Ivan the Terrible

Ivan the Terrible


File-Vasnetsov Ioann 4

A painting of Ivan "the terrible"

Ivan IV or Ivan the Terrible was the first Tsar (emperor) of Russia ruling from 1533-1547. He was the son of King Vassili III and Elena Glynskaya. He was corwned prince of Moscow after his father's death. He repelled a Mongol invasion and conquered land in Poland and Siberia with the help of Cossack mercenaries headed by a man named Yermak. He married many times and killed the wives or people in general who annoyed or opposed him. He brought the boyars (nobles) under control and centralized power in Moscow where he built the Kremlin Palace. It is said he'd buy dogs and then have them run off the edge of a balcony then he'd go to the spot where they fell to watch them die in agony. Another anecdote states that a French ambassador came to visit him. When the ambassador refused to take his hat off before the tsar (Ivan), he had the hat nailed to the ambassador's head. Apparently he asked Queen Elizabeth I of England to marry him but she refused. Ivan eventually went crazy and set up a brutal gang of devoted followers known as the oprichniki who went around the kingdom terrorizing the people in the name of Ivan. In 1584, he died from a stroke.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.