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Russia: A Timeline

March 19, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Russia’s history is rife with both booms and busts.

From early Mongol invasions to tsarist regimes to ages of enlightenment and industrialization to revolutions and wars, Russia is known not just for its political rises of world power and upheaval, but for its cultural contributions (think ballet, Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky, caviar and vodka).

Below is a timeline of notable events in the world’s largest country.

Mongol Invasions

862: The first major East Slavic state, Kievan Rus, is founded and led by the Viking Oleg of Novgorod (although some historians dispute this account). Kiev becomes the capital 20 years later.

980-1015: Prince Vladimir the Great, who converts from paganism to Orthodox Christianity, rules the Rurik dynasty and spreading his newfound religion. His son, Yaroslav the Wise, reigns from 1019-1054 as grand prince, establishing a written code of law, and Kiev becomes a center of politics and culture in eastern Europe.

1237-1240: Mongols invade Kievan Rus, destroying cities including Kiev and Moscow. The Khan of the Golden Horde rules Russia until 1480.

1480-1505: Ivan III—known as Ivan the Great—rules, freeing Russia from the Mongols, and consolidating Muscovite rule.

1547-1584: Ivan IV—or Ivan the Terrible—becomes the first tsar of Russia. The grandson of Ivan the Great expands the Muscovite territory into Serbia, while instituting a reign of terror against nobility using military rule. He dies of a stroke in 1584.

Romanov Dynasty

1613: After several years of unrest, famine, civil war and invasions, Mikhail Romanov is coronated as tsar at age 16, ending a long period of instability. The Romanov dynasty will rule Russia for three centuries.

1689-1725: Peter the Great rules until his death, building a new capital in St. Petersburg, modernizing the military (and founding the Russian navy) and reorganizing the government. With his introduction of Western European culture, Russia becomes a world power.

1796: Russia’s longest-ruling female leader, Catherine II, or Catherine the Great, takes power in a bloodless coup and her reign marks Russia’s era of enlightenment. A champion of the arts, her 30-plus-year rule also extends Russia’s borders.

1853-1856: Stemming from Russian pressure on Turkey and religious tensions, the Ottoman Empire, along with British and French forces, fights Russia and Czar Nicholas I in the Crimean War. Russia is crippled in its defeat.

Brutal Execution of the Romanovs (TV-PG; 5:55)

1861: Tsar Alexander II issues his Emancipation Reform, abolishing serfdom and allowing peasants to …read more

Source: HISTORY

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