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UKRAINE - History
Kiev. The Kiev-Pecherska Lavra
Kiev. The Kiev-Pecherska Lavra

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Kiev. The St. Sofia Cathedral
Kiev. The St. Sofia Cathedral

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History

Ukrainians are profoundly affected by the countrys long history, which left its mark on modern times.


In the V-th century BC, a kingdom of the Scythians is formed in the Southern parts of Ukraine. The evidence available is not sufficient to form a definite opinion about the ethnic background of the earliest tribes inhabiting Ukraine, or about their social and economic structure.
In the late sixth or early fifth centuries there appear on the Crimean Southern Coast a number of Greek city-states and a lively cultural exchange between the Scythians and the Greeks follow.
In the I-st century AD Romans come to the Southern Crimea and establish its hegemony over some parts of it. In the following centuries, waves of barbarians roll through Ukraine, including the Goths and the Huns.


In the end of the V-th century AD Kiev was founded as a center of a conglomerate of Eastern Slavic tribes, and by the end of the IX-th century it became the capital of the big state known as Kievan Rus and stretching up to the Baltic Sea in the North, and almost to Volga river in the East.
In the year 988 AD Grand Prince Volodymyr I converts Kievan Rus to Christianity, with Kiev becoming the biggest and culturally most advanced state in Eastern Europe, after Byzantium, in the XI-th through XII-th centuries. In 1240, Kiev and the entire state was invaded by the Tatar-Mongols, and its glory fell into decline during almost one century-long rule by the Tater-Mongols.


After that, for many centuries Ukraine was ruled by the Lithuanian Duchy, then Poland. During this time, the Ukrainian Cossack armies led by a Hetman (military leader) were formed. In 1648, one of the most famous Hetmans Bohdan hmelnitsky liberated Kiev and concluded the treaty with Russia, which led to a long period of domination by the Russian Empire, and then the Soviet Union, until 1991, when Ukraine gained its sovereignty and became an independent state.