Ukraine travel guide



Ukraine Travel Guide

Ukraine History

The Cossacks and the Russian Empire

At the start of the 16th century, a new power appeared on the Ukrainian scene: the Kozaks (Cossacks), they started as semi-autonomous free people who defended their land and remained fiercely orthodox, some of them were hired as soldiers to protect the south-eastern borders of Poland against Turkey-Tatar aggression.

In the mid-17th century, the Zaporozhian Host, a Cossack military quasi-state, was established; this Host is usually viewed as precursor of Ukraine, Poland had little authentic control of this area.

The main objective of the Cossacks was the recognition of Orthodox traditions, representation in Polish Sejm and the gradual expansion of the Cossack registry. These goals were denied by the Polish, Cossacks finally turned to their northern neighbour, the Orthodox Russia, a choice which would lead towards the collapse of the Polish-Lithuanian state and the preservation of the Orthodox Church.

In 1667, Ukraine was partitioned between Poland and Russia, much of modern-day Ukraine was gradually integrated into the Russian Empire. At a later period, began the Russification of Ukraine, repressing the use of the Ukrainian language. The Cossacks never received the freedom and the autonomy offered from Imperial Russia.

During the 19th century the area was under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the extreme west and the Imperial Russia elsewhere. Ukrainian writers and intellectuals became determined to revitalize the Ukrainian linguistic and cultural traditions and re-establish a Ukrainian nation-state; the most important intellectual of this time was Taras Shevchenko.

Ukraine History

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