Grand Duchy of Moscow

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The Grand Duchy of Moscow (Russian: Великое Княжество Московское, Velikoye Knyazhestvo Moskovskoye) was a medieval Russian polity centered on Moscow between 1283 and till the Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 and proclamation of Muscovite Tsardom (Russian: Московское Царство, Moskovskoye Tsarstvo). The Grand Duchy of Moscow, as the state is known in Russian records, has been referred to by many Western sources as Muscovy. However, this term is also sometimes applied to the Tsardom of Russia. The Grand Duchy of Moscow was the successor to the Principality of Moscow and the predecessor of the Tsardom of Russia.

Contents

Origin

When the Mongols invaded the lands of Kievan Rus', Moscow was an insignificant trading outpost in the principality of Vladimir-Suzdal. Though Mongols burnt down Moscow in the winter of 1238 and pillaged it in 1293, the outpost's remote, forested location offered some security from Mongol attacks and occupation, and a number of rivers provided access to the Baltic and Black Seas and to the Caucasus region.

More important to Moscow's development into what became the state of Moscow however, was its rule by a series of princes who collaborated with Mongols and provide their policy. The first ruler of the principality of Moscow, Daniel I (d. 1303), was the youngest son of Alexander Nevsky of Vladimir-Suzdal. He started to expand his principality by seizing Kolomna and securing the bequest of Pereslavl-Zalessky to his family. Daniel's son Yuriy (also known as Georgiy) controlled the entire basin of the Moskva River and expanded westward by capturing Mozhaisk. He then forged an alliance with the overlord of the Russian principalities, Uzbeg Khan of the Golden Horde, and married the khan's sister. He was allowed by the khan to claim the title of Grand Duke of Vladimir-Suzdal, a position which allowed him to interfere into the affairs of the Novgorod Republic to the north-west.

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