Dmitry Donskoy: biography, years of government

Dmitry I was born in Moscow in 1350 and was subsequently nicknamed Donskoy for the great victory in the Kulikovo battle. He was the son of Prince Ivan II the Red and Princess Alexandra Ivanovna. During the reign of Dmitry Donskoy, several fairly large military victories were won over the hordes of the Golden Horde. In addition, during his reunification, the Russian lands continued, and a white-stone Kremlin was built.

This article will discuss how the Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy made a contribution to the history of Ancient Russia. Briefly will be outlined the main events that occurred during the years of his reign.

Dmitry Donskoy biography


After the death of his father, Prince Ivan the Red, in 1359 Dmitry Donskoy, whose biography was full of important events from the very beginning, he inherited the title of supreme ruler of the Moscow principality. At that time he was only 9 years old. The guardian of the young prince Dmitry became an old friend of his father, Metropolitan Alexy.This man was famous for outstanding intelligence and tact, and also had the talent of a diplomat and had a strong character and enormous prestige.

Like his father, Prince Dmitry Donskoy consulted with Metropolitan Alexy about politics and the further accession of the Russian lands to the Moscow principality. To accomplish this task, he had to fight the princes of Tver and Suzdal-Nizhny Novgorod.

Power struggle

I must say that in the middle of the XIV century, Russia in the northeast consisted of three fairly strong principalities: Tver, Moscow and Suzdal. The main ruler was considered the one who had the title of Prince Vladimir. It was he who was given the label on the board, for which he should have gone to the Khan of the Golden Horde. But in 1359 Berdibek died, and the struggle for power began in the great empire. After the death of the father of Prince Dmitry, the Vladimir principality was given to the Suzdal-Nizhny Novgorod rulers. But Moscow could not accept it.

In 1362, Mamai, on behalf of the Khan of that time, Abdullah, gave a label to the board of Dmitry Ivanovich, after which the Moscow army drove the troops of Prince of Suzdal from Vladimir and Pereyaslavl.But still had to make some concessions. Moscow confirmed his rights to Novgorod, but in exchange for this, she demanded a refusal from Vladimir. In addition, Dmitry Ivanovich married the daughter of Prince of Suzdal-Nizhegorodsky Dmitry Konstantinovich Evdokia. The marriage was more than successful.

The reign of Dmitry Donskoy came at a time when the collapse of the great Golden Horde began. He touched not only its Asian part: Bulat-Timur ruled in the Itil Bulgaria, and Tagay in the Mordovian lands. But soon their troops were defeated by Suzdal and Ryazan. In 1370 Mamaev's henchmen were already there. Since then, their power has gradually strengthened. Thus, the power of Mamai spread to the territory west of the Volga and gradually began to take on an all-Russian scale.

Dmitry Donskoy briefly


At the beginning of his reign, Prince Dmitry carried out a number of activities that were designed to unite and concentrate all state power and military affairs in his hands. In 1365, the great All Saints fire engulfed Moscow. This name he received because it began with the fire of the Church of All Saints.Since the buildings were wooden, in 2 hours Posad, the Kremlin, Zarechye and Zagorye burned down.

Two years after this incident, Prince Dmitry begins the construction of a new white-stone Kremlin. After its completion, the capital gained reliable protection from numerous enemy raids. One evidence of this is the fact that in 1368 Mikhail of Tver tried to besiege and take the Kremlin. But, as you know, all his efforts were in vain.

Prince Dmitry Donskoy

Conflict with Tver

The events preceding the attempted siege of the Kremlin were as follows. Vasily Mikhailovich Kashinsky had a nephew, Mikhail Alexandrovich, who was at enmity with him because of lands that once belonged to the deceased Semyon Konstantinovich. To resolve this dispute, both appealed for support to the Grand Duke of Moscow. Dmitry decided to take the side of Vasily. After that, Mikhail went to his son-in-law, the Lithuanian prince Olgerd. Meanwhile, Vasily, taking advantage of his absence, with the help of the Moscow army, devastated the lands belonging to him.

Michael did not forgive his uncle such treachery. Olgerd's ruth went to Tver and expelled Vasily.After that, Michael called himself the Grand Duke of Tver and decided to restore the independence of his lands from the rule of Moscow. Fearing his intentions, Dmitri's closest associates advised him to lure the rebel into the capital with cunning, ostensibly to resolve the dispute between the two princes of Tver. In Moscow, Michael was taken into custody. And only the representative of the Khan managed to force Prince Dmitry to release Mikhail of Tver. Offended nephew immediately went to Olgerdu, and he moved to the capital with his army.

Board of Dmitry Donskoy

War with lithuania

At the end of November 1368, a bloody battle took place near the Trostny River, which flows near Moscow. The capital guard regiment was defeated. Only thanks to the stone walls of the Kremlin and the invasion of the Teutons into the western Lithuanian lands did the siege of Moscow not succeed. Having ruined the land around the capital, Olgerd was forced to turn back.

In the summer of 1372, Dmitry Donskoy, whose biography was full of various military campaigns, with his army moved towards the Lithuanian fortress of Lyubutsk. It was erected on the Oka River, which flows near Tula. This time, the Moscow troops defeated the Lithuanian sentry regiment.After that, a truce was concluded with Mikhail of Tver and Olgerd.

Historical portrait of Dmitry Donskoy

Fighting Mamai

In 1376, Dmitry Donskoy extended his influence to Volga-Kama Bulgaria, and also began negotiations with the prince of Veliky Novgorod regarding trade. As a result, he opened the free access of goods to the Moscow lands. In return, he secured military support for the people of Novgorod in the event of any conflict with Tver.

