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Cornelis Cruys

Cornelis Cruys

Male 1655 - 1727  (71 years)

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  • Name Cornelis Cruys 
    Born 17 Jun 1655  Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Name Nils Olsen 
    Residence 1680  Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Captain of Dutch merchantmen sailing between Spain, Netherlands and Carribean. 
    Occupation Jul 1696  Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Joined Dutch navy as onder-equipagemeester. 
    Residence May 1698  , , Russia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Under contract to Russian navy as vice-admiral. 
    Occupation 1721  , , Russia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Named admiral in Russian navy. 
    Died 3 Jun 1727  St Petersburg, Russia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 19 Aug 1727  Oude Kirk, Amsterdam, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I3558  Master
    Last Modified 16 May 2012 

    Father Ole Gudfastesen,   b. 1606,   d. Dec 1668, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Mother Apellone Nilsdatter Koch,   b. 1627,   d. May 1705, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years) 
    Family ID F1200  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Catherine Vought,   b. 1662, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1741, St Petersburg, Russia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Married 1681  Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Johanna Cruys,   b. 1682, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. St Petersburg, Russia Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Rollof Cruys,   b. 1684, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1685  (Age 1 years)
    +3. Rudolf Cruys,   b. 1685, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Dec 1736, København, København, Sjælland, Denmark Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 51 years)
     4. Claas Cruys,   b. 1686, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1687, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 1 years)
    +5. Jan Cruys,   b. 1688, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1749  (Age 61 years)
    Family ID F1199  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 17 Jun 1655 - Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Captain of Dutch merchantmen sailing between Spain, Netherlands and Carribean. - 1680 - Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 1681 - Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Joined Dutch navy as onder-equipagemeester. - Jul 1696 - Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Under contract to Russian navy as vice-admiral. - May 1698 - , , Russia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Named admiral in Russian navy. - 1721 - , , Russia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 3 Jun 1727 - St Petersburg, Russia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 19 Aug 1727 - Oude Kirk, Amsterdam, Netherlands Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Cornelis Cruys
    Cornelis Cruys
    Cornelis Cruys Statue on street in Stavanger.
    Cornelis Cruys Statue on street in Stavanger.

  • Notes 
    • Cornelius Cruys birth name was Niels Olsen from Stavanger. When he was 13 years old, he was sent to the Netherlands to live with his mother's sister, where he settled and changed his name to Cornelius Cruys. He joined the Navy and was elevated thru the ranks to Rear Admiral. He became very famous and was nicknamed "The Blue Admiral". Johannes Kreutz Magnus wrote of his ancestor in the Rogaland Historielag No. 17 dated 1931. Following is an excerpt from The Netherlands Historic Naval Library.

      Cornelis Cruys, a Dutch Rear-Admiral in Russian Service

      During the Northern War, the influence of Dutch seamen on the Russian navy increased to such an extent that the Swedish king Charles XII made an irritated remark about it:

      "At the Muscovian fleet we saw nothing more Muscovian than the flags. We had to fight against a Dutch fleet, with Dutch commanders, manned with Dutch seamen and we were exposed to Dutch bullets, driven by Dutch gunpowder."1

      During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Russian naval regulations were published in Russian as well as in Dutch. Even the colors of the Russian naval flags were based on the Dutch ones: red, white and blue for the merchant navy, and white with a blue cross for the warships.2
      The subject of this paper is Cornelis Cruys, a Dutch rear-admiral in Russian service, who was to a large extent the architect of Dutch involvement in the building of a Russian fleet. I will deal especially with Cruys' position in the complicated relationship between Russia and the Dutch Republic during the first years of the Northern War. Did Cruys' activities comply with the Dutch Republic's foreign policy? Are his experiences typical of the possibilities and problems in the field of Russian-Dutch cooperation? Which were Cruys' tasks between 1702 and 1704, and did he succeed in fulfilling them?

