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Ukraine and Europe: major events and dates






thousand years ago

The Ice Age brings major climatic changes. Humans spread across Europe. By the end of this period, Cro-Magnons (H. sapiens sapiens) supersede Neanderthals (H. sapiens neanderthalensis).

Remains of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons discovered in over thirty places in Ukraine (in the vicinity of the villages of Koroleve, Zakarpattya; town of Amvrosiyivka, Donbas; village of Luka-Vrublivetska, Zhytomyrshchyna, and others).


thousand years ago

As the glaciers retreat, Cro-Magnon peoples continue to spread across Europe.

Glaciers that covered most of Ukraine, gradually move back north, and evidence of Homo sapiens sapiens is found in about a thousand sites throughout Ukraine.


thousand years BC

Due to advances in hunting techniques, making of tools and improved shelters, the population grows. Neolithic or New Stone Age  the final stage of cultural evolution or technological development among prehistoric humans.
It was characterized by stone tools shaped by polishing or grinding, dependence on domesticated plants or animals, settlement in permanent villages, and the appearance of such crafts as pottery and weaving. During this time, humans learned to raise crops and keep domestic livestock, and were thus no longer dependent on hunting, fishing, and gathering wild plants.

Fossils, discovered in more than a thousand places, provide evidence that suggests that there began to appear ethno-cultural local differences and people settled in larger settlements. Evidence of cattle-breeding and farming; formation of certain unified features in the Balto-Belarusian-Ukrainian cultural area which then breaks into local peculiarities; emergence of the Trypillya Culture.


thousand years BC

Creto-Mycenaean civilization in the Mediterranean  the Bronze Age civilizations that flourished from about 3000 BC to about 1000 BC in the area of the Aegean Sea. The Aegean area includes the island of Crete, the Cyclades and other islands, and the Greek mainland, including the Peloponnesus, central Greece, and Thessaly.
In addition, some authorities include Macedonia, Thrace, and the Aegean coast of Anatolia.The Bronze Age civilization of Crete; the first high civilization in Europe, with cities and great palaces, an extended trade network, and a writing system, developed on Crete in the late 3rd and early 2nd millennia BC. The civilization that arose on the mainland during the 16th century BC under Cretan influence is usually called Mycenaean, after the city of Mycenae.The Celts, an early Indo-European people who spread over much of Europe from the 2nd millennium BC to the 1st century BC. Their tribes and groups eventually ranged from the British Isles and northern Spain to as far east as Transylvania, the Black Sea coasts, and Galatia in Anatolia and were in part absorbed into the Roman Empire. Linguistically they survive in the modern Celtic speakers of Ireland, Highland Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, and Brittany.

Further development of the Trypillya Culture; growth of settlements, whose population reached 1520,000 people; in some cases, the area of a large settlement  proto-towns  was in excess of 400 hectares; large houses were more than one story high  there was nothing similar to be found anywhere else in Europe; the Trypillyans discovered the wheel, learnt to ride horses; developed pictography  expression and communication by means of pictures and drawings having a communicative aim; pictographs  pictures and drawings  are usually considered to be a forerunner of true writing; by the end of the second millennium BC, the Trypillya Culture ceases to exist but some of its traditions continue to live on.


Flood by Yury ANTONYUK from Rivne. Courtesy
of the Union of Artistic Photographers of Ukraine.






thousand BC

The Copper Age gives way to the Bronze Age; emergence of city-states in Greece; Greek expansion into Western Mediterranean and into the Black Sea area. Persia clashes with the Greeks and is defeated. Rome gradually becomes a dominant force and by the end of the millennium conquers a great part of Western Europe and Northern Africa.
Celts and Germanic tribes develop their own distinctive culture; they resist Roman expansion.

Bronze artifacts of a high quality; a great number of copper-bronze furnaces discovered in Southern Ukraine. Successive waves of nomadic tribes roll across Ukraine: Cimmerians, Scythians and Sarmatians, subduing or bypassing the indigenous proto-Slavic population when the resistance is too strong. Scythians destroyed the Cimmerians and set themselves up as rulers of an empire stretching over a vast territory. They were feared and admired for their prowess in war and, in particular, for their horsemanship. They were among the earliest people to master the art of riding. The Scythians were remarkable for the civilization they produced. They developed a class of wealthy aristocrats who left elaborate graves filled with richly worked articles of gold and other precious materials. Their power was sufficient to repel an invasion by the Persian king Darius I in about 513 BC. Like the Scythians to whom they were closely related, the Sarmatians were highly developed in horsemanship and warfare. By the 5th century BC the Sarmatians held control of the land between the Urals and the Don River. In the 4th century BC they crossed the Don and conquered the Scythians.
An alliance which the Sarmatians formed with Germanic tribes posed a formidable threat to the Romans in the West as late as the 1st century AD. In the final centuries of their existence the Sarmatians invaded Dacia (Romania) and the lower Danube region, only to be overwhelmed by the Goths during the 3rd century AD. Sarmatia perished when hordes of Huns migrated after AD 370 into Ukraine.


