Demographical descriptions

circle09_green.gif  Bialorus (Belarus, Byelorussia, White Ruthenia)
One of the earliest areas settled by the Slavs. After the 1200's, it became part of Lithuania. During the First Partition of Poland in 1772, Russia took control of eastern Byelorussia. The central area was taken during the Second Partition in 1793, and the remaining section was taken during the Third Partition in 1795. During the inter-war period, eastern Bialorus became part of Poland. In 1945, in the wake of WWII and the Yalta agreement, the western part of Bialorus became part of the Soviet republic which has since become Belarus.

circle09_green.gif  Bukowina (Bukovina)
A territory southwest of the Dniestr River consisting of a segment of the northeastern Carpathian Mountains and the adjoining plain, once part of Moldavia. Bukovina acquired its own name and identity in 1775, when it was ceded to Austria by the Ottoman Empire, who then controlled Moldavia. Austria, which regarded Bukovina as a strategic link between Transylvania and Galicia, administered it first as a part of Galicia (1786-1849) and then as a duchy and a separate crown land. In the inter-war period of 1918-1939 it was part of Rumania. In 1945, in the wake of WWII, the northern part of Bukowina was incorporated into the Soviet Socialist Ukrainian Republic.

circle09_green.gif  Galicja (Galicia)
The name given in the late 18th century by Austria to the Austrian province created by the partitions of Poland. The use of the term "Galicja" remained in use in common parlance with reference to the territories previously held by Austria even after Poland regained its independence in 1918. The name had Centuries earlier, the name had been that of a principality centered on the town of Halicz and sometimes referred to by that name (Galicia is its Latin rendering). It became independent in 1087, united with Wolyn in 1200 and became part of Poland in 1349 during the reign of Casimir the Great. In 1945, following WWII, the eastern part of what had been the Austrian province of Galicja became part of the Ukraine.

circle09_green.gif  Inflanty (Livonia)
Lands currently encompassed by Latvia northeast of the Dvina River and southern Estonia. The Livs, a Baltic tribe, made their home in the Gauja River and Baltic coast area. Northern Livonia was incorporated into Poland and was renamed Inflanty Polskie in 1561. Southern Livonia was divided into the Duchy of Kurlandia (under Polish rule) and Semigalia. In 1629 the Swedes conquered the area north of the West Dvina River and held it until 1721, when the Russian Empire seized control of the area.

circle09_green.gif  Litwa (Lithuania)
Currently the name of a country sharing Poland's northeast border. The country shares the name with the historic Grand Duchy of Lithuania a vast country with origins in the same lands as today's Lithuania, but one that in the era of its greatest expansion encompassed also the territory of today's Belarus and much of contemporary Ukraine, Its capital was Wilno and its official language was Belarusian. Joined by a dynastic union to Poland, in 1569 it united with the Polish Kingdom formally in a federation. as the Rzeczpospolita obu Narodow (Commonwealth of the Two Nations), It ceased to exist as the Commonwealth was partitioned by the Russians, Germans and Austrians in the late 18th century. At the end of WWI and two renascent nations formed separate countries. During WWII, Lithuania was annexed by the USSR and it remained thus until it again regained its independence in 1990-1991.

circle09_green.gif  Malopolska (Little Poland)
The Vistulans, a Slavic tribe, lived along the upper Vistula River basin near Kraków. Kraków itself became the Poland's capital in 1038. The royal residence was on Wawel hill overlooking the town. On it still stand the remains of a 10th century church. Additionally, archeological evidence indicates that under the foundations of the 10th century Church of St. Wojciech (Adalbert) in the town's main square are the remains of a pagan temple, evidence of an even earlier settlement of the town. Although Malopolska is one of Poland's 16 administrative provinces, historically the area associated with this name is significantly larger stretching from Czestochwa in the west to Lublin in the east and encompassing the land between this line and the mountain ranges forming Poland's southern border. It is a region of gently rolling hills and green valleys. During the periods of the partitions, Malopolska was part of Galicja, the Austrian province. Austrian rule being more relaxed than either that of the Prussian/Germans or the Russians, Malopolska became the location where Polish patriotism found expression easiest.

