Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Donnelly, Alton S.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of History


Ivan IV; Czar of Russia; 1530-1584; Great Britain--Commerce--Soviet Union; Soviet Union--Commerce--Great Britain


The following paper contains the results of an independent study of an episode in the diplomatic history of Russia. The current rage of interest in anything Soviet or Russian has not always existed, and, thus, historians in general have slighted this section of man’s story. The language barrier has hindered the translation of many useful sources from Russian in to English. The sources available in English have been researched by commercial historians but with little regard for chronological narrative. With these problems in mind the writer has elucidated on Ivan IV and the English in an attempt to fill this gap in history. The author could not read Russian, thus it was necessary to discover translations in English. Several bibliographies were helpful in this matter. Adelung’s, while in German, gave valuable clues to books available in English. Martianov's catalogue also proved useful as did the excellent work of Charles Korley. The next step was to locate and evaluate the sources. In addition to the translated sources, English travel collections also offered numerous references. The bulk o f the research came from the collection of Richard Hakluyt and the Hakluyt Society publications. The collection is that of an Englishman, but it contains many documents dealing with Anglo-Russian affairs. Letters from Ivan IV to the English throne, for example, proved valuable for presenting the Russian point of view. After becoming familiar with the sources, it was necessary to acquire a general knowledge of the history of the period. The reading of an account concerning the reign of Ivan and another dealing with the English satisfied this requirement. The research period followed. The final process was a matter of organizing the topics into chronological sequence and writing the account. The basis for Anglo-Russian relations in the time of Ivan IV was quite simple. The English attempted to discover a northeast route to China. They stumbled into a valuable trade with Russia instead. Ivan IV saw in this contact a chance to solve his problems in the Baltic region. A group of Baltic enemies prevented Ivan from acquiring the skills and artilleries of western warfare. Poland and Sweden, in particular, made every effort to keep Ivan facing the east. Ivan had the manpower but not the technology for victory against these powers. England was concerned only with trade. Ivan wanted an alliance, a possible refuge, and a diplomatic marriage to strengthen Russia in its struggle for victory on the Baltic. A diplomatic tug-of-war continued throughout Ivan's reign. Ivan was never successful in achieving his aims. The English were reluctant to make enemies with the Baltic powers opposed to Ivan because of the valuable trade in this area. They had to protect their trades with both to assure the revival of a sagging national economy. Occasionally the English would give a little ground but never to the extent that Ivan demanded. The western enemies triumphed over Ivan in the field, and the English won the alliance versus trade battle across the conference table. The death of Ivan IV spelled the beginning of the end for the English trade monopoly. His successors had no need for alliance, refuge, or marriage. Both countries gained from the contact. Russia profited by the English exports in goods and men. The men brought with them western ideas and skills. While this fact should not be over-emphasized, the British definitely made an impact on Russian society and the English gained a valuable trade at a crucial point in her history.


Includes bibliographical references.


vi, 82 pages




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