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Coat of arms

The Galician–Volhynian Kingdom in the 13th–14th centuries
Capital Volodymyr, Halych, Lviv
Language(s) Old East Slavic
Religion Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Government Monarchy
Prince or King
 - 1199–1205 Roman the Great
 - Established 1199
 - Disestablished 1349

The Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia[1] or Kingdom of Rus' or Galicia–Vladimir (Latin: Regnum Galiciae et Lodomeriae, Regnum Rusiae) was a Ruthenian state in Galicia and Volhynia during 11991349. Depending on the title of the ruler it was called either principality or kingdom.

Western Galicia–Volhynia extended between the rivers San and Wieprz in what is now south-eastern Poland, while eastern territories covered the Pripet Marshes (now in Belarus) and upper Southern Bug in modern-day Ukraine. During its time, the kingdom was bordered by Black Rus, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Principality of Turov-Pinsk, the Principality of Kiev, the Golden Horde, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Kingdom of Poland, the Principality of Moldova and the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights.

Along with Novgorod and Vladimir-Suzdal, it was one of the three most important powers to emerge from the collapse of the Kievan Rus'.




Tribal area

In pre-Roman times the region was populated by various tribes, including the Lugii, Goths and Vandals (which may correspond to the Przeworsk and Puchov cultures in archaeology). After the fall of the Roman Empire, of which most of south-eastern Poland and western Ukraine were part (all territories below the San, Bug, Dniester and Ztir), the former population departed and gradually the area was populated by West Slav people, identified with group of Croats called Lendians. Around 833 the West Slavs became part of the Great Moravian state. Upon 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 Hungarian Empire. In 955 their area seems to have constituted part of the Bohemian State. Around 970 it was included in the Polish state. This area was mentioned in 981 (by Nestor), when Vladimir the Great of Kievan Rus took the area over on his way into Poland. He founded the city of Vladimir (Volynski) and later Christianized the locals. The area returned to Poland in 1018 and in 1031 was retaken by Rus.

The territory was settled by the East Slavs from the early middle ages and, in the 12th century, the Rurikid Principality of Galicia (Galich) was formed there by descendants of Vladimir, merged at the end of the century with the neighboring Volhynia into the principality of Galicia-Volhynia which existed for a century and a half.

Galcia–Volhynia (GV)
2nd half of the 13th century – 1st half of the 14th century
GV in
mid-13th century
Annexations by GV
(years of annexation)
Other Ruthenian
Borders of lands
and regional
Main trade
Borders of
"Capital cities"
Galich Principality



Rise and apogee

Daniel, the first King of Rus.

Volhynia and Galicia had originally been two separate Rurikid principalities, assigned on a rotating basis to younger members of the Kievan dynasty. The line preceding Roman had held the principality of Volhynia whereas another line, that of Yaroslav Osmomysl held Galicia. Galicia–Volhynia was created when, following the death of the last heirless prince of Galicia, Prince Roman the Great of Vladimir-in-Volhynia (modern Volodymyr-Volynskyi) acquired the Principality of Galicia in 1199, uniting both lands into one state. Roman's successors would mostly use Galich (Galicia) as the designation of their combined kingdom. In Roman's time Galicia–Volhynia's principal cities were Galich (modern Halych) and Vladimir-in-Volhynia. In 1204 he captured Kiev. Roman was allied with Poland, signed a peace treaty with Hungary and developed diplomatic relations with the Byzantine Empire. At the height of his reign he briefly became the most powerful of the Rus princes.[2]

In 1205 Roman turned against his Polish allies which led to a conflict with Leszek the White and Konrad of Masovia. Roman was subsequently killed in the Battle of Zawichost (1205) and his dominion entered a period of rebellion and chaos. The weakened Galicia–Volhynia became an arena of rivalry between Poland and Hungary. King Andrew II of Hungary styled himself rex Galiciæ et Lodomeriæ, Latin for "king of Galicia and Vladimir [in-Volhynia]". In a compromise agreement made in 1214 between Hungary and Poland, the throne of Galicia–Volhynia was given to Andrew's son, Coloman of Lodomeria who had married Leszek the White's daughter, Salomea.

King's seal of George I of Halych (1301–1308) "S[igillum] Domini Georgi Regis Rusie", "S[igillum] Domini Georgi Ducis Ladimerie".

