Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


The region of Podolia in eastern Europe long formed part of the Polish lands, but currently lies in the south-west of the present-day Ukraine.

Podolia lies:

It has an area of about 16,000 square miles, extending for 200 miles 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 48.3° (24.5° in January, 69° in July).

Russian Podolia in 1906 had an estimated population of 3,543,700, consisting chiefly of Ukrainians, Poles, and Jews, but also including a few Armenians, some Germans, and 50,000 Moldavians.

The chief towns include Kamenets-Podolskiy, the traditional capital, Balta, Bratslav, Gaisin, Letichev, Litin, Mogilev-on-Dniester, Novaya-Ushitsa, Olgopol, Proskurov, Vinnitsa and Yampol.

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 the 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 Völkerwanderung many nationalities passed through this territory or settled within it for some time, leaving traces in numerous archaeological remains. Nestor mentions that the Bujanes and Dulebes occupied the Bug, 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 Kiev, extended his rule over this territory - the Ponizie, or "lowlands", which became later a part of the principalities of Volhynia, Kiev and Galicia. In the 13th century the Mongols plundered the Ponizie; a hundred years afterwards Olgierd, prince 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 bagan in the 14th century.

After the death (1430) of the Lithuanian prince Vitovt, Podolia became part of Poland, with the exception of its eastern part, the province of Bratslav, which remained under Lithuania until its union (1501) 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 Russia annexed the western and eastern parts respectively.

Western Podolia

Western Podolia became the part of Galicia (Eastern Europe), ruled by Poles from 1868.

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 1920, after Peace of Riga it was recognized by Russian Republic and USRR. In Poland it 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, became part of Soviet Ukraine, followed by many deportations of the locals to concentration camps. Occupied by Nazi Germany 1941-1944, in 1945 was considered on the Ukrainian side of Curzon line. Poles and Jews were expelled to Poland.

Original text from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica