REGIONAL STUDIES: HISTORY, ARCHAEOLOGY, ETHNOGRAPHY
Yosyp Kobal PhD (History)
Over the course of many centuries, Transcarpathia served as an ancient gate which linked the Eastern and Western civilizations surrounding the area. The region was populated in the infancy of mankind, 1 million years ago. Evidence of inhabitants of the Stone Age were found near the village of Kololevo, Vynohradovo district, and the Korolevo site is the oldest one in the Ukraine.
At the end of the 7th century – at the beginning of the 6th century B.C. the first farmers and cattle breeders, Starchevo -Krish culture, penetrate into the land from the Balkans.
Beginning from the middle of the 5th century B.C. the inhabitants enter a new stage of development that is characterized by the appearance of the first objects made from metal (copper). The metal work rises to especially high levels of development in the riverheads of Tysa in Bronze Age (2500-800 B.C.)
With the beginning of Iron Age (8th – 1st century B.C.) east and south-east cultural influences begin to prevail in Transcarpathia.
At the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. Transcarpathia sees the influx of celtic tribes into the area (tevrisky). The evidence of this is the monument of European value – oppidum near the town of Mukachevo on the mountains of Hallish and Lovachka. This is where T. Lehockiy, an archaeologist, found hundreds of iron tools, weapons and many ornamental objects which are unique and have not been found in the famous modern Celtic centers of Europe. At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the domination of Celt in Transcarpathia comes to an end. The Dacians now enter the region.
An important role in forming the culture of the region was with the penetration of Slavic peoples into the land, in the 6th century.
At the end of 9th century the ancient Ugrians came to Transcarpathia through the mountain passes of Carpathians and settle here for some time.
With the establishment of a Hungarian state in the 11th Century, we begin to see Transcarpathia mentioned in written materials.
In the second half of the 13th century and at the beginning of the 14th century, the building of stone castles begins in Transcarpathia. Land is distributed by the King to noble families (Druhety, Pereni, Dolgoyi and others).
After the defeat of the Hungarians by the Turks under the Mohach in 1526, the eastern part of present Transcarpathia became ruled by the Transylvanian principality; and the western part was ruled by Royal Hungary under the protectorate of Austria. From the middle of the 16 century, there was religious fighting between catholics and reformants was going on in the land.
The national liberation war of Hungarians against the Habsburgs in which the local population took an active part was going on in 1703-1711 in Hungary.
In 1726 the land domains of the Kurz leader Ferenc Rakoczi II passed to possession of Mainz Archbishop F. Schenborn.
After the Hungarian revolution of 1848-1849 the Ukrainian population got autonomous rights for the first time in its history, though it did not last for long (the Rus province, 1849).
After the breakup of Austria-Hungary in October of 1918, the territory of modern Transcarpathia became the part of the Hungarian republic.
The events of 1919 changed the situation fundamentally. In accordance with the St. Germain treaty, the present territory of Transcarpathia under the name of Pidkarpatska Rus, became the part of Czechoslovakia and this lasted until the middle of March of 1939.
In November of 1938 after the First Viennese arbitration, a part of the territory of Transcarpathia went into the possession of Hungary, and another part, which was later named Carpathian Ukraine, remained the part of Czechoslovakia.
The period of the Second World War (1939-1945) was the most tragic period in the history of our land. This frightful period was completed in the summer of 1945 with the signing of the Soviet-Czechoslovakian agreement, which stipulated that Transcarpathian Ukraine became a part of Ukrainian SSR, as a member of the Soviet Union. On January 1, 1946, the area received its’ official name of the Transcarpathan region.
The native Ukrainian population is the most numerous. This is followed by Hungarians, then less of Romanians, Gipsies, Russians, Slovaks and Germans, and also some other nationalities.
The Ukrainians (synonymous names; ruski, rusyny, rusnaky, ruteny, malorosy) settled in Transcarpathia during the 13th -20th centuries.
Two large groups are distinguished among the Ukrainian population of Transcarpathia: the habitants of low-laying area and pre-mountain districts – the dalespeople and habitants of mountain part of Carpathians – the highlanders. The last group falls into the Lemky, the Boyky and the Huzuls.
Hungarians occupy mainly the southern flat territory of Transcarpathia. The majority of them live in Berehovo and Vynohradovo districts, partly in Mukachevo and Uzhhorod districts. The Romanian population of Transcarpathia is concentrated in Rakhiv and Tyachiv districts.
So from the ethnographic point of view Transcarpathia is a typical European multiethnic and multicultural border region.
Source: Magazine “Transcarpathia” № 2 summer/autumn 2010