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Geopolitical position Podonya - Priazovye in the XV-XVI centuries in the light of opposition of Russia and Turkey


UDC 94 (470) "08/16"


© 2011 P.A. Avakov

Southern Federal University, Southern Federal University,

B. Sadovaya St., 105/42, Rostov-on-Don, 344006, B. Sadovaya St., 105/42, Rostov-on-Don, 344006,

decanat@hist. sfedu. ru decanat@hist. sfedu. ru

The geopolitical position Podonya - Priazovye in the context of the changing international situation of the XV-XVI centuries and genesis of the Russian-Turkish relations is considered. Being the place of crossing of strategically important water and overland communications, the region from antiquity was exposed to expansion of various states and ethnic groups, and in this regard its geopolitical position during the specified period differed in uncertainty and instability. Northeast Priazovye since 1475 was a part of the Ottoman Empire as the Azaksky sandzhak, and the territory of the Lower Don adjoining to it since the end of the 16th century was populated with the Don Cossacks.

The article is devoted to the problem of the Don and Azov Sea area geopolitical position in the context of the changing international situation in the 15th and 16,h centuries and genesis of Russian-Turkish relations. As the crossroads of the strategically important water and land communications, region was subjected to the expansion of different states and ethnic groups from ancient times, and in this context, its geopolitical situation in this period was uncertain and unstable. Since 1475 North-Eastern Coast of the Azov Sea was part of the Ottoman Empire as Azak Sandjak, and the adjacent territory of the Lower Don was inhabited by the Don Cossacks since the end of the XVI century.

The geographical term "Podonye — Priazovye" is rather widespread in scientific and local history literature. This name is meant as historically developed area including the basin of Nizhny Novgorod of Don and Northeast Priazovye connected by the general history but which did not have during the considered period of a clear administrative boundary. Today this territory is limited to the sizes of the Rostov region. For the XV-XVIII centuries of Podonye - Priazovye took the important place in the Russian-Turkish relations that in many respects was defined by its geopolitical position. Meanwhile this provision, as well as process of its folding, for the present were not a subject of special consideration in spite of the fact that in a historiography the considerable actual material relating to this subject is so far saved up. Without applying for deep and comprehensive study of a question, we will try to light it in general and to track how in Podonye - Priazovye there was a situation which caused its transformation into the arena of the Russian-Turkish opposition.

The territory of Northeast Priazovye which was on the edge of an oykumena of a classical antiquity and adjoining to it Podonya thanks to the geographical location and climatic conditions long since was a contact zone, svoyeob-

different intersection of the relations of the different European and Asian people and states, place of interaction of cultural systems. The steppe surrounding the Sea of Azov and the Don River differing in remarkable quality of the earth, richness of flora and fauna provided exclusively favorable conditions for development of agriculture and cattle breeding. The river and the sea contributed to the development in the region of commercial and cultural ties. At first on the northern coast of Taganrog Bay (at a boundary of the VII-VI centuries BC), and then in the delta of Don (in the 3rd century BC) there were first Greek settlements where the relations with the barbarians living in Podonye - Scythians and savroma-ta were entered [1 - 3]. Antique geographers considered the Don River (Ta-nais) border between Europe and Asia.

Mass invasions and major wars promoted change of cultural shape of a contact zone in Podonye - Priazovye. From the beginning of an era of Great resettlement of the people of a horde of nomads, moved from Asia the West, swept away on the way all agricultural settlements in Podonye - Priazovye. However life in the region did not stop - only farm patterns changed, and the settled agricultural population was replaced by nomads cattle-farmers. After a while, during an era of the early Middle Ages, and nomads, having mixed up from the remains of local community and partly under influence razvivav-

be sewed trade, began to pass to agriculture and settled lifestyle.

