Huns and Cossacks, Tartars and Turks, invading armies, soviet tanks, marriages of kings and queens, changing politics, changing boundaries, changing borders -- all changed the face of Poland.
Galicia has a rich, colorful and sometimes, exciting history. Galicia is the geographic area located in southern Poland.
Looking at a modern map, it lies north of Slovakia and west of Ukraine.
Because of its proximity to Greece, Christian missionaries visited Galicia
first on thier travels north bringing their message
to the slavic lands of Eastern Europe.
The year 966 is generally celebrated as the landmark date that Poland converted to Christianity.
Galicia is sometimes also referred to by the names Halicz, Malopolska and Little Poland.
Galicia was a mixture of Polish and other nationalities.
Much information about Galicia can be found in the
history of Poland,
as well as in the history of Ukraine, Hungary and Russia.
I have also found some historical information while reading about Slovakia.
Statistics show that turn of the 19th century was the period of the largest immigration to the United States from Eastern Europe. During this time, there was no country known as "Poland." When doing genealogical research in Poland, it important to know these dates. On August 5, 1772, Poland lost the lands of Galicia to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. After the signing of the Constitution of May 3, 1791, there was revolution, war, and generally, a lot of turmoil in Poland. As a result of the wars "fought in defense of the Polish Constitution," there were two more partitions of Poland -- 1793 and 1795. From 1795 to 1918, Poland ceased to exist as a country.
You may recall, that two of Poland's generals fought for the 13 colonies, in their freedom from England. They were General Pulaski and General Kosciusko. General Pulaski founded the American Cavalry. He gave his life for the cause of freedom at the Battle of Savannah in 1789. General Kosciusko returned to Poland to fight, unsuccessfully, for the freedom of his own country.
Galicia is bordered on the south by the majestic Carpathian Mountains. The lands south of the mountain borders in eastern Galicia is sometimes referred to as "Ruthenia". The people are known by various terms: Ruthenian, Carpatho-Rusyn, Rusyn or Rusini. The land became part of Poland in 1366. Three centuries later, it was under a different rule. In our most recent history, 1918, Galicia was again divided. Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion as to the ethnicity of the Rusyn people. I will leave it up to you to research and make your own decisions about this issue.
As I mentioned, both the Polish and Rusyn immigrants in the family arrived in the United States from Galicia between 1886 and 1908. In the 1910 census, the Polish side of the family identified themselves as having come from Poland, even though the country of Poland did not exist at that time. The Rusyn side of the family identified themselves as having come from Austria. They continue to identify themselves this way in the 1920 census.
If you would like to read about Galicia, take the Armchair Travelogue.
Read another page about Galicia. I have always enjoyed maps. So, I will provide a number of them for you to enjoy as well. Some are more detailed than others. Enjoy them all!
There are several good maps on the internet, including: http://www.lemko.org. Be sure to click on the banner when you get there. To find the map, click on "Uni-Mapper's Map Server," then scroll down to the bottom and click on "Lemkivshchyna".
There is another good map at: http://www.carpatho-rusyn.org/map.jpg.
* * * * * * *Map of Galicia* * * * * * *
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