The Decline of Novgorod Russia's Time of Troubles, 1598-1613

Russia in the 16th Century

By 1533, the Grand Princes of Muscovy, that is IVAN III., had achieved the UNIFICATION OF RUSSIAN SOIL, that is of those parts of Russia which were not part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. These areas, separated for centuries from the rest of Russia, would develop into Belarus and Ukraine respectively.
With traditional political centers such as Kiev (Lithuanian) and Novgorod (long decline) paralized, Moscow had emerged as the new center of Russia. The political center of Russia was the KREMLIN, the palace of the Grand Princes. In 1547, IVAN IV., bynamed THE TERRIBLE, took on the title CZAR OF ALL THE RUSSIANS, a title that claimed the rule over the Russian Orthodox subjects of Lithuania. He continued an expansive policy, invading Livonia (1558-1582) and Lithuania, where the Russians were able to take and hold POLOCK (1563-1579). Smolensk and Severia had already been gained from Lithuania by Ivan's predecessor, Vassily III.
Russia, under Ivan IV., also expanded considerably eastward, acquiring the Khanates of Kazan (1552), Astrakhan (1556) and Sibir (1584).
Ivan the Terrible died in 1584. Under his successor, in 1589, the METROPOLIT OF MOSCOW assumed the title of PATRIARCH OF ALL THE RUSSIANS. The Metropolit of Moscow being the head of the Orthodox christians living in Lithuania was too much for Poland-Lithuania to take. They organized, partially successful, the Church Union of Brest (1596).

Muscovite Princes and Grand Princes, 1505-1598
Vassily III.
Ivan IV., Czar since 1547
Feodor I.

Historical Background, from the Russian Orthodox Church
DOCUMENTS Coin : Denga, 1533/47, from Coins from Famous People in History
REFERENCE The Rise of Muscovy, in : John Channon and Robert Hudson, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Russia, London : Penguin 1995, pp.36-37

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on August 24th 2006

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