In 1221, Mstislav Mstislavich, son of Mstislav Rostislavich, liberated Galicia–Volhynia from the Hungarians, but it was Daniil Romanovich, son of Roman, who re-united all of south-western Rus, including Volhynia, Galicia and Rus' ancient capital of Kiev, which Danylo captured in 1239. Danylo defeated the Polish and Hungarian forces in the battle of Yaroslav (Jarosław) in 1245, but at the same time he was compelled to acknowledge, at least nominally, the supremacy of the Mongol Golden Horde. In 1245, Pope Innocent IV allowed Danylo to be crowned king, although his realm continued to be ecclesiastically independent from Rome. Thus, Danylo was the only member of the Rurik dynasty to have been crowned king. Danylo was crowned by the papal archbishop in Dorohychyn 1253 as the first King of Rus' (Galicia–Volhynia) (1253–1264). In 1256 Danylo succeeded in driving the Mongols out of Volhynia, but was forced to accept their authority over him in 1260.[3]

Under Danylo's reign, Galicia–Volhynia was one of the most powerful states in east central Europe.[3] Literature flourished, producing the Galician–Volhynian Chronicle. Demographic growth was enhanced by immigration from the west and the south, including Germans and Armenians. Commerce developed due to trade routes linking the Black Sea with Poland, Germany and the Baltic basin. Major cities, which served as important economic and cultural centers, were among others: Lvov (where the royal seat would later be moved by Danylo's son), Vladimir-in-Volhynia, Galich, Kholm, Peremyshl, Drohiczyn and Terebovlya. Galicia–Volhynia was important enough that in 1252 Danylo was able to marry his son Roman to the heiress of the Austrian Duchy in the vain hope of securing it for his family. Another son, Shvarn, married a daughter of Mindaugas, Lithuania's first king, and briefly ruled that land from 1267–1269. At the peak of its expansion, the Galician–Volhynian state contained not only south-western Rus lands, including Red Rus and Black Rus, but also briefly controlled the Brodnici on the Black Sea.

After Danylo's death in 1264, he was succeeded by his son Lev. Lev moved the capital to Lviv in 1272 and for a time maintained the strength of Galicia–Volhynia. Unlike his father, who pursued a Western political course, Lev worked closely with the Mongols, in particular cultivating a close alliance with the Tatar Khan Nogai. Together with his Mongol allies, he invaded Poland. However, although his troops plundered territory as far west as Racibórz, sending many captives and much booty back to Galicia, Lev did not ultimately gain much territory from Poland. Lev also attempted, unsuccessfully, to establish his family's rule over Lithuania. Soon after his brother Shvarno ascended to the Lithuanians throne in 1267, he had the former Lithuanian ruler Vaišvilkas killed. Following Shvarn's loss of the throne in 1269, Lev entered into conflict with the Lithuania. From 1274–1276 he fought a war with the new Lithuanian ruler Traidenis but was defeated, and Lithuania annexed the territory of Black Ruthenia with its city of Navahrudak. In 1279, Lev allied himself with king Wenceslaus II of Bohemia and invaded Poland, although his attempt to capture Kraków in 1280 ended in failure. That same year, Lev defeated Hungary and annexed part of Transcarpathia, including the city of Mukachevo. In 1292 he defeated Poland and added Lublin with surrounding areas to the territory of Galicia–Volhynia.

Decline and fall

Prinz Władysław Opolczyk Governor of Galicia–Volhynia 1372–1378

After Lev's death in 1301, a period of decline ensued. Lev was succeeded by his son Yuri I who ruled for only seven years. Although his reign was largely peaceful and Galicia–Volhynia flourished economically, Yuri I lost Lublin to the Poles (1302) and Transcarpathia to the Hungarians. From 1308 until 1323 Galicia–Volhynia was jointly ruled by Yuri I's sons Andrew and Lev II, who proclaimed themselves to be the kings of Galicia and Volhynia. The brothers forged alliances with King Władysław of Poland and with the Teutonic Knights against the Lithuanians and the Mongols. They died together in 1323, in battle, fighting against the Mongols, and left no heirs.

After the extinction of the Rurikid dynasty in Galicia–Volhynia in 1323, Volhynia passed into the control of the Lithuanian prince Liubartas, while the boyars took control over Galicia. They invited the Polish Prince Boleslaw, a grandson of Yuri I, to assume the Galician throne. Boleslaw converted to Orthodoxy and assumed the name Yuri II. Nevertheless, suspecting him of harboring Catholic feelings, the boyars poisoned him in 1340 and elected one of their own, Dmitry Detko, to lead the Galician state. In Winter 1341 Tatars, Ruthenians led by Detko, and Lithuanians led by Liubartas, were able to defeat Poles, although they were not so successful in Summer 1341. Finally, Detko was forced to accept Polish overlordship, as a starost of Halych. After Detko's death, Poland's King Casimir III mounted a successful invasion, capturing and annexing Galicia in 1349. Galicia–Volhynia ceased to exist as an independent state.

