The capital and core of Russia. The name of Moscow first appears in Russian chronicles under the year 1147, now considered the birth date of the city, although the region was settled by various Slavic tribes probably in the tenth and eleventh centuries. During this early period in Russian history, from about 1054 to 1240, when the Kievan state became fragmented into individual principalities, Moscow seems to have been little more than a border town of the much larger principality of Vladimir. In 1547, Ivan IV, better known as The Terrible, was the first ruler to be crowned tsar and thereafter to use this title regularly and officially both in governing his land and in conducting foreign relations. In doing so, he made it clear that Moscow was no longer just one of many principalities; Russia had entered a new historical phase called Muscovite Russia. Ivan continued to expand the reach of Moscow, conquering Kazan and Astrakhan and building the famous St. Basil’s cathedral in celebration of those victories.
   From this point forward, Moscow would be the capital and center of the developing Russian Empire, remaining so until Peter the Great built his new capital at St. Petersburg in 1703. In 1812, after the bloody Battle of Borodino, Moscow was occupied briefly by Napoleon Bonaparte ’s troops. Although Napoleon ultimately retreated, the city suffered much destruction by both Russians and the retreating French troops. Fortunately, the spectacular churches of the Kremlin and its surrounding area, many dating back to the sixteenth century, survived. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Moscow became the capital once more and served as the seat of the government during the Soviet regime and the center of the country’s transformation.
   See also <>; <>.
    Crummey, Robert O. The Formation of Muscovy, 1304–1613. London and New York: Longman, 1987;
    Palmer, Alan. Napoleon in Russia. London: Andre Deutsch, 1967;
    Presniakov, A. E. The Formation of the Great Russian State. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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