Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kiev (1240)

The successful Mongol siege of Kiev in 1240 is generally identified as the final end of the Kievan Rus’ federation, but this is a little too convenient for historical terms. For nearly two centuries, the balance of power in the federation had been shifting gradually from the central authority to the individual principalities, who fought each other for supremacy as much as they fought any external enemies in self-defense. Its ruling Rurik Dynasty began to fragment, as uncles contested with nephews for succession and local princes refused to be governed by the Grand Prince of Kiev. The federation was the kind of political entity whose cohesion depended in large part on the strength of any given Grand Prince, and so when a series of weak (or weakened by infighting) monarchs came to the throne, the federation inevitably came apart.

Source: Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kiev (1240)

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