Ukraine was not widely called by its present name until the 19th century. Different parts of Ukraine were invaded and occupied in the first millennium BC by the Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians and in the first millennium of the Christian era by the Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Avars, Khazars, Magyars, and Pechenegs. The most significant development of this entire
period, however, was the movement of some Slavic tribes in the 5th and 6th centuries from their primordial homeland north of the Carpathian Mountains eastward into the forest and forest-steppe region of western and north-central Ukraine. From there the Slavs would eventually expand farther north into territories of the future Russian state around Moscow. Among the Slavs' earliest settlements was that of Kiev along the Dnieper River, which was the capital of the Polianian tribe among them. The state known as Kievan Rus arose from the intermixture of the Polianians with those Varangians (Norsemen) who controlled the Dnieper River trade route connecting the Baltic Sea with Byzantium. The name Rus, which first designated the lands around Kiev, later came to include the entire Kievan domain.
The Kievan Rus state reached its zenith in the 10th and 11th centuries under the rulers Vladimir I (St. Vladimir) and his son Yaroslav I (Yaroslav the Wise). Vladimir I adopted Christianity as the official religion of his realm about AD 990, and a church hierarchy was formed under the auspices of the Byzantines and the patriarch at Constantinople. Christianity gave the eastern Slavic peoples their first written language, called Church Slavonic. Kievan Rus reached the height of its power in the 11th century, and Kiev became eastern Europe's chief political and cultural centre. (See also Rurik dynasty(.
The 12th and 13th centuries saw the decline of Kiev owing to internal dissension, struggles with the invading Kipchak, and shifts in trade routes. The Mongol conquest in the mid-13th century decisively ended Kievan power, but the Slavic principality of Galicia-Volhynia in western Ukraine that had emerged about 1200 continued into the 14th century.
In the 14th century Lithuania annexed most Ukrainian lands except for the Galician principality, which passed to the kingdom of Poland; and in the meantime southern Ukraine remained under the control of the Mongol khanate of the Golden Horde. After the Union of Lublin in 1569, rule over Ukraine was transferred from Lithuania to Poland. The negotiation of the Union of Brest-Litovsk in 1596 divided the Ukrainians into Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic faithful Religious dissent and social strife between the Ukrainians and their Polish overlords were augmented by the Zaporozhian Cossacks, nominally subjects of the Polish king but in fact a class of free warriors. From their stronghold along the lower Dnieper River, the Cossacks in 1648, led by their hetman (military leader) Bohdan Khmelnytsky, rose against the Poles and formed a quasi-independent, if short-lived, state. Khmelnytsky's need for help against the Poles led to an agreement with the Muscovite tsar in 1654, which was considered an act of submission by the Muscovites. Poland-Lithuania was forced to recognize Muscovite suzerainty over Kiev and the lands east of the Dnieper, and the Cossack hetmanate was gradually absorbed into the Russian Empire.
In the late 18th-century partitions of Poland, the Russian Empire obtained the Ukrainian lands west of the Dnieper, except for Galicia, which went to Austria. A Ukrainian nationalist movement developed in the 19th century, but in Russian-held Ukraine the movement faced political repression and restrictions against the Ukrainian language. In Austria-Hungary
conditions were more favourable, and, by the time of World War I, the Ukrainians of Galicia had set up a network of viable cultural, political, and religious institutions.
After the Russian Revolution of February 1917, Ukrainian and Bolshevik forces struggled for control of Ukraine until 1921, when the Soviet government emerged victorious. In 1924 the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic became one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union. Northwestern Ukraine (including Galicia and part of Volhynia) remained in the hands of Poland, which had fought against the Bolsheviks in 1919-20.
Beginning in the 1930s, the Soviet government under Joseph Stalin carried out a policy of rapid industrialization and collectivization of agriculture in the Ukrainian S.S.R. Collectivization met with peasant resistance, which in turn prompted the confiscation of grain from Ukrainian farmers by Soviet authorities, with the result that a famine in the early 1930s took an estimated five million lives. In that same decade, the Soviet regime tightened its control over Ukrainian cultural life, and any remaining manifestations of Ukrainian nationalism were suppressed.
The German-Soviet Treaty of Nonaggression (1939) that extinguished independent Poland brought the territories of eastern Galicia and western Volhynia into the Ukrainian S.S.R. Nazi Germany's attack on the Soviet Union (1941) and its rapid conquest of Ukraine initially found some local support, but the Germans' ruthless exploitation of Ukrainian agriculture and labour to meet their own needs soon provoked guerrilla resistance. After the defeat of the Germans in 1945, all the ethnically Ukrainian lands that had been part of Poland, Romania, or Czechoslovakia between the World Wars were taken by the Soviet Union, with most of them going to the Ukrainian S.S.R.
