The Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria official (Königreich Galizien und Lodomerien mit dem Großherzogtum Krakau und den Herzogtümern Auschwitz und Zator; official Królestwo Galicji i Lodomerii wraz z Wielkim Księstwem Krakowskim i Księstwem Oświęcimia i Zatoru; Королівство Галичини і Лодомерії)) was a kingdom dependent to the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary from 1772 to 1918. This historical region in eastern Central Europe is currently divided between Poland and Ukraine. The nucleus of historic Galicia are currently the Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk regions of western Ukraine.
In 1772, Galicia was the largest part of the area annexed by Austria in the First Partition of Poland. As such, the Austrian region of Poland and what was later to become Ukraine was known as the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria to underline the Hungarian claims to the country. However, after the Third Partition of Poland, large portion of ethnically Polish lands to the west (New or West Galicia) was also added to the province, which changed the geographical reference of the term, Galicia. Lviv (Lemberg) served as capital of Austrian Galicia, which was dominated by the Polish aristocracy, despite the fact that the population of the eastern half of the province was mostly Ukrainian, or "Ruthenian", as they were known at the time. In addition to the Polish aristocracy and gentry who inhabited almost all parts of Galicia, and the Ruthenians in the east, there existed a large Jewish population, also more heavily concentrated in the eastern parts of the province.
During the first decades of Austrian rule, Galicia was firmly governed from Vienna, and many significant reforms were carried out by a bureaucracy staffed largely by Germans and Germanized Czechs. The aristocracy was guaranteed its rights, but these rights were considerably circumscribed. The former serfs were no longer mere chattel, but became subjects of law and were granted certain personal freedoms, such as the right to marry without the lord's permission. Their labour obligations were defined and limited, and they could bypass the lords and appeal to the imperial courts for justice. The Eastern Rite "Uniate" Church, which primarily served the Ruthenians, was renamed the Greek Catholic Church (see Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) to bring it onto a par with the Roman Catholic Church; it was given seminaries, and eventually, a Metropolitan. Although unpopular with the aristocracy, among the common folk, Polish and Ukrainian/Ruthenian alike, these reforms created a reservoir of good will toward the emperor which lasted almost to the end of Austrian rule. At the same time, however, Austria extracted from Galicia considerable wealth and conscripted large numbers of the peasant population into its armed services.
The 1820s and 1830s were a period of absolutist rule from Vienna, the local Galician bureaucracy still being filled by Germans and Germanized Czechs, although some of their children were already becoming Polonized. After the failure of the November insurrection in Russian Poland in 1830-31, in which a few thousand Galician volunteers participated, many Polish refugees arrived in Galicia. The latter 1830s were rife with Polish conspiratorial organizations whose work culminated in the unsuccessful Galician insurrection of 1846, easily put down by the Austrians with the help of the Galician peasantry which remained loyal to the emperor. This insurrection only occurred in the western, Polish-populated, part of Galicia, and the conflict was between patriotic, noble, rebels, and unsympathetic Polish peasants. In 1846, as one of the results of this unsuccessful revolt, the former Polish capital city of Kraków, which had been a Free City, and a republic, became a part of Galicia, administered from Lemberg.
In the 1830s, in the eastern part of Galicia, the beginnings of a national awakening occurred among the Ruthenians. A circle of activists, primarily Greek Catholic seminarians, affected by the romantic movement in Europe and the example of fellow Slavs elsewhere, especially in eastern Ukraine under the Russians, began to turn their attention to the common folk and their language. In 1837, the so-called Ruthenian Triad led by Markiian Shashkevych, published The Nymph of the Dniester, a collection of folksongs and other materials in the common Ruthenian tongue. Alarmed by such democratism, the Austrian authorities and the Greek Catholic Metropolitan banned the book.
In 1848, revolutions occurred in Vienna and other parts of the Austrian Empire. In Lemberg, a Polish National Council, and then later, a Ukrainian, or Ruthenian Supreme Council were formed. Even before Vienna had acted, the remnants of serfdom were abolished by the Governor, Franz Stadion, in an attempt to thwart the revolutionaries. Moreover, Polish demands for Galician automomy were countered by Ruthenian demands for national equality and for a partition of the province into an Eastern, Ruthenian part, and a Western, Polish part. Eventually, Lemberg was bombarded by imperial troops and the revolution put down completely.
A decade of renewed absolutism followed, but to placate the Poles, Count Agenor Goluchowski, a conservative representative of the eastern Galician aristocracy, the so-called Podolians, was appointed Viceroy. He began to Polonize the local administration and managed to have Ruthenian ideas of partitioning the province shelved. He was unsuccessful, however, in forcing the Greek Catholic Church to shift to the use of the western or Gregorian calendar, or among Ruthenians generally, to replace the Cyrillic alphabet with the Latin alphabet.
