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Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825
1453 Through the Reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) The Time of Troubles to the First Romanovs (1598-1682) Peter the Great and His Legacy (1682-1762) The Age of Catherine the Great (1762-1801) The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825)


Explore this Section:

  Russia Events
Russia Symbol Institutionalization of Serfdom
Engagement Symbol Annexation of Parts of Ukraine
Russia Symbol Reign of the Last Rurikid
Russia Symbol The Era of the False Dmitriis
Russia Symbol The Election of Mikhail Romanov
  World Events
Engagement Symbol
Tsar Aleksei Appoints the First Russian Ambassador to China (1654)
Engagement Symbol The Treaty of Westphalia (1648)
World Symbol
English Settlers Make Landfall (1620)
World Symbol Collapse of the Ming Dynasty (1644)

Russia's Globalization:
A Key

Events marked Russia Symbol are specific to Muscovy/Russia's internal development.
Those marked World Symbol are important world historical or cultural events.
Engagement Symbol indicates specific points of sociocultural or military engagement between Muscovy/Russia and foreign powers or individuals.




Between 1654 and 1675, the tsar dispatched a series of ambassadors to the Qing emperors. Each, in turn, failed to follow proper protocol. They failed to either kowtow—a specific act of supplication in which the individual kneels three times and touches one's head to the floor nine times—or otherwise display sufficient respect to the emperor. After a Cossack brought back a letter from Emperor Kangxi, in 1675 the tsar decided to send another ambassador, the Moldavian Nikolai Garilovich Spafarii (in Romanian, Nicholaie Spatarul Milescu, ca. 1636–1708), to China. The emperor gave him gifts for the tsar, but when he refused to receive the gifts on his knees, the gifts were withdrawn and he was asked to leave Beijing. The Chinese Bureau of Foreign Affairs set conditions for future communications between China and Russia, and told Spafarii-Milescu that the Russians should not disturb the peace in Siberia—something they failed to do until the negotiation of the Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689), which better defined the border between China and the tsardom.

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