centuries AD

The Roman Empire at its zenith, with the British isles, Gaul, Spain, most of Germany, Dacia (Romania), Greece, Balkans, Northern Africa and part of Near East being its provinces.The great movement of peoples begins in 2 century BC and eventually contributes greatly to the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west in 476; barbarian kingdoms are established in the former Roman provinces and in Italy. The Ostrogoths who developed an empire north of the Black Sea in the 3rd century AD and, in the late 5th century, under Theodoric the Great, established the Gothic kingdom of Italy. After the collapse of the Hun empire (455) the Ostrogoths under Theodoric the Great began to move, first to Moesia and then to Italy. Theodoric became king of Italy in 493 and died in 526.
The Byzantine emperor Justinian declared war on the Ostrogoths in 535; the war continued for almost 20 years and caused untold damage to Italy, and the Ostrogoths thereafter had no national existence. The Huns inspired almost unparalleled fear throughout Europe. They were amazingly accurate mounted archers, and their complete command of horsemanship, their ferocious charges and unpredictable retreats, and the speed of their strategical movements brought them overwhelming victories. For half a century after the overthrow of the Visigoths, the Huns extended their power over many of the Germanic peoples of central Europe and fought for the Romans. Attila, the king of the Huns, devastated the Balkans and drove south into Greece. In 451 Attila invaded Gaul but was defeated by Roman and Visigothic forces at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. In 452 the Huns invaded Italy; in 453 Attila died; his many sons divided up his empire. The Slavs settled in many parts of Eastern Europe  Poland, Bulgaria, Panonia, Baltic area, Thrace, Macedonia, Illyria, forming statehoods. Adoption of Christianity throughout Western Europe; the Frankish state in the ascendancy.

Goths, a Germanic people, invaded Ukraine in about 2nd century AD. According to their own legend, the Goths originated in southern Scandinavia; invading southward from the Baltic Sea, the Ostrogoths built up a huge empire stretching from the Don to the Dniester Rivers (in present-day Ukraine) and from the Black Sea to the Pripet Marshes (southern Belarus). Although many Ostrogothic graves have been excavated south and southeast of Kyiv, little is known about the empire. After their subjugation by the Huns, little is heard of the Ostrogoths for about 80 years, after which they reappear in Pannonia on the middle Danube River. A pocket remained behind in the Crimea when the bulk of them moved to central Europe, and these Crimean Ostrogoths preserved their identity through the Middle Ages. Appearing from beyond the Volga River some years after the middle of the 4th century, the nomadic Huns invaded Ukraine, quickly overthrew the empire of the Ostrogoths between the Don and the Dniester; during the next seven decades they built up an enormous empire there and in central Europe.
The Slavs spread to many areas of Europe, and in Ukraine, a group of Slavic tribes, Antes, formed a state-like alliance. Wars with the Avars weakened the Antes and led to their decline in the 7th century. In their stead came alliances of other Slavic tribes  Volynyans, Polyans, and others.


Golden Foggy Dawn by Ihor MELIKA from Mukacheve.
Courtesy of the Union of Artistic Photographers of Ukraine.







Formation of states of Eastern and Western Europe; the empire of Charlemagne, its eventual break-up and emergence of France and other states, most of which have retained their ethnic, linguistic and geographical identity to the present day. Viking raids and Norman conquests.

The Polyans form a proto-state with the centre in Kyiv which in the 9th century evolves into a powerful state of Kyivan-Rus- Ukraine that range from the Baltic Sea in the North almost to the Black Sea in the South. It was one of the biggest and most powerful states in the whole of Europe. Adoption of Christianity in the end of the 10th century.



Attempts to consolidate the central power in Britain and in France; social changes and revival of commerce; rebirth of urban life; establishment of feudal institutions; Papal reforms; rise of the universities; beginning of Crusades.

In the first half of the11th century, Kyivan-Rus- Ukraine establishes diplomatic and dynastic links with several European countries, France included. Development of learning. A short period of stability and growth is followed by feudal disintegration which leads to the formation of several states with only nominal bonds with Kyiv.



The summer of the Middle Ages; the Gothic Cathedral; scholasticism; military-religious orders.

The devastating invasion of the Mongols; the fall of Kyiv and destruction of the Halytsko-Volynsky state, the rulers of which made an attempt to restore the unity of Kyivan-Rus-Ukraine.



Hundred Year's war between England and France; plague; beginning of the Renaissance in Italy and its peak in the 16th century; Reformation in Germany and in England; Columbus sails and discovers America; Holland wrenches itself free from the clutches of the Spanish Empire; religious wars.

Ukraine, completely exhausted in its struggle against the Mongols, succumbs to the Lithuanian and Polish pressure.


End of

English revolution and parliamentary monarchy; Louis XIV in France; Counterreformation; breakthroughs in science; absolutism in France and elsewhere.

Cossacks become a political force; formation of a semi-independent Cossack republic; Cossacks defend Ukraine from the Turkish and Tartar invasions. Beginning of the national independence movement which culminates in the War of Independence of 16481676 led by hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky; the fateful treaty signed with Moscow which eventually leads to Ukraines loss of independence.



