Early Russia for Kids - When did Russia first become a country? What was it like?

Early Russia

Ukraine landscape
Ukrainian landscape

By 500 BC, some of the people living in Russia were called the Scythians. Russian people had some hard times between about 300 and 600 AD, when they were invaded by the Ostrogoths, the Avars, and the Huns.

But the first time that those people united into one country was about 800 AD (the same time as Charlemagne in Western Europe).

Santa Sophia cathedral in Novgorod (1050 AD)

About this time, Vikings from Scandinavia (modern Norway, Denmark, and Sweden) discovered that they could trade with the Byzantine Empire on the Black Sea by sailing down the Volga and Dnieper rivers, through Russia. When they did this in the 800s AD, they met the Slavs, who were also moving into Russia, and together the Vikings and the Slavs united Russia into a kingdom with its capital at Novgorod. The medieval kingdom of Russia included only the westernmost part of what is now Russia, but it also included most of modern Ukraine.

Click here for more Russian history
Main medieval history page

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