The region of Podolia (also spelled Podilia or Podillya) is a historical region in the west-central and south-west portions of present-day
Ukraine, corresponding to Khmelnytskyi Oblastand Vinnytsia Oblast. Northern Transnistria, in Moldovais also a part of Podolia. ( _uk. Поділля, "Podillia"; _lt. Podolė; Romanian: "Podolia"; _ru. Подолье, "Podolye"; _pl. Podole)
It has an area of about 40,000
km², extending for nowrap|320 km from northwest to southeast on the left bank of the Dniester. In the same direction run two ranges of relatively low hills separated by the Southern Bug, ramifications of the Avratynsk heights. Two large rivers, with numerous tributaries, drain the region: the Dniester, which forms its boundary with Moldova and is navigable throughout its length, and the Southern Bug, which flows almost parallel to the former in a higher, sometimes swampy, valley, interrupted in several places by rapids. The Dniester forms an important channel for trade in the areas of Mohyliv-Podilskyi, Zhvanetsand other Podolian river-ports.
In Podolia, "black earth" ("chernozem") soil predominates, making it a very fertile agricultural area. Marshes occur only beside the Bug. A moderate climate predominates, with average temperatures at
Kamianets-Podilskyiof nowrap|9 °C (nowrap|-4 °C in January, nowrap|20 °C in July).
Russian-ruled Podolia in 1906 had an estimated population of 3,543,700, consisting chiefly of
Ukrainians. Significant minorities included Polesand Jews, as well as 50,000 Romanians, some Germans, and a few Armenians.Fact|date=January 2008
The chief towns include
Kamianets-Podilskyi, the traditional capital, Balta, Bratslav, Haisyn, Letychiv, Lityn, Mohyliv-Podilskyi, Nova Ushytsia, Olhopil, Khmelnytskyi, Vinnytsia, and Yampil. In Moldova, the major podolian cities are Camencaand Rîbniţa.
Podolia is known for its cherries, mulberries,
melons, gourds, and cucumbers.
The country has had human inhabitants since at least the beginning of the
Neolithicperiod. Herodotusmentions it as the seat of the Graeco- Scythian Alazones and possibly Scythian Neuri. Subsequently the Dacians and the Getaearrived. The Romans left traces of their rule in Trajan's Wall, which stretches through the modern districts of Kamianets-Podilskyi, Nova Ushytsia and Khmelnytskyi.
During the Great
Migration Period, many nationalities passed through this territory or settled within it for some time, leaving numerous traces in archaeological remains. Nestor in the Primary Chroniclementions four apparently Slavic tribes: the Buzhansand Dulebesalong the Bug River, and the Tivertsiand Ulichsalong the Dniester. The Avars conquered these peoples in the 7th century. Prince Oleg of Kiev, extended his rule over this territory known as the "Ponizie", or "lowlands." These lowlands later became a part of the Ruthenian principalities of Volhynia, Kiev, and Galicia, with the capital at Bakota at one time. In the 13th century, the Mongolsplundered Ponizie; Algirdas(Olgierd), prince of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, freed it from their rule following his victory against the Golden Hordein the Battle of Blue Watersof 1362, annexing it to his own territories under the name of "Podolia", which has the same meaning as Ponizie. Polish colonisation began in the 14th century.
After the death of the Lithuanian prince
Vytautas the Great(Vitovt) in 1430, Podolia became part of the Crown of the Polish Kingdom, with the exception of its eastern part, the Province of Bratslav, which remained in Lithuania until its union with Poland in the Union of Lublinof 1569. Apart from an Ottoman occupation (1672 - 1699), the Poles retained Podolia until the partitions of their country in 1772 and 1793, when the Habsburg Monarchyof Austria and Imperial Russiaannexed the western and eastern parts respectively.
From 1793-1917, part of the region was the
Podolia Governorate(Russian: Подольская губерния ["Podol’skaja gubernija"] ; Ukrainian: Подільська губернія ["Podil’s’ka hubernija"] ) in southwestern Russia bordering with Austria across the Zbruch Riverand with Bessarabiaacross the Dniester. Its area was 36,910 km².
The Austrian Habsburgs took control of western Podolia (sometimes also called "Southern Podolia") in 1772 in the first partition of Poland by the Russian,
Prussian and Austrian Empires. At this time, the Emperor Joseph II toured the area, was impressed by the fertility of the soil, and was optimistic about its future prospects. Poland disappeared as a state in a third partition in 1795 but the Polish gentry continued to maintain local control in both eastern and western Podolia over a peasant population which was primarily ethnically Ukrainian whose likeness with the East Slavic population of the Habsburg Monarchy was showcased in a book by
At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, Austrian Podolia witnessed a large-scale emigration of its peasant population to western Canada.
With the collapse of Austria-Hungary following
World War Iin November 1918, western Podolia was included in the West Ukrainian People's Republic, but came under Polish control in 1919 which was confirmed in the Poland– Ukrainian People's Republicagreement in April 1920. Podolia was briefly occupied in 1920 by Soviets during the course of the Polish-Soviet War. After the Peace of Rigathe Polish control was recognized by the USSR.
In Poland from 1921 to 1939, western Podolia was part of the
Tarnopol Voivodeship. Eastern Podolia remained to the Ukrainian SSRand between 1922 and 1940, in the southwestern part, the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republicwas created.
In 1927 there was a massive uprising of peasants and factory workers in
Mohyliv-Podilskyi, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Tiraspoland other cities of southern Ukrainian SSRagainst Soviet authorities. Troops from Moscow were sent to the region and suppressed the unrest, causing around 4000 deaths, according to US corespondents sent to report about the insurrection, which was at the time completely denied by the Kremlin official press. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,737074,00.html Disorder in the Ukraine?] , " TIME Magazine", December 12, 1927]
In 1939 after the signing of the
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pactbetween Nazi Germanyand the Soviet Unionand the Soviet invasion of 17 September 1939, the area became part of Soviet Ukraine. Many local inhabitants were deported to concentration camps. Following German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, most of Podolia was occupied by Nazi Germany and incorporated into the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. The area of Podolia between the Southern Bug below Vinnytsia and the Dniester was occupied by Axis Romaniaas part of Transnistria.
In 1944 the Podolia again fell to the Soviets and in 1945, when Poland’s eastern border was formally realigned along the
Curzon line, the whole of Podolia remained in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Most remaining Poles and Jews fled or were expelled to the People's Republic of Poland.
* [http://feefhs.org/maps/RUSE/re-ukrai.html Map of Podolia (1882)]
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