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 Right-Bank Western Ukrainian Lands During the 18th Century 

(The 18th century.)

The violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine in the last part of the 17th century considerably determined certain peculiarities in social, political and economic development for the following decades of its two great regions: Left Bank Ukraine and Slobozhanshchyna, and West Ukrainian lands. Almost until the end of the 13th century, the Left Bank region was part of Rich Pospolyta. The winnings from the Liberation War of the mid 17th century were gradually abolished and the prewar regime was renewed. But certain elements of state-creating traditions still remained the important fact of socio-political life in the land. In the early 18th century, there were cossacks' regiments in the Right Bank Dnieper area. Large villages with quickly developing economic activities were distributed in the area. Unfortunately, the international situation was not favorable for the Right Bank cossacks. Poland soon established its power in the entire Right Bank territory.

The same was the situation in Eastern Halychyna. Royal authorities acted within its boundaries. Polish lords owned great land estates that included hundreds of towns and villages. Only cities (Kamianets-Podilskyi and Lviv) had a right of self-government. The Union was still introduced in West Ukrainian regions. In the early 18th century it was adapted by Lviv and Lutsk bishops as well as by other church hierarchies. As to other Ukrainian lands: Transcarpathia was still part of Hungary and Northern Bukovyna was under the reign of the Moldavian principality, the vassal of Turkey. Foreign ethnic political institutions and right standards were in force there.

Considerable changes occurred in the political condition of the Western Ukrainian lands in the late 18th century. The downfall and division of Rich Pospolyta marked the territory-state belonging to Halychyna, Transcarpathia and Northern Bukovyna. As a result of the first Poland downfall (1771), almost all of Halychyna and the western part of Volyn and Podillia were conquered by Austria. Those lands were unified with a part of Polish provinces into the "Kingdom of Halychyna and Lodomeria". The other territories were gained by Austria after the third downfall of Poland (1795). Northern Bukovyna was also occupied by Austria. In 1774, the Vienna troops occupied the whole territory of the land (in 1775 these gains of Austria were affirmed by the Constantinople convention). Transcarpathia, which preserved traditional division into comitates, remained under the reign of the Hapsburgh monarchy.

For the last part of the 18th century, Austrian Emperor Josef II and Empress Maria Theresia realized a number of reforms in the land. They limited the power of landlords over peasants, canceled the peasants' personal dependence on landlords, liquidated certain duties. The government also made reforms in the spiritual sphere (e.g., they opened a lyceum in Mukacheve and seminary in Lviv). At the same time, schools with education in Ukrainian were organized. A number of Ukrainian departments were founded in Lviv University, which opened in 1784. Unfortunately, these progressive actions of Austrian government were ceased in the future.

The liberating struggle never stopped in the lands of Right Bank Ukraine. A great peasants' rebellion burst out in 1702-1704. The rebels crushed the Polish Army in the Kyiv province, Podillia and Volyn. The Right Bank rebels had the help of Cossacks from Zaporizhia and Left Bank Ukraine, and people from Moldavia, Bielorussia, and Valakhia. This "people's rebellion" was suppressed. However, the so-called movement of Haidamaks rose in the region. Small, yet extremely mobile squadrons of Haidamaks attacked the landlords' estates, merchants' caravans, separate tenants, etc. The Haidamak movement continued until the mid 1770s.

The great people's liberation revolt began in Right Bank Ukraine in 1768 and was known as "Koliivshchyna". The rebels conquered the fortress of Uman as well as a number of other towns and settlements. Cossacks' regiments were introduced in certain provinces. However, some months later Poland, with the help of the Russian Army, succeeded to defeat the main cossack regiments.

In the second half of the 18th century, Rich Pospolyta went through a period of decline. As a result of the downfall of Rich Pospolyta, the territory of the Right Bank belonged to Russia. Two years later, the lands of Volyn and Bielorussia also became a part of Russia. General imperial orders: separation into vice-regencies (later provinces), Russian court system, action of "nobility charter", etc. were introduced into these regions. However, the issue of reuniting all the Ukrainian lands was not yet completely resolved. They became parts of the Russian and Austrian empires. There were decades of political disconnection, statelessness, and the national persecution of Ukrainians in the future.


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