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Great Stand on the Ugra River

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Great Stand on the Ugra River
Part of Conflicts in Eastern Europe during Turco-Mongol rule
Facial Chronicle - b.16, p. 462 - Great standing on the Ugra.jpg
Miniature in Russian chronicle, 16th century
Date8 October – 28 November 1480
Location
Ugra River banks (now in Kaluga Oblast, Russia)
Result

Both sides retreated without fighting[a][b][c]

  • End of Russian dependency on Tatars (according to traditional Russian historiography)[b][c][d]
  • Indecisive (according to modern historians)[c][d]
Belligerents
Coat of arms of Russia (XV Century).svg Grand Duchy of Moscow Golden Horde flag 1339.svgGreat Horde
Commanders and leaders
Golden Horde flag 1339.svgAhmed Khan bin Küchük

The Great Stand on the Ugra River (Russian: Великое стояние на Угре) or Standing on the Ugra River[b] was a standoff between the forces of Akhmat Khan of the Great Horde, and Grand Prince Ivan III of the Grand Duchy of Moscow in 1480 on the banks of the Ugra River, which ended when both the Tatars and Muscovites departed without conflict.[a][b][c] In traditional Russian historiography, it has been interpreted as the end of the "Tatar yoke" in Russia,[3][4][b][c][d] while modern historians think the confrontation was indecisive and the Muscovite–Tatar relations barely changed.[c][d]

Discover more about Great Stand on the Ugra River related topics

Russian language

Russian language

Russian is an East Slavic language mainly spoken in Russia. It is the native language of the Russians, and belongs to the Indo-European language family. It is one of four living East Slavic languages, and is also a part of the larger Balto-Slavic languages. Besides Russia itself, Russian is an official language in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and is used widely as a lingua franca throughout Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and to some extent in the Baltic states. It was the de facto language of the former Soviet Union, and continues to be used in public life with varying proficiency in all of the post-Soviet states.

Ahmed Khan bin Küchük

Ahmed Khan bin Küchük

Ahmed Khan bin Küchük was a Khan of the Great Horde between 1465 and 1481.

Great Horde

Great Horde

The Great Horde was a rump state of the Golden Horde that existed from the mid-15th century to 1502. It was centered at the core of the Golden Horde at Sarai. Both the Khanate of Astrakhan and the Khanate of Crimea broke away from the Great Horde throughout its existence, and were hostile to the Great Horde. The defeat of the forces of the Great Horde at the Great Stand on the Ugra River by Ivan III of Russia marked the end of the "Tatar yoke" over Russia.

Ivan III of Russia

Ivan III of Russia

Ivan III Vasilyevich, also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of all Rus'. Ivan served as the co-ruler and regent for his blind father Vasily II from the mid-1450s before he officially ascended the throne in 1462.

Grand Duchy of Moscow

Grand Duchy of Moscow

The Grand Duchy of Moscow, Muscovite Russia, Muscovite Rus' or Grand Principality of Moscow was a Rus' principality of the Late Middle Ages centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the Tsardom of Russia in the early modern period. It was ruled by the Rurik dynasty, who had ruled Rus' since the foundation of Novgorod in 862. Ivan III the Great titled himself as Sovereign and Grand Duke of All Rus'.

Background

The main Russian defence line ran along the Oka River from Kaluga east toward Nizhny Novgorod. At Kaluga the Oka bends sharply from north to east and the defense line was extended westward along the Ugra River. The land west and south of Kaluga was claimed by Lithuania. At this time Ivan III was uniting the lands north of the Oka. At the same time the Golden Horde was breaking up and the steppe remnant came to be called the Great Horde. Casimir IV Jagiellon of Poland-Lithuania was allied with the Great Horde, while Russia was allied with Crimea against the Horde. In 1472 Akhmed of the Great Horde raided the Oka at Aleksin but was driven off. In 1476 Russia officially stopped paying tribute to the Tatars. In late 1479 Ivan quarreled with his brothers, Andrey Bolshoy and Boris of Volotsk, who began intriguing with Casimir. This internal conflict may have influenced Akhmed's decision to attack.

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Golden Horde

Golden Horde

The Golden Horde, self-designated as Ulug Ulus, lit. 'Great State' in Turkic, was originally a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate established in the 13th century and originating as the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire. With the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire after 1259 it became a functionally separate khanate. It is also known as the Kipchak Khanate or as the Ulus of Jochi, and replaced the earlier, less organized Cuman–Kipchak confederation.

