History Files

European Kingdoms

Eastern Europe



Modern Galicia is a divided region, split between south-eastern Poland and western Ukraine into the provinces of Westgalizien and Ostgalizien respectively, with the Pripet Marshes immediately to the east (now in Belarus). At the start of the Roman period the region was home to Celtic and Germanic tribes, along with Finno-Ugric elements. When the Celtic tribes in the region came under increasing pressure from Germanic tribes, many fractured, with many people finding refuge in south-eastern Poland. The Boii, Helveconae, and Osi certainly seem to have been part of this refugee collective, while other tribes, such as the Harii, Helisii, Manimi, and Naharvali seem to have migrated out of the area as part of the Lugii confederation.

The Great Migration period saw a large number of diverse peoples pass through, including Alani, Gepids, Goths, Huns, Rugii, and Scirii, followed by Avars, Croats, Serbs, Bulgars, Hungarians, and finally by other groups of Slavs who settled between the fifth and seventh centuries. From at least the sixth century, Galicia was part of Polish tribal territories.

FeatureThe name 'Galicia' (with the 'c' of this and the 't' in the very similar Galatia being interchangeable), is a form of the most ancient name of the Celts as we understand it today. This was reported variously as beginning with a 'g' or 'k' sound, followed by an 'a' or 'e', followed always by an 'l', and followed by either a vowel or not, and finally by a 'd' or 't'. So Kelt, Caled (as in the Caledonians of Pictland), Galatia (in Anatolia), or in this case, Galicia, all mean the same thing, 'Celt'.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson, and from The Russian Primary Chronicle (Laurentian Text), Samuel Hazzard Cross & Olgerd P Sherbowitz-Wetzor (Eds and translators, Mediaeval Academy of America).)


Galicia is drawn into the Polish tribal territories. It is possible that the various Celtic elements, especially refugees from the Boii tribe, remain when the Slavs take over as a new military elite. The same situation almost certainly occurs a little to the west, in Bohemia. This would certainly explain its name, which means 'Celt' in what is probably the name's original form. Other Celtic elements could be a strong presence of Venedi settlers.

For a seagoing people like the Venedi, it would have been a fairly simple process to sail along the southern waters of the Baltic and enter a wide river mouth such as the Vistula - settlement quickly followed, spreading south along the river's east bank between the fifth or fourth centuries BC and the first and second AD

c.970 - 981

As Galicia-Volynia, the region is united by the Piasts into their Polish duchy and kingdom. In 982, reference is made to Vnnd.r as a Christian 'nation' of Rum that is located between the lands of the 'Madjgharî' and the MIRV (M.rdât). The Pechenegs lie to the east (around the north-west corner of the Black Sea coast), while above them and leading north-eastwards are the Kievan Rus and the Bulgars of the Volga respectively. The references are Arabic, hence their obliqueness when written in English.

The Madjgharî are the Magyars, a people who contribute to the populating of Hungary. Rum is Rome, although the people are not specifically being labelled as Romans - they are simply more civilised than their neighbours in terms of being settled farmers with an element of presumed sophistication. The MIRV are Moravians, living to the north, but seemingly not yet having fully migrated far enough to settle next to the more westerly Bohemians (Moravia being the modern eastern half of the Czech republic).

As for the Vnnd.r and N.nd.r, this is a more complicated question. They have been linked with the Bulgars, and could be the 'Venender', 'Vhndur', and 'Onogur' that appear in other texts. A tentative link with the Venedi can also be made for them. Their location between the Moravians and Magyars places them in modern northern Romania and western Ukraine, probably close to the thirteenth century city of Lviv in Galicia. This perhaps also ties them in with the headwaters of the ancient River Hypanis (the modern Southern Bug or Buh in Ukraine) and the northern bank of the Tyras (the modern Dniester), both rivers seemingly being close to the Venedi at the southerly extension of their migration down the Vistula.

