On 1 May, 1703 (Russian calendar), during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured the Swedish fortress of Nyenskans on the Neva river in Ingria. A few weeks later, on 27 May, 1703 (May 16, Old Style), lower on the river, on Zayachy (Hare) Island, three miles (5 km) inland from the gulf, he laid down the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first brick and stone building of the new city. He named the city after his patron saint, Saint Peter, the apostle. The original name was meant to sound like Dutch due to Peter's obsession with the Dutch culture. The city was built by conscripted serfs from all over Russia and also by Swedish prisoners of war under the supervision of Alexander Menshikov and later became the centre of Saint Petersburg Governorate. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, before the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 ended the war.
The city's proximity to the border and anti-Soviet armies forced the Bolsheviks under Lenin to transfer the capital to Moscow on March 12, 1918. In 1919 during the ensuing Russian Civil War Nikolay Yudenich advancing from Estonia was about to capture the city from the Bolsheviks, but Leon Trotsky ultimately managed to mobilise the population and make him retreat. Many people fled the city in 1917-1920 or were repressed in the Red Terror, so its population decreased dramatically. On January 24, 1924, three days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad. For decades Leningrad was glorified by the Soviet propaganda as "the cradle of the revolution" and "the city of three revolutions", many spots related to Lenin and the revolutions, such as the cruiser Aurora, were carefully preserved. Many streets and other toponyms were renamed accordingly.