliest and most important findings on mutual help as a basic natural force governing animal existence while assisting the imperialist Russian Empire on this official job in Siberia.

Peter Kropotkin thought he could counter the Social-Darwinist myth of the lone, immoral gladiator. In reality, his personal, scientific, and unavoidably political growth would all revolve around the pillar of mutual aid.

His anarchist political ideology, contribution to the scientific community, progressively rising fame, and personal honesty would all be built on the principle of mutual aid. He was admired not only by his supporters but also by the various liberal and reactionary figures of the time. He met many of them and became acquainted with them while adamantly upholding his moral and political beliefs.

In addition to being a completely committed activist and scientist, Kropotkin had the bravery and sincerity to leave behind the privilege and family riches he had grown up with. By doing this, he was completely thrust into a new existence. This was quite different from that of many other radicals who would maintain a solid foothold in the world of aristocratic and bourgeois privilege.

In addition to refusing to share in the unjustly acquired wealth of his family, Kropotkin had no interest in building up his own fortune or obtaining the long-term employment that so many people now look for. He chose to be preoccupied with his beliefs, which he saw as far more crucial. He practiced mutual assistance in politics, science, and his own life. Therefore, he was able to actually live what he preached.

He proclaimed himself an anarchist in May 1872. Upon his return to Russia, he joined the 'Tchaikovsky Circle'. The government saw it as an unlawful organization since it actively promoted revolutionary ideas among the peasants of St. Petersburg and Moscow. They also published works by Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and other authors.

The Russian authorities detained him in March 1874 because of his revolutionary manifesto and other potentially damaging papers. He was found guilty and sent to jail. However, he left the 'Peter and Paul Fortress' in 1876 and made his way to Switzerland. This was where he rose to prominence among different radical organizations. He wrote an essay titled 'An Appeal to the Young' in 1880. Thousands of people all across the world found it inspiring.

Peter Kropotkin spent a year in England in 1881 and attended the 'Anarchist Congress'. It was held in London on July 14, 1881. Additionally, he spoke on anarchism at the Homerton Social Democratic Club and the Stratford Radical and Dialectical Club. The Russian authorities put pressure on the Swiss government to remove Kropotkin. He had to relocate to Thonon in France when Czar Alexander II was slain in 1881. As a result of the pressure from the Russian government, the French authorities imprisoned Kropotkin for five years in 1883. He was imprisoned for belonging to the International Workers' Association (IWA).

The 'French Chamber' repeatedly agitated for his release from jail. In 1886 he left on Charlotte Wilson's invitation to visit England. Kropotkin and Wilson co-founded the anarchist journal 'Freedom Press' and resided in several locations around England.

He traveled to Canada and the United States in 1897 at the request of fellow anarchists Johann Most and James Mavo. They were professors of political economics at the University of Toronto.

Following the 1917 'February Revolution', Kropotkin was permitted to return to Russia. This is where he was greeted by tens of thousands of people filling the streets of St. Petersburg. He was given a chance to lead the ministry of education. However, he turned it down since it would go against his moral values.

When the Bolsheviks took power during the 'October Revolution', his ambitions for creating a stateless society in Russia were bitterly dashed. He established an anarchist cooperative society in the hamlet of Dmitrov after becoming disenchanted with the Bolsheviks. It was situated north of Moscow, where he spent his latter days.

Peter Kropotkin wrote the books 'In Russian and French Prisons' and 'Memoirs of a Revolutionist'. In the years 1901 to 1902, he published his renowned second book. It was titled 'Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution'. The book was followed by 'The Conquest of Bread' and 'Fields, Factories, and Workshops'. Peter Kropotkin gained international recognition with the publication of his book 'The Great French Revolution'.

Kropotkin found the motivation and focus on writing books on a dizzying array of subjects. This includes evolution and behavior, ethics, the geography of Asia, anarchism, socialism, communism, criminal justice systems, the state of Russian literature, and more. He wrote it both while he was imprisoned and while on the run entertaining and educating large crowds. Despite having what seem to be unrelated subjects, these works were connected by the scientific principle of mutual aid, which directed the development of all life on earth.

