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The Principality of Smolensk (eventually Grand Principality of Smolensk) was a Kievan Rus lordship between the eleventh- and fifteenth-century. It passed between the descendants of Grand Prince Iaroslav I of Kiev until 1125, when following the death of Vladimir Monomakh the latter's grandson Rostislav Mstislavich was installed in the principality, while the latter's father Mstislav I Vladimirovich became the Rus' over-king. It gained its own bishopric, the Bishop of Smolensk, in 1136.

It was Rostislav's descendents, the Rostaslavichi, who ruled the principality until the fifteenth-century. Smolensk enjoyed stronger western ties than most Rus' principalities. The principality contained a number of other important cities which usually possessed subordinate status, notable among which were Brianskmarker, Vyazmamarker and Mozhaiskmarker. The principality gradually came under Lithuanian overlordship in the fourteenth-century, being incorporated in the fifteenth. After the union between Lithuania and Poland, it passed into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita), becoming the Smolensk Voivodeship. In the seventeenth-century the Rus' under Russianmarker control attempted to bring the city into their expanding state, and despite the defeat of the "Smolensk War" (1632–1634), captured the city in 1654. The Russian success was partially aided by the distraction caused to the Rzeczpospolita by the revolt of Dnieper Cossacks known as the Khmelnytsky Uprising.

List of rulers

References

  • Franklin, Simon, and Shepard, Jonathan, The Emergence of Rus, 750-1200, (Longman History of Russia, Harlow, 1996)
  • Martin, Janet, Medieval Russia, 980-1584, (Cambridge, 1995)


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