Galicia (Галичина (Halychyna), Galicja) is a historical region in East Central Europe, currently divided between Poland and Ukraine, named after Ukraіniаn city of Halych. The nucleus of historic Galicia is formed of three regions of western Ukraine: Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk. Throughout history the term has been used to denote widely varying territories and has various meaning among different groups.
The region has a turbulent history. In Roman times the region was populated by various tribes of Celto-Germanic admixture, including Celtic-based tribes like the Galice or "Gaulics" and Bolihinii or "Volhynians", and the Prussians, Lugians, Goths and Vandals of Germanic or Hunnic (Finnic-Ugric origins (the Przeworsk and Púchov cultures). Beginning with the Wandering of the nations, the great migration coincident with the fall of the Roman Empire, the area was invaded by various groups of nomadic people, starting with late-100 AD Scythians, Sarmatians (Alans) (4th century-5th century), Huns (5th century), Avars (6th century-8th century), Slavs (6th century), Bulgars, Pechenegs, Cumans, Hungarians (9th century) and Muslim Tatars (13th century-18th century) all being of Altaic and Uralic stock from Central Asia. Finally, the Celtic-German population was dominated by West Slavic people, broadly identifiable as slavized Sarmatian groups of Croats and Serbs, Slavic Lendians, and other Slavic groups.
Around 833 the West Slavs became part of the Great Moravian state. With the invasion of the Hungarian tribes into the heart of the Great Moravian Empire around 899, the Lendians of the area found themselves under the influence of the Hungarian Empire. In 955 their area constituted part of the Bohemian State, until around 970, when it was included in the formation of the Polish state. This area was mentioned in 981 (by Nestor), when Volodymyr the Great of Kievan Rus claimed the area on his way into Poland. The area returned to Poland in 1018, back to Rus in 1031, and Casimir III of Poland recovered it in 1340. Northern and western parts of Galicia was becoming somewhat settled by Low Germans from Prussia and Middle Germany from the 13th to 18th centuries, although the vast majority of the historic province remained independent from German and Austrian rule.
The territory was settled by the East Slavs in the early middle ages and, in the 12th century, a Rurikid Principality of Halych (Galich) was formed there, merged in the end of the century with the neighboring Volhynia into the Principality of Halych Volhynia that existed for a century and a half. By 1352, when the principality was partitioned between the Polish Kingdom and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, most of Galicia belonged to the Polish Crown, where it still remained after the 1569 union between Poland and Lithuania. Upon the partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772 the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, or simply Galicia, became the largest, most populous, and northernmost province of the Austrian Empire, where it remained until the dissolution of Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I.
The origin of the Ukrainian name Halych (Галич) (Halicz in Polish, Галич in Russian, Galic in Latin) is uncertain. Some historians speculate it has to do with people of Celtic origin that settled nearby, and is related to many similar place names found across Europe and Asia Minor, such as Galatia, Gaul, and perhaps Spanish Galicia. Others assert that the name is of Slavic origin — from halytsa (galitsa) meaning "a naked (unwooded) hill", or from halka (galka) which means "a jackdaw". The jackdaw was used as a charge in the city's coat of arms and later also in the coat of arms of Galicia. The name, however, predates the coat of arms which may represent folk etymology.
Although Hungarians were driven out from Halych-Volhynia by 1221, Hungarian kings continued to add Galicia et Lodomeria to their official titles. In the 16th century, those titles were inherited, together with the Hungarian crown, by the Habsburgs in 1527. In 1772, Empress Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary, decided to use those historical claims to justify her participation in the first partition of Poland. In fact, the territories acquired by Austria did not correspond exactly to those of former Halych-Volhynia. Volhynia, including the city of Włodzimierz Wołyński (Volodymyr Volyns'kyi) — after which Lodomeria was named — was taken by Russia, not Austria. On the other hand, much of Lesser Poland — which was historically and ethnically Polish, not Ruthenian — did become part of Galicia. Moreover, despite the fact that the claim derived from the historical Hungarian crown, Galicia and Lodomeria was not officially assigned to Hungary, and after the Ausgleich of 1867, it found itself in Cisleithania, or the Austrian part of Austria-Hungary.
