Ivan I of Russia

Ivan I of Russia

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Ivan I Danilovich Kalita (the moneybag) (Ива́н I Дани́лович Калита́ in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

; 1288 – 31 March 1340) was Prince of Moscow from 1325 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1328.


Ivan was the son of Prince of Moscow Daniil Aleksandrovich.

After the death of his elder brother Yuri III
Yury of Moscow
Yuriy Danilovich, also known as Georgiy Danilovich was Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of Vladimir ....

, Ivan inherited the Principality of Moscow. Ivan participated in the struggle to get the title of Grand Prince of Vladimir
Vladimir is a city and the administrative center of Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Klyazma River, to the east of Moscow along the M7 motorway. Population:...

 which could be obtained with the approval of a khan
Khan (title)
Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

 of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

. The main rivals of the princes of Moscow in this struggle were the princes of Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

 - Mikhail, Dmitry the Terrible Eyes, and Alexander II, all of whom obtained the title of Grand prince of Vladimir and were deprived of it. All of them were murdered in the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

In 1328 Ivan Kalita received the approval of khan Muhammad Ozbeg
Uzbeg Khan
Sultan Mohammed Öz-Beg, better known as Uzbeg or Ozbeg , was the longest-reigning khan of the Golden Horde, under whose rule the state reached its zenith...

 to become the Grand Prince of Vladimir with the right to collect taxes from all Russian lands.

According to the Russian historian Kluchevsky, the rise of Moscow under Ivan I Kalita was determined by three factors. The first one was that the Moscow principality was situated in the middle of other Russian principalities; thus, it was protected from any invasions from the East and from the West. Compared to its neighbors, Ryazan
Ryazan is a city and the administrative center of Ryazan Oblast, Russia. It is located on the Oka River southeast of Moscow. Population: The strategic bomber base Dyagilevo is just west of the city, and the air base of Alexandrovo is to the southeast as is the Ryazan Turlatovo Airport...

 principality and Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

 principality, Moscow was less often devastated. The relative safety of the Moscow region resulted in the second factor of the rise of Moscow – an influx of working and tax-paying people who were tired of constant raids and who actively relocated to Moscow from other Russian regions. The third factor was a trade route from Novgorod to the Volga river.

Ivan Kalita intentionally pursued the policy of relocation of people to his principality by an invitation of people from other places and by purchase of Russian people captured by Mongols during their raids. He managed to eliminate all the thieves in his lands, thus insuring the safety of traveling merchants. Internal peace and order together with the absence of Mongolian raids to the Moscow principality was mentioned in Russian chronicles as “great peace, silence, and relief of Russian land.”

Ivan made Moscow very wealthy by maintaining his loyalty to the Horde (hence, the nickname Kalita, or moneybag). He used this wealth to give loans to neighbouring Russian principalities. These cities gradually fell deeper and deeper into debt, a condition that would allow Ivan's successors to annex them. The people called Ivan the ‘gatherer of the Russian lands’. He bought lands around Moscow, and very often the poor owners sold their lands willingly. Some of them kept the right to rule in their lands on behalf of Ivan Kalita. In one way or another a number of cities and villages joined the Moscow principality - Uglich
Uglich is a historic town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, which stands on the Volga River. Population: A local tradition dates the town's origins to 937. It was first documented in 1148 as Ugliche Pole...

 in 1323, the principality of Belozero in 1328-1338, the principality of Galich
Galich may refer to:*Alexander Ivanovich Galich , Russian philosopher and Latin scholar*Alexander Galich , Russian dissident bard*Galich, Russia, a town in Kostroma Oblast, Russia...

 in 1340. Ivan's greatest success, however, was convincing the Khan in Sarai
Sarai (city)
Sarai was the name of two cities, which were successively capital cities of the Golden Horde, the Mongol kingdom which ruled Russia and much of central Asia in the 13th and 14th centuries...

 that his son, Simeon The Proud
Simeon of Russia
Simeon Ivanovich Gordyi was Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of Vladimir. Simeon continued his father's policies of supporting the Golden Horde and acting as its leading enforcer in Russia. Simeon's rule was marked by regular military and political standoffs against Novgorod Republic and...

, should succeed him as the Grand Prince of Vladimir; from then on, the important position almost always belonged to the ruling house of Moscow. The Head of the Russian Church - Metropolitan Peter
Metropolitan Peter
Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia was the Russian metropolitan who moved his see from Vladimir to Moscow in 1325. Later he was proclaimed a patron saint of Moscow. In spite of the move, the office remained officially entitled "Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'" until the...

, whose authority was extremely high, moved from Vladimir to Moscow to Prince Ivan Kalita.

He died at Moscow in 1340.

By Elena

  • Simeon Ivanovich (7 November 1316 – 27 April 1353), future Grand Duke of Moscow
  • Daniel Ivanovich (1320 – 1328)
  • Fefinia Ivanovna (died young)
  • Maria Ivanovna (died 2 June 1365), married Prince Konstantin of Rostov
    Rostov is a town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, one of the oldest in the country and a tourist center of the Golden Ring. It is located on the shores of Lake Nero, northeast of Moscow. Population:...

  • Ivan Ivanovich (1326 – 13 November 1359), future Grand Duke of Moscow
  • Andrei Ivanovich (4 August 1327 – 6 June 1353), Prince of Novgorod
    Veliky Novgorod
    Veliky Novgorod is one of Russia's most historic cities and the administrative center of Novgorod Oblast. It is situated on the M10 federal highway connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg. The city lies along the Volkhov River just below its outflow from Lake Ilmen...

  • Ievdokia Ivanovna (died 1342), married Vasili Mikhailovich, Prince of Iaroslavl
    Yaroslavl is a city and the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow. The historical part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It is one of the Golden Ring cities, a group of historic cities...

  • Feodosia Ivanovna (died 1365)


Under Ivan Kalita, Moscow was actively growing, and his residence on the Borovitsky hill
Kremlin Hill
Kremlin Hill is one of the seven hills of Moscow. Altitude up to 145 m. The hill is situated in the city centre, at the confluence of the Moscow River and Neglinnaya River...

 became the main part of the city. Erection of either wooden or white-stone constructions was started in the Kremlin. A number of churches were built: in 1326-1327 the Assumption Cathedral
Assumption Cathedral
Assumption Cathedral or Dormition Cathedral may refer to a number of Cathedral churches consecrated to the Dormition of the Theotokos in the Orthodox tradition and Assumption of Mary in the Roman Catholic tradition:*The Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir, aka Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir...

, in 1329 the Church of Ivan the Ladder, in 1330 the Cathedral of the Saviour on the Bor (Forest), and in 1333 the Cathedral of Archangel Michael
Cathedral of the Archangel
The Cathedral of the Archangel is a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Archangel Michael. It is located in Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia between the Great Kremlin Palace and the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. It was the main necropolis for members of the Tsars of Russia until...

, where Ivan Kalita and his descendants were buried. Between 1339 and 1340, Ivan Kalita erected a new, bigger oaken fortress on the Borovitsky hill.

In Ivan’s will “the golden captain” was mentioned for the first time; this cap is identified with the well-known Monomakh’s crown
Monomakh's Cap
Monomakh's Cap , also called the Golden Cap , is one of the symbols of Russian autocracy, and is the oldest of the crowns currently exhibited at the Kremlin Armoury...

, the main crown's of Russian sovereigns.


  • V.O.Kluchevsky. The course of Russian history. Lecture #21
  • Janet Martin, Medieval Russia 980-1584

External links