Danylo's dynasty attempted to gain support from Pope Benedict XII and broader European powers for an alliance against the Mongols, but ultimately proved unable of competing with the rising powers of centralised Grand Duchy of Lithuania and The Kingdom of Poland.


The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania divided up the region between them: King Kazimierz III Wielki took Galicia and Western Volhynia, while the sister state of Eastern Volhynia together with Kiev came under Lithuanian control, 1352–1366.

Since 1352 when the kingdom was eventually divided between the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, most of the Ruthenian Voivodeship belonged to the Crown of the Polish Kingdom where it remained also after the Union of Lublin between Poland and Lithuania. The present-day town of Halych is situated 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) away from the ancient capital of Galicia, on the spot where the old town's riverport was located and where King Liubartas of Galicia–Volhynia constructed a wooden castle in 1367.

By the treaty of the Lublin Union of 1569, all of the former principality of Galicia–Volhynia became part of Poland. In 1772, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria (who was also Queen of Hungary) recalled the old Hungarian claims to the Regnum Galiciæ et Lodomeriæ, and used them to justify Austria's participation in the partitions of Poland.

Historical Role

The Galician-Volhynian Chronicle reflected the political programme of the Romanovich dynasty ruling Galicia-Volhynia. Galicia-Volhynia competed with other successor states of Kievan Rus (notably Vladimir-Suzdal) to claim the Kievan inheritance. According to the Galician-Volhynian Chronicle, Galicia-Volhynia's King Daniil was the last ruler of Kiev preceding the Mongolian invasion and thus Galicia-Volhynia's rulers were the only legitimate succesors to the Kievan throne.[4] Until the end of Galician-Volhynian state, its rulers advanced claims upon "all the land of Rus'." The seal of King Yuri I contained the Latin inscription domini georgi regis rusie.[4]

In contrast to their consistent secular or political claims to the Kievan inheritance, Galicia's rulers were not concerned by religious succession. This differentiated them from their rivals in Vladimir-Suzdal, who sought to, and attained, control over the Kievan Church. Rather than contest Vladimir-Suzal's dominance of the Kievan Church, Galicia-Volhynia's rulers merely asked for and obtained a separate Church from Byzantium.[4]

See also


  1. ^ It is also called Galich-Volhyn, Galicia–Volynia, Galicia–Volyn, and Galich–Volyn, Halych–Volhyn and Halych–Volhynia
  2. ^\R\O\RomanMstyslavych.htm
  3. ^ a b "Daniel Romanovich." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 23 August 2007
  4. ^ a b c Jaroslaw Pelenski. In P. Potichnyj (ed.) (1992). Ukraine and Russia in their historical encounter. Edmonton, Alberta: Canadian Instittue of Ukrainian Studies Press, University of Alberta. pp.8-15



Further reading



  • Bielowski A. Halickowlodzimierskie księstwo. — Biblioteka Ossolińskich., t. 4.
  • Bielowski A. Królewstwo Galicji (o starem księstwie Halickiem). — Biblioteka Ossolińskich, 1860, t. 1
  • Gebhard L. A. Geschichte des Konigreiches Galizien, Lodomerien und Rotreussen. — Pest, 1778;
  • Engel J. Ch. Geschichte von Halitsch und Vlodimir. — Wien, 1792.
  • Harasiewicz M. Berichtigung der Umrisse zu einer Geschichte der Ruthenen. — Wien, 1835.
  • Harasiewicz M. Annales ecclesiae Ruthenae. — Leopoli, 1862.
  • Hoppe L A. Geschichte des Konigreiches Galizien und Lodomerien. — Wien, 1792.
  • Lewicki A. Ruthenische Teilfürstentümer. — In: Österreichische Monarchie im Wort und Bild Galizien. Wien, 1894.
  • Siarczyński F. Dzieje księstwa niegdyś Przemyślskiego. — Czasopism naukowy Biblioteki im. Ossolińskich, 1828, N 2/3;
  • Siarczyński F. Dzieje niegdyś księstwa Belzkiego i miasta Belza. — Czasopism naukowy Biblioteki im. Ossolińskich, 1829, N 2.
  • Stecki J. T. Wołyń pod względem statystycznym, historycznym i archeologicznym. — Lwów, 1864
  • Zubrzycki D. Rys do historii narodu ruskiego w Galicji i hierarchii cerkiewnej w temże królewstwie. — Lwów, 1837.
  • Zubrzycki D. Kronika miasta Lwowa. — Lwów, 1844.

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