Ancient history of Galicia

Galician Medieval History: dates sketch

Galicia under Hungarian and Polish rules: Dates sketch

Galicia under Austrian rule (1772- 1918)

First World War in Galicia and proclamation of Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR)

Galicia in inter war Poland (1921 - 1939), German Reich (1941 - 1944), the USSR (1939-1941 / 1944 - 1991) and independent Ukraine

Land Distribution around 1900 for Eastern Galicia

Timeline of Galician History


The following history is excerpted from the website http://www.personal.ceu.hu/students/97/Roman_Zakharii/galicia.htm


Halychyna [in Ukrainian] Galicia [in English], Gaszorszag [in Hungarian], Galitsiya [in Russian], Galizia [in Italian] or Galizien [in German] is Ruthenian (=Ukrainian) historic land in West Ukraine (present day oblasts of Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil). Name derives from the city of Halych (Latin name: Galic) which was the first capital of Galician principality. And name Galic itself derives from Ukrainian word "halka" meaning "crow" in English. That is why we have a crow on coat of arms of this land. Though there is other, version of the name (more truthful, on my opinion), that the name Halych - Galic (and from it Halychyna - Galizia) derives from Greek word "hals", which means "salt" in English. Byzantium and the Greeks had strong influence on these lands and it was from the Greeks that Galicia and Kyivan Rus were converted to the Greek Orthodoxy. The thing was that Halych was rich in "hals" - salt and from there salt being mined was exported to many faraway lands. Nowadays though there is no more salt mining in Halych and salt mining and Halych itself declined yet a long time ago. But during early medieval period salt was the main export product coming from Halych.

Galicia was formerly a crown land of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (from 1772 until 1918) and before 1370 it was an independent and powerful medieval Ruthenian (Ukrainian) Kingdom with capital in Halych which was built by Prince Volodymyrko in 1140. Since then the name Halychyna was applied to whole land. Galician king Danylo took and ruled over Kyiv (Kiev) even. In 1264 Danylo's son king Lev moves capital to Lviv. In 1349 Poland won a battle against Galicia and it stopped to exist as independent state for a long time until 1918 when short lived West Ukrainian Republic with capital in Lviv was proclaimed but quickly taken by Poles. Former territories of Galicia are now shared between southern Poland and Western Ukraine, with most of Galicia in Ukraine and small minor part in Poland. Other names for the area are Galicja (in Polish. Adjective form: Galicyjski), Gácsország (in Hungarian. Adj.: Gacsi) and Galizia (in Italian. Adj.: Galiziano). In Ukrainian history this land was very often referred as Red Rus' (Chervona Rus) or Red Ruthenia. During Austrian times, Galicia extended from the Biala River (minor tributary of the Vistula) in the west to the Zbrucz / Zbruch, (tributary of the Dniester in the east). From the Carpathians in the south, the land drops off to the north, passing over the Sarmatian Plain. At its largest during Austrian period, Galicia comprised approximately 78,000 square kilometers.

This map shows the territory of former Austrian Kingdom of Galicia, which was created artificially in 1772, with the partition of Poland. The red line marks present day border between Poland and Ukraine / former USSR.


Ancient history of Galicia:

Ancient Galicia was populated by the Slavic tribes of Dulibes(Duliby/Duleby) and White Croatians (White Croats / Bili Khorvaty), Ulyches (Ulychi), Tyverians (Tivertsi/Tivertsy), Buzhanians with Derevlians (Derevlyany) and Vohlynians (Volyniany) on the north. Before 980 (when these lands were incorporated into Kyivan Rus) it was a loose tribal confedaration with political center in Peremyshl (modern city Przemysl, at Ukrainian Polish border) under Polish influence. During that period western christianity (in Roman Catholic form) was partly rooted there from the west, what is witnessed by ruins of some Roman style churches of pre-Orthodox christianization (988) period as in village Bishche and Transcarpathia especially. In 10 th century (980) these tribes were conqered by Kievan Rus Prince Volodymyr (Vladimir). He established the town Volodymyr there and a few small principalities were formed in Halych, Terebovlya and Volodymyr. The Galician territory was started to be refferred as a Red Rus (or Red Ruthenia) then. The final formation of united Galician principlity occured during the reign of Prince Volodymyr of Galicia in 1124 -1152. Volodymyr united small Galician principalities with its capital in Halych (first citation in 1140, Halych is the root for the name Halychyna-Galicia).

