Monday 12 June 2023


Abram Petrovich Hannibal (Gannibal in Russia) was born an African prince, but kidnapped as a young boy about 1692 in East Africa and sent to Istanbul as a hostage. A year later he was sent as a present to Tsar Peter of Russia, who used him as an experiment to demonstrate his educational theories. He was a brilliant student and soon became a favorite of the Tsar, who had him baptized and given the names Petrovich (after himself) and Hannibal (after the Black African General who was feared in Rome).

He became a fine General and Engineer and was appointed tutor to the crown prince, but after Peter's death court jealousies led to him being sent to Siberia on increasingly unimportant jobs. Eventually he was arrested and imprisoned. The Tsarina Anna Ivanova rescued him and not only restored his position at court but made him Engineer General of Russia and awarded him the Alexander Nevski Medal. He died a wealthy and revered man, leaving a wife and nine children, one of whom was the grandfather of Alexander Pushkin.

British aristocrats descended from Abram Petrovich Gannibal include:

Natalia Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster and her sister, Alexandra Hamilton, Duchess of Abercorn. George Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, is also a direct descendant, as the grandson of Nadejda Mountbatten, Marchioness of Milford Haven.

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