People have lived in the area that is modern-day Russia for as long as 1.5 million years. However, until the ninth century, these people composed a loose collection of cities and nomadic tribes rather than a unified nation. The earliest steps toward Russian unification began in 862.
A Scandinavian Norseman named Rurik was elected leader of the city of Novgorod in 862. His son Oleg and grandson Vladimir I extended this territory as far south as the Black Sea, taking control of a valuable trade route that passed through Kiev. This territory, known as Rus, was the earliest Russian state.