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Kievan Rus'

882–13th century
Kievan Rus, 11th century
Kievan Rus, 11th century
Capital Kiev
Common languages Old East Slavic
Slavic Paganism
Orthodox Christianity
Government Monarchy
Grand Prince of Kiev  
• 882–912
Legislature Veche, Prince Council
• Established
• Disestablished
13th century
Currency grivna
ISO 3166 code RU

Kievan Rus' (also Kyivan Rus) was a medieval state in Europe. It was from the late 9th to the mid 13th century. It broke apart under the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240.


Vasnetsov Bapt Vladimir fresco in Kiev
Painting of the Baptism of Saint Prince Vladimir

The state was called "land of the Rus' ". The name "Kievan Rus' " was used in the 19th century to mean the time when the center was in Kiev (Kyiv). The early part of the state is sometimes known as the "Rus Khaganate".

The history of Rus' proper begins in 882. This is when the capital was moved from Novgorod to Kiev. This was after Varangians (Vikings), who were called Rus, freed this slavic city from the Khazars' tribute. According to Russian historiography, the first ruler to start uniting East Slavic lands into what has become known as Kievan Rus' was Prince Oleg (882–912).

Sacking of Suzdal by Batu Khan
The sacking of Suzdal

The state reached its most powerful in the mid 11th century. Its lands went south to the Black Sea, east to the Volga, and west to the Kingdom of Poland and to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

The reigns of St. Vladimir (980-1015) and his son Iaroslav the Wise (1019-1054) constitute the Golden Age of Kiev, which saw the acceptance of Orthodox Christianity and the creation of the first Slavic written legal code, the Russkaya Pravda. Kievan Rus' reached its greatest extent under Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054); his sons assembled and issued its first written legal code, the Rus' Justice, shortly after his death.

The various East Slavic principalities were brought together in the Russian Empire in the 18th century. The modern East Slavic states of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia all get their identity from the early medieval state.

Final disintegration

Principalities of Kievan Rus' (1054-1132)
Principalities of Kievan Rus' 1054-1132

The state finally disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of Rus', fragmenting it into smaller states which paid tribute to the Golden Horde (the so-called Tatar Yoke). In the late 15th century, the Muscovite Grand Dukes began taking over former Kievan territories and proclaimed themselves the sole legal successors.

On the western periphery, Kievan Rus' was succeeded by the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia. These territories are now part of modern central Ukraine and Belarus. Due to the fact of the economic and cultural core of Rus' being located on the territory of modern Ukraine, Ukrainian historians and scholars consider Kievan Rus' to be a founding Ukrainian state.

On the north-eastern periphery of Kievan Rus', traditions were adapted in the Vladimir-Suzdal Principality that gradually gravitated towards Moscow. Russian historians consider Kievan Rus the first period of Russian history.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Rus de Kiev para niños

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