In the r3th century the Ponizie was plundered by the Mongols; a hundred years afterwards Olgierd, prince of Lithuania, freed it from their rule, annexing it to his own territories under the name of Podolia, a word which has the same meaning as Ponizie.
With the aid of his brother Kiejstut, Olgierd in 1345 drove out the incapable Yavnuty and declared himself grandduke.
Two factors contributed to produce this result, the extraordinary political sagacity of Olgierd and the life-long devotion of his brother Kiejstut.
The Teutonic knights in the north and the Tatar hordes in the south were equally bent on the subjection of Lithuania, while Olgierd's eastern and western neighbours, Muscovy and Poland, were far more frequently hostile competitors than serviceable allies.
Nevertheless, Olgierd not only succeeded in holding his own, but acquired influence and territory at the expense of both Muscovy and the Tatars, and extended the borders of Lithuania to the shores of the Black Sea.
Olgierd's most memorable feat was his great victory over the Tatars at Siniya Vodui on the Bug in 1362, which practically broke up the great Kipchak horde and compelled the khan to migrate still farther south and establish his headquarters for the future in the Crimea.
Olgierd died in 1377, accepting both Christianity and the tonsure shortly before his death.
Subsequently the Sla y s were cut off from relations with Taurida by the Mongols, and only made occasional raids, such as that of the Lithuanian prince Olgierd.
The first active interference of Lithuania in the affairs of Livonia took place immediately after the great outbreak of the peasants on Oesel; Olgierd then devastated all southern Livonia.
Five years after the death of Gedymin, Olgierd, the most capable of his seven sons, had been placed upon the throne of Lithuania by his devoted brother Kiejstut, and for the next two-and-thirty years (1345-1377) the two princes still further extended the sway of Lithuania, principally at the expense of Muscovy and the Tatars.
Kiejstut ruled the western portion of the land where the Teutonic Knights were a constant menace, while Olgierd drove the Tatar hordes out of the southeastern steppes, and compelled them to seek a refuge in the Crimea.
During Olgierd's reign the southern boundaries of Lithuania touched the Black Sea, including the whole tract of land between the mouth of the Bug and the mouth of the Dnieper.
Olgierd was succeeded by his son Jagiello as grand duke in 1377, while Kiejstut was left in possession of Samogitia, Troki and Grodno; but the Teutonic Order, alarmed at the growth of Lithuania, succeeded in estranging uncle and nephew, and Kiejstut was treacherously assassinated by Jagiello's orders, at Krewo, on the 15th of August 1382.
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