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A brief history of Ukraine
Ukraine ( Україна) is a country located in the Eurasian
continent. Capital of Ukraine is the City of Kiev. Ukraine has borders with
Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova on
east, west, and north. Black sea and sea of Azov are its southern
Archealogical evidence shows that Chalcolithic
people of the Trypillian culture (Copper age - 4500-3500 BCE) lived in
the western part of the Ukraine and the people of Sredny Stog culture (
Serednyi Stih) near sea of Azov.
They were succeeded by the Yamna (Kurgan)
culture (early Bronze Age -c.3500-2000 BCE) of the steppes and Kemi Oba culture (c.3500-2200
of Sea of Azov. These cultures practiced ritualized burials of dead
(called the inhumation practice) and produced carved stone stelae or
menhirs that are found all over Ukraine. These cultures are evolved
later into the Catacomb culture (Bronze age - c. 2000-1200 BCE).
Successor to the Yamna culture was Srubna
culture (Зрубнá культ́ура -
Timber-grave culture) of late Bronze Age (1600-1200 BCE). Cimmerians have been suggested as descended from this
culture. Cimmerians were ancient nomads
region of present day Ukraine around 1000- 800 BCE from the north shore
of the Black Sea along the Dnieper river.
The Srubna culture was succeeded by Scythians and Sarmatians in the 800
BCE. Scythians, Sarmatians and other nomadic
peoples settled on
the north-eastern shore of the Black Sea during 6th
century BCE. Ancient Greek
colonies of Tyras, Olbia, Hermonassa were also founded on the north-eastern shore of
the Black Sea during the 6th century BCE.
culture developed during the 2nd century CE in the central
Goths moved to the area and settled in the lands of Ukraine during 3rd
century CE. Slavic tribes of Kiev culture were flurishing north of
the Oium ( Goths' name for the central Ukraine). However, the
Ostrogoths and Kiev culture came under the sway of
the Huns from the 370 CE. In 454 CE, Goths helped the Slavs to defeat
the Huns. Slavic tribes of Kiev culture expanded and settled in much of
present day northern and central Ukraine during the 5th century CE.
Turkic semi-nomadic people from Central Asia who adopted Judaism
founded the independent Khazar kingdom during the 7th century CE. in
south-eastern part of europe near the Caspian sea. The Khazar kingdom
included territory of present day Ukraine.
By the 9th century CE, Vikings (the Slavs called
Varangians) from Scandinavia had moved to the East Slavic regions. The
Primary Chronicle of Nestor mentions that a Varangian named Rurik from
the tribe of Rus (the probable origin of the name Russia) first
himself and his clan in Novgorod around 860 CE. Another Varangian
named Oleg moved south from Novgorod to expel the Khazars from Kiev and
founded the Kievan Rus state in 882 CE. Oleg subdued various East
tribes and expanded Kievan Rus State. This unified dynastic state at
became the center of a trade route between Scandinavia and
The rise of the Kievan Rus state came during the reigns of Prince
(978-1015 CE) and Prince Yaroslav, the Wise (1019-54 CE). Islamic
were used by Kivian Rus between eight and eleventh centuries. At the
of prince Vladimir, gold zlatnik and silver srebrenik were minted
(based on Byzantine nomisma). Northern part of Russia was using silver
and gold coins of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
Slavic tribes, the Polans, the Drevlyans, the
Ulichs, the Tiverians and the Dulebes were
Ukraine. Kievan Rus emerged as most powerful Slavic state in the 11th century CE. It
became the largest state in Europe called Ruthenia.
The use of the name Ukraine (means border land) started during this
During the 12th century, the
principality of Suzdal of Ruthenia was slowly developing into the
nation of Russia. The principality of
Halych-Volynia was evolving into the nation of
Ukraine. The state of Halych-Volynia became a
vassal to the Mongolian Empire from 1240 CE.
Poland and Lithuania faught against the
Mongol invaders and defeated them during the 14th century CE. Lithuania took control
of Volynia ( present day north-western Ukraine) and Poland took control of the
region of Halychyna. After the union of Poland
and Lithuania, Ukraine came under the rule of
Poland (Galicia). Ruthenian peasants (Ukrainians) were forced into serfdom.
Some of them rebelled and came to be known
as Cossacks (Kozaks).
The war of independence
(Khmelnytsky Uprising) by Bohdan Khemelnytsky in 1648 CE led to the
establishment of a independent Cossack State. However, it soon
came under Russian protection and was integrated into the Russian
Empire. Polish-Russian Treaty of Andrusovo
of 1667 divided
Ukrainian territory between the Commonwealth of Poland and Russia.
Western Ukraine fell under the control of the
Austrians after1795 CE.
After World War I several separate Ukrainian republics declared
independence, the Hetmanate, the Directorate, the
Ukrainian People's Republic and the West Ukrainian People's Republic.
In 1921 CE after the Peace of Riga, the western
part of Ukraine had been incorporated into Poland, and the
central and eastern parts became part of the Soviet Union as the
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Stalin's program of collectivization of
agriculture led to the struggle by the Ukrainian
peasantry against the
authorities. Tens of thousands of peasants were executed and about 100,000
families were deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan.
Forced collectivization had devastated the agricultural
productivity that starvation became widespread.
of Ukrainians starved
to death in a famine, known as the Holodomor.
In 1991, the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Declaration of
Independence of Ukraine and became an independent country.
Started: September 21, 2006 at 34,000 feet above the
Atlantic ocean on the way to Kiev, Ukraine
RK. Finished on October 18, 2006.
Subtelny, Orest (1988). Ukraine: A History. Toronto: University of
Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-5809-6. A Ukrainian translation available
Andrew Wilson. The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation. Yale University
Press; 2nd edition (2002).
Anna Reid. Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine.
London, Orion Books; 4th impression (1998, preface 2003).
Paul Robert Magocsi. A History of Ukraine. Toronto: University of
Toronto Press (1996).
Mykhailo Hrushevsky. History of Ukraine-Rus’ in 9 volumes. Selected
volumes translated into English. Available online in Ukrainian as
Wiktor Poliszczuk. "Bitter truth: The testimony of a Ukrainian".
Mykhailo Hrushevsky. Illustrated History of Ukraine (1913). Available
online (in Ukrainian)
I. Krypiakevych. "History of Ukraine (in Ukrainian)
Natalia Polons'ka-Vasylenko. History of Ukraine in two volumes.
Available online, in Ukrainian.
Abridged History of Ukraine at Portals of the World: Ukraine project by
the Library of Congress
Essays on History on Ukraine (in Ukrainian)
Volume 1 by Natalia Yakovenko, "From the Earliest Times until the End
of the 18th Century"
Volume 2: Ярослав Грицак (Yaroslav Hrytsak) (1996). Формування модерної
української нації XIX-XX ст. (Formation of the Modern Ukrainian Nation
in the late 19th–20th centuries). Kiev: Генеза (Heneza). ISBN
966-504-150-9., (in Ukrainian). Available online.
Handbook on the History of Ukraine (in Ukrainian)
"Ukraine: Briefly about Her Past and Present", in Welcome to Ukraine,
Askold Krushelnycky. An Orange Revolution: A Personal Journey Through
Ukrainian History. (2006).
J. P. Mallory, "Catacomb Culture", Encyclopedia
of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
V. Kulbaka, "Indo-European populations of Ukraine in the paleometallic
period", Mariupol 2000.