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The status of the land of Kiev in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania : the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries

By Vytas Jankauskas


The present article is an attempt to overview the processes the administration of different lands in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Kiev Duchy was a subject under consideration falling under the power of the Great Duchy of Lithuania in the third decade of the 14th century When the Kiev Duchy fell into the view of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a Great Duke vicegerent was appointed. Apart from this institution, however, the Tartar Bascac was also functioning. The influence of Poland in the region had weakened. New changes in the status of the Kiev Duchy became apparent in the early 70s of the 14th cen¬tury after the Blue Waters Battle, when the Tartar influence in the region had abated. Algirdas, the Grand Duke of the Great Duchy of Lithuania, could then enthrone his son in Kiev. The ties between the Kiev Duchy and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became stronger in the 7th and 8th decades of the 14th century, when the Tartar Khan Mamay gave the donation Yarlyk, thus legally granting Kiev to the Great Duchy of Lithuania. In 1377, after the death of the Grand Duke Algirdas, the dynasty crisis began. Algirdas’ sons from his first marriage started conflicting with his youngest sons. Vladimir Algirdaitis, being the Duke of Kiev at the moment, joined them, thus showing that the Kiev Duchy was closely related to the center. The troops of the Duke of Kiev had possibly participated in Kulikov Battle in 1380 on the side of Moscow. The relationship between the Duke of Kiev and Jogaila stabilized in 1388, when he made the so-called sward allegiance in the king’s palace; later he fought crusades supporting Vytautas. These changes, however, did not save the Duke of Kiev from centralization of the state which started in 1392. In 1395, Vladimir Algirdaitis was dislodged from Kiev, being rewarded with a small Kopyl Duchy near the ethnic Lithuanian lands. Skirgaila was appointed as a ruler of Kiev; however, he was poisoned in 1396. After Skirgaila’s death, Jonas Algimantaitis, the Duke of Alšėnai, was appointed the vicegerent for Kiev. He was not only close to Vytautas, but also his relative. With the appointment of Jonas Algimantaitis the status of Kiev as a duchy was lost. Despite this, the Dukes of Alšėnai were in total control of Kiev. It has to be pointed out, however, that they did not belong to the ruling dynasty - just intermarried with it. Among four vicegerents of Kiev in 1396-1433, three were from the Alšėnai family. During the 1432-1440 war between Švitrigaila and Žygimantas Kęstutaitis, Kiev became a center of great importance. At the same time, the prerogative of the progeny of Vladimir Algirdaitis to rule the territory emerged. Alexander Vladimiraitis was sent by Žygimantas to occupy Kiev (yet he failed and was jailed by Žygimantas Kęstu taitis). Meanwhile, Kiev was ruled by his brother Jonas in the period 1433-1435. This, in fact, did not change the status of the Kiev Duchy but strengthened the claims of the sons of Vladimir Algirdaitis. In 1442, however, Kazimieras and the Council of Seigniors were forced to acknowledge the pa-trimonial rights of Alexander Vladimiraitis - Olelka to the Kiev Duchy. Olelka, and later his son Simonas, tried to strengt-hen their positions in Kiev, generating well-disposed nobility around them and pursuing a consistent dynasty policy. This situation was impacted even by intense foreign policy, independently pursued by Duke of Kiev. In 1471, after the death of the Duke of Kiev Simonas Olelkaitis, the status of this land changed - Kiev became a province. Despite successive actions taken by Mykolas Olelkaitis, this status remained

Topics: 94(474.5) Lietuvos istorija / Lithuanian history
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:localhost:1/32245
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