circle09_green.gif  Podlasie
Poland's northeastern most province, it divides Poland from Lithuania and Belarus. Heavily wooded (Podlasie literally means The Land Close to the Forest), it contains the Bialowierza Forest and National Park, the sole habitat of the European bison. The southeastern area of the province has a significant Belarusian population. Tartars settled in the region in the 17th century, giving the area a Muslim touch. It is one of the areas of Poland with the lowest density of population.

circle09_green.gif  Rus (Russian states)
Early Polish chronicle refer to areas past Poland's eastern region as Rus [pronounced as Roosh], much as some English language historical atlases have labeled in an undifferentiated fashion that region as Russian States. The Rus are considered by some authorities to be an ancient people who gave their name to the land of Russia. In later Polish historical references the term Rus is usually qualified by an adjective that tends to differentiate which geographical area is under consideration. For instance, Rus Biala, or White Rus, is the name that was used for area corresponding to the northeastern half of contemporary Belarus (Bialorus in Polish) while the southwestern half of contemporary Belarus was called Rus Czarna or Black Rus. The principalities of Halicz, Wlodzimierz and Kijow were referred to as Rus Halicka, Rus Wlodzimierska and Rus Kijowska.

circle09_green.gif  Rus Czerwona (Red Ruthenia)
Name used in reference to what used to be Eastern Galicja prior to WWI. In the inter-war period (1919 - 1939) this corresponded to the Poland's provinces of Tarnopol, Stanislawow and Lwow east of the River San. The area is currently part of western Ukraine. The most populous inhabitants of the area Ruthenians, a term applied to Ukrainians who lived in areas controlled by Austria prior to WWI and by Poland in the inter-war period.

circle09_green.gif  Rus Zakarpacka (Ruthenia, Subcarpatian Rus)
The Polish name is rendered in English as Transcarpathian Rus. It refers to an area south of the Carpathian Mountains which was until 1938 the easternmost part of Czechoslovakia, then became part of Hungary and since 1945 is part of the Ukraine. The primary inhabitants of the area are Carpatho-Rusyns or simply Rusyns. In Poland those belonging to this ethnic group go by the name Lemkos.

circle09_green.gif  Ukraina (Ukraine)
Currently a country bordering on the southern portion of eastern Poland. The origin of the border are from the word from ukra - to the side and inne or innymi - other. Originally the appellation was applied to principalities on the eastern borders of Poland and Lithuania and later to the region of Lithuania east of Wolyn and Podole. Following the development of a Ukrainian nationalist movement in the 19th century, particularly in Austrian held Eastern Galicja, a West Ukrainian Republic of was unilaterally announced on November 1, 1918 in the area of Galicja east of the San River. The renascent Polish state viewed the area as historically a part of Poland. The resulting conflict continued till July 1919, concluding with restoration of Polish suzerainty to the area. Following WWII most of the area was incorporated into the Ukraine.

circle09_green.gif  Wolyn (Volhynia, Lodomeria)
An area of northwestern Ukraine between the Bug and Slucz rivers. A principality in the 10th to the 14th century with the town of Wlodzimierz (Wlodzimierz Wolynski) as its capital. After 1200 in a union with Galicja and later incorporated partly into Poland and partly into Lithuania. It remained a Polish territory until the second partition of Poland (1793) transferred most of it to Russia. After World War I and the Polish-Bolshevik conflict, the 1921 Riga Peace Treaty resulted in a significant part of it being restored to Poland. During the 1921-1931 inter-war it was the name of one of Poland's provinces. Following WWII, all of it became part of the Ukraine.

circle09_green.gif  Zmudz (Semigalia in Polish; Samogitia in Lithuanian)
Area corresponding to the current territory of Lithuania. Part of the 14th century Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Duchy, by virtue of the 1386 marital union of the Grand Duke, Jagiello, with Polish Queen Jadwiga was joined to Poland in a dynastic union. Later, in 1569, the two countries formally joined in a federal Commonwealth of Two Nations. Thereby these lands became part of the Polish Commonwealth and remained so until the partitions of Poland between Russia, Prussia and Austria in the late eighteenth century.



© Copyright 2003; Paul Havers