Looking at how the Moscow prince conducts his policy, Mamai was very concerned about his growing power. Therefore, in 1377, the Horde troops went to Nizhny Novgorod. A major battle took place on the River Piana, where the Russian army was defeated by the hordes of Prince Arapshi. Then Nizhny Novgorod was burnt down.

The following year, Mamai sent an army led by Mirza Begich to Moscow in order to plunder and burn it to the ground. But Prince Dmitry met him in the Ryazan lands. In August 1378, a battle took place near the River Leaders, where the Horde troops were defeated, and Begich himself was killed.

Battle of Kulikovo

Mamai could not forgive Moscow for such a defeat, so he prepared a new campaign against Russia.This time he enlisted the military support of the Lithuanian prince Jagiel. In addition, the Horde army was replenished with hired warriors from among the Circassians, Alans and Genoese.

After 2 years after the defeat on the river Vozhe Mamai again went to Russia. But Donskoy Dmitry was ready for such a turn of events. The battles in which he had participated before hardened his character and gave the necessary experience. The squads of the great Russian princes were gathered in advance in Kolomna, where at that time the headquarters of the Grand Duke was located. It is believed that on both sides there could be at least 100-120 thousand soldiers.

Finally, on September 8, the Horde and the Russian army met on the Kulikovo Field, which was located at the confluence of the Nepryadva River and the Don. According to the legend, Prince Dmitry and his warriors were blessed by Sergius of Radonezh himself, the prior of the Trinity-Sergius Monastery, to battle with Mamai. The monk and sent to him his two monks - Peresvet and Oslaby. The legend says that the battle began with the duel of the first of the monks and the Tatar hero Tchelubey. They all at the gallop with spears knocked each other off their horses and fell to the ground dead. Immediately after this, a bloody battle began, ending with the complete victory of Dmitry Donskoy.

Tatar-Mongolian troops were defeated, and Mamai had to flee. Dmitry Ivanovich himself was seriously wounded, and he was found on the battlefield. The Lithuanian prince Jagiello, who hurried to the aid of Mom, after learning of the defeat of the Tatars, turned his army back. Meanwhile, the throne of the Golden Horde was occupied by Tokhtamysh, who finished off the remnants of Mamai’s troops. The latter had to flee to the Crimea, where he was killed by his Genoese allies.

Dmitry Donskoy battle


Dmitry Donskoy, whose biography testifies that he was a good politician, diplomat and warrior, practically from the very beginning of his reign, sought to unite the Russian lands under his command. At first, his guardian, Metropolitan Alexy, helped him in this, who apparently taught him all the subtleties. Proof of this can serve as a marriage of Dmitry Donskoy with Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod Princess Eudoxia. This marriage allowed to establish strong relations with both Nizhny and Veliky Novgorod. He was also supported by a cousin, Prince Vladimir Serpukhovskoy.

Dmitry Ivanovich was able to make Moscow the center of a certain military-political union that united several Russian principalities.A group of reliable assistants and supporters from among the governor and boyars loyal to him was formed around him. Subsequently, they will become the main pillar of his power.

Based on these facts, the historical portrait of Dmitry Donskoy can be described in the following words: he was a good strategist and a far-sighted politician. And this is despite the fact that the consolidation and strengthening of the Russian principalities took place during the times of the growing strife, literally tearing apart the Golden Horde.

As you know, the guardian and mentor of the young prince was Metropolitan Alexy. In addition, Sergius of Radonezh greatly influenced him. Therefore, the historical portrait of Dmitry Donskoy would be incomplete, if not to say that the prince deeply believed in God. He not only supported the holy cloisters and Orthodox churches, but also became the founder of the Nikolo-Ugreshsky Monastery.

Throne inheritance

Shortly before his death, in 1388, Prince Dmitry Donskoy, whose biography and rule fell on hard times of numerous feuds and wars, and Vladimir the Brave could not agree on the further inheritance of the throne, since it was claimed by the eldest son of the ruler of Moscow - Vasily .In order to somehow resolve this situation, the Grand Duke had to promise Vladimir additional territories in exchange for the recognition of Dmitry’s children as his elder brothers. After the death of his father, Basil fulfilled his promise. Vladimir Hrabrom got Rzhev and Volokolamsk, which he later changed to Kozelsk and Uglich.

According to the testament, the children of Dmitry Donskoy, after his death, should have obeyed their mother in everything - Evdokia Dmitrievna. And all of them were 12: 4 daughters and 8 sons. In the last will, Donskoy for the first time, without permission from the Golden Horde, transferred the right to great reign to his eldest son.

Dmitry Donskoy years


The activity of Dmitry Donskoy against the Golden Horde has become truly invaluable. He managed to build a fairly strong grand-ducal power, which demonstrated the political unity of Russia and created the idea of ​​independence. The primacy of Moscow was established finally and irrevocably.

Prince Dmitry Donskoy expanded his lands under Belozer, Pereyaslavl, Dmitrov, Galich, Uglich, partially Meshchery, Chukhloma, Starodubsky, Kostroma and Komi-Zyryan territories. But there were losses.They became the western region, which includes Tver and Smolensk. Basically, these lands became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

As for Moscow itself, the reign of Dmitry Donskoy was marked not only by the construction of the white-stone Kremlin. During his time, monasteries-fortresses were built - Andronikov and Simonov, who covered the approaches to the central part of the city. In addition, began to mint silver coins.


In the cultural sphere of the principality there were also their achievements, directly related to the battles won by Dmitry Donskoy. The years of his reign, as we know, were very restless, therefore, they are characterized by the creation of works glorifying Russian weapons. We are talking about "Zadonshchina" and "Legends about the Mamai massacre."

Prince Dmitry Donskoy, briefly described in this article, died in May 1389.

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