Timeline and History Overview
- 800 - Slavic peoples migrate into the area of the Ukraine.
- 862 - King Rurik rules the region from the city of Novgorod. The people are known as the Rus.
- 882 - King Oleg moves the capital city to Kiev.
- 980 - The kingdom of the Kievan Rus expands and grows in power under the rule of Vladimir the Great.
- 1015 - Yaroslav the Wise becomes king. The Kievan Rus reach their peak in power. A written code of law is established.
- 1237 - The land is invaded by the Mongols. They destroy much of the region's cities.
- 1462 - Ivan III becomes the Grand Prince of Moscow.
- 1480 - Ivan III frees Russia from the Mongols.
- 1547 - Ivan IV, also known as Ivan the Terrible, is crowned the first Tsar of Russia.
- 1552 - Ivan IV conquers Kazan and extends his kingdom.
- 1609 - The start of the Polish-Russian War. Poland invades Russia.
- 1613 - The Romanov dynasty begins when Michael Romanov is elected Tsar. The Romanov dynasty will rule until 1917.
- 1648 - The Salt Riot occurs in Moscow over the introduction of a salt tax.
- 1654 - Russia invades Poland.
- 1667 - Russia and Poland sign a peace treaty.
- 1689 - Peter the Great becomes tsar. He will establish Russia as a world power introducing reforms and creating a standing army.
- 1700 - The start of the Great Northern War with Sweden.
- 1703 - Peter the Great founds the city of Saint Petersburg.
- 1713 - Saint Petersburg becomes the capital of the Russian Empire.
- 1721 - Russia wins the Great Northern War gaining territory including Estonia and Livonia.
- 1725 - Peter the Great dies and his wife Catherine I reigns as Empress of Russia.
- 1736 - Start of the Russo-Turkish War against the Ottoman Empire.
- 1757 - Russian troops join in the Seven Years' War.
- 1762 - Russia leaves the Seven Years' War with no territory gained.
- 1762 - Tsar Peter III is assassinated and his wife Catherine II takes the crown. She will rule for 34 years in what will be called the Golden Age of the Russian Empire.
- 1812 - Napoleon invades Russia. His army is nearly destroyed by the Russian winter weather.
- 1814 - Napoleon is defeated.
- 1825 - The Decembrist revolt occurs in Saint Petersburg.
- 1853 - The Crimean War begins. Russia eventually loses to an alliance of France, the Ottoman Empire, Britain, and Sardinia.
- 1861 - Tsar Alexander II launches reforms and frees the serfs.
- 1867 - Russia sells Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million.
- 1897 - The Social Democratic Party is established. It would later split into the Bolshevik and Menshevik parties.
- 1904 - Russia goes to war against Japan in Manchuria and loses badly.
- 1905 - The Revolution of 1905 occurs. Around 200 people are killed on Bloody Sunday.
- 1905 - Tsar Nicholas II is forced to accept the October Manifesto allowing for a parliament called the Duma.
- 1914 - World War I begins. Russia fights on the side of the Allies. Russia invades Germany.
- 1917 - The Russian Revolution occurs. The Tsarist government is overthrown. The communist Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin take control in the October Revolution.
- 1918 - The Russians exit World War I with the Brest-Litovsk Treaty. They give up Finland, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and the Ukraine.
- 1918 - Tsar Nicholas II and his family are executed by the Bolsheviks. The "Red Terror" begins as Lenin institutes communism. The Russian civil war erupts.
- 1921 - Lenin announces his New Economic Policy.
- 1922 - The Russian Civil War comes to an end. The Soviet Union is established.
- 1924 - Lenin dies and Joseph Stalin becomes the new leader.
- 1934 - Stalin's Great Purge begins. Stalin eliminates any opposition and up to 20 million people are killed.
- 1939 - World War II begins. Russian invades Poland in an agreement with Germany.
- 1941 - Germany invades Russia. Russia joins the Allies.
- 1942 - The Russian army defeats the German army at the Battle of Stalingrad. This is the major turning point in World War II.
- 1945 - World War II ends. The Soviet Union controls much of eastern Europe including Poland and East Germany. The Cold War begins.
- 1949 - The Soviet Union detonates an atomic bomb.
- 1961 - The Soviets put the first man in space, Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
- 1962 - The Cuban Missile Crisis occurs as the Soviets place missiles in Cuba.
- 1972 - Detente begins as U.S. President Richard Nixon visits the Soviet Union.
- 1979 - The Soviet-Afghanistan War begins. The Soviets have little success against the Afghanistan rebels. They leave in 1989 defeated.
- 1980 - The 1980 Summer Olympics are held in Moscow. Many countries boycott the games including the United States.
- 1985 - Mikhail Gorbachev is elected General Secretary. He institutes freedom of speech and openness of the government (Glasnost) as well as a restructuring of the economy (Perestroika).
- 1991 - The Soviet Union is dissolved. Many countries gain their independence. The country of Russia is established.
- 2000 - Vladimir Putin is elected president.
- 2014 - The 2014 Winter Olympics are held in Sochi.
Yaroslave the Wise
Saint Basil's Cathedral
Lenin Giving Speech
Soviet Missile in Red Square
The area that is today the country of Russia has been inhabited by people for thousands of years. The first modern state in Russia was founded in 862 by King Rurik of the Rus, who was made the ruler of Novgorod. Some years later, the Rus conquered the city of Kiev and started the kingdom of the Kievan Rus. Over the 10th and 11th century the Kievan Rus became a powerful empire in Europe reaching its peak under Vladimir the Great and Yaroslav I the Wise. During the 13th century the Mongols led by Batu Khan overran the area and wiped out the Kievan Rus.
In the 14th century the Grand Duchy of Moscow rose to power. It became the head of the Eastern Roman Empire and Ivan IV the Terrible crowned himself the first Tsar of Russia in 1547. Tsar was another name for Caesar as the Russians called their empire the "Third Rome". In 1613, Mikhail Romanov established the Romanov dynasty that would rule Russia for many years. Under the rule of Tsar Peter the Great (1689-1725), the Russian empire continued to expand. It became a major power throughout Europe. Peter the Great moved the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg. During the 19th century, Russian culture was at its peak. Famous artists and writers such as Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky, and Tolstoy became famous throughout the world.
The Palace Square
During World War II, Russia initially allied with the Germans. However, the Germans invaded Russia in 1941. Over 20 million Russians died in World War II including over 2 million Jewish people who were killed as part of the Holocaust.
In 1949, the Soviet Union developed nuclear weapons. An arms race developed between Russia and the United States in what was called the Cold War. The Soviet economy suffered under communism and isolationism. In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed and many of its member nations declared independence. The remaining area became the country of Russia.
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