Mindaugas (Mindove, Mendog, Mindovh; Міндовг), b ?, d 1263. Lithuanian ruler, considered the founder of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. While consolidating his rule over Lithuanian lands in the 1230s and 1240s, he faced a major revolt by many of his leading nobles, including his brother and nephews. The uprising was supported by the prince of Galicia-Volhynia Danylo Romanovych, who was married to a niece of Mindaugas, and who sought to include the Chorna Rus’ lands in his domains. Mindaugas eased his situation in 1251 by accepting Christianity, thereby gaining the backing of the Livonian and the Teutonic Knights. He arranged the marriage of Danylo's son, Shvarno Danylovych, to his own daughter and concluded a peace treaty in 1254 that made Roman Danylovych ruler of Chorna Rus’, including the Navahrudak principality. In 1258 Mindaugas broke the treaty and invaded Slavic territories, and by 1260 he had reverted to paganism and routed the Livonian and Teutonic forces near Lake Durbe. He and two of his sons were murdered in 1263 by conspiring Lithuanian feudal lords. A period of internal unrest followed in Lithuania, until the Gediminas dynasty came into power and ushered in an extended period of territorial expansion.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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