By 1863, open revolt broke out in Russian Poland and from 1864 to 1865 the Austrian government declared a State of Siege in Galicia, temporarily suspending civil liberties.
1865 brought a return to federal ideas along the lines suggested by Agenor Goluchowski and negotiations on autonomy between the Polish aristocracy and Vienna began once again.
Meanwhile, the Ruthenians felt more and more abandoned by Vienna and among the "Old Ruthenians" grouped around the Greek Catholic Cathedral of Saint George, there occurred a turn towards Russia. The more extreme supporters of this orientation came to be known as "Russophiles". At the same time, influenced by the Ukrainian language poetry of the eastern Ukrainian writer, Taras Shevchenko, a Ukrainophile movement arose which published literature in the Ukrainian/Ruthenian vernacular and eventually established a network of reading halls. Supporters of this orientation came to be known as "Populists", and later, simply as "Ukrainians". Almost all Ruthenians, however, still hoped for national equality and for an administrative division of Galicia along ethnic lines.
In 1866, following the Battle of Sadova and the Austrian defeat in the Austro-Prussian War, the Austrian empire began to experience increased internal problems. In an effort to shore up support for the monarchy, Emperor Franz Joseph began negotiations for a compromise with the Magyar nobility to ensure their support. Some members of the government, such as Austrian prime minister Count Belcredi, advised the Emperor to make a more comprehensive constitutional deal with all of the nationalities that would have created a federal structure. Belcredi worried that an accommodation with the Magyar interests would alienate the other nationalities. However, Franz Joseph was unable to ignore the power of the Magyar nobility, and they would not accept anything less than dualism between themselves and the traditional Austrian élites.
Finally, after the so-called Ausgleich of February 1867, the Austrian Empire was reformed into a dualist Austria-Hungary. Although the Polish and Czech plans for their parts of the monarchy to be included in the federal structure failed, a slow yet steady process of liberalisation of Austrian rule in Galicia started. Representatives of the Polish aristocracy and intelligentsia addressed the Emperor asking for greater autonomy for Galicia. Their demands were not accepted outright, but over the course of the next several years a number of significant concessions were made toward the establishment of Galician autonomy.
From 1873, Galicia was de facto an autonomous province of Austria-Hungary with Polish and, to a much lesser degree, Ukrainian or Ruthenian, as official languages. The Germanisation had been halted and the censorship lifted as well. Galicia was subject to the Austrian part of the Dual Monarchy, but the Galician Sejm and provincial administration had extensive privileges and prerogatives, especially in education, culture, and local affairs.
These changes were supported by many Polish intellectuals. In 1869 a group of young conservative publicists in Kraków, including Józef Szujski, Stanisław Tarnowski, Stanisław Koźmian and Ludwik Wodzicki, published a series of satirical pamphlets entitled Teka Stańczyka (Stańczyk's Portfolio). Only five years after the tragic end of the January Uprising, the pamphlets ridiculed the idea of armed national uprisings and suggested compromise with Poland's enemies, especially the Austrian Empire, concentration on economic growth, and acceptance of the political concessions offered by Vienna. This political grouping came to be known as the Stanczyks or Kraków Conservatives. Together with the eastern Galician conservative Polish landowners and aristocracy called the "Podolians", they gained a political ascendency in Galicia which lasted to 1914.
From June 1782 by January 1786 so 14,735 colonists came into the country. They either settled in either existing villages or founded their own. In East Galicia, where under the still more backward agriculture of the Ruthenians an improvement appeared still more desirable by the settlement of immigrants from the German countries, no national country was available. The Austrian administration therefore successfully tried to energize the Polish large land owners to settle also on its goods German colonists under similar conditions (Private colonisation so mentioned).
This shift in power from Vienna to the Polish landowning class was not welcomed by the Ruthenians, who became more sharply divided into Russophiles, who looked to Russia for salvation, and Ukrainians who stressed their connections to the common people.
Both Vienna and the Poles saw treason among the Russophiles and a series of political trials eventually discredited them. Meanwhile, by 1890, an agreement was worked out between the Poles and the "Populist" Ruthenians or Ukrainians which saw the partial Ukrainianization of the school system in eastern Galicia and other concessions to Ukrainian culture. Thereafter, the Ukrainian national movement spread rapidly among the Ruthenian peasantry and, despite repeated setbacks, by the early years of the twentieth century this movement had almost completely replaced other Ruthenian groups as the main rival for power with the Poles. Throughout this period, the Ukrainians never gave up the traditional Ruthenian demands for national equality and for partition of the province into a western, Polish half, and an eastern, Ukrainian half.
