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    Moscow. History - Москва. История

    It is not known when Moscow was first settled. The first recorded reference to the town is in an early Russian historical chronicle under the year 1147. At that time, Moscow was a possession of Yuri Dolgoruky, a Russian prince who ruled the surrounding region. The town lay on important land and water trade routes, and it grew and prospered.

    During the 1200's, Tatar invaders from Asia conquered Moscow and other Russian lands. The Russian princes were forced to recognise the Tatars as their rulers and pay them taxes. During the 1300 s, the Moscow princes collected taxes in their region for the Tatars. The Moscow princes expanded their territory greatly by buying lands or seizing them from rival princes.

    By the late 1400 s, Moscow had become the most powerful Russian city. Moscow threw off Tatar control during the late 1400 is under Ivan III (the Great). His grandson, Ivan IV (the Terrible), was crowned czar of all Russia in 1547. Moscow was his capital.

    Moscow grew rapidly during the 1600's. The czars built palaces in the Kremlin, and nobles built mansions. New churches and monasteries arose, and industries developed. In 1712 Peter I (the Great), moved the capital to St. Petersburg. However, Moscow remained an important centre of culture and trade.

    In the fall of 1812, invading French troops under Napoleon I sought to capture Moscow. The French and Russian armies fought a major battle at Borodino, just outside Moscow. The French army won the battle and entered Moscow without a struggle.

    Most of the people had left the city. Soon afterward, fires destroyed most of Moscow. Historians believe that retreating Russians set. most of the fires, but that others were started by looting troops from Napoleons army. After about a month, the French troops left and began a disastrous retreat through the cold Russian winter.

    The rebuilding of Moscow began almost immediately. New residences were built and factories began to appear. By the mid-1800 s, Moscow had emerged as the railway and industrial centre of Russia. The city's population grew rapidly, passing 1 million by 1900.

    In 1905 and in 1917, fierce revolutions against the czar took place in several Russian cities, including Moscow. In the 1917 revolution, the government fell to the Bolsheviks, who moved the capital back to Moscow in 1918.

    Moscow grew rapidly during the 1930s. During World War II (1939-1945), German troops advanced almost to the city but never captured it. Governmental bodies and industrial factories were moved to the eastern part of the country. German air raids damaged Moscow, but in 1941 the German forces were stopped. The Battle of Moscow was an important victory for the Soviet Union because it proved that the Germans could be defeated.

    Since the 1950s, thousands of apartment buildings have been built in Moscow. Some are 25 stories high. In 1960, the city's boundaries were expanded, more than doubling the city's area. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games were held in Moscow, the first Soviet city ever to host the Olympics.

    In 1990, Moscow held its first democratic election for the City Soviet. Democratic reformers won a majority of the seats. In August 1991, Moscow became the centre of protests that helped end a coup aimed at overthrowing the president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

    But on Dec. 25, 1991, Gorbachev resigned, and the Soviet Union was dissolved. Russia and other former Soviet republics formed the Commonwealth of Independent States. Moscow remained Russia's capital, but Minsk was chosen as headquarters of the commonwealth.

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