981 - 1018

Galicia is mentioned by Nestor, who describes the passage of Volodymyr the Great of Kiev as he enters into Poland and claims this region for his own. This would seem to be the Lyakhs whom the Russian Primary Chronicle states that he defeats, taking their towns of Peremyshl, Cherven, and others, all of which are subject to the Rus (at least until 1018).

River Dniester at Halych
The Dniester in Galicia was where the city of Halych was founded (now in Ukraine), gaining its name from the region as a whole and therefore preserving the memory and probable integration of Celtic people into the later Slavic population

1018 - 1031

A peace treaty is signed in Budziszyn in 1018 with Emperor Heinrich II (Henry II the Saint) - ratifying Poland's control over Lusatia and Meissen (as well as Galicia). In the same year, Germany and Hungary support an expedition against Kiev, and Boleslaw defeats his son-in-law's enemy there, taking over 'Grody Czerwieńskie'. This is possibly the Cherven towns which include the town of Peremyshl of the Lyachs which had been conquered by St Vladimir the Great of the Rus in 981.


Kiev regains Galicia when Poland is partitioned three ways. Local rulers appear in Galicia, or at least are recorded for the first time.

? - 1084

Volodar Rostislavich of Tmutarakan

1084 - 1188

Overlordship of Galicia falls to Vratislav II of Bohemia, possibly not for the first time, and local rulers are (also possibly) appointed by Vratislav.

Map of Eastern Europe AD 1054-1132
The death of Yaroslav 'the Wise' in 1054 saw the end of the descent of Rurikid power via agnatic seniority. His division of the succession weakened Kiev by creating what soon turned out to be rival principalities for each of his sons (click or tap on map to view full sized)

1084 - ?

Vasilko Romanovich

Iurii Vasilkovich

? - 1141

Igor-Ivan Rostislavich

Halychyna (Galicia) / Halych-Volynia (Galicia-Volhynia)
AD 1142 - 1349

The collapse of the Kievan Rus created a host of minor principalities across the territories formerly controlled by Kiev, and Halych proved to be one of the most important of these, along with Novgorod and Vladimir-Suzdal. In 1142, Volodymyrko Volodarovych (1104-1152), a descendant of Vladimir I of Kiev, united the principalities of Przemysl, Terebovlya, and Zvenyhorod into a single state called Halychyna (Galicia) which included a sizeable part of western Ukraine in its territory. He transferred the capital from Zvenyhorod to Halych, where he and his first Rurikid dynasty expanded the settlement.

Some sources claim a date of 1189 for the formation of the principality, but this may just be when it was first officially recognised by other powers. The name 'Galicia' is mirrored in the name of the city which formed its capital, Halych (Ukrainian), or Galych (Russian), next to the modern city of the same name on the Dniester in Ukraine. However, 'Galicia' itself was a much older name, one which referred to Celts who had long ago settled the region (see Galatia for an explanation).

A remote connection between the Slavic Antes tribe and the narrative of The Russian Primary Chronicle may be established through the latter's mention of the Slavic tribe of the Dulebians being oppressed by the Avars. This tribe apparently had its seat upon the River Bug, in Volynia (Volhynia). Mas'iidi, an Arabic writer of the tenth century, mentions the tradition that in ancient times the Volhynians dominated the rest of the Slavic tribes. These accounts would therefore seem to point to the existence of a Slavic federation centred in Volynia which disintegrated in the face of the violent advance of the Avars towards the beginning of the seventh century.

(Additional information by Michael Hickson, from The Russian Primary Chronicle (Laurentian Text), Samuel Hazzard Cross & Olgerd P Sherbowitz-Wetzor (Eds and translators, Mediaeval Academy of America), and from External Link: The Balts, Marija Gimbutas (1963, previously available online thanks to Gabriella at Vaidilute, but still available as a PDF - click or tap on link to download or access it).)

1142 - 1152

Volodymyrko Volodarovych

Son of Volodar Rostislavich.