Disintegration of the Old Russian state and the followed then mongolo-tatar invasion led to washing out of borders of an agricultural and pastoral area and emergence of a buffer zone between Russia and the Golden Horde - so-called Polya1. During mongolo-tatar dominion of the earth Podo-nya - Priazovye represented the primitive steppe which was the main and only base for nomadic cattle breeding again. But in the sea of nomads there was a place and to islands of settled life. Archeologists opened the whole network of the settlements existing on the coast of Taganrog Bay and in lower reaches of Don in the XII-XIII centuries both to and after the Mongolian gain. The location of a number of settlements allows to identify them with some points noted on the Italian portolana of the Black Sea of the XIV-XV centuries. The ceramics and traditions of a domostroitelstvo demonstrate communication of the population of these settlements with Ancient Russia, but the most part of materials from excavation does not give the grounds for any ethnic attribution [5].

In the third quarter of the 13th century in the delta of Don, on the place of modern Azov of the Rostov region, there was the only city in Northeast Priazovye in the urbanistic meaning of this term. It was Azak - one of the largest provincial centers of the Golden Horde. Soon on its outskirts there was the Venetian and Genoa trading station of Tang where consulates of both Italian communes were registered later. With the assistance of the Italian merchants Azak became important point of transit trade on crossing of trade ways of the West and East. In Europe it was called Tana, and in the Moscow state - Azov. Decline of power of the Golden Horde weakened by invasion of the Central Asian conqueror Timur and civil strifes affected also Azak's fate. Approximately in the 20th of the 15th century the life in the city died away, and the Italian settlement remained "in a mouth of enemies" without reliable patron acting through the zolotoordynsky khan [6 - 8].

After disintegration of the Golden Horde in the second half of the 15th century of its splinters there were new political formations: Big and Nogai hordes, Crimean, Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberian khanates. The Big Horde began to apply for leadership among them that called strong opposition from khans of the Crimea, Siberia and Nogai mirz. In 1502 it stopped the existence. However Poe Doña territory - Priazovye still remained depending on Tatars. But now the Ottoman Empire which in the last quarter of the 15th century seized Northern began to constitute the greatest danger to the region

1 In the Western European cartography of the XVI-XVII centuries and modern literature instead of a historical toponym "Field" is usually used the name "Wild Field" which as V.P. Zagorovsky showed, has artificial origin [4, page 6 - 9]. Contrary to belief, widespread in literature, Podonye - Priazovye was far outside Paul.

Black Sea Coast also took the Crimean peninsula under control. From the moment of accession on the Crimean throne in 1523 of the khan Seadet-Girey sent by the Turkish sultan Suleyman I, the Crimean khanate got to direct vassal dependence on the Ottoman Empire. Next year the Kazan khan Sakhib-Girey (contrary to the point of view which settled in a domestic historiography, I.V. Zaytsev qualified protectorate of Constantinople over Kazan as imaginary and came to a conclusion that only in the middle of the 16th century when the Moscow threat to the Kazan khanate became obvious, the sultan for the first time interposed in his matter, having appointed in 1551 the Kazan khan of Devlet-Girey) recognized as the vassal of the sultan himself [4, 9 - 13].

The Crimea possessed the leading role in the system of the Tatar states of Eastern Europe. Crimean khan organized the largest campaigns on Russian lands, uniting military forces of other Tatar yurt and uluses under the management. Since 1507 the policy of the Crimean khanate in relation to the Moscow state remained constantly hostile. Even during the official world with Moscow the attacks of Tatars on Russian lands continued [4, 14]. But aggression did not come down only to getting yasyrya and military trophies. The Crimean khans tried to act as successors of khans of the Golden Horde, applied for dominant position in Northern Black Sea Coast and considered the Moscow sovereigns the tributaries [14]. The systematic attacks of the Crimean khan made on his own initiative and often without the knowledge of the sultan silently were meant by him, on the one hand, as the right of Tatars for enrichment and existence at the expense of neighbors, and with another - was considered as a method of weakening of the amplifying Russian state for success further of the Turkish expansion [14]. "The Zolotoordynsky heritage" of the Crimea on robbery of Russian lands was accepted the Ottoman government as a component of own offensive policy.

