On January 16th 1547, Ivan crowned himself the first Tsar of All Russia at the age of 16, and remained so until his death 1584.
During his reign, Russia conquered the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan and Sibir, becoming a multiethnic and multicontinental state spanning approximately 4,050,000 km2 (1,560,000 sq mi). He exercised autocratic control over Russia's hereditary nobility and developed a bureaucracy to administer the new territories. He transformed Russia from a medieval state into an empire, though at immense cost to its people, and its broader, long-term economy.
Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan's complex personality: he was described as intelligent and devout, given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental instability that increased with his age. In one such outburst, he killed his son and heir Ivan Ivanovich after also killing the latter's unborn son. This left his younger son, the pious and politically ineffectual Feodor Ivanovich, to inherit the throne. This later directly led to the end of the Rurikid dynasty as well as the beginning of the Time of Troubles as Feodor was unable to produce an heir.
Ivan was an able diplomat, a patron of arts and trade, and founder of the Moscow Print Yard, Russia's first publishing house. He was popular among Russia's commoners (see Ivan the Terrible in Russian folklore), except for the people of Novgorod and surrounding areas and he is also noted for his paranoia and harsh treatment of the Russian nobility.
A more valid translation of his nickname is now said to be "Ivan the Formidable".
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