Verkhovskie Principalities

Verkhovskie Principalities


(literally, the Principalities of the Upper Reaches), small Russian feudal principalities of Novosil’, Vorotynsk, Odoevsk, Peremyshl’, Mezetsk, and Belov; formed in the 14th and the beginning of the 15th centuries in the upper reaches of the Oka River, resulting from feudal fragmentation in the Chernigov principality. At the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th centuries, the Verkhovskie principalities became dependent on the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and paid poletnee (yearly tribute).

Each principality was divided between brothers into parts (dol’nitsy). Internal complications and arguments with Lithuania led the Verkhovskie princes to “departures” to the Muscovite grand prince, Ivan III. By an agreement in 1494, Lithuania was forced to recognize the inclusion of the Verkhovskie principalities into the Russian centralized state. Several of the Verkhovskie principalities were preserved as appanages: Vorotynsk and Novosil’-Odoevsk lasted until 1573.


Liubavskii, M. K. Oblastnoe delenie i mestnoe upravlenie Litovsko-Russkogo gosudarstva. Moscow, 1892.
Bazilevich, K. V. Vneshniaia politika russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva. Moscow, 1952.