The great Moscow and Vladimir Prince Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy is a well-known historical figure who has played an important role in world history. Prince Dmitry Donskoy was the son of Ivan II the Red and Princess Alexandra Ivanovna and belonged to the fifteenth tribe of the Rurikovichs.
The Grand Duke was born in Moscow on October 12, 1350. When Ivan II Krasny died in 1359, Metropolitan Alexy became the de facto ruler of the Moscow principality, taking over as the young prince's guardian.
The advice of the Metropolitan - a man of great intelligence and strong character, who used his authority in order to achieve Moscow supremacy in North-Eastern Russia - helped Dmitry Donskoy to continue the policy of gathering Russian lands around Moscow. This policy was adhered to by his father and grandfather - also the most famous historical figure Ivan Kalita.
The eleven-year-old prince Dmitry Donskoy had to fight for rule with rival princes - Ryazan, Tver and Suzdal-Nizhny Novgorod for a long time.
In 1363, as a result of a long struggle for the principality, Dmitry Donskoy received the right to be considered the Grand Duke on his own. Strengthening the position of Moscow was helped by the prince's marriage to the Suzdal princess Evdokia Dmitrievna. Accordingly, at the same time, the princess's father abandoned his intentions to rule Vladimir in favor of Moscow.
The first white-stone Kremlin in Russia appeared thanks to the order of Dmitry in 1367. It was a powerful defensive fortress from rival princes. At the same time, the gates of the Kremlin were always friendly open to the Khan's ambassadors, from whom Dmitry Donskoy preferred to buy off expensive gifts.
It was the white-stone Kremlin that helped defend Moscow and prevent the reign of the Lithuanian prince Olgerd, who in 1367 defeated the Moscow troops on the Trosna River. In 1369, Prince Donskoy himself went with troops to the Smolensk and Bryansk principalities, which belonged to Olgerd, and defeated them. The Grand Duke was supported, again, by Metropolitan Alexy.
When in 1377 the Horde prince Arab-Shah attacked the Suzdal principality, where Dmitry Donskoy's father-in-law was the ruler, the Grand Duke, the first of the Russian princes, began an open struggle with the Horde. But this time the Moscow army failed: according to legend, the "drunken" Russian soldiers did not expect an attack and were defeated by the Horde army. Therefore, the river, on the banks of which the camp of the Moscow regiments was located, received the name "Piani River".
However, in 1378, a detachment of soldiers, commanded by Dmitry Donskoy personally, defeated a large detachment of the Horde on the Vozha River. This victory was the first victory of the Russian army over the Horde and glorified the governor Daniel Pronsky and Timofey Velyaminov.
The Grand Duke Dmitry received the nickname "Donskoy" after defeating the Horde army on September 8, 1380 in the Battle of Kulikovo, which unfolded between the Nepryadva and Don rivers.
The famous victory of the army of Dmitry Donskoy in the Battle of Kulikovo allowed Moscow not to pay tribute to the conquerors for two years (until the attack on the city in 1382 by Khan Tokhtamysh).
Over the thirty years of his reign, Dmitry Donskoy has become a recognized fighter against the horde in Russian lands and a collector of Russian lands. The territories of the Moscow principality expanded significantly. Prince Dmitry maintained friendly ties with Orthodox Byzantium and sought recognition of the independence of the Russian Orthodox Church from Constantinople.
In addition to the white-stone Kremlin, the prince erected fortress-monasteries. Earlier than in other principalities, minting of silver coins was introduced in Moscow.
Family and personality
The Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy had 12 children (4 daughters and 8 sons). In his will, the prince handed over the rule to his eldest son Vasily. It was under the Grand Duke that power began to be transferred "vertically" - from father to eldest son. He also bequeathed to all the children to listen to their mother, Evdokia Dmitrievna, in everything.
The prince died on May 19, 1389. He is buried in the Kremlin's Archangel Cathedral. June 1 (May 19, old style) - the day of memory of Dmitry Donskoy, canonized.
According to the compilers of the "Life", the prince had a "wondrous look" and was "perfect in mind", strong, tall, heavy and broad-shouldered. According to his contemporaries, the Grand Duke was a man of a difficult character, distinguished by a combination of courage and indecision, courage and readiness to retreat, innocence and deceit. He was spiritually chaste and gentle, but he was not distinguished by education.