The Rise of Muscovy Russia in the 16th Century

The Decline of Republic of Novgorod in the 15th Century

Novgorod's position in international trade was based on two factors, the first was the position on the Volkhov river, dominating the trade routes along the Russian rivers connecting the Baltic with Byzantium (via the Dnjepr) and the Islamic World (via Volga and Caspian). The other was Novgorod's control over a vast supply of products from the North, foremost fur, bee's wax etc.
By the middle of the 14th century, political order in Russia broke down, due to the weakness of the GOLDEN HORDE. The Grand Duchies of Lithuania and of Muscovy began an expansionist policy. As a consequence, the trade routes along the Russian rivers became unsafe. And even if merchants were able to pass, Constantinople was not the capital of an impressive Empire any more, merely able to hold on to the city itself. And the Islamic world never fully had recovered from the destruction of Baghdad in 1262.
The economic importance of Novgorod had deteriorated that much, that the Hanseatic League had closed down it's ST. PETER'S YARD, and the city of Reval, having leased the Gotlandic ST. OLAF'S YARD, attempted to get out of their contract because the lease fee eceeded the profits. Unfortunately, the treaty included no provision for such a case and Reval continued to pay until into the 16th century.
In 1478, Russian troops under Grand Duke Ivan III. of Muscovy occupied Novgorod and ended the Republic's independence.

Novgorod the Great Homepage
DOCUMENTS The Novgorod Chronicle : Selected Annals, from Medieval Sourcebook
REFERENCE Kievan Rus, in : John Channon and Robert Hudson, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Russia, London : Penguin 1995, pp.22-23
The Chronicle of Novgorod 1016-1471, trsl. by Robert Michell and Nevill Forbes, (London 1914) Reprint n.d., KMLA Lib. Call Sign 947 M623c

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 11th 2008

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