Ivan IV Vasilyevich (Russian: Иван Васильевич, transliterated Ivan Vasilyevich), commonly known as Ivan the Terrible or Ivan the Fearsome (Russian: Иван Грозный, Ivan Grozny; a better translation into modern English would be Ivan the Formidable), was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547, then Tsar of All Rus' until his death in 1584. The last title was used by all his successors.
During his reign, Russia conquered the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan and Sibir, becoming a multiethnic and multicontinental state spanning approximately 4,050,000 km2. He exercised autocratic control over Russia's hereditary nobility and developed a bureaucracy to administer the new territories. He transformed Russia from a medieval state into an empire, though at immense cost to its people, and its broader, long-term economy.
Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan's complex personality: he was described as intelligent and devout, given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental instability that increased with his age. In one such outburst, he killed his son and heir Ivan Ivanovich after also killing the latter's unborn son. This left his younger son, the pious and politically ineffectual Feodor Ivanovich, to inherit the throne. This later directly led to the end of the Rurikid dynasty as well as the beginning of the Time of Troubles, as Feodor was unable to produce an heir.
Ivan was an able diplomat, a patron of arts and trade, and founder of the Moscow Print Yard, Russia's first publishing house. He was popular among Russia's commoners, and he is also noted for his paranoia and harsh treatment of the Russian nobility.
|Великий князь Иван IV Грозный (Grand Prince Ivan IV the Terrible)
|Moscow, Grand Duchy of
|3 December 1533
|16 January 1547
|Царь Иван IV Грозный (Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible)
|Russia, Tsardom of
|16 January 1547
|28 March 1584