Ivan 'Berladnik'

Prince of Zvenyhorod. Poisoned in 1161.

1153 - 1187

Yaroslav I Osmomysl



The cathedral of the Dormition is probably built in this year.

1187 - 1188

Oleg ('Nastasyich')

Illegitimate son by second wife. Poisoned.

1187 - 1188

Roman Mstislavich the Great

Rival for the throne.

1189 - 1210

A year after Hungarian rule is apparently established, the principality of Galicia is formed (or recognised), although no longer under Hungarian control. It is more likely that it is re-formed under Vladimir II after the succession problems of 1187-1190.

1190 - 1199

Vladimir II (Vladimirko)

Legitimate son of Yaroslav. Last of the dynasty.


The name Vladimir consists of two parts, 'vlad' and 'mir'. While 'mir' can mean 'world' or 'peace', 'vlad' is more interesting. It is probably a Slav corruption of 'galat', a version of 'celt' which was preserved in Galicia.


Vladimir's rival, Roman Mstislavich, supports Leszek the White, senior prince of Poland, alongside the nobility of Kraków and Sandomierz. The opposition, led by Mieszko Stary, has the power of Silesia, including that of Mieszko Tanglefoot of Racibórz and Jarosław of Opole. The great battle which decides this phase of the conflict is at Mozgawa, near Jędrzejów, on 13 September 1195. Casualties are great on both sides, but the forces of Leszek hold firm. In reward it is Leszek who helps Roman to regain Halych-Volynia in 1199.

1199 - 1205

Roman Mstislavich the Great

Prince of Novgorod, Volodymyr, Halych, and Kiev.

1199 - 1201

Finally securing Halych in 1199, Roman the Great, prince of Volynia, forms the second Rurikid dynasty by uniting Halychyna and neighbouring Volynia to create the principality of Halych-Volynia. This survives for a century and-a-half, although not necessarily united under one ruler. In 1201 he captures the once-mighty Kiev.

1205 - 1214

Roman is defeated by Andrew II of Hungary, who claims the title king of Galicia and Lodomeria. The princes between 1205 and 1213 are all vassals of Hungary.

1205 - 1206

Danylo Romanovych / Daniel of Galicia


1206 - 1208

Vladimir III Igorevich

1208 - 1210

Roman II Igorevich


Vladimir III Igorevich


1211 - 1213

Danylo Romanovych / Daniel of Galicia




1213 - 1219

Coloman of Hungary

King of Lodomeria (1215-1219, 1220-1221).

1219 - 1228

Mstislav the Bold


The hierarchical structure of Baltic chieftainship is illustrated by the Chronicle of Volynia, which relates how twenty-one Lithuanian dukes come to sign the treaty of 1219 between Lithuania and the Rus of Halych-Volynia. Of these, five - the most powerful amongst their number - are 'grand dukes', while the other sixteen are dukes of minor importance. From this it may be deduced that Lithuania is now ruled by a confederation of the most powerful chieftains. It is quite possible that such a system of government is also in existence in the other Baltic states and has been for some time.


Mstislav Mstislavich liberates Halych-Volynia from the Hungarians.

1228 - 1264

Danylo Romanovych / Daniel of Galicia

Restored second time. King of Ruthenia / Halych-Volynia (1253).


Danylo captures the ancient Rus capital of Kiev while the Rus lands are being invaded by the Golden Horde.

1241 - 1256

Batu Khan leads the Mongols of the Golden Horde into Red Ruthenia, of which Galicia is a part, capturing the capital and destroying the cathedral in 1241. Essentially, the Golden Horde remains mostly to the south and east of Galicia. They are driven out in 1256 and the cathedral is rebuilt, and is last mentioned in 1576. The Mongols retain suzerainty over the state from a distance.

1264 - 1269

Svarn / Shvarn / Svarnas

Son. Also grand duke of Lithuania (1267-1269).


