Russia 979 CE

The huge new state of Rus has been formed by the descendants of Viking traders.

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What is happening in Russia in 979CE

Scandinavian traders, seeking to secure the trade route from the Baltic to the Black Sea, established settlements along the great river systems of Russia, or captured already established Slav towns (such as Kiev). From these bases, they won control over the areas surrounding the towns, and formed principalities. One of these, Novgorod, assumed a pre-eminent position under its ruler Rurik. He even led an expedition against Constantinople itself in 860.

Later, Oleg of Novgorod won control of Kiev, thus founding the state of Russia. In this state, the Rus (Scandinavians) are a warrior and merchant elite exercising a loose authority over the surrounding Slav communities, from their small, fortified towns.

One of the first acts of the new Rus rulers of Kiev was to attack the Khazars, whose large confederacy of steppe peoples immediately fell apart. They were replaced as the leaders in the region by the Pechenegs, a much more aggressive and militaristic people. One group which fell foul of their aggression was the Magyars, on the River Don (892). The Magyars have therefore followed earlier steppe nomads by heading west into Europe, where they will in due course found the kingdom of Hungary.

Next map, Russia in 1215

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