Who was the first Tsar of Russia?

The first ruler to be proclaimed as the Tsar of Russia was Ivan the Terrible, the Grand Prince of Moscow. He was the grandson of Ivan III. The word ‘terrible’ in his name is the English translation of a Russian word that actually has positive connotations, like being admirable and formidable, though his name did strike terror among many while he ruled.

Ivan the Terrible was crowned as the ‘tsar and grand prince of all Russia’, on January 16, 1547. He married Anastasia Romanova two weeks after his coronation. The first woman to bear the title of Tsarina, she belonged to the Romanov family, who would later come to power in Russia.

During the 37 years of his rule, Ivan made an indelible mark in Russia’s history. He modified the code of laws, created a parliament and a council of nobles, implemented local self-governance for rural areas and founded a standing army. He also allowed the country to have a certain amount of international trade, and the English Muscovy Company was given access to trade with Russia. Ivan’s reign was also mostly a period of war. He was able to conquer Kazan on the Volga River, and then annexed the entire Middle Volga region to Russia. Several churches were built to commemorate this historic conquest. The most famous of them is the St. Basil’s Cathedral at Moscow’s Red Square. Russian expansion into the northern region of Siberia also took place during the time of Ivan the Terrible.

Ivan laid the groundwork for effective governance in Russia. At the same time, this harsh ruler also left a legacy of ruling with absolute imperial power. Ivan died in 1584, and he was succeeded by his son Feodor I. However, Feodor was mentally weak and the actual power went to his brother-in-law, Boris Godunov. The Rurik Dynasty came to an end as Feodor died in 1598 without an heir.

Picture Credit : Google 

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