Ivan IV was the first Russian ruler to be crowned Tsar and to hold that official title. Otherwise known as the Terrible, he was responsible for centralising the administration of Russia and expanding the boundaries of the Russian Empire.
Ivan was born on August 25, 1530 in Moscow. His father, Vasily III, Grand Duke of Moscow, died in 1533 when Ivan was only three years old. Ivan's mother established a regency, but it soon degenerated into intrigue and violence as rival members of the Glinsky family disputed for control.
Following his mother's death in 1538, strife and misrule continued. Ivan, who suffered from poor health, was ignored and his education was neglected. In 1547, Ivan was crowned as Tsar and married Anastasia Romanov. He married several more times after her death in 1560 but never recaptured the happiness he had known with Anastasia.
The years 1547 through 1560 are usually considered the constructive period of Ivan's reign. He appointed an advisory council, founded a national assembly, enacted reforms in local government and drew up a new law code that standardised the responsibilities and duties of the aristocracy.
He annexed three Tatar states and assumed control of the Volga River and access to the Caspian Sea. He also established the empire in Siberia and promoted trade with various European countries, including England, France and Holland. He was noted for his highly progressive administrative policies.
Ivan The Terrible
Page dedicated to Ivan The Terrible