History of Ukraine


The first man (archanthropinae) appeared on Ukrainian territory about one million years ago during the Stone Age. Archanthropinae probably came from the western regions of Southern Asia and the Balkans. Soon to follow were Neanderthal men (about 135-150 thousand years ago), who were more mentally and physically developed and had family relations. Then about 35 thousand years ago, came Cro-Magnon, the first representative of Homo sapiens.
During the Middle Stone Age the population increased considerably and people could not feed themselves by relying solely on hunting. Thus, they learned how to fish, gather berries and plants, and how to domesticate animals. During the Neolithic era, men learned how to cultivate land, rear cattle, and make pottery. The divergence in economic occupations of people in different regions of Ukraine became greatly appreciated during this time. More agricultural development, hunting and fishing and cultural and economic developments were on the rise at this time. Also during this time, a primitive communal system with a matriarchal social base was formed on Ukrainian terrain.
During the Copper-Bronze age (the 4-3rd millennia BC) labor productivity grew and there were significant changes in the primitive society due to property stratification and changing ideology. The Tripillian culture, which quickly developed vast new territories, is distinguished as having been highly intelligent.


In the first millennium BC, Slavs played a leading role in the development of civilization of ethno-Ukrainian society. There were also other ethnic groups which had considerable influence on the ethnogenesis of Ukrainians, such as the, Scithians, Balts, Germans and Kerlates. The territory of Slavs expanded considerably with the coming of a new era. In written sources, they are known as Anths and Sclavs. They shared a common language, similar way of life, similar customs and beliefs. However, there were different tribes, each having its own chiefs, military and policy. After some time, although the Anths disappeared from the South European political map, their traditions have not. The descendants of Anths began populating in the vast areas.
The intensive break-up of patriarchal traditions was observed in the 7th and 8th centuries in the development of East Slav society. Property inequality of the community intensified and determined the formation of the social hierarchy. These processes were especially active in the territory of the Middle Dnieper Area and adjacent lands. Archeological sources have discovered rather quick development of arable farming, cattle rearing, handicrafts, and trade. Soon political and economic centers of Slavic tribes appeared, such as Kyiv. About 14 East Slav tribe unions existed in Ukraine during the 6th - 9th centuries. This lay the political groundwork for Rus. In the late 9th century conditions appeared for forming early feudal states in the area of Slavonic settlement. Modern Kyiv, Chernihiv and Pereiaslav were the centers of its territory.


In the year 882, it was stated in old chronicles that Oleg, the Prince of Novhorod, having killed Prince Askold and Prince Dir, mounted the Kyiv throne. He became the ruler of Kyiv or Old Rus, the first state of Old Slavs, which soon turned into one of the greatest countries of Medieval Europe and which played an important part in political life on the continent. It also served as a certain protective barrier between European civilization and nomadic East. Kyiv became the capital of the state.
The poly-ethnical Old Rus state was a monarchical form of government. When he proclaimed Kyiv to be the political center of Rus, Prince Oleg (as well as his successors) were greatly concerned about the problem of consolidation of the nearest tribal principalities around Kyiv - the force of central state institutions being applied it its territory. All the East-Slav tribes and many non-Slav people were under dominion of the Kyiv Prince at the end of the 10th century. Kyiv Rus spread from the Black Sea to the White Sea, from the Carpathians to the Volga River. The vastness of the territory determined the availability (within limits) of certain language and cultural peculiarities - a potentiality of centrifugal tendencies being inevitable.
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