The Life of Ivan the Terrible

Was he really terrible?

What made Ivan Terrible?


  • As a child he was known to torture animals!


Ivan was born in Moscow on August 25, 1530. He was the son of Vasily III, whom died only when Ivan was 3, which was when Ivan was proclaimed the Grand Prince of Moscow. Ivan's mother died when he was 8. His mother was then replaced a a group of fiercely nobleman fighting for power. He grew up lonely and often witness abuse, violence, and murder in his own palace. His miserable childhood might have been the reason for his later tyranny.


At the age of 16 in 1547, he was crowned the first Czar of Russia. Ivan ruled with a deep paranoia and ruthlessness. He created law codes and an elite army. He then expanded Russia into Siberia, with then turned Russia into a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state. He built the most famous landmark in Moscow, the St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square. In 1553, he suffered a life threatening illness and a few years later, his wife died. He suspected the nobles of poisoning his wife, which led him on a campaign to kill the hereditary nobility. He demanded absolute power and punish anyone who he believed was disloyal. He often had fits of rage and in 1581, the violent Ivan accidentally killed his eldest son with a pointed staff. Ivan was bad tempered and unpredictable. After 37 years on the Russian throne, Ivan finally passed away on March 18, 1584, and the country was left to his youngest son, who was unfit to rule the country. Russia was left in an almost total political and economic ruin.

“These traitors have rejected God’s chosen one… If they are not punished the kingdom will fall into ruin.” -Ivan The Terrible


  • Organized an organization called Oirichnica (the first Czar)
  • Expanded Russia East, into Siberia
  • Built the St. Basil's Cathedral
  • In 1852 after the Livonian war he lost his territory

  • Organized the Streltsy (members of the army elite)

  • Built an elite army