Saturday, April 14, 2018

Moscovy (grand duchy)

Also called 'Russia,' an aggressive coalition of Russian princes and boyars bonded by ethnicity and mutual advantage associated with the demise of Tatar control over the upper Volga and Don river basins. The duchy's power suffers from the lack of centralized leadership, though independently the nobility continues to seek territorial gains along every edge of its disparate and sprawling borders. Much of the duchy is very thinly populated, particularly in its northern parts.

Nominal authority rests with the Grand Duke of Moskva, the strongest province of the entity. Attempts to establish a king or tsar (variably emperor or dictator), have been short-lived; no single strong leader has emerged for very long. Nobles active along the duchy's fringes have effective autonomy over their own lands.

The duchy covers an area of 1,277.3 hexes, with an average density of 2,239 persons per hex. There are twenty six divisions. These include five duchies (Moskva, Novgorod, Ryazan, Tatarstan and Voronezh); eight principalities (Brinyu, Kostroma, Kursk, Nizhne-Novgorod, Tula, Tver, Vladimir and Yaroslavl); ten counties (Ivanovo, Kaluga, Khlynov, Orel, Pleskov, Samara, Saratov, Tambov, Tsaritsyn and Vologda); and three baronies (Cheremissa, Chuvashia and Vyazma). The distinction between these has much to do with authority over the organized militia (dukes), finances (princes) and number of votes in the Duma, or national council.

The duchy is bordered on the south by several independent entities (Astrakhan, the Don Cossacks, Cumana & Zaporozhia); on the west by the duchy's most dangerous enemy, Poland; on the northwest by Sweden and gnomish Vepses; on the north by gnollish Bjarmaland; and on the east by Bulgrastan and the Jagatai Empire, remnants of the 15th century Empire of the Golden Horde.

The duchy has a population of 2,860,470. Cities with more than 12,500 people include Moskva (307,191), Nizhne-Novgorod (55,956), Kazan (48,802), Tula (32,323), Tver (23,634), Yaroslavl (23,845), Rybnaya (20,122) and Kostroma (13,281).


The origins of the northern Russian state of Moscovy begin with Andrei Bogolyubsky, Grand Prince of Kiyev (1157-1175), who shifted his capital from Kiyev to Vladimir in the upper Volga Basin in 1169, not far from the future site of Moskva. He abandoned the Kiyevan rotation system of accession in favour of a hereditary system, leaving the duchy to his descendants.

Novgorod, that had split from Kiyevan authority in 1136, challenged Vladimirian power in the west as both powers sought to control the Baltic-Caspian trade along the Volga River. A greater threat, however, would come from the east. The Mongols began their attacks on Vladimir following the battle of the Kalka River in 1223; by the year 1240, the lands between the Valday Hills and the Urals would be included in the Mongol hegemony, paying tribute to the Golden Horde for the next 140 years. During this period, the Grand Duchy of Novgorod would remain the only free true Russian state.

During the hegemony, areas would be cleared of forest and tilled by free peasants, bondsmen and slaves, coupled with an extensive trade in furs and forest products along the Russian waterways. During this time, Moskva, an insignificant blockhouse built on a portage between the Oka and Volga rivers (at the navigable headwater of what would become the Moskva river), became the centre for rising opposition against the Mongols (Tatars). Founded in 1147, throughout the 1300s the city greatly expanded as rebellious forces converged among hills that experienced little Tatar authority. By the middle of the 14th century, these forces - led by the princes - would openly defy the Tatars and meet them in the Battle at Kulikovo, on the Don River, in 1380. This would prove a victory for the Moscovites.

With the opening of the 15th century, the princes went on gathering Russian lands to increase the population and extent of their rule. In 1440, Grand Prince Ivan of Moskva (Prince Ivan III) would be named tsar (Tsar Ivan I, the Great). Ivan would expand Russian influence north into Vologda and east into Novgorod - following the Battle of Shelon River in 1471. Ivan would impose Moscovite authority over Novgorod by 1478, gaining Pleskov as well and the east bank of Lake Chudskoye (Peipus). Ivan would elevate Moskva to the status of a Grand Duchy, bringing the princes of Yaroslav, Rostov Velikiy, Tver and Khlynov (formerly Vyatka) under his immediate authority.

Following Ivan's marriage to Zoe, daughter of Thomas of Morea and a niece of the last Byzantine Emperor, in 1472, Moskva would become the refuge for Metropolitans of the Eastern Orthodox religion. Thereafter, though nominally under authority to Constaninople, the Eastern Orthodox church would move into the sphere of the Russian state.