The assassination of Vaisvilkas of Lithuania by Svarn's brother, Lev, secures Svarn's newly-acquired position on the throne through his marriage to one of the daughters of Mindaugas.

1269 - 1301

Lev I Daniilovich / Leo

Brother. King of Galicia (1269) & Volynia (1293).


The capital is moved from Halych to the new city of Lvov (the Rus form of its name. In Polish it is Lwow, and in Austro-Hungarian German it is Lemberg). Today the city, which was founded in 1256, is much more commonly known by the Ukrainian form of its name, Lviv.

Old Lvov
The centre of Old Lvov (German Lemberg) was founded by Danylo Romanovych and apparently named for his son, Lev

1274 - 1275

Smolensk is the last of the independent principalities of the Rus, but it now falls to Mongke Temur of the Golden Horde. The following year he defends his Rus vassals by dispatching a Mongol-Rus force to ward off the Lithuanians, an action requested by Duke Lev I of Halych-Volynia.

1293 - 1301

Lev regains Volynia, temporarily reuniting the two principalities. Following his death, the principality begins to decline.

1301 - 1308

Yuri / Yuriy I

Son. King of Galicia. The crown lapsed with his death.

1308 - 1323

Andrei / Andrey

Son. Duke of Galicia and Volynia. Killed by the Golden Horde.

1308 - 1323

Lev II / Leo II of Halych

Brother. Co-ruler. Killed by the Golden Horde.


The brothers Andrei and Lev die together in battle against the Mongols of the Golden Horde, leaving no heir. Their sister, Maria, becomes the heiress of Galicia-Lvov. As she is already married to Trojden I of Mazovian Czersk, the duchy is drawn closer to the Polish crown. The boyars invite her son, the Polish prince of Mazovia, Bolesław, to rule Galicia. He converts to Orthodoxy and assumes the name Yuri II.

1323 - 1340

Yuri II (Boleslaw) / Boleslaw Jerzy II

Grandson of Yuri. Poisoned by the boyars.

1340 - 1349


1349 - 1772

Galicia (and all of Red Ruthenia) is finally reclaimed for Poland by Kasimierz III when the kingdom is partitioned by him and Lithuania. By this time, Halych has been depopulated to the extent that the old town dies off. A new Halych is founded five kilometres (three miles) away, which survives to today. The region remains tied to the Polish crown until the First Partition of Poland-Lithuania in 1772. Then Galicia is claimed by Austria to form the kingdom of Galicia & Lodomeria.

Kingdom of Galicia & Lodomeria
AD 1772 - 1918

On 5 August 1772, during the First Partition of Poland-Lithuania, Habsburg Austria was able to gain parts of Little Poland (Malopolska) and Red Ruthenia (Rus Czerwona), including territory which almost corresponded to the former kingdom of Halych-Volynia, thanks to the Hungarian claim of ownership of 1205-1214, which Austria inherited. The following month, Austria created the kingdom of Galicia & Lodomeria as an administrative body to govern the newly acquired territories, with the Austrian king himself as head of state. Governors were put in place to control the day-to-day administrative duties within the kingdom. Twenty-three years later, the Third Partition saw Austria add the rest of Little Poland as well as Krakow to the kingdom as Poland itself ceased to exist as a state.

1772 - 1774

Johann Baptist Anton Graf von Persen


Andreas Graf Hadik von Futak

1774 - 1780

Heinrich Auersperg

1780 - 1794

Józef Brigido

1794 - 1795

Józef Szekely

1795 - 1801

Jan Gaisruck


Joseph Franz da Paula

Acting governor.

1801 - 1806

Józef Freiherr von Úrményi

1806 - 1809

Christian Wurmser

Acting governor.


Napoleon I of France defeats Austria in 1805. The following year sees the Holy Roman empire terminated. Prussia's Polish territory is annexed and an Imperial satellite state called the grand duchy of Warsaw is formed from them. Austria appoints military governors to oversee their satellite kingdom, and for a short time (between March 1809 and March 1810) they displace the position of governor entirely, after a gap in their own governance (1808-1809), and they continue to oversee matters until the French are expelled from Germany in 1814. Military governors are shown in red.

