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Volhynia's name comes from the fortified town of Volyn, near Volodymyr-Volynsk. It was mentioned in documents dating from 1018, so it is nearly 1,000 years old. It was on a historic east-west route linking Kiev with the west through Brest, in today's Belarus, as well as a north-south route between Scandinavia and Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey.

1199: Galicia and Volhynia were brought together under Prince Roman Mstyslavych.

1349: Poland and Lithuania went to war. Volhynia ended up with in the grand duchy of Lithuania in 1352. Poland seized the western part, including Chelm, in 1366. The two countries started working together in 1385. Volhynia was considered a principality until 1452, then a province.

1569: Poland and Lithuania were brought together under one government through the Union of Lublin. Volhynia region was incorporated into the Polish kingdom. The administrative system in the area remained unchanged for the next two centuries. The local government was the Volhynia voivodship.

1783: German colony established at Koretz, west of Novograd-Volynsk.

1793: With the second partition of Poland, Volhynia was incorporated into Russia. Ukraine was divided along the Dniper River, which runs through Kiev. Zhitomir became the centre of the western side of Ukraine, and courts and other government institutions were moved there. Germans -- and Czechs, and French -- started moving to Volhynia around the time of the second partition.

1797: The Volhynian gubernia was established, with its capital in Zhitomir. The government had 17 districts: Novograd-Volynsk, Labunsk, Volodymersk, Kovel, Zaslavsk, Ostrog, Rovno, Dombrovyts, Ovruch, Zhitomir, Chudniv, Lutsk, Dubno, Kremenetsk, Yampilsk, Bazalivsk and Starokanstantinovka. Radomyshl, northwest of the city of Zhitomir and part of today's Zhitomir oblast, was transferred to the Kiev gubernia.

There were minor internal changes to the Volhynia gubernia over the years. The Chudniv district was liquidated and its territory transferred to Zhitomir and Novograd-Volynskiy districts. In 1846 Berdichev with adjoining territories was separated from Zhitomir district and became a center of new district.

1801: Lutheran church established in Zhitomir.

1804: Zhitomir becomes the capital of the Volhynian gubernia.

1816: Germans set up colonies in Volhynia. More arrived in the 1830s.

1860: About 5,000 Germans live in 35 colonies in Volhynia.

1861: Tsar Alexander II granted freedom to serfs, the peasants who worked for large farms. As a result, some of the nobility started selling land, and a large-scale migration of Germans into the area took place.

1863: Lutheran church established in Roshischtche.

1864: Baptist churches established in Hortschtschik and Sorotchin.

1866: Baptist church established in Neudorf.

1869: Lutheran church established in Heimtal.

1871: German population in Volhynia reaches 28,000.

1875: Baptist church established in Cholosno.

1878: Baptist church established in Toporischtsch.

1883: Baptist church established in Moisejewka.

1884: Baptist church established in Novo-Rudnia.

1885: Baptist church established in Iwanowitsch.

1888: Lutheran church established in Tutschin.

1889: Lutheran church established in Novograd-Volynsk.

1891: Lutheran church established in Wladimir-Wolynsk.

1896: Lutheran church established in Emiltschin.

1897: Imperial census shows 171,331 German-speaking people in Volhynia, 5.73 per cent of the total population. There were 163,990 Lutherans and 10,375 Baptists.

1898: Baptist church established in Stawetskaya-Sloboda.

1899: Lutheran church established in Lutsk.

1901: Lutheran church established in Radomysl.

1902: Lutheran church established in Rovno.

1915: With the Great War raging, German colonists are forced to move east, and their property was seized by the government.

1917: By the time of the Russian revolution Volhynia was one of 10 gubernias on Ukrainian ethnic territory, with eight more in ethnically mixed areas. The district unit within the gubernia was the uezdy or powity. Think of the gubernia as a state and the uezdy as a county.

1918: Ukraine was declared independent, and Zhitomir was named the capital. This lasted until 1922.

1918: Germans return to Volhynia from their eastern exile.

1920: Civil registration started.

1921: According to the Riga peace treaty betwen Poland and Russia, signed on March 18, 1921, some of Volhynia's western districts were turned over to Poland. The districts included Kovel, Lutsk, Dubno, Rovno, Ostrog, as well as most of Kremenetsk and two regions in the Novograd-Volynsk district, Koretz and Kysorytsk (today, Rokitno).

1923: The gubernia system replaced by okrugs. The Volhynian okrug was established in 1925.

Mid 1920s: Individual farms in Eastern (Russian) Volhynia are seized by the government, and collective farms established. Churches were closed, and used for grain storage, dance halls or other purposes.

1926-1928: Wave of migration out of Eastern (Russian) Volhynia.

1930: Lutheran church established in Tortschin, in Western (Polish) Volhynia.

1932: Oblasts were introduced, replacing okrugs. The district government became known as the raion. The Zhitomir area was one oblast; the Rovno and Lutzk areas were not part of this, because they were in Poland.

1932: Famine in Ukraine, with crops from Volhynia seized for redistribution elsewhere.

1936: Lutheran churches established in Dubno and Kostopol, in Western (Polish) Volhynia.

1936-37: The great terror, with mass arrests and executions throughout the regions of Volhynia under Soviet control.

1937: Lutheran church established in Kowel, in Western (Polish) Volhynia.

1938: Lutheran church established in Josefin, in Western (Polish) Volhynia.

1939: Poland is seized by Germany and the Soviet Union, with the Soviets taking western Volhynia. A new oblast was Volhynia, with the capital in Lutzk, and another was Rovno, with Rovno as the capital. Germans from western Volhynia were shipped west, into German-held territory.

1941: The Germans the Soviet invade in June. The Germans imposed their own system of regional governments, replacing the oblasts.

1943: Germans driven out by the Russian army in late 1943. German colonists in eastern Volhynia head west in advance of the front.

1944: With the Soviets back in control, the oblast system returned.

1945: Volhynia reunified, with Poland pushed west.

1956-1958: Many of the victims of the 1930s purges are "rehabilitated," meaning the government declared that they had not been guilty.

1991: Ukraine established as an independent state. The former Soviet oblast and raion system was retained.

Sources include Richard Benert, Don Miller, a Russian encyclopedia from 1865, the Encyclopedia Britannica from 1964, atlases, and an unpublished thesis prepared by a university student in Zhitomir.


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