      Cruys' involvement with the Russian navy started with the arrival of the "Great Embassy" in the Dutch Republic, in 1697. Although the Russians failed in their main objective - to persuade the Dutch to take part in a war against the Ottoman Empire- they succeeded in bringing large numbers of Dutch naval officers, technicians, shipbuilders, physicians, and other specialists into the Russian service. The key figures in the dispatchment of Dutch specialists to Russia were the Amsterdam burgomasters Witsen and Hudde. They cultivated good relations with the Admiralty of Amsterdam, and with merchants trading in the Baltic area. In the years after the Great Embassy's departure, Witsen and Hudde were the ones who tirelessly defended Russian interests in Amsterdam.

      One of the specialists who went to Russia in 1698 was the Amsterdam naval officer Cornelis Cruys, who worked for the Amsterdam Admiralty as an inspector of naval equipment. At first, Cruys was unwilling to go to Russia, but eventually he was persuaded by Witsen and the Amsterdam Admiral Schey to assist the Tsar in the construction of his fleet. It was agreed that Cruys would be "lent" to Russia by Amsterdam, and that he would be given the rank of Rear-Admiral with a salary of 3600 rubels and 3 percent of the spoils of war, should it come to any battle.
      Cruys was allowed to bring a secretary and five servants, including a Lutheran clergyman. Furthermore, it was stipulated that the Tsar was obliged to buy Cruys out if he were to fall into enemy hands.3

      Given the naval plans Peter had in mind, Cruys was the ideal choice. Because of his former function, Cruys was highly familiar with everything to do with the construction and equipment of ships, and possibly, also with the production of sea charts. The Dutch Republic's refusal to become involved in a war against the Ottoman Empire did not stop Peter from using Dutch specialists for the building of a war fleet at Voronezh on the Don. In 1699 this fleet sailed down the Don to Azov under Peter and Cruys' command. During this journey the entire course of the Don was systematically measured and charted.4

      In 1701, Cruys was ordered to leave Voronezh and to organise the defense of Arkhangelsk, which was threatened by the Swedes. Arkhangelsk was the only harbor with access to Europe via the White Sea, and was therefore of enormous strategic importance. In this city Cruys had to deal with the distrust of high ranking Russians against foreigners, and with the inadequate knowledge of the local carpenters. Cruys' first letters to his direct superior, Admiral Peter Golovin, gives a good impression of the activities he undertook. In March 1702, after a tiresome journey of two weeks, Cruys arrived in Arkhangelsk. He observed that the construction of two frigates and the res-toration of two ships captured from the Swedish navy had stopped. The equipment was available and the construction-teams were ready to start, but the orders of the Tsar to do so had not yet arrived. Without this important document, the Voyevode had refused every cooperation, and had ordered the construction-teams to stop working.5 Some of Cruys' other activities also failed, such as the construction of a water mill, which had been ordered by the Tsar. The carpenters explained that they were not capable of building such a mill. Furthermore, there was no oak wood, which was absolutely necessary. Cruys could do nothing but ask Golovin to send foreign carpenters from Moscow to Arkhangelsk.6

      The Voyevode of Arkhangelsk regarded Cruys' arrival as a dangerous infringement upon his authority, and he did everything within his power to sabotage his activities. Cruys was given the command of 600 dragoons and an Arkhangelsk regiment of 600 local soldiers. They were to restore and garrison the deteriorated fortifications of the city. The Voyevode sabotaged this by giving the soldiers other tasks, and by having them flogged occasionally. When Cruys protested vigorously, the Voyevode answered that in Arkhan-gelsk the Voyevode is in command, not the Rear-Admiral.7

      The relationship with the Voyevode deteriorated further when Cruys, accompanied by a Dutch engineer, decided to inspect the fortifications in the mouth of the river Dwina. A horrified Cruys discovered that the river was completely silted up, and that the fortifications had been seriously neglected and would probably be incapable of resisting a Swedish attack. During the inspection, Cruys' ships got stuck on a sandbank and the company had to spend the night there. Perhaps Cruys took some consolation from the thought that the Swedish fleet had run into the same sandbanks a year before, during an unsuccessful surprise attack.8