In 1986 the Ukrainian S.S.R. was the site of the Chernobyl accident (q.v.), a catastrophic fire and partial meltdown at a Soviet-built nuclear power plant. After the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the reforms of glasnost and perestroika into national policy in the late 1980s, Ukrainian nationalist feelings gradually awoke, leading the newly democratized Ukrainian parliament to declare the republic's sovereignty in 1990. In the wake of the hard-line Communists' failed coup against Gorbachev, the Ukrainian parliament declared Ukraine's independence (August 1991), an act that was approved by the Ukrainian populace in a referendum in December. As the Soviet Union collapsed that month, Ukrainian
independence gained international recognition. The new country's government was slow to reform the Soviet-era state-run economy, which was plagued by declining production, rising inflation, and widespread unemployment in the years following
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History of the Byzantine Empire Relations with the Slavs and Bulgars. Although imperial territory in the East could be reclaimed only by military conquest, in the Balkans and in Greece the work of reclamation could be assisted by the diplomatic weapon of evangelization. The Slavs and the Bulgars could be brought within the Byzantine orbit by conversion to Christianity. The conversion of the Slavs was instigated by the patriarch Photius and carried out by the monks Cyril and Methodius from Thessalonica. Their invention of the Slavonic alphabet (Cyrillic and Glagolitic) made possible the translation of the Bible and the Greek liturgy and brought literacy as well as the Christian faith to the Slavic peoples. The work began in the Slavic Kingdom of Moravia and spread to Serbia and Bulgaria. Latin missionaries resented what they considered to be Byzantine interference among the northern Slavs, and there were repeated clashes of interest that further damaged relations between the sees of Rome and Constantinople. The conversion of the Bulgars became a competition between the two churches and was ably exploited by the Bulgar king Boris until, in 870, he opted for Orthodox Christianity on condition of having an archbishop of his own.
Bulgarian wars. The trade with Constantinople that followed the missionaries whetted the appetites of the Slavs and Bulgars for a larger share in the material wealth of Byzantium. Simeon (Symeon) I of Bulgaria, who succeeded his father Boris in 893 and who had been educated at Constantinople, proved to be an even more dangerous enemy than the Arabs. His efforts to become emperor dominated Byzantine history for some 15 years. In 913 he brought his army to the walls of Constantinople, demanding the imperial title. The patriarch, Nicholas Mysticus, appeased Simeon for a time, but it was Romanus Lecapenus who, by patience and diplomacy, undermined the power of the Bulgars and thwarted Simeon's ambitions. Simeon died in 927, and his son Peter I came to terms with Byzantium and married a granddaughter of Romanus.
Relations with Russia. The Russians lay far outside the Roman jurisdiction. Their warships, sailing down the Dnepr from Kiev to the Black Sea, first attacked Constantinople in 860. They were beaten off, and almost at once Byzantine missionaries were sent into Russia.
The Russians were granted trading rights in Constantinople in 911, but in 941 and 944, led by Prince Igor, they returned to the attack. Both assaults were repelled, and Romanus I set about breaking down the hostility and isolationism of the Russians by diplomatic and commercial contacts. In 957 Igor's widow, Olga, was baptized and paid a state visit to
Constantinople during the reign of Constantine VII; her influence enabled Byzantine missionaries to work with greater security in Russia, thus spreading Christianity and Byzantine culture. Olga's son Svyatoslav was pleased to serve the empire as an
ally against the Bulgars from 968 to 969, though his ambition to occupy Bulgaria led to war with Byzantium in which he was defeated and killed. In 971 John Tzimisces accomplished the double feat of humiliating the Russians and reducing Bulgaria to the status of a client kingdom. Byzantine influence over Russia reached its climax when Vladimir of Kiev, who
had helped Basil II to gain his throne, received as his reward the hand of the Emperor's sister in marriage and was baptized in 989 The mass conversion of the Russian people followed, with the establishment of an official Russian Church subordinate to
the patriarch of Constantinople.
Bulgar revolt. The Bulgars, however, were not content to be vassals of Byzantium and rebelled under Samuel, youngest of the four
sons of a provincial governor in Macedonia. Samuel made his capital at Ochrida and created a Bulgarian empire stretching
from the Adriatic to the Black Sea and even, for a while, into Greece, though Thessalonica remained Byzantine. The final
settlement of the Bulgar problem was worked out by Basil II in a ruthless and methodical military campaign lasting for some 20
years, until, by 1018, the last resistance was crushed. Samuel's dominions became an integral part of the Byzantine Empire and
were divided into three new themes. At the same time the Slav principalities of Serbia (Rascia and Dioclea) and Croatia
became vassal states of Byzantium, and the Adriatic port of Dyrrhachium came under Byzantine control. Not since the days of
Justinian had the empire covered so much European territory. But the annexation of Bulgaria meant that the Danube was now
the only line of defense against the more northerly tribes, such as the Pechenegs, Cumans, and Magyars.