Great Horde

Great Horde

The Great Horde was a rump state of the Golden Horde that existed from the mid-15th century to 1502. It was centered at the core of the Golden Horde at Sarai. Both the Khanate of Astrakhan and the Khanate of Crimea broke away from the Great Horde throughout its existence, and were hostile to the Great Horde. The defeat of the forces of the Great Horde at the Great Stand on the Ugra River by Ivan III of Russia marked the end of the "Tatar yoke" over Russia.

Casimir IV Jagiellon

Casimir IV Jagiellon

Casimir IV was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1440 and King of Poland from 1447, until his death. He was one of the most active Polish-Lithuanian rulers, under whom Poland, by defeating the Teutonic Knights in the Thirteen Years' War recovered Pomerania, and the Jagiellonian dynasty became one of the leading royal houses in Europe.

Ahmed Khan bin Küchük

Ahmed Khan bin Küchük

Ahmed Khan bin Küchük was a Khan of the Great Horde between 1465 and 1481.

Aleksin

Aleksin

Aleksin is a town and the administrative center of Aleksinsky District in Tula Oblast, Russia, located 71 kilometers (44 mi) northwest of Tula, the administrative center of the oblast. Population: 57,102 (2021 Census); 61,732 (2010 Census); 68,156 (2002 Census); 74,274 (1989 Census).

Andrey Bolshoy

Andrey Bolshoy

Andrey Vasilyevich Bolshoy, nicknamed Goryai, was the third son of Vasili II of Russia who transformed his capital in Uglich into a major centre of political power and ensured the town's prosperity for two centuries to come. He was called Andrey Bolshoy to distinguish him from his younger brother Andrey Menshoy.

Volokolamsk

Volokolamsk

Volokolamsk is a town and the administrative center of Volokolamsky District in Moscow Oblast, Russia, located on the Gorodenka River, not far from its confluence with the Lama River, 129 kilometers (80 mi) northwest of Moscow. Population: 23,433 (2010 Census); 16,656 (2002 Census); 18,226 (1989 Census).

Campaign

Nizhny NovgorodKolomnaSerp.Taru.KalugaMOSCOWBeloozeroTverclass=notpageimage| Blue: Ugra River. Yellow and Red: Oka River. Labeled red squares are military centers during the war.Black X's are Ivan's bases at Kremenskoye and Borovsk.Akhmed's base at Vorotynsk was just south of the Ugra-Oka junction
Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Kolomna
Kolomna
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Serp.
Serp.
Taru.
Taru.
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Kaluga
Kaluga
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
MOSCOW
MOSCOW
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Beloozero
Beloozero
Tver
Tver
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Great Stand on the Ugra River
Blue: Ugra River. Yellow and Red: Oka River.
Labeled red squares are military centers during the war.
Black X's are Ivan's bases at Kremenskoye and Borovsk.
Akhmed's base at Vorotynsk was just south of the Ugra-Oka junction

In late May news of the pending invasion reached Moscow. Nesin (2015) says it was the largest Tatar army in the fifteenth century.[5] One faction wanted to flee north, but was overruled. In June Ivan sent troops south to the Oka: to Serpukhov under his son Ivan the Young, to Tarusa under his brother Andrey the Less and Ivan himself to Kolomna. Tatar scouting parties soon appeared south of the Oka. Russian outposts reported that Akhmed was tending northwest so Russian troops were moved west toward Kaluga. Forces from Tver moved toward the Ugra. Around 30 September (date uncertain) Ivan returned to Moscow to meet with his bishops and boyars and major decisions were made. The quarrel with his brothers was settled and their troops began moving toward the Oka. The state treasury and royal family were moved north to Beloozero and some cities were evacuated. Vasily Nozdrovaty and the exiled Crimean khan Nur Devlet were sent east down the Oka and Volga to attack Akhmed in the rear.[e] Meanwhile, Akhmed had moved northward between the upper Don and Oka and at an uncertain date made camp at Vorotynsk just south of the Ugra-Oka junction on the west side of the Oka. Here he waited for Casimir, who never came. Casimir was tied down fighting the Crimeans in Podolia, but he may have had other reasons. On 3 October Ivan moved to Kremenskoye (then called 'Kremenets'[f] to watch the front. Nesin (2015) gives the Russian front as 60 versts (kilometers),[6] but does not specify its start and end points.

On 6–8 October Akhmed moved his troops up to the Ugra. Fighting began at one o'clock on the eighth and continued for almost four days. All attempts to cross the river failed, largely because of Russian firearms and because the river was wide enough to make Tatar arrows ineffective. The battlefield extended five kilometers along the Ugra from its mouth westward. Akhmed withdrew two versts (kilometers) south to a place called Luza (location?). He then tried to secretly move his troops to a place called 'Opakhov', but his movement was detected and the crossing blocked. Ivan began negotiations with Akhmed which led nowhere but gave Ivan time to bring up more troops. Both sides spent the next month watching each other across the river, this being the standoff proper.

