Queens Regnant: Rusudan of Georgia – The beginning of the end




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Rusudan was born circa 1194 as the daughter of Queen Tamar of Georgia and David Soslan. She had an elder brother, who was born in 1191. Their mother died in 1213, and her brother succeeded her as George IV of George on 18 January. In late 1222 or early 1223, George was severely injured in battle, to the point where he became an invalid, and he died, again on 18 January, in 1223. He had married a commoner, but the nobles refused to recognise her as their Queen and thus their only son, David, was declared illegitimate. They were formally divorced, under protest and George had refused to marry anyone else. The name and fate of this woman is not known. Rusudan married in 1224 to Ghias ad-din, and they were parents to the future George VI of Georgia and a daughter named Tamar, whose name was changed to Gürcü Hatun after marriage.

Rusudan succeeded her brother as Queen, but fearing that her brother’s illegitimate son would try to seize the throne, she imprisoned him. Her reign is considered to be the beginning of the end of the Georgian Golden Age. She suffered defeats in battle with the Mongols. The inhabitants of Tbilisi were massacred when their city fell, and they refused to convert to Islam. The city was eventually won back, but Rusudan’s forces had to abandon it again. Rusudan tried to save the country by allying herself with neighbouring rulers, but they failed to arrive in time. Around 1226 Rusudan’s husband defected and reconverted to Islam. He later reconverted to Christianity and re-defected to Georgia, but Rusudan repudiated the marriage, and he was never heard from again. In 1235 George was forced to surrender, and by 1240 the city was completely under Mongol control. Rusudan was forced to pay an annual tribute of 50,000 gold pieces to the Mongol Khan, and she had to support the Mongols with her army.

Rusudan died in 1245 after sending her son to the Mongols, for his recognition as heir apparent. He was still away when she died. She was buried in the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.  The nobles believed her son to have disappeared and proclaimed her brother’s illegitimate son as King in 1247. They were proclaimed co-rulers in 1248, with Rusudan’s son considered the junior King, over her brother’s son being the senior King. They eventually ruled distinct parts of the country on their own. The Kingdom of Georgia was eventually divided into three kingdoms, after years and years of dynastic fighting.






About Moniek 1389 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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