The Seven Years war; overseas expansion; the Age of Enlightenment; reforms and political crises; French Revolution and Napoleon.

Hetman Mazepa's attempt at gaining independence and his defeat; the first Ukrainian constitution compiled by Pylyp Orlyk which is at the same time the first European constitution; the abolition of hetmanship in Ukraine; partition of Poland; Ukrainian lands are divided between the Austrian and Russian Empires.


Prydesennya (the Desna region) by Mykola TURCHYN from Chernihiv.
Courtesy of the Union of Artistic Photographers of Ukraine.







Napoleonic wars; reestablishment and fall of monarchy in France; unrest and revolutions of 1848; Italy gains independence; emergence of Germany as a major power; colonialism and imperialism.

Ukraine as a subjugated part of the Russian Empire; Poland's attempt to break free; emergence and growth of the Ukrainian national-independence movement, first among the intellectuals and later the spread of national awareness among wider population; the tsarist government attempts to suppress the Ukrainian language through direct bans and restrictions on the use of Ukrainian language in public.


Late 19th
century 1930s

Growth of imperial ambitions; radical movements; WWI followed by revolutions; collapse of the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman and Russian Empires; establishment of totalitarian regimes in Italy, Germany, Portugal and Spain.

Spread of Ukrainian national-independence movement; establishment of national parties  Revolutionary-Ukrainian Party; Ukrainian National Party; national organizations Plast, Sokil; Prosvita and Bratstvo Tarasivtsiv. Ukraine gains independence only to lose it in Civil War; establishment of the Bolshevik regime and inclusion of Ukraine into the Soviet Union; Ukrainian cultural renaissance followed by the physical destruction of Ukrainian intelligentsia; famines that take 10 millions of lives; Bolshevik terror.


Late 1930s 1945

Growing tension in Europe; rearmament of Germany; attempts at appeasement of Hitler; Soviet-German nonaggression pact that gave Stalin a free hand in the Baltic states, Western Ukraine and Finland; German invasion and occupation of many European countries. WWII ends in Germany's unconditional capitulation.

Emergence of a clandestine Ukrainian nationalist organization, OUN; invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany, with Ukraine being hardest hit; Ukrainian freedom fighters struggle against both the German invaders and Stalinist oppressors. In March 1939 Carpathian Ukraine proclaims its independence but is invaded by Hungary, Germanys ally; in June 1941, the Ukrainian liberation movement proclaims Ukraines independence and government is formed; German authorities arrest this government and try to suppress the liberation movement; the Ukrainian Insurrection Army, UIA, conducts struggle against both the Nazis and Soviets.


1945 1980s

Cold War and the creation of NATO; denazification of Germany; establishment of puppet regimes in Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union; suppression of liberation movements in Poland and East Germany; Soviet invasion of Hungary and later of Czechoslovakia; the Berlin Wall.

OUN and UPA continue their struggle against the Soviet domination of the Ukrainian lands in Western Ukraine; their suppression; economic hardships; after the denunciation of Stalins policies, the liberal, national-oriented movement of intelligentsia in the 1960s; new repressions against dissidents; growth of national awareness and national liberation movement which erupts at the end of the 1980s.


End of the 1980s early 1990s

Eastern satellites of the Soviet Union overthrow their communist regimes; fall of the Berlin Wall and unification of Germany.

Ukraine regains her independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union; official proclamation of independence  August 24 1991.


1990s early 21st century

Poland becomes a member of NATO and later of the European Union; wars in Yugoslavia. Terrorist attacks in New York and Washington have repercussions all over the world. Turkey wants to join EU. US, UK and other coalition countries invade Iraq. New European currency Euro is introduced. The United States invades Iraq; Saddam Hussien is captured and executed. A series of nonviolent revolutions known as the color revolutions overthrow authoritarian regimes in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Lebanon. EU enlargement: 10 countries join, 8 of which are former Communist nations.Montenegro gains independence and becomes the 192nd member of the UN. EU enlargement: Romania and Bulgaria join the EU.

Presidential election in 2004 is rigged in favour of premier Yanukovych, Kuchma’s chosen successor. Massive protests overturn the election results and sweep pro-Western and pro-democracy candidate Viktor Yushchenko to power. Yushchenko and his new government pledge to pursue a political course aimed at integrating Ukraine in Europe and carrying out democratic reforms. Contradictions within the highest echelons of power lead to the changes of government. Ukraine is granted the status of a country with market economy. New parliament is elected and a parliamentary coalition (Party of Regions, Communists and Socialists) is formed after weeks of wrangling; Viktor Yanukovych becomes premier. Achievements of the 2004 Orange Revolution seem to have been reversed. Economy, in spite of political instability, is stable and GDP grows. Public discontent grows, President Yushchenko dismisses parliament and early elections are held.


At the Crack of Dawn by Oleksandr Tymoshenko from Kyiv, winner
of the special prize at the Ukrayino moya, Ukrayino Contest in nomination
Nature. Courtesy of the Union of Artistic Photographers of Ukraine.


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