Despite proximity to borders of the Crimean khanate, the earth of Northeast Priazovye and Podonya were not its part. After disintegration of the Golden Horde this territory got under control of the Big Horde, one of the most primitive on the political structure and economic way of the Tatar states of Eastern Europe. The center of the Horde was located in the Volga region, Podonye - Priazovye was the western outskirts of its kocheviya. After formation of the Crimean and Astrakhan khanates and gain by Turks of Moldova the Big Horde lost the territories on the coast of the Black and Caspian seas and in the North Caucasus, differing in warm climate and a plentiful forage for the cattle. Since then only suitable for sagination of the cattle by areas where Tatars of the Big Horde removed from the North with the onset of cold weather, for a while became "Field of a Boundary to Don and Dnieper", the Lower Don and the coast of the Sea of Azov. It is known that the Horde uluses wandered according to Don and Hopr at the end of XV and the beginning of the 16th century [9, 15, t.1; 16].

In the last quarter of the 15th century. Northeast Priazovye got under the power of Turkey. In 1475 the Turkish troops under command of great viewfinder Ahmed pasha Gedik captured Thanou and turned it into the fortress Azak which became the most northern outpost of the Ottoman Empire. Passed to fortress also the Russian name of her historical predecessor. After falling of the Big Horde the Turks became absolute masters of the coast of the Sea of Azov and the mouth of Don. Originally Azak from okrugy was included into Kafinsky sandzhak with the center in Cafe. At the beginning of the 50th of the 16th century this area was allocated in the independent sandzhak which was later a part of the Kafinsky eyalet. At the same time in the territory of the Azaksky sandzhak there was no feudal land tenure as it was a sultan hass - personal possession of the house of Ottomans. Subsequently the Sea of Azov which Turks called the sea Balysyra was also allocated in independent Balysyrsky sandzhak. Directing it sandzhakby protected the sea at the head of a military flotilla and had in the management no territory [17 - 21].

Possession of Azov offered Turkey the prospects of further expansion of its possession towards Don, the Seversky Donets, Volga, the Caucasus and even Iran. Fortress provided control over the Crimean khanate, influence on the Nogai hordes of Black Sea Coast and Zavolzhye and was for the Muslim states of the Volga region, the Caucasus and Central Asia convenient and favorable point of military, political and religious communication with the sultan the [22]. Ottoman Empire used Azov as the boundary base, from here for the XVI-XVII centuries continuous attacks of Tatars on the southern and southeast counties of the Russian state were made. And inhabitants of the fortress, in particular the so-called "Azov Cossacks" - the groups trading in robbery consisting mainly of Tatars often acted as aggressors. The Turkish groups from Azov and Akkerman participated in the well-known campaign of the Crimean khan Devlet-Girey of 1571 which came to the end with burning of a part of Moscow [11, 18]. At the organization of large campaigns on Russian lands the Crimean khans often used the Azov Tatars as vanguard. So, spring of 1587 for capture of languages to the southern borders of Russia from Azov Dost-Muhammad from 3000 residents of Azov and Nogais went aha. As the Russian envoy Ivan Sudakov who was in the Crimea knew, it was entrusted to Dost-Muhammad to tell the Crimean "tsarevitches" who gathered in a campaign whether "there is no meeting to the Moscow people" at the southern boundaries. In case the border is bared, "tsarevitches intend itt quickly that to them on Ukraine pritt without-vesno" [23, page 62 - 63].

There was not enough Turkey to dominate in Priazovye and lower reaches of Don, already in the first quarter of the 16th century she sought to establish control over all Poe-donyem and to broaden the territory to the southern borders of Russia. In 1521 according to instructions of the sultan Selim I from Azov up Don to the river Voronezh were naprav-

Lena three kayuk armed with guns with two hundred the Janissar who recommended to remain there for the winter. Ensuring safe driving through Don of the Russian envoys was a pretext for the organization of an expedition, but, it is quite probable that the Ottoman government pursued absolutely other aims. In 1524 the grand duke Moscow Vasily III was reached by rumors that Turkey plans to construct on coast of Don the new fortress for which place was entrusted to be chosen to the ambassador Iskander Sak who arrived in Moscow. As a result Vasily III released Iskander to Constantinople not in the traditional way across Don, and through Putivl to the Crimea, i.e. way which usually there went not the Turkish, but the Crimean envoys, despite a request of the diplomat to go through Azov [11, 15, t. 2].

