Ukrainian is an Eastern Slavonic language closely
related to Russian and Belorussian. It is spoken by about 51 million
people in Ukraine (Україна) and in many other countries, including
Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Estonia,
Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova,
Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia.
The recorded history of the Ukrainian language began in 988, when the
principality of Kiev (Київ) was converted to Christianity. Ukrainian
religious material, including translations of the Bible, was written in
Old Slavonic, the language used by missionaries to spread Christianity
to the Slavic peoples.
In the 13th century, Ukraine became part of the Grand Duchy of
Lithuanian and Ruthenium, an ancestor of Belorussian and Ukrainian became
the main language. The remaining parts of Ukraine were taken over by
Poland during the 16th century and Latin and Polish were used for
official purposes. Ruthenium began to split into Ukrainian and Belorussian during this period.
The Cossacks later moved into eastern Ukraine and during the 17th
century, their leader, Bohemian Khmelnytsky, invited Russia to help
against Polish domination in 1648. During the reign of Catherine the
Great, the Cossacks moved to the eastern frontiers of Russia, but
Ukraine remained under Russian domination, and the Russians considered
the Ukrainian language as little more than a dialect of Russian.
A decree in 1876 banned the printing or importing of Ukrainian books. In spite of this, there was a revival of Ukrainian poetry and historiography during the 19th century. Ukraine enjoyed a brief
period of independence from 1918 to 1919, then was taken over by the
USSR and declared a Soviet Republic. During the Soviet era, Russian was
the main language of education and employment and Ukrainian was
sidelined. Ukraine declared independence in 1991. Since then many
Ukrainian emigres have returned to Ukraine, particularly from central
Asia and Siberia.
Please note, the capital of Ukraine is written Київ (Kyiv) in Ukrainian, Kiev in English and Киев (Kiev) in Russian.
Contact for more information
Thank you for contacting us. We will get back to you as soon as possible