9780773501331 / 0773501339

Eastward to Empire: Exploration and Conquest on the Russian Open Frontier to 1750


Publisher:McGill-Queen's University Press



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About the book:

This book is the first full-length documented account in English of one of the most remarkable records of expansion in history - the growth of Russia from a congeries of Slavic tribes on the eastern border of Europe to the largest nation in the world. In broad outline, it is the story of the advance of the Russians on the sparsely populated 'open' frontier to the north, east, and south, followed by their rapid progress across Siberia to the Pacific. The early stages are marked by the acquisition by Novgorod of a 'fur empire' in the northeast, the emergence of rival states on the Volga, and the eventual triumph of Moscow over Novgorod, leading to the long struggle with the several Tarar states formed in the breakup of the Golden Horde. The conquest of Kasan opens the way to the Urals, and is followed by the rise of the frontier domain of the Stroganov family, from which came the expedition of Ermak, 'the Russian Cortez', against the Khanate of Sibir. the authors trace successively the conquest of the Ob, Enisei, and Lena valleys, the Baikal and Amur regions, and go on to describe the first border conflicts with China, the exploration of the Arctic coastal regions, the conquest of the Kamchatka and Chukotka peninsulas, and the voyages of Vitus Bering, which brought about a 'fur rush' to the ultimate frontier, the northwest coasts of North America. Special attention is given to the rise of the Cossacks and the achievements of Tsar Boris Godunov as an empire-builder. Dealing primarily with exploration and conquest, Eastward to Empire provides an indispensable base for further study of the social, economic, and administrative developments that occurred in the wake of the advancing frontier.

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