      The next morning Cruys sent an urgent request to the Voyevode to send soldiers, carpenters and equipment, to reinforce the fortifications. The fact that the religious Cruys gave orders to continue work on Sundays indicates how dangerous he thought the situation was. The Voyevode, however, not only refused to consider the request, but also confiscated a small ship which Cruys had been given by the Tsar. The next morning the Arkhangelsk regiment refused to take orders from Cruys any longer. His personal attempt to retrieve the ship from the Voyevode resulted in a slanging-match in front of the governor's palace. A servant of Cruys', who came to deliver a renewed request for equipment to restore the fortifications in the Dvina, was thrown down the palace stairs and put in jail.9

      The archives do not tell us how the conflict between Cruys and the Voyevode ended. A letter from the commander of the Arkhangelsk regiment, in which he thanks Cruys for his payraise, however, gives reason to suspect that Cruys did win.10 There are indications that Cruys had powerful enemies at the Russian court. In august 1702 Cruys had to defend himself against accusations of corruption.11 The existence of a powerful "anti-Cruys" faction at the court helps to explain the confidence with which the Voyevode ignored direct orders from the Tsar.
      Meanwhile, despite constant financial problems, Cruys remained involved in the building of the fleet at Voronezh, from which dozens of warships sailed down the Don. The ships were given ominous names like "The lion with the sword", "Flower of war" or "After tears comes happiness"12, Cruys received his next assignment in August 1702: he was to go back to Amsterdam to look after the Tsar's interests.13 He was to recruit more technicians and naval officers, and was asked to find a place to educate I50 Russian boys who ac-companied him to Amsterdam.

      Cruys' mission required a great deal of tact. According to the government of the Dutch Republic, especially Grand Pensionary Heinsius, the Republic's foreign policy should be focused on the problem of the Spanish Succession.14 France, which had put forward a candidate to occupy the Spanish throne, was to be stopped by a coalition consisting mainly of the Republic and England. The most important person behind this scheme was William III, who was not only king of England, but also stadtholder (governor) of the Republic. William's death, a few months before Cruys' arrival in Amsterdam, meant a severe blow to this strategy.15

      The Republic did not welcome the war between Russia and Sweden, Particularly because the Republic wanted to hire Swedish troops in the event of war against France: the employment of these troops on the Russian front limited that possibility. In 1700 a combined Dutch-Swedish fleet attacked Copenhagen and forced the Danish king to make peace with Sweden. The second objective, however, to persuade the Russian government to stay neutral, failed.16

      Within the Dutch Republic, Heinsius' policy was obstructed by Amster-dam. The city government did not want the stadtholder to become too powerful, and was reluctant to become engaged in a costly war against France. Furthermore, the dominance of Amsterdam's old rival England in the alliance caused a lot of resentment.17 The result of these developments was that the Republic became a Swedish ally, while Amsterdam supported the Russian cause more and more openly. With a typically Dutch sense of compromise, both parties were sold weaponry.

      The Republic's equivocal attitude to the Northern War was ideal for someone with the capacities and contacts of Cornelis Cruys. Cruys was most effectively supported by the Amsterdam burgomasters Witsen and Hudde, the secretary of the Admiralty of Amsterdam, De Wilde, and the Russian ambassador, Matveev. Amsterdam made a good profit from the trade with the Baltic area, and welcomed the chance to eliminate English competition. All this was reason enough to oppose Heinsius' pro-Swedish policy, both openly and secretly. After Peter's successful campaign in the Baltic area, De Wilde noted, in a conversation with Cruys, that trade with Russia in rye, barley, buckwheat, hemp, tar, masts, wood and iron would now be possible. De Wilde suggested that Peter annex Narva, in order to encourage Poland to renew the war with Sweden. According to De Wilde, it would be profitable for the borders and His Majesty's trade if his two neighbors continued to plunder each other.18