Ivan would fight two wars with Lithuania, acquiring Vyazma in 1494 and Brinyu in 1503. Following his death in 1505, his son Vasili succeed him and be crowned tsar. During his reign he would succeed in capturing Smolensk in 1514 after a two-year seige. This was followed by an eight-year war against the Poles that ended in the return of Smolensk in 1522 and a return to the status quo.

An alliance with the Safavid Empire against the Ottomans initiated a war with the Tatars of Kubanistan and Crimea that resulted in a combined Tatar force arriving at the gates of Moskva in 1519, where the Russian forces lost in battle against the Khan, Mehmed I. Vasili was forced to buy off the Khan to end the siege. The result of this was the strengthening of Kazan in the East as a challenge to Moscovite power below Nizhne-Novgorod.

The 1520s resulted in considerable opposition to Vasili, with various parties either questing for the title or seeking to absolve it. Several diplomats, statesmen or landholders were summarily executed in an attempt to retain power; this was made worse when Vasili divorced his barren wife Solomonia in 1526 and married Elena Glinskya. Elena gave birth to a son, Ivan, who would have succeeded Vasili - but upon Vasili's death in 1533, Elena and the child were murdered in their beds by a combined conspiracy led by two noble families, the Princes Shuysky and the Princes Belsky (formerly Lithuanians). The title of tsar was abolished and Russia was reorganized as an oligarchy.

The Shuysky family would establish themselves as the principle power in Moscovy, elevating the Belskys to Dukes of Novgorod and giving them nominal power over the army in the west. Andrey Shuysky would become the Grand Duke, leading a coalition of forces against Kazan in 1545; a seige would be mounted against the city that would last until 1552. In that year, a great Russian army of 150,000 would crush the Tatar capital, giving Russia power over the middle Volga and the lower Kama rivers. The victory would be commemorated by the building of Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moskva.

Though the Russians continued to expand southwards - particularly along the course of the Don - they were defeated in 1568 by Sokullu Mehmet, forcing a retreat to Yelets. A force under Theodora, Princess of Tula, would fight their way to the Volga in 1569-73, founding Kotelnikov in 1572 and Dubovka in 1573. Thereafter she would consolidate her power over the lower Volga. The cossacks in the region were reduced and the fort at Nizhne Chirskaya would be founded in 1580. Orcs along the whole Volga north of the Akhtouba Volga would be humbled and the massive fort at Saratov founded in 1586. Tsaritsyn would be founded in 1589.

However, Astrakhan could not be taken by Russian forces by Theodora's daughter Tamar, who lost the battle of Baskunchak in 1591. Nor could effective conquest be made of Jagatai Tatars that controlled the river between Saratov and Samara (also founded in 1586): Yelania, Volkstan and Uzenia proved resilient against Moscovite campaigns. In part this was due to involvement from the gnomes of Harnia, who - while friendly to Russia - have resisted becoming enveloped by Russian authority.

In 1589, under the leadership of Nikita Romanov, religious ties with Constantinople were abandoned and the Orthodox church was split into Greek Orthodoxy (with small numbers in the Balkans) and Russian Orthodoxy. Thereafter Moskva became known as the 'Third Rome,' gaining great wealth in tithes and winning considerable theological influence over many more millions of believers beyond those directly under their rule.

Signs of destabilization throughout the oligarchy were becoming apparent. Boris Gudonov, a descendant of Russians and Tatars, attempted to seize the throne as Tsar in 1604. This led to his death in 1605 and the Time of Troubles. During this period, another would-be tsar, Dmitri, with Polish and Cossack support, would try to impose authority over the rest of Moscovy. Swedish and Polish incursions began along the western border while the Moscovite house was restored to order in 1613. Voronezh, Tatarstan and Ryazan were made duchies in the east to independently manage the Tatar threat while Moskva and Novgorod turned their attention to the east.

Michael Romanov, Grand Duke in Moskva, would distinguish himself against both the Swedes (forcing the Treaty of Stolbovo in 1617) and the Poles (the Treaty of Polianov in 1634). Charismatic and just, Michael would be offered the crown as tsar in 1635, only to refuse it. Moscovy would remain an oligarchy after Michael's death in 1645; Michael would be succeeded by his son Alexis, the present grand duke.


Cropland describes hexes of intense cultivation, where there is little hinterland. Mixed describes hexes where at least 20% of the land has been cultivated. Arable describes hexes of marginally exploited productive hinterland. Waste describes hexes where hinterland is not productive.


The following shows shows references for production in the duchy organized by industry (color coded as other production tables found on the wiki):

See the following sheet maps:

C 03 ~ Lithuania & Poland
C 04 ~ Upper Volga
C 05 ~ Ural Mountains
D 04 ~ Don & Volga Rivers
D 05 ~ Buzachistan

For other nations, see World

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