Ivan IV of Russia

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Ivan IV Vasilyevich (Russian: About this sound Ива́н Четвёртый, Васи́льевич​ , Ivan Chetvyorty, Vasilyevich; 25 August 1530 – 28 March [O.S. 18 March] 1584),[1] known in English as Ivan the Terrible (Russian: About this sound Ива́н Гро́зный​ , Ivan Groznyi), was Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533. His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state spanning almost one billion acres, approximately 130 km2 (50 sq mi) a day.[2] Ivan oversaw numerous changes in the transition from a medieval nation state to an empire and emerging regional power, and became the first Tsar of a new and more powerful nation.

Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan's complex personality: he was described as intelligent and devout, yet given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental illness. One notable outburst may have resulted in the death of his groomed and chosen heir Ivan Ivanovich, which led to the passing of the Tsardom to the younger son: the weak and possibly mentally retarded[3] Feodor I of Russia. His contemporaries called him "Ivan Groznyi" the name, which, although usually translated as "Terrible", actually means something closer to "Awe-Inspiring" and carries connotations of might, power and strictness rather than horror or cruelty.[4][5][6]

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