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Saint Dmitriy Ivanovich Donskoy ( ), or Dmitriy of the Don, sometimes referred to as Dmitriy I (12 October 1350, Moscow – 19 May 1389, Moscow), son of Ivan II Krasnyi, reigned as the Prince of Moscow from 1359 and Grand Prince of Vladimirmarker from 1363 to his death. He was the first prince of Moscowmarker to openly challenge Mongol authority in Russia. His nickname, Donskoy (i.e., "of the Don"), alludes to his great victory against the Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovomarker (1380) which took place on the Don River.

Early reign

Dmitriy ascended the throne of Principality of Moscow at the age of 9. During his minority, the government was actually run by Metropolitan Aleksey of Russia. In 1360 the highest dignity among Russian princes, that of Grand Prince of Vladimirmarker, was transferred by a Khan of the Golden Horde upon Dmitriy Konstantinovich of Nizhniy Novgorodmarker. In 1363, when that prince had been deposed, Dmitriy Ivanovich was finally crowned at Vladimir. Three years later, he made peace with Dmitriy Konstantinovich and married his daughter Eudoxia. In 1376, their joined armies ravaged Volga Bulgaria.

The most important event during the early years of Dmitriy's reign was construction of the first stone Moscow Kremlinmarker, completed in 1367. The new fortress allowed the city to withstand two sieges by Algirdas of Lithuania, in 1368 and 1370. Attempt for the third siege in 1372 ended in Treaty of Lyubutsk. In 1375, Dmitriy managed to settle his conflict with Mikhail II of Tver over Vladimirmarker in his favour. Other princes of Northern Russia also acknowledged his authority and contributed their troops to his impending struggle against the Horde. By the end of his reign, Dmitriy more than doubled territory of Moscow principality.

Struggle against Mamai

Defense of Moscow from Tokhtamysh in 1382

Dmitriy's thirty-year reign saw the beginning of the end for Mongol domination of parts of what is now Russia. The Golden Horde was severely weakened by civil war and dynastic rivalries. Dmitri took advantage of this lapse in Mongol authority to openly challenge the Tatars.

While he kept the Khan's patent to collect taxes for all of Russia, Dmitri is also famous for leading the first Russian military victory over the Mongols. Mamai, a Mongol general and claimant to the throne, tried to punish Dmitri for attempting to increase his power. In 1378 Mamai sent a Mongol army, but it was defeated by Dmitri's forces in the Battle of Vozha River Two years later Mamai personally led a large force against Moscow. Dmitri met and defeated it at the Battle of Kulikovomarker.

The defeated Mamai was presently dethroned by a rival Mongol general, Tokhtamysh. That khan reasserted Mongol rule over parts of what now is Russia and overran Moscow for Dmitri's resistance to Mamai. Dmitri, however, pledged his loyalty to Tokhtamysh and to the Golden Horde and was reinstated as Mongol principal tax collector and Grand Duke of Vladimir. Upon his death in 1389, Dmitri was the first Grand Duke to bequeath his titles to his son Vasiliy without consulting the Khan.

Marriage and children

He was married to Eudoxia of Nizhniy Novgorod. She was a daughter of Dmitriy of Suzdal and Vasilisa of Rostovmarker. They had at least twelve children:

  • Daniil Dmitriyevich (c. 1370 - 15 September 1379).
  • Vasiliy I of Moscow (30 September 1371 – 27 February 1425).
  • Sofia Dmitriyevna. Married Fyodor Olegovich, Prince of Ryazan (reigned 1402-1427).
  • Yuriy Dmitriyevich, Duke of Zvenigorodmarker and Galichmarker (26 November 1374 – 5 June 1434). Claimed the throne of Moscow against his nephew Vasiliy II of Moscow.
  • Maria Dmitriyevna (d. 15 May 1399). Married Lengvenis.
  • Anastasia Dmitriyevna. Married Ivan Vsevolodovich, Prince of Kholmmarker.
  • Simeon Dmitrievich (d. 11 September 1379).
  • Ivan Dmitriyevich (d. 1393).
  • Andrei Dmitriyevich, Prince of Mozhayskmarker (14 August 1382 – 9 July 1432).
  • Piotr Dmitriyevich, Prince of Dmitrovmarker (29 July 1385 – 10 August 1428).
  • Anna Dmitriyevna (born 8 January 1387). Married Yuriy Patrikiyevich. Her husband was a son of Patrikey, Prince of Starodubmarker and his wife Helena. His paternal grandfather was Narimantas. The marriage solidified his role as a Boyar attached to Moscow.
  • Konstantin Dmitriyevich, Prince of Pskov (14 May/15 May 1389 - 1433).

See also


  1. Asimov, Isaac. Asimov's Chronology of the World. New York: HarperCollins, 1989; p. 186.

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