The full official name of the new Austrian province was Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria with the Duchies of Auschwitz and Zator. After the incorporation of the Free City of Cracow in 1846, it was extended to Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, and the Grand Duchy of Cracow with the Duchies of Auschwitz and Zator (Königreich Galizien und Lodomerien mit dem Großherzogtum Krakau und den Herzogtümern Auschwitz und Zator).
Each of those entities was formally separate; they were listed as such in the Austrian emperor's titles, each had its distinct coat-of-arms and flag. For administrative purposes, however, they formed a single province. The duchies of Auschwitz (Oświęcim) and Zator were small historical principalities west of Cracow, on the border with Prussian Silesia. Lodomeria under the name Volhynia was ruled not by Austria but by the Russian Empire.
The region of what later became known as Galicia appears to have been incorporated, in large part, into the Empire of Great Moravia. It is first attested in the Primary Chronicle under 981, when Volodymyr the Great of Kievan Rus took over the Red Ruthenian cities in his military campaign on the border with Poland.
In the following century, the area shifted briefly to Poland (1018 to 1031) and then back to Kievan Rus. As one of many successors to Kievan Rus', the Principality of Halych existed from 1087 to 1200, when Roman the Great finally managed to unite it with Volhynia in the state of Halych-Volynia.
Despite anti-Mongol campaigns of Daniel of Halych, who was crowned the king of Halych-Volhynia, his state occasionally paid tribute to the Golden Horde. Daniel's son Lev moved his capital from Halych to Lviv. Daniel's dynasty also attempted to gain papal and broader support in Europe for an alliance against the Mongols, but proved unable of competing with the rising powers of centralised Great Duchy of Lithuania and Poland. In the 1340s, the Rurikid dynasty died out, and the area passed to King Casimir III of Poland. But the sister state of Volynia, together with Kiev fell under Lithuanian control.
Thereafter, the region comprised a Polish possession divided into a number of voivodeships. This began an era of heavy Polish settlement among the Ruthenian population. Armenian and Jewish immigration to the region also occurred in large numbers. Numerous castles were built during this time and some new cities were founded: Stanisławów (now Ivano-Frankivsk) and Krystynopol (now Chervonohrad).
Galicia was twice occupied by the Ottoman Turks in the 1490s and 1520s, they were driven out by Ukrainian Cossacks, while inconvenienced by Russian and Swedish invasions during The Deluge, and the Swedes returned during the Great Northern War of the early 18th century.
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, a large portion of ethnically Polish lands to the west was also added to the province, which changed the geographical reference of the term, Galicia. Lviv (Lemberg, Lwów) 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.
In 1815, as a result of decisions of the Congress of Vienna, the Lublin area and surrounding regions were ceded by Austria to the Congress Kingdom of Poland which was ruled by the Tsar, and the Ternopil Region, including the historical region of Southern Podolia, was returned to Austria from Russia which had held it since 1809.
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.
Interesting things is, that there was a plan, made by Hotel Lambert agents, that also considered the possible uprising in Slovakia and Croatia. Conspiracy was discovered thanks to treachery of agent Antoni Rieth, the very author of the plan of the uprising. Austrian authorities have finally discovered whole net of these agents acting on Balkans. Important role had the Croatian journal Branislav, finally banned in 1845. 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 Markiyan Shashkevych, published The Mermaid 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 led by Anatole Vakhnianyn and the Prosvita society 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 of 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.
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. Writer Joseph Oleskiw was instrumental in redirecting Ukrainian migration away from Brazil towards Canada, although the first arrival, Iwan Pylypow, had been a few years earlier.
In 1918, Western Galicia became a part of the restored Republic of Poland, while the local Ukrainian population briefly declared the independence of Eastern Galicia as the West Ukrainian People's Republic. These competing claims lead to the Polish-Ukrainian War. Once the WUPR was defeated, Poland made common cause with a separate Ukrainian administraion in Kiev, the Ukrainian People's Republic against Bolshevist Russia. During this Polish-Soviet War a short-lived Galician SSR in East Galicia existed. Eventually, the whole of the province was recaptured by Poles and divided into four voivodeships, with capitals in Krakow, Lwow, Tarnopol and Stanislawow.
