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Pushkin was born into Russian nobility in Moscow. His matrilineal great-grandfather was Abram Petrovich Gannibal, who was kidnapped from equatorial Africa and raised in the household of Peter the Great. Pushkin published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and was widely recognized by the literary establishment by the time of his graduation from the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum.
While under the strict surveillance of the Tsar's political police and unable to publish, Pushkin wrote his most famous play, the drama Boris Godunov. His novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, was serialized between 1825 and 1832.
Pushkin was fatally wounded in a duel with Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès, a French officer serving with theChevalier Guard Regiment who attempted to seduce the poet's wife, Natalya Pushkina.