Mankind has always tried to find a way to move not only on the water surface, but beneath it. Numerous accounts of desperate inventors trying to conquer the underwater space have survived.
The first archived proof of a submarine built in Russia dated back to 1718, when a carpenter Yefim Nikonov filed a petition with Peter the Great that proposed building a «secret» ship.
«... For the occasion of the military he shall make a vessel aimed at enemy, which at quiet times shall wreck ships at sea... For the first try he shall make a sample vessel and he shall see how many cannons it will have. And should this not be the will of the Tsar, he shall be executed».
Peter the Great was interested, and ordered the construction of the "secret fiery large body ship,” which was supposed to be equipped with gunpowder flamethrowers, according to entries in the journals of the Admiralty Board.
The submarine was first set afloat in the autumn of 1724. However, during a subsequent descend, the wooden bottom of the ship was damaged, and water began to penetrate into the body.
Peter, who witnessed the incident, ordered that the damage be fixed and the experiments continued. But Peter the Great passed away in January 1725 and Nikonov lost his patronage. Soon he was demoted to a simple «admiralty worker» and exiled to Astrakhan Shipyard, while his ship was locked in a shed, where it rotted.