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. Poland's annexation of Eastern Galicia, never accepted as legitimate by some Ukrainians, was internationally recognized in 1923. This attitude, among other local problems, contributed to growing tensions between the Polish government and the Ukrainian population, eventually giving the rise to the militant underground Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.
In the western part of Galicia, Rusyn Lemkos formed the Lemko-Rusyn Republic in 1918, initially attempting to unite with Russia, instead of Ukraine. As this was impossible, they later attempted to unite with Rusyns from the area south of the Carpathians, in an attempt to join Czechoslovakia as a third ethnic entity. This effort was suppressed by the Polish government in 1920, and the area was incorporated into Poland. The leaders of the republic were tried by the Polish government, but were acquitted.
Since June 22, 1941, the period of Sovietisation came to an end when Germany had occupied East Galicia during Operation Barbarossa. This was a period of massacres. Evacuating Soviets decided instantly to kill all the mass of people waiting in the prisons for deportation to Gulag even if their fault was petty crimes or no fault at all. Upon Wehrmacht forces arriving in the area, they discovered the evidence of the mass murders committed by NKVD and NKGB, including mass killing of Jews and Polish intelligentsia.
On June 30, 1941, Yaroslav Stetsko declared in Lvov the Government of an independent Ukraine. This was done without approval of the Germans, and Galicia was subsequently incorporated into the General Government as Distrikt Galizien. As Germany viewed Galicia as already aryanized and civilized, the non-Jewish Galicians escaped the full extent of German intentions than many other Ukrainians who lived more eastward. Despite the more lenient extent of German control for the majority of the Galician population, the Jewish Galicians were deported to concentration camps, much like elsewhere in Ukraine.
Conflicts in Galicia and Volhynia between Poles and Ukrainians also intensified during this time, with skirmishes between the Polish Home Army versus the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) versus Soviet partisans. These conflicts included the massacres of Poles in Volhynia, and to a lesser extent within Galicia, revenge attacks on Ukrainians. Despite these warring factions, and despite many Galicians joining the UIA and supporting its anti-Soviet, anti-German and anti-Polish policies, some also joined Germany in its fight against Stalin, forming the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Galizien (1st Ukrainian).
In an irony of history the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent declaration of independence by Ukraine saw eastern Galicia once again ruled from Kiev, over 700 years after the collapse of Kievan Rus.
No country of the Austrian monarchy had such a varied ethnic mix as Galicia: Poles, Ruthenians (Ukrainians), Jews, Germans, Armenians, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Roma, 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. German-speaking people were more commonly referred to by the region of Germany where they originated (such as Saxony or Swabia). For inhabitants who spoke different native languages, e.g. Poles and Ruthenians, identification was less problematic, but wide-spread multilingualness blurred the borders again.
It is, however, possible to make a clear distinction in religious denominations: Poles were Roman Catholic, the Ruthenians (now mostly calling themselves Ukrainians) belonged to Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church (now split into several sui juris Catholic churches, the largest of which is the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church). The Jews represented the third largest religious group. Galicia was the center of the branch of Orthodox Judaism known as Hasidism.
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 78 500 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) and similar to that of Germany.
The average income per capita did not exceed 53 Rhine guilders (RG), as compared to 91 RG in the Kingdom of Poland (ruled by Russia), 100 in Hungary and more than 450 RG in England at that time. 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. These comparisons are all with areas to the West of Galicia, and hence closer to Europe's industrial core. Comparing Galicia to Ukraine or other parts of Russia, it is less clear that Galicia was unusually underdeveloped.
The taxes in Galicia 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. Despite high taxation, the national debt of the Galician government exceeded 300 million RG at all times, that is approximately 60 RG per capita. At the same time nations of Galicia (in 1910: 44% Poles, 42% Ukrainians, 11% Jews, 3% others) were treated much better there, than in other parts of former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled by Prussia and Russia.
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, and 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.