Synopsis of Russian History

The period in Russian history that lasted from 900 to approximately 1725 contained some major events that exerted a profound influence on Russia’s development. In the 900s, Russia was still relatively small and during the 900s, converted to Orthodox Christianity, an event whose significance is extreme. Two campaigns against Constantinople were also executed during the early and the mid 900s. In the 1000s, the Saint Sophia was built in Novgorod and the Hagia Sophia was built in Kiev; the split of the Christian religion underlined the event. The other main event of the 1000s was the start of the compiling of Russian laws into one authoritive code and the growth of Russia. In the period of 1100-1200, not a whole lot happened; a prince sacked Kiev amongst fighting of other local princes, and the Chronicle was written. In the 1200s, the Kiev Rus state expanded and Moscow became known as the Third Rome after the fall of Constantinople during the fourth crusade. But soon after these events took place, the Golden Horde overran Russia and took control of Russian wealth, forcing all of Russia to pay tribute. The early 1300s were a time of peace caused by the Mongol rule with the only significant change being the gradual transfer of power from Kiev to Moscow. During the mid and late 1300s however, the Ivan’s began to come into power with Ivan I, Ivan II, and Dmitri, who was not an Ivan, but was the son of Ivan II and the first Russian ruler not Mongol-appointed since their invasion. He defeated the Mongols in battle and sparked the end of the Mongol state. The 1400s saw the end of the Mongol state with the last of the Mongol forces being driven out by around 1460 by Ivan III, or Ivan the Great. Ivan the Great greatly expanded Russia by encouraging the Russian people to take what was rightfully theirs. He also drove out the last of the Mongols, married the niece of the Byzantine Emperor, and created a new legal system called the “Sudenik.” The 1500s were somewhat of a time of turmoil for Russia, with the main cause being the horrifying reign of Ivan the Terrible. The first books were also printed in Russia, men were sent abroad in hopes of modernization, and Russia gained its only open port. In the early 1600s, there was a dreadful famine throughout the nation, killing upwards of 500,000 people. In its weakened state, Russia is conquered by Poland and is later freed because of revolutions. The next major occurrence was the founding of the Romanov dynasty by Mikhail Deoforovich Romanov, a dynasty whose rulers included Alexis, Sophia, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great. Peter the Great was one of the most influential leaders in all of Russian history, pushing strongly for modernization, westernization, and a general overhaul of the Romanov state. He modernized the Russian army, with which he recaptured all of the Russian coast, and he introduced a governmental advancement system based on merit instead of heritage. This lengthy part of Russian history was host to numerous events which had vast implications on the development of Russia.