It was getting late in the season and both sides knew that once the river froze solid it would no longer be a barrier. Akhmed could concentrate his forces and break the thin Russian line at any point. Ivan's best plan was to pull back and concentrate his force. On 26 October Ivan began moving troops from the Ugra northeast to Kremenskoye and then east to Borovsk. Here he had a good defensive position to protect Moscow and could strike in any direction if Akhmed chose to advance. Ahmad expected Casimir IV Jagiellon to join him with Lithuanian reinforcements, but as Casimir faced a revolt at home, he never showed up.[1] Instead of advancing, on 8 November Akhmed began to withdraw. News of the retreat reached Ivan on 11 November. On his retreat, Akhmed raided 12 Lithuanian towns, including Mtsensk. His son Murtaza raided some villages south of the Oka until the Russians drove him off. On 28 November Ivan returned to Moscow. In January 1481 Akhmed was killed by Ibak Khan.

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Serpukhov

Serpukhov

Serpukhov is a city in Moscow Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Oka and the Nara Rivers, 99 kilometers(62 miles) south from Moscow on the Moscow—Simferopol highway. The Moscow—Tula railway passes through Serpukhov.

Ivan the Young

Ivan the Young

Ivan Ivanovich, was the eldest son and heir of Ivan III of Russia from his first marriage to Maria of Tver.

Tarusa

Tarusa

Tarusa, also known as Tarussa (Тару́сса), is a town and the administrative center of Tarussky District in Kaluga Oblast, Russia, located on the left bank of the Oka River, 76 kilometers (47 mi) northeast of Kaluga, the administrative center of the oblast. Population: 9,918 (2021 Census); 9,660 (2010 Census); 9,893 (2002 Census); 8,795 (1989 Census).

Kolomna

Kolomna

Kolomna is a historical city in Moscow Oblast, Russia, situated at the confluence of the Moskva and Oka Rivers, 114 kilometers (71 mi) southeast of Moscow. Population: 144,589 (2010 Census); 150,129 (2002 Census); 161,881 (1989 Census).

Kaluga

Kaluga

Kaluga, a city and the administrative center of Kaluga Oblast in Russia, stands on the Oka River 150 kilometers (93 mi) southwest of Moscow. Population: 337,058 (2021 Census); 324,698 (2010 Census); 334,751 (2002 Census); 311,319 (1989 Census).

Belozersk

Belozersk

Belozersk, known as Beloozero (Белоозеро) until 1777, is a town and the administrative center of Belozersky District in Vologda Oblast, Russia, located on the southern bank of Lake Beloye, from which it takes the name, 214 kilometers (133 mi) northwest of Vologda, the administrative center of the oblast. Population: 8,464 (2021 Census); 9,616 (2010 Census); 10,975 (2002 Census); 12,352 (1989 Census).

Nur Devlet

Nur Devlet

Nur Devlet, was a khan of the Crimean Khanate and the son of Hacı I Giray, the founder of Crimean Khanate.

Vorotynsk, Peremyshlsky District, Kaluga Oblast

Vorotynsk, Peremyshlsky District, Kaluga Oblast

Vorotynsk is a former town located 17 km south of Kaluga in the Ugra National Park. The town is thought to have been situated slightly downstream from the confluence of the Oka and the Ugra Rivers.

Borovsk

Borovsk

Borovsk is a town and the administrative center of Borovsky District of Kaluga Oblast, Russia, located on the Protva River just south from the oblast's border with Moscow Oblast. Population: 12,598 (2021 Census); 12,283 (2010 Census); 11,917 (2002 Census); 13,405 (1989 Census). 12,000 (1969).

Casimir IV Jagiellon

Casimir IV Jagiellon

Casimir IV was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1440 and King of Poland from 1447, until his death. He was one of the most active Polish-Lithuanian rulers, under whom Poland, by defeating the Teutonic Knights in the Thirteen Years' War recovered Pomerania, and the Jagiellonian dynasty became one of the leading royal houses in Europe.

Ibak Khan

Ibak Khan

Ibak Khan was a Shaybanid khan of Sibir about whom the sources are contradictory. He is also called Abak, Ivak, Ibaq, Khan of Tyumen, and Said Ibrakhim Khan(?).