      Cruys' first problem was housing 150 Russsian boys, who had arrived in Amsterdam after a sea journey of seven weeks in bad weather and storm. Cruys wrote to Golovin that the boys felt very miserable and had almost drowned. At first, Cruys tried to place the boys as apprentices on ships of the East and West India Companies. In spite of assistance from Witsen and De Wilde, the plan caused some serious problems: the boys were much too young to serve on a ship, and they did not speak or understand Dutch. This meant that Cruys had to look after dozens of Russian boys and pay for their expenses. The Admiralty and city Government of Amsterdam feared extensive rioting should it become known that efforts were made to place Russian boys on ships in preference to Amsterdam orphans. With assistance from Witsen and De Wilde, some of the boys were placed in villages in the vicinity of Amsterdam, where they could make themselves useful and learn Dutch.19 During 1703, Cruys succeeded in placing some of the older boys on warships, and others on the fleets to Greenland and the Indies.20

      The other point of Cruys' instruction proved to be easier. Between November I702 and June 1704, Cruys recruited hundreds of specialists willing to work for the Tsar. Most of them were petty naval officers, but the company also included physicians, soldiers, painters, sculptors, architects, engineers, locksmiths, cartographers, farmers, carpenters, and others. The fact that Cruys operated more and more openly is not only illustrated by the growing number of recruits, but also by the undisguised advise he requested, and received, from the Russian, Danish and Polish ambassadors in Amsterdam.21

      The terms of recruitment were positively attractive for anyone wishing to start a new future in another country. The contract of master painter Wilhelm Grommee Lambertszoon stipulated that after four years he would be allowed either to return to the Republic or to stay in Russia as a free man, with his own workplace. If the painter were to die before his contract had ended, his salary would be paid to his wife and children for one more year.22

      In 1703, the rush of Dutch specialists to Russia was so large, that Dutch recruitment in Amsterdam ran into trouble. Due to a shortage of sailors, the Dutch needed a thousand of them for their own ships, and could no longer afford to let Cruys continue his activities. 23 Admiral Golovin very cleverly suggested a package deal. One thousand Russian men were to be sent to Amsterdam to become sailors on Dutch warships; after a stipulated period, they were to return to Russia as experienced sailors. Golovin's proposal caused some embarrassment in the Dutch and Amsterdam governments. After a few months, in which the government at The Hague and the Admiralty of Amsterdam tried to have the other solve the problem, the States General at The Hague decided to grant Cruys permission to let the Russian sailors come over. They were not, however, allowed to enter the Republic, but to be distributed among the Dutch warships immediately. 24 The resolution was never effectuated.

      In the autumn of 1703, relations between Sweden and the Dutch Republic deteriorated. England and the Republic distrusted the Swedish intentions in Poland, and Sweden was afraid that England and the Republic would support Sweden's enemies. In August 1703, Amsterdam successfully put a stop to a proposal by Grand Pensionary Heinsius to support the Swedish policy in Poland by giving a guarantee against Danish and Prussian intervention. 25 The changing attitude of the Republic towards Sweden explains why it was possible for Cruys to organise such extensive shipments of people, weaponry and equipment to Russia so openly. When Cruys returned to Arkhangelsk in 1704, he communicated a specific request from Heinsius to Golovin, to correspond with the Tsar on a regular basis. 26

      Immediately after his return to Arkhangelsk, Cruys resumed his attempts to reform the city which, judging by the amount of people he sent there, must have had a large number of Dutch inhabitants. In May 1704, Cruys sent Golovin an extensive report concerning the organization of toll-collecting and customs regulations at Amsterdam. 27 He was obviously planning to introduce this system in Arkhangelsk, because in November of the same year he wrote a report on the necessity to restore the city's fortifications, and on introducing an effective tax system. The incoming ships were to pay for a new pilot service and for beacons, which would indicate which part of the Dwina was navigable. Furthermore, there were to be effective tax regulations, and supervision to prevent ships from unloading their cargo without paying for it. 28 It seems likely that Cruys was planning to change Arkhangelsk into an effective stronghold for Dutch merchants trading in the Baltic. Why else would his measures provoke a revolt from the English merchants living in the city? Why else would influential Amsterdam merchants and politicians, like Witsen, Hudde, De Wilde, Thesingh, Kintius and Van den Burgh -people who made their fortune from Baltic trade- support his activities so vigorously? Cruys own reports to- Golovin about the political situation in Amsterdam indicate clearly and frequently that, although the City Govern-ment was not unsympathetic toward Russia, the real and active support for his activities came from this limited group of men.

