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Vasilii was born in 1371 the second son of Dmitri Ivanovich Donskoi, grand prince of Moscow and Yevdokia Dmitriyevna, princess of Nizhnigorod. He married in 1391 to Sofia, daughter of Vitvot, grand prince of Lithuania. His sons were Yuri, who died at age 5 in 1400; Ivan; Daniil, who died at age 2 in 1402; Simyeon, crown prince of Moscow, who died very young in 1405; and Vasilii II, grand prince of Moscow. His daughters were Anna, Anastasia, who married Aleksandr Vladimirovich, Lithuanian prince of Kyiv; Maria and Vasilisa. He was grand prince of Moscow 1389 - 1425. The family is shown on this chart.

Summary of Reign

Vasilii continued the effort of his father to balance the large external pressures from Lithuania and the Golden Horde against each other. He married the daughter of the Lithuanian leader, but threatened military actions whenever the Lithuanians tried to occupy his territories. He maee the required journeys to Sarai to obtain the Tatar yarlik, yet gave them no more support than absolutely required. He was fortunate that the power of the Golden Horde was practically destroyed in 1395 by Tamerlane. He continued to encourage church recognition of Moscow as the principal city in Russia. He kept Moscow at peace as much as possible while building its economic strength and expanding territories through alliances with neighboring princes or their boyars. When he died in 1425, his eldest son had already died, so he gave his lands intact to Vasilii II. Unfortunately his heir was only ten years old. This and the will of Dmitrii Donskoi encouraged Vasilii's brother, Yuri Dmitrievich, to start what became the worst civil war in Muscovite history.


1390 -Tatar raid against Riazan.
1392 - Vasilii visits Golden Horde and obtains yarlyk for Nizhnii Novgorod. Prince Boris arrested and deported. Vasilii makes alliance with Vitvot and marries his daughter.
1393 - Vasilii siezes Torzhik (town belonging to Novgorod)
1394 - Oleg of Riazan decisively defeats Tatars. Oleg begins conflict with Vitovt of Lithuania. Both sides conduct campaigns against the other.
1395-98 - Continuing war between Riazan supported by Tatars and Lithuania.
1395 - Tamerlane defeats Toqtamish and reaches Yelets before turning for home.
1396 - Vasilii seizes Novgorod northern lands for two years.
1397-98 -Vasilii annexes Vologda, Ustiug, and Vezhetskii Verkh.
1399 - Tatar Khan Idiqu defeats Vitovt at Vorskla River. Prince Mikhail of Tver agrees never to seek Moscow throne. Oleg of Riazan also agrees.
1401 - Oleg with allies from Pronsk and Murom attacks Smolensk
1402 - Oleg sends his son, Rodoslav, to capture Briansk, but he is captured. Oleg dies, ending Riazan's last effort to gain supremacy. Fedor Olegivich signs treaty with his brother-in-law, Vasilii I of Moscow, subordinating Fedor to the equal status with Vasilii's eldest brother Yurii. Fedor's daughter married Ivan Vladimirovich, son of the Prince of Serpukhov.
1403-4 -Vitvot seizes Smolensk and Viaz'ma.
1406 - Muscovite troops face Lithuanians without battle.
1407 - Muscovite troops again confront Lithuanians without combat.
1408 - Idiqu controls Golden Horde and makes surprise attack on Moscow. Vasilii I flees to Kostroma. Vladimir Andreevich defends Moscow. Tatars sack Rostov, Pereiaslavl, Dmitrov, Vereia, Serpukhov and Klin.
1409 - Muscovite troops face Lithuanians at Ugra River without battle.
1412 - Vasilii goes to Sarai to submit to Khan Jelal-ad-din and pay tribute.


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