1806 - 1808

Heinrich Joseph Johannes

1808 - 1809

No military governor is appointed. In 1809, western Galicia is ceded to the grand duchy of Warsaw, but previous annexations remain part of Austria.

1809 - 1813

Heinrich Joseph Johannes

Second term of office.

1810 - 1815

Peter Goess

1813 - 1814

Michael Freiherr von Klienmayr


Georg Oechsner

Acting governor.

1815 - 1822

Franz Seraph Freiherr von Hauer

Acting governor until Sep 1817.

1822 - 1826

Ludwig Patrick Taafe


The position of governor is raised to governor-general.

1826 - 1832

August Longin Fürst von Lobkowitz

First governor-general.

1832 - 1846

Ferdinand Karl Joseph d'Este

1846 - 1847

Franz Freiherr Krieg von Hochfelden

Acting governor.

1847 - 1848

Franz Seraph Graf Stadion


Wilhelm Karl K Freiherr von Hammerstein


Agenor Romuald Onufry

Working with von Hammerstein.


Goluchowski von Goluchowo

Acting governor.

1848 - 1849

Wenzel Zalewski

1849 - 1859

Agenor Romuald Onufry

1859 - 1860

Joseph Freiherr von Kalchberg

Acting governor.

1860 - 1861

Karl Ritter von Mosch

Acting governor.

1861 - 1864

Alexander Graf Mensdorff-Pouilly

1864 - 1866

Franz Xaver Freiherr von Paumgarten

1866 - 1867

Agenor Romuald Onufry Graf Goluchowski

Second term of office.

1867 - 1871

Ludwik von Choborski Freiherr Possinger

Acting governor.

1871 - 1875

Agenor Romuald Onufry Graf Goluchowski

Third term of office.

1875 - 1883

Alfred Józef Graf Potocki von Pilawa

1883 - 1888

Filip Zaleski

1888 - 1895

Kazimierz Feliks Graf Badeni

1895 - 1898

Eustachy Fürst Sanguszko

1898 - 1903

Leon Graf von Pilinski

1903 - 1908

Andrzej Graf Potocki von Pilawa

1908 - 1913

Michal Bobrzynski

1913 - 1915

Witold Korytowski

1914 - 1917

The Russian army occupies most of Galicia, reaching Lemberg (Lvov) on 3 September 1914 and Przemysl on 22 March 1915. Military governors are appointed to the occupied territory in Galicia, shown in green.

Galicia during the First World War
Galicia was incorporated into the Eastern Front during the First World War

1914 - 1915

Georgy Aleksandrovich Bobrynski

Russian military governor in occupied Galicia.

1915 - 1916

Hermann von Colard

Austrian governor in the remainder of unoccupied Galicia.

1916 - 1917

Erich Freiherr von Diller

1916 - 1917

Fyodor Fyodorovich Trepov

1917 - 1918

Karl Georg Graf Huyn

Last Austrian governor of Galicia.


The region falls under the command of the general commissar of the 'Regency of the Polish Kingdom'. However, this kingdom exists only on paper and is superseded by the republic of Poland in 1918.

1917 - 1918

Prince Witold Czartoryski


Towards the last days of the First World War, the Austro-Hungarian empire begins to collapse. On 1 November, Galicia and Lodomeria are incorporated into the new republic of Poland, which itself is declared on 7 November. Eastern parts of Galicia are claimed as the West Ukrainian People's Republic, while the Lemko-Rusyn Republic that is formed in western Galicia tries to link up with Russia before being suppressed by Poland. The competing territorial claims lead to war between Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, and Galicia remains a Polish possession as a result. Today the former kingdom is almost entirely within Ukraine, except for its westernmost edge.