This article will examine the Russian lands and the rise of Moscow in the late 13th and early 15th centuries, as well as some aspects of the transformation of Muscovy, as Western travelers called the vast new state, into a mighty power.
Turning Moscow into a capital city
The rise of Moscow is attributed to the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. The first stage of this historical process was the reign of the Grand Prince of Moscow Ivan Danilovich, nicknamed Kalita. The prince received the nickname for an intelligent, prudent and balanced policy of saving and multiplying his fortune. Prince Ivan Danilovich constantly bought up lands from other rulers, monasteries, private individuals.
The constant increase of possessions becomes the hallmark of the wise policy of the Moscow princes. A small specific principality is quickly overgrown with palace villages, volosts and even specific cities. Kalita itself bought such cities as Galich, Belozersk, Uglich, and they become part of the Moscow principality.
Attractive policy of Ivan Kalita
The rise of Moscow acquires a rapid and irreversible character. The policy of the Grand Duke of Moscow, based on stability, serenity and prosperity, becomes attractive not only for boyars from other appanage principalities. Grandees from remote lands move to Moscow. The city grew and was rich before the eyes. Ivan Kalita also paid for the cultural development of Moscow, turning it gradually into a metropolitan city.
The most serious impetus to the elevation of Moscow was the relocation of the Kiev Metropolitan. This finally confirmed the leadership of the principality of Ivan Kalita.
At that time the first Kremlin was built. The construction of oak logs in 1339 became a mainstay of protection of the city center and the adjacent land. Great attention is paid to the safety of merchants and the protection of trade routes.
Pedigree books of the majority of boyar families testify that their ancestors settled in Moscow at the time of the reign of Ivan Danilovich.
Russian lands and principalities in the second half of the 13th - early 15th centuries
Tver and Moscow claimed the role of the center in the process of uniting the Russian lands for the struggle to overthrow the Golden Horde yoke. This struggle becomes a national idea. And for a successful confrontation, a single center is always needed, which consolidates the liberation impulse.
The Tver principality was at that time the strongest in Russia. But fate did not prepare him, but Moscow would become the head of the process of uniting the Russian lands. The rise of Moscow was rapid, and it rightly acquires the status of "collector of Russian lands."
The dynasty of Moscow princes was founded by Daniil Aleksandrovich, the youngest of the sons of Alexander Nevsky. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, with him, the territory of the Moscow Principality is rapidly expanding. Kolomna, Pereyaslavl, Mozhaisk are part of the principality, and the entire Moscow River, from the source to the mouth, passes into the possession of the Moscow princes. Moscow has evolved over several decades into one of the largest principalities and entered the struggle for the great reign.
Tver or Moscow
The reign of Ivan Danilovich Kalita was the apotheosis of the struggle for the right to become the head of the unification process. The Tver princes had a shortcut from the Horde to the great reign, as heirs of a more ancient branch. But in 1327 the situation radically changed. Tver rebelled against the Horde tax collectors.
Ivan Danilovich together with the Mongolian army suppressed the Tver insurrection. Disputes about this event do not cease to this day. An intelligent politician sacrificed the population of one Russian land to protect the rest from the furious revenge of the Horde rulers. Participation in the suppression of the uprising allowed Ivan Danilovich to get a shortcut to the Grand Duchy, which contributed to the rise of Moscow and since then has always remained with the Moscow princes.
The confrontation between Moscow and Novgorod in the late 14th - 15th centuries
The beginning of the process of the collapse of the Horde was accelerated by the defeat of its troops under the leadership of the Mamaia Temnik in the Kulikovo Battle. Khan Tokhtamysh for a short time restored his influence over Moscow for a short time. But the strengthening of the influence of the Moscow principality acquires an irreversible character. Basil I obtained from Tokhtamysh in 1393 the transfer of Moscow to the Nizhny Novgorod and Murom principality. Moscow is becoming an independent and strong center of Russian lands.
This period is marked by the long struggle of Novgorod and Moscow for the right to be the center of not only political influence, but also the formation of the foundations of the statehood of the Russian lands. Novgorod at that time was the largest principality, which remained outside the orbit of Moscow's political influence. The attempt of Basil I to annex Moscow to the Dvina land, which belonged to Novgorod, ended in failure. Novgorod remained an ally of Lithuania, hostile to the Moscow princes.
Grand Duke Vasily II managed to use the discontent of the Novgorodians with his boyars and in 1456, as a result of a successful campaign, defeated the Novgorod militia. The Novgorod press and legislative rule were abolished and gave way to the Grand Dukes.
The final stage
As a result of literate actions by politicians, a small settlement, once founded by Yuri Dolgoruky, turned into the first city of the Empire. Almost completed the unification of Russian lands. The rise of Moscow and the process of state building entered the final phase. The period of fortification and flourishing begins.
Historians identify several main reasons for Moscow's transformation into the capital:
- favorable geographic location,
- the wise policy of Ivan Kalita,
- moving to these lands of the Kiev Metropolis.
The limited scope of this article allows us to describe the rise of Moscow briefly, but will serve as an impetus for an in-depth study of the history of our state and the great deeds of our ancestors.