Reasons for Akhmed's withdrawal

Karamzin wrote "It should have been an odd image: two armies ran away from each other, not pursued by anyone", but it is now clear that the two withdrawals were independent. Ivan's motive is clear, but Akhmed's motives are a matter of guesswork.[7] Casimir's failure to appear is clearly important. Nesin thinks that a major factor was the end of Ivan's quarrel with his brothers and the resulting additional troops. The impending Russian winter was a consideration. The longer the standoff lasted the more troops Ivan could bring up while Akhmed's reserves were few and far away. The Tatar horses, and the sheep they drove with them for food, gradually consumed the local fodder. There are reports of disease in his army. Akhmed may have thought Ivan's withdrawal was a ruse to draw him into an ambush, a common steppe tactic. Even if there were no ambush, he would have to fight an army in a prepared position, or try to bypass it. The Tatars preferred hit-and-run raids and Akhmed may not have wished to attack a concentrated army. The sources do not explain why he did not try to outflank the Russian line by moving west. His wise, but seemingly cowardly, withdrawal probably contributed to his death a few months later.

Results

On 6 January 1481, Akhmat Khan was killed in a clash with the Nogais under Ibak Khan, a princeling from the Khanate of Sibir. In 1502, Crimea destroyed the Great Horde as an organization thereby removing the buffer between Russia and Crimea and leading to a series of Russo-Crimean wars that lasted until 1784.

In traditional Russian national historiography, the Ugra Standoff is taken as the end of the so-called "Tatar yoke".[b][c][d] Modern writers are more skeptical and see it as an important landmark in the gradual expansion of Russia and the gradual decline of the Tartar states that succeeded the Mongol Empire. Janet L B. Martin (1995) dismissed the significance of the stand of the Ugra as 'embellished': '[T]he non-battle has commonly, although erroneously, been identified as the event that ended Tatar domination over the Russian lands. The so-called Battle of the Ugra neither broke the Tatar yoke nor destroyed the close relations Muscovy maintained with its Tatar neighbors.'[d] Concurring, and adding that Muscovy continued paying tribute to the Crimean Khanate, Wilson et al. (2022) called it 'a glorified staring contest. Only centuries later did Rus' chronicles see it as marking the independence of the Rus'.'[c]

Perhaps the most important result of the Russo-Crimean alliance was its effect on Lithuania. In 1480–1515, Muscovy (Russia) expanded out of its Oka-Volga cradle west to Smolensk and southwest across the Ugra and down the west side of the Oka as far as Novgorod-Seversky.

Source: "Great Stand on the Ugra River", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 26th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Stand_on_the_Ugra_River.

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Notes
  1. ^ a b "[R]ather than exploding into a decisive battle, the confrontation between the armies of the Great Horde and Muscovy at the Ugra fizzled into mutual retreat."[1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f "After a few days of watching one another, the two armies departed for home. This event, the “standing on the Ugra,” was ever after seen in Russia as the end of Tatar overlordship."[2]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h 'So ended the Great Stand on the Ugra River, a glorified staring contest. Only centuries later did Rus' chronicles see it as marking the independence of the Rus'. It did not affect either parties' standing. Twenty years later, Ivan sent a message to Ahmad's son and successor, Shaykh Ahmad Khan, inquiring about resuming their earlier relationship in the midst of a fierce round of struggle with Lithuania, while tribute, under different names, would continue to the Crimean Khans.'[9]: 13:52–15:01 
  4. ^ a b c d e f '[T]he non-battle has commonly, although erroneously, been identified as the event that ended Tatar domination over the Russian lands. The so-called Battle of the Ugra neither broke the Tatar yoke nor destroyed the close relations Muscovy maintained with its Tatar neighbors.'[8]
  5. ^ What happened does not seem to be well documented. Some sources have him reach Sarai. Karamzin thought that this influenced Akhmed's withdrawal but Nesin thinks he was unaware of it or paid no attention.
  6. ^ ru:Кременское in modern Medynsky District, not to be confused with Kreminets, Kalmiuske Raion in modern Ukraine.
References
  1. ^ a b Martin 1995, p. 305.
  2. ^ Bushkovitch 2012, p. 42–43.
  3. ^ Michael Khodarkovsky, Russia's Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500–1800 (Indiana University Press, 2002), 80.
  4. ^ Kort, Michael (2008). A brief history of Russia. New York. p. 24. ISBN 9781438108292.
  5. ^ Nesin, page 111.
  6. ^ Nesin, page 115.
  7. ^ See Nesin in sources.
  8. ^ Martin 1995, p. 318.
  9. ^ Jack Wilson, Ilkin Gambar, Officially Devin, Turgut Gambar, Nolan Karimov (5 February 2022). "How the Mongols Lost Russia - Medieval History Animated Documentary". Kings and Generals. Retrieved 25 January 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
Sources
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