In 1152-87 Galicia was ruled by prince Iaroslav Osmomysl (Yaroslav Os'momysl). He expaneded the Galician principality to the Danube. Hungarian king Bela III occupied Galicia in 1189 and became "King of Halychyna". Galicia was ruled by Hungarians until Roman, prince of Volhynia managed to take it back. Roman started his rule in 1170 in Vohlynia. Vohlynia (Volyn/Vohlyn) was a principality north of Galicia. In 1199 Volyn (Volhynia) and Galicia were united under the rule of Prince Roman (of Smolensk) . In 1205 Prince Roman dies and the struggles for his legacy begin. In 1214, Boiaryn Volodyslav Kormylchych became Prince of Galicia. The political situation during his rule in Galicia was very unstable and Hungarians and Poles concluded Hungarian-Polish treaty regarding the government of Galicia in town of Spish. It was a time when firts Mongol invasion started and in 1223 Battle at the Kalko River, th first conflict with the Mongol-Tatars.

Shortly Volyn was united by the sons of Roman in 1227. Roman's son prince Danylo (Daniel / Danilo / Daniil) took Galician throne in 1238. The dominance of Halychyna by Prince Danylo was the greatest page in Galician History. In 1239 Kyiv (Kiev) was taken under the rule of Prince Danylo. 1239-42 Massive Mongol-Tatar invasion of Batia (1240 fall of Kyiv). 1245 Battle at Iaroslav (Jaroslaw). Danylo defeated Poles and Hungarian there and it was the end of the Hungarians-Polish kings in the struggle for Prince Roman's Legacy. 1250s Settlement of Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow) by Prince Danylo. Danylo named Lviv after his son Lev (Leo). In I253 Prince Danylo was coronated by a Papal Delegate. Great Danylo dies in 1264 and dark times start in Galician history. In 1259-60: Tatar campaigns (Byrynday) against Halychyna and Volyn. 1264- c. 1301 reighn of Lev I, son of Danylo. Lev moves capital of Galicia from Halych to Lviv/Lwow/Lvov/Lemberg (which was established by his father Danylo in 1250 and named after Lev's name).


Galician Medieval History: dates sketch:

After battles for Lublin between Galicia and Poland in 1300s Lublin was annexed to Polish Kingdom. Galicia dominates Transcarpathia meanwhile.
1286 Devastation of Galicia and Volyn by the Tatars (Telebuha).
1292 Last of the Galicia-Volhynia Chronicles.
1300s: Yuriy I, "King of Rus', Prince of Volodymyr".
c. 1303: Beginnings of the Metropolitan in Halychyna (-1347).
1316: Union of Andrew and Lev, Princes "of all of Rus', Halychyna and Volodymyr" with Teutonic Princes.
1320s: Last of the descendents of Prince Roman. Boleslav Iuriy, Prince "of all Malo Rus'".
1330s: Marriage of Prince Yurij with the daughter of Gedymin (1331); campaign on the territories of Lublin (1337).
1339: Prince Yuri deeds the town of Sianok to German rule.
1340: † Yuriy-Boleslav. Boyaryn Dmytro Dedko -- "steward of the Rus' lands"; Liubart -- prince of Volyn.


Galicia under Hungarian and Polish rules: Dates sketch:

Polish king Kasimir advances againts Galicia and wins the battle in 1349. This is was the key turning point in the hisory of independent Galician Kingdom. It stopped to exist forever.
1370-87: Galicia ruled by Hungary. Since Polish king was at the same time king of Hungary for a while.
1372-78: Volodyslav Opolskiy, last Galician Prince.
1375: Organizations of the Roman Hierarchy in Galicia, final step to subjugate local Orthodox population.
1387-1772: Galicia ruled by Poland
1425: First record of artisan guilds in Lviv.
1430-Western Podillia is annexed by Poland; establishment of Polish on Polish-Ukrainian territory.
1463: First citation of the Church Brotherhood (Uspensky in Lviv).
1490-92: Uprising against Poland in Galicia led by Mukha.
1538: Final transfer of Bukovyna/Bukowin (former Galician Land) to Turkish sovereingty, Moldovan commander Bohdan marches on Galicia.
1573: Ivan Fedorovych established a printing press in Lviv/Lwow, marking the beginning of printing in Ukraine.
1586: Lviv brotherhood maintains Stavropehian Laws.
1596: Union of Brest. Beginning of Religious struggles.
1648: Beginning of the Ukraine's struggle for liberation from Poland by
Bohdan Khmelnytskiy (1648-57) and his failure.
Galicia was devasted by Khmelnytsky's Cossack Troops and Tatars.
1649 and 1651: Khmelnytsky's attempts at peace with Poland (Zboriv. and Bilotserk. agreements).


Galicia under Austrian rule (1772- 1918):

The negotiations between the three powers, Russia, Prussia and Austria, over the first partition of Poland were concluded on August 5, 1772. The cession treaty between the last King of Poland and Empress Maria Theresia took effect on September 18, 1773. Austria received Galicia including the Zamosc (Zamosz) district, but excluding Cracow. In the course of the later Napoleonic wars, Zamosc was to be detached from Austria as a new duchy centered at Cracow was established. It was to be subsquently annexed by Austria in 1846. In 1775 Bukovyna (Bukowin) was conqured by Austria and became another Austrian province, separete from Galicia.

On the 1st of September in 1774, the Empress issued the first settlement patent. The second settlement patent was issued on September 17, 1781, by Emperor Josef II which also allowed emigration of foreigners. This patent was supplemented by the Toleranzpatent of October 13, 1781, which proclaimed religious toleration for Protestants. In the years to come, thousands of German families emigrated into Galicia, mostly out of the Palatinate (Pfalz) and settled in newly-founded German communities or in the cities as craftsmen and artisans.

1744-64: Construction of St. George Cathedral in Lviv/Lwow/Lemberg (Rococo style).
1848: Annullment of Feudalism; Political Rebirth of Galicia.
1861: First railroad on Ukrainian territory in Galicia (Peremyshyl - Lviv).
1890: First Ukrainian Galician political party (1900 - Naddniapranska).

When serfdom was abolished in the Austrian Empire in 1848, Ukrainians launched their struggle for political representation and national autonomy. The political and social climate of succeeding decades was aptly reflected by the great reformer and writer Ivan Franko, who wrote, "I am a son of the people, the son of a nation on the rise." By the 1880's, significant changes had taken place in parliamentary practices, in local government, and the public school system. Newspapers were established and various self-help organizations were formed to promote political awareness, improve agricultural practices and facilitate Ukrainian cultural expression. This dynamic organization and political life was transported to the New World and has been a hallmark of Ukrainian Canadian communities ever since.


First World War in Galicia and proclamation of Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR):

At the outbreak of First World War in 1914, hostilities between Russia and Austria brought on persecution of Ukrainians by both sides. Russians suppressed all Ukrainian cultural and political activities and exiled many prominent persons to Siberia. Retreating Austrians executed many Ukrainians, who were suspected to sympathize with Russia.

Russian troops entered Austrian Galicia in September 1914 and immediately started to subdue all Ukrainian life. They arrested and exiled to Siberia many leading personalities mainly politicians, lawyers, writers, teachers and civic activists.
In spring of 1915 Austrians recaptured western Ukraine but, things did not go very well for them on other fronts. In an attempt to save the Habsburg Monarchy, social and political reforms were promised. However these did not satisfy subject nationalities, including Ukrainians, who strived for complete independence.

In Russia, following the revolution in March 1917, a Provisional Government was formed headed by Alexander Kerensky. It introduced some democratic freedoms and lifted restrictions on Ukrainian cultural and political life. All political exiles, were allowed to return home. Ukraine gained the autonomy in April 1917 through formation of Central Rada (Council) headed by the historian Mykhaylo Hrushevskyi.
In March the German - Austrian offensive dislodged Bolsheviks from Kyiv and Central Rada returned to the Ukrainian capital. In compliance with the terms of Brest - Litovsk Peace Treaty, Red Army left Ukrainian territory in April.

Disintegration of Habsburg Empire started in 1918. In October 1918 Ukrainian political leaders formed a state called Western Ukrainian National Republic consisting of eastern Galicia western Wolhynia and northern Bukovyna. Defending this new state were Ukrainian Galician Army, consisting of Ukrainins from former Austrian army and volunteer force called "Sichovi Striltsi" (Sich Riflemen).On November 1, Ukrainian forces occupied Lviv, which triggered war with Poles, who wanted Galicia to be part of the Polish Republic. The Polish forces captured Lviv on November 21 while Romanian army occupied Bukovyna. Nevertheless for some time to come, most of Galicia remained under control of Ukrainian government headed by Evhen Petrushevych in Stanyslaviv.

On January 22, 1919 an act of Union of western and eastern Ukrainian states was proclaimed, however ongoing hostilities prevented realization of this plan. By late July, Poles gained control over the whole Galicia. But soon Polish - Russian War started, as the leader of Eastern Ukraine (Ukraine National Republic) Symon Petlura signed the Treaty of Warsaw with Poles in April 1920 whereby he abandoned claim to Galicia and western Wolhynia for Polish military help against the Soviet Bolsheviks.

Polish and Ukrainian forces captured Kyiv on May 6, but Bolsheviks mounted a counteroffensive and progressed as far as the outskirts of Warsaw (Russians were stopped at severe Warsaw battle of 1920) before being driven back to the Right Bank Ukraine. At that occupation moment short-lived the Galician Socialist Soviet Republic (1920) was procalimed by Bolsheviks. But after Warsaw battle, in October 1920, Poles made a truce with the Soviets and in March 1921 Polish and Soviet governments signed the Treaty of Riga whereby Poland recognized the Soviet jurisdiction over Right Bank but retained Galicia and western Volhynia.

Thus after the World War I and unsuccessful struggles for independence, Galicia ended up being in Poland again. Ukrainian Galicians underwent polonization and discrimination durind these years. One could not get a state employment if he would not become Polish Roman Catholic.


Galicia in inter war Poland (1921 - 1939), German Reich (1941 - 1944), the USSR (1939-1941 / 1944 - 1991) and independent Ukraine:

Western Ukrainian Republic fell and Eastern Galicia was annexed to Poland being divided into Lwow, Tarnopol and Stanislawow voivodships (area known as Malopolska in Polish, or Kleinpolen in German/ Little Poland in English) and this was confirmed by the Treaty of Riga of 1921, between the USSR and Poland, followed a truce concluded late in 1920. In these agreements Poland promised vast autonomy and rights for local Ukrainian population but in reality it came out to be the opposite. Ukrainians were trated as second class people in Polish state, being banned from state employment even.

After the partition of spheres of influences in Poland and East Europe signed between Nazi Germany and the USSR (so called Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact), East Galicia (including Przemysl /Peremyshl) was occupied by Soviet troops on 17 th of September, 1939 (the date of "Unification of West and east Ukraine" according to Soviet historiography) and became part of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (in the USSR then, now independent Ukraine) while minor part of West Galicia (Jaroslaw area) was a part of the provisional government of Warsaw. This division has remained to this day. Only Peremyshl area was given back to Poland the treaty was replaced in 1945 by a new Soviet-Polish border agreement. A large part of the Polish and German population of East Galicia was, following negotiations, resettled out of the Soviet area and into Poland.

1945 saw the end of the history of the settlement of Galicia by the so-called "Pfälzer Schwaben". Only a few remained, most of them having married into Polish or Ukrainian families and hoping to escape repression. Many who fled went to Germany and emigrated to the USA and Canada where their relatives had already begun to emigrate since the beginning of the 20th century.

Poles populating Eastern Galicia were moved primarily to former Germany's Western Poland, in partucular to Wroclaw and all the Ukrainians living in their native lands in Poland were moved to Ukraine (primarily ethnic Ukrainian group Lemky) and to the North of Poland (where they were not allowed to settle more than one family in the same village, in order to polonize them). This was a tragedy for Lemky people. The resettlememt operation was called "Vistula". During the II World War Galicia was place of fighting of UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which faught aginst Soviets/Germans and Poles for Ukrainian Independence) formed in 1942. "Galicia" (Galizien) German SS division was formed in 1943 out of local Ukrainian Galician population.

