Although some authorities give an earlier date, the city was founded, according to a major chronicle, in 1221 by Yury Vsevolodovich, prince of Vladimir, as Russian colonization was advancing to the Volga into lands formerly occupied by the Mordvinians. Nizhny Novgorod's strategic site on the great Volga route from the Baltic to Central Asia—with links via the navigable Oka River to the Vladimir-Moscow region and via the Kama River to the Ural Mountains and Siberia—ensured its importance. In 1392 the town was incorporated into the principality of Moscow and soon became a Russian stronghold against the Volga Tatars. From there, Ivan III the Great in 1469 and Ivan IV the Terrible in 1552 launched their expeditions against the Tatar capital of Kazan. The Russian conquest of the Volga in the mid-16th century brought about increased trade for Nizhny Novgorod. The annual fair that was established in that city in 1817 became the largest and most important in Russia, attracting traders and goods from across Europe and Asia. The fair continued until the Russian Revolution of 1917. The well-known writer Maksim Gorky was born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1868, and in 1932 the town was renamed in his honour by the Soviet regime, although its original name was restored in 1990.
"Nizhny Novgorod." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service.