Dmitry Donskoy

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Saint Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy (Russian: Дми́трий Ива́нович Донско́й, also known as Dimitrii), or Dmitry of the Don, sometimes referred to as Dmitry I (12 October 1350, Moscow – 19 May 1389, Moscow), son of Ivan II Krasny, reigned as the Prince of Moscow from 1359 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1363 to his death. He was the first prince of Moscow to openly challenge Mongol authority in Russia. His nickname, Donskoy (i.e., "of the Don"), alludes to his great victory against the Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo (1380) which took place on the Don River.[1]

Contents

Early reign

Dmitry ascended the throne of Principality of Moscow at the age of 9. During his minority, the government was actually run by Metropolitan Aleksey of Russia. In 1360 the highest dignity among Russian princes, that of Grand Prince of Vladimir, was transferred by a Khan of the Golden Horde upon Dmitry Konstantinovich of Nizhniy Novgorod. In 1363, when that prince had been deposed, Dmitry Ivanovich was finally crowned at Vladimir. Three years later, he made peace with Dmitriy Konstantinovich and married his daughter Eudoxia. In 1376, their joined armies ravaged Volga Bulgaria.

The most important event during the early years of Dmitry's reign was construction of the first stone Moscow Kremlin, completed in 1367. The new fortress allowed the city to withstand two sieges by Algirdas of Lithuania, in 1368 and 1370. Attempt for the third siege in 1372 ended in Treaty of Lyubutsk. In 1375, Dmitry managed to settle his conflict with Mikhail II of Tver over Vladimir in his favour. Other princes of Northern Russia also acknowledged his authority and contributed their troops to his impending struggle against the Horde. By the end of his reign, Dmitry more than doubled territory of Moscow principality.

Struggle against Mamai

Dmitry's thirty-year reign saw the beginning of the end for Mongol domination of parts of what is now Russia. The Golden Horde was severely weakened by civil war and dynastic rivalries. Dmitry took advantage of this lapse in Mongol authority to openly challenge the Tatars.

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