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Yaroslav I the Wise
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    (circa 978-February 20, 1054)
    Born in Kiev, Ukraine
    Founded Yaroslavl while ruling Novgorod (1010)
    Defeated half-brother Svyatopolk (1016)
    Grand Prince of Kiev (1019-February 20, 1054)
    Lost a battle against Brother Mstislav of Chernigov (1024)
    Sole ruler of Russia upon Mstislav’s death (1036-February 20, 1054)
    His early life was mysterious.
    It was rumored that he was born illegitimate when his parents divorced before his birth.
    His relationship with his father was strained, which worsened when his brother Boris was given the Kievan throne.
    He was engaged in a power struggle with his half-brother Svyatopolk, whom he defeated at the Battle of Liubech (1015).
    He imprisoned his younger brother Sudislav for life.
    His military campaign against Constantinople was a downright failure (1043).
    Prior to his death, he divided his own kingdom among his heirs, with Kiev given to his oldest son Iziaslav, foreshadowing the instability of Kievan Rus due to civil war.
    He turned Kiev into an influential city and an artistic, cultural, and religious center.
    Kievan Rus was at its strongest state under his rule.
    An arrow wound left him lame (unable to walk properly).
    He passed the first law code among the Eastern Slavic lands.
    He retook West Galicia from Poland.
    He halted the invasions from a nomadic group called the Pechenegs.
    He had to contend with rebellions by Finnish and Lithuanian tribes.
    Four cities, each in Estonia, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, are named after him.

Credit: Big Lenny

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