Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The region of Podolia (Polish Podole, Ukrainian Podillya) lies in the west-central and south-west portions of present-day Ukraine.
- south of Volhynia
- southwest of the Kyiv region
- northeast of Moldova, across the Dniester River
- east of Galicia, across the Zbrucz , or Rodvocha, a tributary of the Dniester
It has an area of about 40,000 km², extending for 320 km from N.W. to S.E. 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 Mogilev, Kalus, Zhvanets, Porog and 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 Kamenets of 9 °C (-4 °C in January, 20 °C in July).
Russian-ruled Podolia in 1906 had an estimated population of 3,543,700, consisting chiefly of Ukrainians, but with minorities, including Poles, and Jews, but also including a few Armenians, some Germans, and 50,000 Moldavians.
Podolia has a reputation for its cherries and mulberries, its melons, gourds and cucumbers.
The country has had human inhabitants since at least the beginning of the Neolithic period. Herodotus mentions it as the seat of the Graeco-Scythian Alazones and possibly Scythian Neuri. Subsequently the Dacians and the Getae arrived. The Romans left traces of their rule in the Wall of Trajan, which stretches through the modern districts of Kamenets, Ushitsa and Proskurov.
During the Human migration many nationalities passed through this territory or settled within it for some time, leaving traces in numerous archaeological remains. Nestor in the Primary Chronicle mentions that the Bujanes and Dulebes occupied the Bug River, while the Tivertsi and Ugliches, apparently all four Slav tribes, settled on the Dniester. The Avars conquered these peoples in the 7th century. Oleg, prince of Kyiv, extended his rule over this territory - the Ponizie, or "lowlands", which became later a part of the Ruthenian principalities of Volhynia, Kyiv and Galicia. In the 13th century, the Mongols plundered the Ponizie; a hundred years afterwards Olgierd (Algirdas), prince of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, freed it from their rule, annexing it to his own territories under the name of Podolia, a word which has the same meaning as Ponizie. Polish colonisation began in the 14th century.
After the death (1430) of the Lithuanian prince Vytautas the Great (Vitovt ), Podolia became part of the Crown of the Polish Kingdom, with the exception of its eastern part, the province of Bratslav, which remained under Lithuania until its union (1569) with Poland. Apart from a Turkish occupation (1672 - 1699), the Poles retained Podolia until Partition of their country in 1772 and 1793, when Austria and Imperial Russia annexed the western and eastern parts respectively.
In November 1918 Western Podolia was included into West Ukrainian Republic returned to Polish control in 1919, confirmed in Polish-Ukrainian Peoples Republic agreement in April 1920, briefly occupied by Soviets in course of the Polish-bolshevik war (1920), after the Peace of Riga the Polish control was recognized by Russian Republic and USSR.
In Poland, Podolia was part of Tarnopol Voivodship. According to official data 50% Poles, 33% Ukrainians, 17% Jews.
In 1939 after Nazi-Soviet Pact and September 17th 1939, Soviet aggression, the area became part of Soviet Ukraine, followed by many deportations of many locals to concentration camps. Podolia was occupied by Nazi Germany 1941-1944, in 1945, the area fell far to the east of the Curzon line, and was incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Poles and Jews fled, or were expelled to the People's Republic of Poland.
Original text from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica
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