A map shows Europe, Russia, and the Byzantine Empire in 1300.
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Locate on the map regions where Eastern Europe meets Asia. What might happen in these regions?

slaughtered rebellious boyars and sacked towns where people were suspected of disloyalty. Their saddles were decorated with a dog's head and a broom, symbols of their constant watchfulness to sweep away their master's enemies.

The tsar's awesome power, and the ways he used it, earned him the title Ivan the Terrible. When he died in 1584, he left a land seething with rebellion. But he had introduced Russia to a tradition of extreme absolute power that would shape Russia into modern times.

The Geography of Eastern Europe

Many peoples and nations flourished in Eastern Europe over the centuries. In part because of its location, the region was often shaped by migration and foreign conquest.


The region called Eastern Europe refers to a wide swath of territory between German-speaking Central Europe to the west and Russia to the east. It reaches from the chilly Baltic Sea down through the plains of Poland and Hungary into the mountainous Balkan Peninsula. Often called the Balkans, this roughly triangular area juts southward into the warm Mediterranean.

Diverse Cultural Influences

In the early Middle Ages, Slavs migrated into Eastern Europe. Like the Germanic peoples who settled Western Europe, the Slavs were a diverse group of tribes. Other peoples also migrated into Eastern Europe, enriching its culture. In the 900s, Ibrahim-ibn-Yaqub, a Spanish-Jewish traveler, left this account of the region:

The lands of the Slavs stretch from the Syrian Sea to the Ocean in the north … They comprise numerous tribes, each different from the other … if not for the disharmony amongst them, caused by the multiplication of factions and by their fragmentation into clans, no people could match them for strength.


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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments