History of Ukraine

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History of Ukraine
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Prehistoric Ukraine, as part of the Pontic steppe, has played an important role in Eurasian cultural contacts, including the spread of the Chalcolithic, the Bronze Age, Indo-European expansion and the domestication of the horse.[1][2][3]

Part of Scythia in antiquity and settled by Getae, in the migration period, Ukraine is also the site of early Slavic expansion, and enters history proper with the establishment of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, which emerged as a powerful nation in the Middle Ages but disintegrated in the 12th century. After the middle of the 14th century, present-day Ukrainian territories came under the rule of three external powers:[4]

  1. the Golden Horde
  2. the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland - during the 15th century these lands came under the rule of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, then of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (from 1569)
  3. the Crimean Khanate (from the 15th century)

After a 1648 rebellion against dominantly Polish Catholic rule, an assembly of the people (rada) agreed to the Treaty of Pereyaslav in January 1654. In consequence, the southeastern portion of the Polish-Lithuanian empire (east of the Dnieper River) came under Russian rule for the following centuries.[5] After the Partitions of Poland (1772–1795) and the Russian conquest of the Crimean Khanate, Ukraine found itself divided between the Russian Empire and Habsburg Austria.

A chaotic period of warfare ensued after the Russian Revolutions of 1917. The internationally recognised Ukrainian People's Republic emerged from its own civil war of 1917-1921. The Ukrainian–Soviet War (1917-1921) followed, in which the bolshevik Red Army established control in late 1919.[6] The Ukrainian Bolsheviks, who had defeated the national government in Kiev, established the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which on 30 December 1922 became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union. Initial Soviet policy on Ukrainian language and Ukrainian culture made Ukrainian the official language of administration and schools. Policy in the 1930s turned to russification. In 1932 and 1933, millions of people, mostly peasants, in Ukraine starved to death in a devastating famine, known as Holodomor. It is estimated by Encyclopædia Britannica that 6 to 8 million people died from hunger in the Soviet Union during this period, of whom 4 to 5 million were Ukrainians.[7] Nikita Khrushchev was appointed the head of the Ukrainian Communist Party in 1938.

After Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland in September 1939, the Ukrainian SSR's territory expanded westward. Axis armies occupied Ukraine from 1941 to 1944. During World War II the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fought for Ukrainian independence against both Germany and the Soviet Union. In 1945 the Ukrainian SSR became one of the founding members of the United Nations.[8] After the death of Stalin (1953), Khrushchev as head of the Communist Party of Soviet Union enabled a Ukrainian revival. Nevertheless, political repressions against poets, historians and other intellectuals continued, as in all other parts of the USSR. In 1954 the republic expanded to the south with the transfer of the Crimea.

Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. This started a period of transition to a market economy, in which Ukraine suffered an eight-year recession.[9] Subsequently, however, the economy experienced a high increase in GDP growth. Ukraine was caught up in the worldwide economic crisis in 2008 and the economy plunged. GDP fell 20% from spring 2008 to spring 2009, then leveled off.[10]

The prolonged Ukrainian crisis began on 21 November 2013, when then-president Viktor Yanukovych suspended preparations for the implementation of an association agreement with the European Union. This decision resulted in mass protests by pro-Europeans - events which became known as the "Euromaidan". After months of such protests, the protesters ousted Yanukovych on 22 February 2014. Following his ousting, unrest enveloped the largely Russophone eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, from where Yanukovych had drawn most of his support. An invasion by Russia of the Ukrainian autonomous region of Crimea resulted in the annexation of Crimea by Russia on 18 March 2014. Subsequently, unrest in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine evolved into a war between the post-revolutionary Ukrainian government and pro-Russian insurgents. The Ukrainian crisis also very negatively influenced the Ukrainian economy.

Prehistory

Archaeological cultures associated with proto-Slavs and early Slavs: Chernoles culture (before 500 BC), Zarubintsy culture (300 BC to AD 100), Przeworsk culture (300 BC to AD 400), Prague-Korchak horizon (6th to 7th century, Slavic expansion)

Settlement in Ukraine by members of the genus Homo has been documented into distant prehistory. The Neanderthals are associated with the Molodova archaeological sites (43,000-45,000 BC) which include a mammoth bone dwelling.[11][12] Gravettian settlements dating to 32,000 BC have been unearthed and studied in the Buran-Kaya cave site of the Crimean Mountains.[13][14]

Around 10,000 years ago the world's longest river[15] emptied glacier melted water through the Don and the Black Sea. From springs in Gobi it flowed along the Yenisei, which was then dammed by northern glaciers. Through the West Siberian Glacial Lake flowed about 10,000 km;[16] It was longer than any river known today.[17]

Extent of the Chalcolithic Yamna or "pit grave" culture, 3rd millennium BC

The late Neolithic times the Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture flourished from about 4500–3000 BC.[18] The Copper Age people of the Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture resided in the western part, and the Sredny Stog Culture further east, succeeded by the early Bronze Age Yamna ("Kurgan") culture of the steppes, and by the Catacomb culture in the 3rd millennium BC.

History

During the Iron Age, these were followed by the Dacians as well as nomadic peoples like the Cimmerians (archaeological Novocherkassk culture), Scythians and Sarmatians. The Scythian Kingdom existed here from 750–250 BC.[19] Along with ancient Greek colonies founded in the 6th century BC on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea, the colonies of Tyras, Olbia, Hermonassa, continued as Roman and Byzantine cities until the 6th century.

In the 3rd century AD, the Goths arrived in the lands of Ukraine around 250–375 AD, which they called Oium, corresponding to the archaeological Chernyakhov culture.[20] The Ostrogoths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s. North of the Ostrogothic kingdom was the Kiev culture, flourishing from the 2nd–5th centuries, when it was overrun by the Huns. After they helped defeat the Huns at the battle of Nedao in 454, the Ostrogoths were allowed by Romans to settle in Pannonia.

A Greek fresco depicting the goddess Demeter, from Panticapaeum in the ancient Bosporan Kingdom (a client state of the Roman Empire), 1st century AD, Crimea.

With the power vacuum created with the end of Hunnic and Gothic rule, Slavic tribes, possibly emerging from the remnants of the Kiev culture, began to expand over much of the territory that is now Ukraine during the 5th century, and beyond to the Balkans from the 6th century.

In the 7th century, the territory of modern Ukraine was the core of the state of the Bulgars (often referred to as Old Great Bulgaria) with its capital city of Phanagoria. At the end of the 7th century, most Bulgar tribes migrated in several directions and the remains of their state were absorbed by the Khazars, a semi-nomadic people from Central Asia.[20]

The Khazars founded the Khazar kingdom in the southeastern part of today's Europe, near the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. The kingdom included western Kazakhstan, and parts of eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, southern Russia, and Crimea. Around 800 AD, the kingdom converted to Judaism.

Antes people

In the 5th and 6th centuries, the Antes Union was located in the territory of what is now Ukraine. The Antes were the ancestors of Ukrainians: White Croats, Severians, Polans, Drevlyans, Dulebes, Ulichians, and Tiverians. Migrations from Ukraine throughout the Balkans established many Southern Slavic nations. Northern migrations, reaching almost to the Ilmen Lakes, led to the emergence of the Ilmen Slavs, Krivichs, and Radimichs, the groups ancestral to the Russians. After an Avar raid in 602 and the collapse of the Antes Union, most of these peoples survived as separate tribes until the beginning of the second millennium.[21]

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