      In 1704, Hudde and De Wilde died in brief succession. In a letter to Golovin, Cruys creates a vivid image of the disaster which had struck the Dutch Republic and the city of Amsterdam:

      "The whole of Holland may mourn; there have been four years of famine, three years of warfare and two years of devastating floods and shipwrecks. This spring we lost two powerful statesmen, namely Hudde and De Wilde. Their death is the greatest loss, because even when the city (Amsterdam) and the Republic are weak, when they are governed with wisdom one can always maintain something of their position. But when wise decisions are lacking, downfall is close; it is horrible for mankind when God is angry with him." 29

      Whether the deaths of Hudde and De Wilde were a punishment from God or the normal course of nature is not for a historian to answer. Five years later, the Swedish army was defeated at Poltava, and the ever-pragmatic Dutch regents would definitively back away from the Swedish cause. Cornelis Cruys pursued an impressive career which was to last until his death in 1727.

      The Dutch Republic's attitude towards the Northern War was typical of a republic of merchants in wartime. The problem of the Spanish Succession dictated careful and hesitant support for Sweden, which only increased the Swedish king's determination to continue the war: this being exactly what the Republic was trying to prevent. Although in 1704 most people in Europe believed that Russia would not win the war against Sweden, Heinsius was clearly keen to keep all his options open by not provoking Russia too much.

      At the same time, Amsterdam was allowed to protect its interests concern-ing the Baltic trade as long as this did not happen too openly. Although a large part of the Amsterdam City Government probably sympathized with Russia, the active support mainly came from a small group of people with vested interests in the Baltic trade.

      For Cruys, this was the ideal situation in which to organise the recruitment of specialists and the shipments of large quantities of arms and equipment to his new master. In a situation in which none of the parties concerned dared to intervene in the vital interests of the other, Cruys could practically do what he wanted as long as he stayed out of the public eye. As an old Dutch saying goes: it is good fishing in troubled waters. It was only when his activities attracted too much attention, and the recruitment of sailors for Dutch fleets ran into danger that Heinsius and Amsterdam put a stop to it. By that time, Cruys had already achieved his goals.

      1. J. Hosmar, "Cornelis Cruys bouwde Russische vloot op. Arnsterdammer in dienst van Tsaar Peter de Grote", Ons Amsterdam 26/9 (1974), 259
      2. Ibid; supposedly this blue cross is a reference to Cornelis Cruys, "Cruys" being the Dutch word for "cross".
      3. Russian State Archive for Old Files (RGADA), list 329/2: (I698).
      4. E. Okhuizen, "The Dutch contribution to the cartography of Russia during the 16th-17th centuries"
      Russians and Dutchmen (Groningen 1993) 106-107.
      5. RGADA 329/10(1702)
      6. Ibid.
      8. H. Buchler, "Admiral Cornelis Cruys und der niederlandische Beitrag helm Aufbau der russischen Flotre unter Peter I", Marineblad 85 (1975),44.
      9. RGADA 3z9/10 (1707),
      10. RGADA 329/14 (I702)-
      11. RGADA 329/14 (1702).
      12. RGADA 329/14 (1702).
      13. RGADA 329/10 (1707).
      14. For a good survey of the position of the Dutch Republic during the Northern
      War, read: J.S.A.M. van Koningsbrugge, "Of diplomats, merchants and regents;
      Durch-Baltic relations in the period 1697-1709", Russians and Dutchmen, 159-182.
      More elaborate still is Tussen Rijswijk en Utrecht. De diplomatieke 6etrekkincen
      tussen Zweden en de Verenigde Nederlanden, I697-I7I3 (Groningen, 1996) by the
      same author.
      15. P. Geyl, The Netherlands in the seventeenth century (London, 1964), z73-274.
      16. Koningsbrugge, "Of diplomats, merchants, and regents", 163.
      17. Geyl, op.cit., 258.
      18. RGADA 3z9/69 (`1704).
      19. RGADA 329/9, 26, 30 (1702~1703).
      20. RGADA 329/33 (1703)
      21.RGADA 329/69 (I704).
      22.RGADA 329/69 (1704).
      23.RGADA 329/37 (I703).
      24. RGADA 329/132 (1704).
      25 Van Koningsbrugge, op. cit., 174.
      26. RGADA, 329/107 (I704).
      27. RGADA 379/69 (~704).
      28.RGADA 329/69 (1704).
      29.RGADA 329/116 (1704).