The first certificates on military threat to Azov from Russia belong to the end of 1550 - x. But they are extremely laconic as they remained only in the French and Turkish sources introduced for scientific use by the French researchers E. Sharyer and Che. Lemercier-Quelquege. The Russian chronicles keep about these events silence, as well as official documentation of the Ambassadorial order. The avarice of the available data opens the wide field for treatments and allows to define differently a source and the nature of the threat which rose in front of Azov during this period.

In the middle of the 16th century the edge of a foreign policy of the tsar Ivan IV was aimed at fight against the Crimean khanate. Active part in military operations against the Crimea was taken by the Lithuanian condottieri prince Dmitry Ivanovich Vishnevetsky who passed to service to the tsar Ivan IV in November, 1557 [24, 25]. In April of the next year the French ambassador in Konstantinopole de la Vinya informed to Paris that "Muscovites" battled against the Turks protecting "Tanais's mouth". About the one who and by what forces carried out this operation, hold back sources. It is known only that Ivan IV in 1558 suggested Kabardians to support the prince sent to the Crimean uluses Vishne-vetsky, and "to go a host by Azov" [24, 26, page 464;]. In February, 1559 it was entrusted to prince Vishnevetsky to make from Don a sea campaign to the district of Kerch [18, 24]. During this campaign in the spring and summer of 1559 the prince Dmitry besieged Azov twice, then returned to Moscow in the fall. In the winter of 1559 - 1560 he together with allied Circassians committed the third assault on Azov which was also beaten off [24, 27]. In February, 1560 the tsar sent Vishnevetsky to Circassia for a performance, joint with the Circassian princes, against the Crimea [18, 24]. In July of this year the prince Dmitry for the fourth time attacked Azov, but in connection with arrival of an Ottoman squadron failed. Then Vishnevetsky and Circassians tried to force the Kerch Strait that from the territory of the Crimea to attack Cafu, but other Turkish squadron reflected their invasion [27]. At the beginning of 1561 the Vishnevets-kogo group consisting of Russians and Circassians went down across Don to Azov, then put out to the Sea of Azov, from there -

to the Black Sea, also reached Kafy. For protection it and Azov from Russians and Circassians in Constantinople the flotilla from 20 galleys was mobilized [26]. The war of Russia which began in 1561 with Lithuania handicapped Vishnevets-kogo of the traitor, and he made the decision to return on service to the former sovereign - the Polish king and the grand duke Lithuanian Si-gizmund II Augustus. In April, 1562 Ivan IV sent the prince to Dnieper "not friendship of a delata to the tsar Crimean and to the king Lithuanian", and in July it became known that Vishnevetsky "drove off... to Lithuania to the Polish king with all the people" [18, 24, page 298, 300; 25].

Today it is impossible to give definite answer to a question whether there were military actions undertaken by the prince Vishnevetsky against Azov, realization of a foreign policy of Ivan IV or it is an independent initiative of the Lithuanian condottieri? I.B. Grekov came to conclusion that in Turkey and the Crimea Vishnevetsky was considered not the Moscow military leader, but the independent political figure, the leader of military-political association, difficult on structure, whose part Circassians, the Moscow, Don and Ukrainian Cossacks and whose political line did not coincide with the program of the Russian tsar of that time [28] at all were. Anyway, but actions of the Lithuanian condottieri against Azov, though caused great concern in Constantinople, nevertheless did not lead to change of status quo in Podonye - Priazovye.

In 1569 the Ottoman Empire, relying on Cafu and Azov, together with the Crimean khanate made an attempt of conquest of Lower Volga area which since 1556 was in structure of the Moscow kingdom. Providing the comfortable waterway for shift of troops to the battlefield against Iran, by means of a prorytiya of the channel between Don and Volga in the place of the greatest rapprochement of these rivers where small river crafts were long since moved was a main goal of the Turkish-Tatar campaign to Astrakhan. The Ottoman fleet from 150 galleys climbed from Azov Don to the Volga Perevoloka, but Turks did not manage to throw loaded with heavy artillery and stocks of court to Volga. Near Astrakhan there was a first large military collision between Russia and Turkey qualified by some researchers as the first Russo-Turkish war. Despite thorough training of an expedition, it terminated for Turkey in a total failure [14, 22, 29]. Failure of the Astrakhan campaign of Turks more than for 100 years stopped open Ottoman expansion in the Russian direction, but did not stop the Tatar attacks. However, all these actions were parts of one strategic plan [12, 28].

