Saturday, April 21, 2018

Kursk (principality)

A semi-autonomous part of the Grand Duchy of Moscovy, the Principality of Kursk occupies the southern Russian highlands from the Central Don Uplands to the Severian Woods. Much of the principality is a mixture of woodlands and grass steppe; the valley of the Seym river in the north is an uninterrupted deciduous forest. Rivers flowing in every direction rise in the region's low hills.

The principality has a total area of 53 hexes, with a density of 1,308 persons per hex. It is bordered on the south by the Sanjak of Cumana (the hets of Cumana, Donbass and Sumi); on the west by the Kingdom of Zaporozhia (Severia); on the north by Brinyu and Orel; and on the east by Voronezh. It has a population of 69,315.


Most of the principality had remained uninhabited up until early in the 16th century, the region has largely been a temporary refuge for peoples fleeing the migrations of Pechenegs, Cumans, Mongols and Crimean Tatars. Kursk was founded as Kiyevan blockhouse in 1032 above the Seym Valley. Further Kiyevan settlement proceeded in the 12th century but stagnated with the shattering of central authority under the Mongols in 1240. The region with its hills were claimed by the Suzdal family of Vladimir but no meaningful development would occur for another three and a half centuries.

Claimed by cossacks, half-orc cumans, Lithuanians and Russians, the hills became a battleground for cavalry-mounted raids from all sides. In 1596, Moscovy provided money to allow the Prince Ivan Poleva of Moskva to fortify the Seym Valley. Choosing Kursk as his capital, the town quickly grew in size and became the dominant entity in the new principality. Following a famine in central Russia in the 1620s, thousands would seek land in the principality, leading to the founding of new stations at Oboyan, Shchigry and Suzdzha. Though Kursk has grown into a powerful industrial and market center, the remainder of the principality is economically unimportant.



The market at Kursk serves as a crossroads between goods arriving from the south and east from producing areas along the Don and Donets valleys (the latter transferred through Mutrakan in Cumana) and central parts of Russia, chiefly through Orel and Kaluga in the upper Oka river basin. Dmitriyev, in the northwest of the principality, is an important transshipment point for goods transferred on the Seym River to the Desna and the Dneiper, chiefly with Czernihow in Poland (Polissya).

References for local goods produced in Kursk are as follows:

See sheet map D 04 - Don & Volga Rivers.


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