      More About Cornelius Cruys:
      Burial: 19 Aug 1727, Amsterdam.
      Occupation: Rear Admiral.
    • Cornelis Cruys was a Vice Admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy and the first commander of the Russian Baltic Fleet.

      Early life and career

      He was born as Niels Olsen (Olufsen) in the city of Stavanger in Norway in 1655 and was half Norwegian and half Dutch. It is uncertain when the Norwegian Niels Olsen (in Dutch `Cornelis Roelofsz') emigrated to the Dutch Republic and changed his name to Cornelis Cruys (Kornelius Krøys or Cornelis Cruijs). However, according to several municipal sources, Cruys lived in Amsterdam for at least eighteen years before he joined the Russian Navy.

      The first known record about Cruys was produced by the local administration of Amsterdam in 1681. That year he married the nineteen-year-old Catharina Voogt. She was born in Amsterdam and was the daughter of Claas Pieterszoon Voogt, a Dutch captain of a merchantman, and Jannetje Jans. In the civil registration of his marriage, Cruys was called a sailor from Amsterdam, 24 years old, an orphan. In December of that year, about seven months after his marriage, Cruys was officially registered as a citizen or poorter of Amsterdam.

      In 1680 Cruys became the captain of a Dutch merchantman. Until 1696 he sailed to Portugal, Spain and the Caribbean. In July 1696 he joined the Dutch Navy. He was appointed onder-equipagemeester at the naval dockyard of the Amsterdam Admiralty. In less than two years he would leave Holland for the Russian Navy.

      Service in Russia

      In 1697, Russian Tsar Peter the Great travelled incognito with a large Russian delegation - the so-called Grand Embassy. He visited the Netherlands to study the latest inventions, especially in shipbuilding. Thanks to the mediation of Nicolaas Witsen, mayor of Amsterdam and expert on Russia par excellence, the tsar was given the opportunity to gain practical experience in the largest private shipyard in the world, belonging to the Dutch East India Company in Amsterdam, for a period of four months. The tsar helped with the construction of an Eastindiaman especially laid down for him: Peter and Paul.

      During his stay in the Netherlands the tsar engaged, with the help of Russian and Dutch assistants, many skilled workers such as builders of locks, fortresses, shipwrights and seamen. They had to help him with his modernization of Russia. The best-known sailor who made the journey from the Netherlands to Russia was Cornelis Cruys. Cruys accepted the tsar's generous offer to enter into his service as vice-admiral. He emigrated to Russia in 1698 and became the tsar's most important adviser in maritime affairs.

      Cruys performed well in Russia and came be regarded as the architect of the Russian Navy. After his return to Russia the tsar put his Azov Flotilla under the command of admiral Fyodor Golovin, a Russian nobleman who was the successor of the Swiss Franz Lefort. Golovin was assisted by vice-admiral Cruys and rear-admiral Jan van Rees. Cruys became the first "Russian" mayor of Taganrog 1698-1702. In 1711 he made the first maps of Azov Sea and Don River. He was commander of the Russian Baltic Fleet from 1705 and masterminded the construction of Kronstadt fortress, which was essential in the Great Northern War against Sweden and many years later against the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Cruys worked for the tsar for more than 25 years and reached the highest Russian naval rank of admiral in 1721.

      He died in Saint Petersburg in 1727, two years after the death of his master Peter the Great.