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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 border.

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 BCE) 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 inhabited the 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.

Chernyakhov culture developed during the 2nd century CE in the central Ukraine. The 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 the present day northern and central Ukraine during the 5th century CE.

Khazars, a Turkic semi-nomadic people from Central Asia who adopted Judaism founded the independent Khazar kingdom during the 7th century CE. in the south-eastern part of europe near the Caspian sea. The Khazar kingdom also included territory of present day Ukraine.

By the 9th century CE, Vikings (the Slavs called them Varyagi or 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 established 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 Slavic tribes and expanded Kievan Rus State. This unified dynastic state at Kiev became the center of a trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople.  The rise of the Kievan Rus state came during the reigns of Prince Vladimir (978-1015 CE) and Prince Yaroslav, the Wise (1019-54 CE). Islamic dirhams were used by Kivian Rus between eight and eleventh centuries. At the time 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 Severians, the Ulichs, the Tiverians and the Dulebes were native to 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 time. 

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. Millions 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.

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Commemorative coins
Commemorative coins




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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 online.

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 "Історія України-Руси".
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, 2003.
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.