With the start of German Nazi occupation of Soviet Galicia in 1941, it was included into the Reich's General Gouvernement (under the Nazi-era occupation goverment of Poland), unlike Eastern Ukraine which was formed into a separate Reichskommisariat Ukraine. Hitler thought Ukrainians should get no preferential treatment and personally appointed Erich Koch to rule Reichskommissariat Ukraine (eastern Ukraine) with an iron fist.

Koch, as a member of the superior German Herrenvolk master race, started a reign
of terror and oppression in East Ukraine. Koch often said that the Ukrainian people
were inferior to the Germans, that Ukrainians were half-monkeys, and that Ukrainians "must be handled with the whip like the negroes." He once said that "no German soldiers would die for these niggers [Ukrainians]." Unlike Eeastern Ukrainians, Hitler palnned to germanize the Galicians. That is why Galicia was included into Reich itself, unlike Eastern Ukraine.

1943-44: Red Army fights ro regain Eastern Galicia. Emmigration starts. Eastern Galicia regained by Red Army and agan incorporated in the USSR's Soviet Ukraine. Western Galicia remained part of Poland.

8/24/1991: Verkhovna Rada adopts a resolution proclaiming Ukraine's independence.

12/1/1991: Ukraine becomes an independent nation
First President Leonid Makarovych Kravchuk (who comes from Volhynia, former Galician Kingdom Lands) elected (1991-1994). Eastern Galicia becomes part of the independent Ukraine. Meanwhile minor parts of Western Galicia (Chelm - Jaroslav - Przemysl areas) remain in Poland, forming newly created Polish provinces Podkarapckie and Malopolskie Wjowodstwos, since Polish authorities did not find it proper to give a true Ukrainian name of "Galicja" to those Ukrainian areas in Poland, which they found as "non historic" and forcefully applied by Austrians to that territory of Poland.

Source: Excerpted from website:http://www.personal.ceu.hu/students/97/Roman_Zakharii/galicia.htm


Land Distribution around 1900 for Eastern Galicia

Size of landholding in hectares Number of holdings Percentage of holdings Total area of land Percentage of land
Up to 2
2 --- 5
5 -- 10
10 - 100
Over 100





Source: The Ukrainian Block Settlement in East Central Alberta, 1890 - 1930: A History. A report by Orest T. Martynowych.



Pre history Spread of Lusation culture
500 A D
Development of the Wiskabue Tribe/Lugian Union
500- 700 Domination by Croats
700- 880 Expansion of the Wislanian Territorial State
880- 910 Overlordship by Moravia
966 Poland founded and converted to Christianity by Mieszko I
990 The Wislanie annexed to the new Polish State
1000- 1241 Regionalism, as the Kingdom of Little Poland, and Palatinate of Sandomir. The Polish capital moved to Krakow.
1241- 1288 Three Mongolian invasions by the armies of the Ghengis Khan and his successors
1288- 1330 Galicia as the Polish frontier and main area for eastward expansion
1330- 1370 The reign of King Casimir the Great. The annexation of Halychyna and Volhynia. Border rivalry with Lithuania.
1330- 1570 Jagiellonian Poland. Establishment of Galician towns and the spread of Magdeburgian town law.
1502- 1510 Invasion by the Turks from the East
1500- 1700 The imposition of serfdom
1600- 1650 Tartar incursions
1650- 1660 The Swedish Deluge
1700- 1702 The Northern War
1700- 1772 The dissolution of the State
1768- 1772 Confederation of Bar
1772 Occupation by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the First Partition
1781- 1849 The struggle against serfdom
1786 The land Katester
1793- 1795 The Kosciuszko War for Independence
1805- 1812 Impact of Napoleonic hegemony
1831 Asiatic Cholera epidemic
1846 The Galician Peasant Uprising
1847 Typhus and Cholera outbreaks
1848- 1849 The emancipation of the Galician peasants
1853- 1855 The great famine. The "Great Cholera", 1854, "Little Cholera", 1873
1850- 1900 The struggle for democracy and overpopulation effects
1880- 1914 The breaking up of the estates
1905 Year of Strikes
1914- 1921 World War I. The passing of the Eastern Front through Galicia several times. The collapse of Austria. The Polish - Russian War.