RurikRoyalty / Ruler
Born: c. 830
Birthplace: Friesland (now The Netherlands)
Best known as: Founder of the Russian state
Rurik was the Viking (or Varangian) leader who ventured from Jutland to found what is considered to be the first Russian monarchy. According to early chronicles, Rurik and his fellow Scandinavian warriors were invited to rule the Slavs, who had fallen into political chaos. Rurik's achievements remain a historical mystery, but it is said that he led an army to the Baltic coast of Russia around 855; he established a fortress east of the Baltic Sea at Novgorod around 862 and ruled an area that extended as far south as Kiev (in what is now the Ukraine). When he left Russia in 873 (to manage land in Friesland) he turned his land over to the Viking Oleg, who moved the seat of power to Kiev in 882 and extended his domain to challenge the Byzantine Empire. Oleg was succeeded by Rurik's son, Igor, and the dynasty Rurik began lasted until the death of Feodor I in 1598.
Extra credit: The Slavs referred to the Scandinavian invaders as "Rusi," a name which became the origin of the word Russia.
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