Who were the Kievan Rus?

Kievan Rus, which means “Rus of Kyiv”, was a loose federation of peoples in Eastern Europe. They were scattered mostly in the modern states of Belarus and Ukraine, and in parts of western Russia. The Kievan Rus phenomenon began in the 9th century and was supplemented by the arrival of Norse raiders, and went on up to the 15th century, when the federation faced the mass invasion by the Mongol Horde.

It is interesting to note that the founders of the Kievan Rus were members of the Riurikid Dynasty, who were Viking traders. They travelled across the rivers of Eastern Europe in the beginning of the 8th century. According to mythology, the Kievan Rus originated with the semi-legendary Rurik (830-879), who came with his two brothers Sineus and Turvor between 859-862. The trio were Varangians, a name given to Vikings by the Greeks. Later, during the 10th-14th centuries, their descendants would become the Varangian Guard, the personal bodyguards of the Byzantine emperors.

The story is that Rurik’s brothers died, and in 862, he gained control of Ladoga and founded the Holmgard settlement near Novgorod. When Rurik died, his cousin Oleg (ruled 882-912) took charge, and by 885 the Rus expansion began to move southward towards Constantinople, attacking the city and attaining a trading treaty. Kiev was established as the capital and the Rus economy grew due to exports and their control over the three main trade routes across the region.

Picture Credit : Google 

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