Kropotkin was one of the greatest naturalists of his day. His sense of the natural world was shaped by both his scientific pursuits and his personal life, particularly his time spent in Siberia.

The fundamental tenet of this rule is Kropotkin's opinion that all social life, whether it be in microbes, animals, or people, has its origins in what we now refer to as altruism and cooperation. He named it mutual aid. Kropotkin simply had the time, resources, and experience to develop his theories while traveling the globe and attempting to avoid the Secret Police.

Kropotkin's mutual aid hypothesis struck him under the strangest of circumstances. When Kropotkin was twenty years old, he started a series of journeys in Siberia to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Alexander von Humboldt. One of the few evolutionary biologists in Russia at the time, he was already a fervent supporter of Darwin and his theory of natural selection.

After traveling 50,000 kilometers and gaining five years of experience, Kropotkin departed Siberia as a Darwinian. He was, however, a completely unique species of evolutionary scientist. Although the evolutionary theory was still in its infancy when Kropotkin set out on his voyage across Siberia, it pushed the idea that the natural world was a harsh place where competition was the driving force. Peter anticipated seeing nature in all its wrath in the frozen wilderness. He researched migratory bird and animal groups, fish schools, and insect communities.

Other Interesting Peter Kropotkin Facts And Trivia

  • The first chapters of Mutual Aid assemble give evidence of cooperation in the animal world. However, subsequent chapters examine mutual aid among what Kropotkin refers to as 'savages' and 'barbarians', as well as in medieval towns. He explained how the idea of mutual aid might be used in Russia and the rest of human society. As a result, it became a key text among anarchist ideas in modern societies.
  • Mikhailov sent Peter Kropotkin a book by French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. This served as Kropotkin's introduction to anarchist ideas and activism.
  • Animals belonging to the same species seldom engaged in combat in Kropotkin's observation. What he did see was cooperation everywhere. Wolves were hunting in packs, birds were sharing food and warmth, deer were exploring new pastures in tandem, and horses were adopting protective formations against predators. He sensed mutual assistance and support whenever he watched animal life.
  • His opposition to the idea of authority extended to both anarchist activists and anarchist intellectuals.
  • Kropotkin accomplished more than anybody to give anarchism a historical lineage and a scientific foundation by tracing its origins in evolutionary theory and ancient grassroots traditions of sociability and mutuality.
  • The Moscow Metro's Dvorets Sovetov station was renamed Kropotkinskaya in his honor in 1957.
  • Kropotkin became a full-fledged revolutionary and proclaimed himself an anarchist after the passing of his father. It permitted him to give up any pretense that he was still in a government position in life. He promoted cooperation over violence and advocated for tiny, self-governing villages where people might dwell.
  • Later, between 1890 and 1896, Kropotkin wrote five pieces that were included in the book 'Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution'. His studies had moved beyond the Siberian steppes to take into account cooperative reptiles, hierarchies of hyenas, shoaling fish, and eusocial insects like bees and ants. The degree to which he saw mutual support and assistance made him view it as a trait of the highest significance for the survival of life, the preservation of each species, and evolution.

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Peter Kropotkin Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Birth Name

Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin

Date of Birth

1842-12-09

Date of Death

1921-02-08

Nationality

Russian

Child Star?

No

Education

Corps of Pages

Partner

Sophie Anaiev

Parents

Peter Kropotkin

Siblings

Alexander Kropotkin
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Written by Anupama Ghosh

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Archaeology and Ancient History, Master of Arts specializing in Archaeology and Ancient History

Anupama Ghosh picture

Anupama GhoshBachelor of Arts specializing in Archaeology and Ancient History, Master of Arts specializing in Archaeology and Ancient History

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Archaeology and Ancient History and a Master's degree in the same field from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. Anupama is a content coordinator with a diverse professional background in sales, academic research, content writing, advertising, and market research. She has strong communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills that she has honed through her various roles. She worked as a research associate, customer care executive, and data intel associate before joining Kidadl. In her free time, Anupama enjoys reading books, watching Marvel movies, and listening to Jagjit Singh's songs.

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