13. The Expansion of Christian nations

13.4 Land Expansion Of Greek Christianity

The Mongolic invasion of Russia occurred in 1223. Seventeen years later, Kiev fell and never rose again. In 1242, the Golden Horde was on the Adriatic. The Mongol was militarily superior and could have stayed in Latin lands and would have fully destroyed them, as he did in Syria and Persia, yet he retreated for no known reason. He apparently lost interest. Russia remained occupied for many generations. In 1380, a little later than in China, occurred the first Tartar defeat at the hand of the Russians: the effect of superior armament began to be felt. The final expulsion of the Tartar, i.e. the destruction of the Khanate of Kazan, occurred in 1552, with Ivan the Terrible.

The Grand Duchy of Moscovy -heir to Byzantium- slowly expanded to the Baltic, towards the Dardanelle and mainly towards the east, colonizing practically vacant land. Unruly and destitute peasants followed the swift Cossacks, semi-nomads themselves. The terrible Ivan vainly tried to curb the running away of the peasants and Boris Godunov achieved this in 1594, who bound the peasants to the land upon which they were born. Serfdom was formally established 400 years ago and Russia became sedentary by despotic decree. The serfs were freed in 1861. Under the communist regime, the serfs were again enslaved and bound to their villages: nobody could travel in the URSS unless with a written permission from the authorities.

Beyond the Bering straits, the Cossacks took Alaska and descended to Oregon, British Columbia and Washington State. This expansion was checked by the US, which bought Alaska back. In America and Australia, the conquest of empty lands was possible by Latin nations because of the development of light firearms and sea-faring skills.

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