Caused by the backward economic condition of Galicia where rural poverty was widespread (see "Economy" below), the emigration began in the western, Polish populated part of Galicia and quickly shifted east to the Ukrainian inhabited parts. Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, and Germans all participated in this mass movement of countryfolk and villagers. Poles migrated principally to New England and the midwestern states of the United States, but also to Brazil and elsewhere; Ukrainians migrated to Brazil, Canada, and the United States, with a very intense emigration from Southern Podolia to Western Canada; and Jews emigrated both directly to the New World and also indirectly via other parts of Austria-Hungary.
A total of several hundred thousand people were involved in this Great Economic Emigration which grew steadily more intense until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The war put a temporary halt to the emigration which never again reached the same proportions.
The Great Economic Emigration, especially the emigration to Brazil, the "Brazilian Fever" as it was called at the time, was described in contemporary literary works by the Polish poetess, Maria Konopnicka, the Ukrainian writer, Ivan Franko, and many others.
In 1918, Western Galicia became a part of the restored Republic of Poland, which absorbed the Lemko-Rusyn Republic. The local Ukrainian population briefly declared the independence of Eastern Galicia as the "West Ukrainian People's Republic". During the Polish-Soviet War a short-lived Galician SSR in East Galicia existed. Eventually, the whole of the province was recaptured by Poles. Poland's annexation of Eastern Galicia, never accepted as legitimate by some Ukrainians, was internationally recognized in 1923.
The Ukrainians of the former eastern Galicia and the neighbouring province of Volhynia, made up about 15% of the Second Polish Republic population, and were its largest minority. As Polish government policies were unfriendly towards minorities, tensions between the Polish government and the Ukrainian population grew, eventually giving the rise to the militant underground Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.
No country of the Austrian monarchy had such a varied ethnic mix as Galicia: Poles, Ruthenians, Germans, Armenians, Jews, Hungarians, Roma peoples, Lipowaner, etc. The Poles were mainly in the west, with the Ruthenians predominant in the eastern region ("Ruthenia").
The Jews of Galicia had immigrated in the Middle Ages from Germany and mostly spoke Yiddish as their first language. German-speaking people were more commonly referred to by the region of Germany where they originated (e.g. Saxons or Swabians). With inhabitants who had a clear difference in language such as with the Saxons or the Roma identification was less problematic, but wide-spread multilingualness blurred the borders again.
It is however possible to make a clear distinction in religious denominations: the majority of the Poles were Latin Catholics, while the Ruthenians were mostly Greek Catholics. The Jews, who represented the third largest religious group, were mostly of the Orthodox variety.
The average life expectancy was 27 years for men and 28.5 years for women, as compared to 33 and 37 in Bohemia, 39 and 41 in France and 40 and 42 in England. Also the quality of life was much lower. The yearly consumption of meat did not exceed 10 kilograms per capita, as compared to 24 kg in Hungary and 33 in Germany. This was mostly due to much lower average income.
In 1888 Galicia had 78,550 km² of area and was populated by ca. 6.4 million people, including 4.8 million peasants (75% of the whole population). The population density was 81 people per square kilometre and was higher than in France (71 inhabitants/km²) or Germany.
Statistics indicate the Galicia and Lodomeria was poorer than areas west of it. The average income per capita did not exceed 53 Rhine guilders (RG), as compared to 91 RG in the Kingdom of Poland, 100 in Hungary and more than 450 RG in England at that time. Also the taxes were relatively high and equalled to 9 Rhine guilders a year (ca. 17% of yearly income), as compared to 5% in Prussia and 10% in England. Also the percentage of people with higher income was much lower than in other parts of the Monarchy and Europe: the luxury tax, paid by people whose yearly income exceeded 600 RG, was paid by 8 people in every 1000 inhabitants, as compared to 28 in Bohemia and 99 in Lower Austria. Despite high taxation, the national debt of the Galician government exceeded 300 million RG at all times, that is approximately 60 RG per capita.
All in all, the region was used by the Austro-Hungarian government mostly as a reservoir of cheap workforce and recruits for the army, as well as a buffer zone against Russia. It was not until early in the 20th century that heavy industry started to be developed, which would be comparable to much of Russia and the Balkans. Even then it was mostly connected to war production. The biggest state investments in the region were the railways and the fortresses in Przemyśl, Kraków and other cities. Industrial development was mostly connected to the private oil industry started by Ignacy Łukasiewicz and to the Wieliczka salt mines, operational since at least the Middle Ages.