In the last quarter of the 16th century on the western outskirts of Northeast Priazovye there was also the Crimean Tatar outpost. As a result of civil strife among successors of the ruling khan Devlet-Girey I, "tsarevitch" Adiel Weight founded in 1577 on the Kalmius River of Balysaray and made it the residence. In the Russian documents this city was called also by Kalmiu-

som2. Through it from the Crimea to the Russian borders the new Tatar way - Kalmiussky lay. After ascent on the Crimean throne of the new khan Muhammad-Girey II Balysaray became a strong point for the Nogai uluses who did not recognize its power wandering on the Mius, Samara Rivers and Sheep Waters. However lifetime of this city was short. During interstine fight of sons of Mu-hammed-Gireya II against the new khan of Is-lam-Gireem who replaced him the II kalga-sultan of Alp-Girey in 1584 burned Balysaray [14, 32]. After that the city, most likely, was not restored any more, though continued some time to appear in diplomatic documents. So, after escape out of Astrakhan of the uluses of the Big Nogai horde which earlier turned into the Russian citizenship of a row on former kochevya to the Crimea their messengers asked the Turkish sultan to accept in 1587 these Nogais in the citizenship, to appoint for management of the tsarevitch of them and to transfer them Balysaray [14, 23].

The Turkish-Tatar domination in Priazovye cut off Russia from an exit to the southern seas, resulted in long stagnation of productive forces of this fertile edge. In adjacent Podonye the situation was other. Existence of the big waterway long since serving as binding thread with the radical Russian territory promoted trade development and military colonization of the lands lying in the basin of Don. In the second half of the 16th century the original social community capable to independently resist to the Turkish-Tatar aggression - the Don Cossacks was created here. At the end of the century it represented a serious barrier on the way of advance of the Turkish expansion to the North and the northeast, and the territory of its resettlement was a peculiar buffer between the Ottoman Empire and the Crimean khanate, on the one hand, and the southern Russia - with another [33].

Position of Priazovye for all the 16th century remained not quite certain. In spite of the fact that the Sea of Azov actually was the inland sea of the Ottoman Empire and even represented separate sandzhak, its coast only formally was considered as the Turkish lands as on huge space from Azov to Kerch, on the one hand, and to Temryuk and Taman - with another Turks had no strong point. Between Kerch and Azov also Crimean Tatar fortresses Arabat (on the northern coast of an isthmus of the Kerch Peninsula), Dzhenishke were located (modern Mr. Ge -

2 Apparently, Balysaray was in lower reaches of the Kalmius River, near modern Mariupol. To the west of Mariupol, in the branch of Taganrog Bay, the Belosaraysky braid is located. In the 17th century the Turks called this natural boundary of Balysar, and Cossacks - Belosaray. In the harbor at the cape the Turkish vessels going to Azov stopped. Telling about the Crimea, the Turkish traveler Evliya Chelebi mentioned in past tense the Crimean "castle" of Balysyr which was at coast of the Sea of Azov in 1577 - 1588 [20, 21, 30, l. 38; 31, l. 330 about.]. Let's remember that Turks called the Sea of Azov the sea Balysyra.

nichesk), and not for long existed Balysaray [20, 21, 34, the issue 1, 2]. With the Crimean and tamansky possession of Turkey, not to mention the mother country, Azov was connected in essence only by the thin thread passing through the Sea of Azov which the Don Cossacks managing in waters of this sea at any time could cut. Besides, in the winter the Sea of Azov was held down by ice, and navigation on it stopped [31].

Developed in the XV-XVI centuries in Podonye - Priazovye the situation in general remained invariable until the tsar Peter I as a result of the Azov campaigns of 1695 - 1696 did not include Northeast Priazovye in structure of Russia.


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