• 482

    One of Eastern Europe’s oldest settlements. Kyiv’s origins are not crystal-clear. Legend has it that Slavic brothers Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv and their sister Lybid founded it.

  • 879

    Nordic King Oleh travels to Kyiv. Liking its strategic position on the Dnipro between Scandinavia and Constantinople, he wrests it from his own emissaries Askold and Dir – by killing them.

  • 989

    With Kyivan Rus now established as the first eastern Slavic state, Volodymyr the Great adopts Orthodox Christianity. A mass baptism in the Dnipro River seals this early pro-European decision.

  • 1199

    West of Kyiv, Prince Roman Mstyslavych merges the regions of Galicia and Volynia into one Grand Duchy. Although landowners continue to rebel against his rule, a thriving agricultural society emerges.

  • 1240

    A pivotal moment in Kyivan Rus history is reached, as Mongols sack the capital. The already fragmented empire’s eastern regions are absorbed into the Mongolian Golden Horde. Many Kyivans flee west.

  • 1349

    Ukraine comes under attack from the opposite direction, as Poland overruns Galicia and its capital Lviv. Nearly 40 years later, Poland teams up with Lithuania as they both inch eastwards.

  • 1745

    The Crimean Khanate, which succeeded the Mongolian Golden Horde in 1428, becomes a client state of the Ottoman Empire, remaining so until 1772. Crimean Tatars frequently takes slaves from mainland Ukraine.

  • 1554

    Some 60 years after Cossack first appear in the historical record, the fiercest and most famous band of warriors - the Zaporizhzhya Sich – sets up on an island in the Dnipro River.

  • 1569

    The Union of Lublin builds on existing links to establish the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This monarchical democracy includes parts of Belorussia, Estonia, Latvia, Russia and Ukraine.

  • 1648

    Central Ukraine Cossacks become weary of foreign rule and, under the leadership of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, rebel against the Poles.

  • 1654

    Cossacks enter into a military alliance with Russia against Poland. The Cossacks form their own fledgling state – whose initial success is short lived – called a Hetmanate.

  • 1709

    Cossacks seize another chance to through off the colonial yoke, by joining Sweden in its “Northern War” with Russia. But the battle of Poltava does not go their way and victorious Tsarist forces execute them.

  • 1772

    Under the three Partitions of Poland, Russia, Prussia and Habsburg Austria divvy up the weakened Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

  • 1775

    As her army moves south, and her lover Grygory Potemkin follows, blithely building film-set villages, Catherine the Great orders the destruction of the Cossack settlement at Zaporizhzhya.

  • 1783

    Russia establishes its sovereignty over Crimea by demolishing mosques. Many Crimean Tatars flee. The Khans’ Palace at Bakhchysaray survives because Empress Catherine finds it “romantic”.

  • 1825

    Many of the Decembrists behind a doomed St Petersburg coup hail from Ukraine. The most famous of the Decembrist wives, Maria Volkonskaya, also has close links to the country.

  • 1854

    France and England have watched Russia’s moves south with unease and decide to put a stop to it. The Crimea War sees Sevastopol come under 349 days’ siege.

  • 1861

    Tsar Aleksander II abolishes serfdom across the Russian Empire. That same year the first railway on Ukrainian soil is opened between Lviv and Przemysl (in today’s Poland).

  • 1876

    With a new Ukrainian nationalist movement bubbling since the1840s, Tsar Alexander II issues a decree banning the use of the Ukrainian language in public.

  • 1918

    In the chaotic aftermath if WWI, Ukrainians try to form an independent republic but are hamstrung by internecine fighting. Fourteen different factions control Kyiv in 18 months.

  • 1917-1934

    The Capital of the Ukrainian SSR is moved to Kharkiv by the Soviets, The city is still often referred to as Ukraine’s “first capital”.

  • 1928

    Stalin’s first Five Year Plan sees rapid and brutal industrialization and massive immigration from the countryside into cities across Ukraine. Industrial output subsequently increases fourfold.

  • 1932-33

    Millions of Ukrainians die in a famine caused by Stalin’s farm collectivization. Some historians believe that other grain-grabbing, border-closing measures deliberately targeted its people.

  • 1941

    During WWII, Ukraine becomes a bloody battleground for opposing Nazi, Soviet and Nationalist forces and some six million local perish.

  • 1943

    The Red Army liberates Kyiv from the Nazis on 6 November. Earlier, retreating Soviets had dynamited buildings along the main street of Khreshchatyk; these were replaced post-war with Stalinist structures.

  • 1944

    Stalin deports the entire 250000 strong Crimean Tatar population in just a few days, beginning 18 May.

  • 1945

    Winston Churchill and an ailing Franklin Roosevelt travel to “the Riviera of Hades” so Stalin can bully them. At the Yalta Conference, the Soviet leader demands chunks of Eastern Europe.

  • 1959

    Stepan Bandera, the exiled Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) leader, is killed in Munich by the KGB. Ukrainian partisans had continued ambushing Soviet police until the mid-1950s.

  • 1986

    Reactor №4 at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant explodes, after a failed safety test. More than 90 Hiroshimas are spewed out over the Ukrainian and Belarusian countryside.

  • 1991

    President Gorbachev is held prisoner at his country retreat in Crimea while a coup led by hardliners takes place in Moscow.

  • 1991

    As the Soviet Union falters, Ukraine’s parliament votes for independence. Some 90% of the population figures that’s about right and backs the decision in the referendum.

  • 1994

    Former rocket scientist Leonid Kuchma becomes the president. With inflation running at 10000%, he moves to reform the economy, but this popularity wanes when he’s implicated in a series of corruption scandals.

  • 2004

    Thousands take to the freezing streets to protest that vote-rigging has robbed Viktor Yushchenko, of the presidency. “Orange revolution” leads to a fairer second election, which Yushchenko wins.

  • 2006

    Russia cuts off gas supplies on 1 of January. Kyiv suspects punishment for becoming more pro-European. Moscow says it just wants a fair price – nearly five times the existing level.

  • 2007

    Some 100 people die in the worst mining accident in Ukraine’s history. The disaster at Zasyadko, eastern Donetsk, highlights safety concerns about all of the country’s ageing coalmines.

  • 2007

    The Ukraine-Poland bid to host the 2012 European Football (Soccer) Championships is successful.

  • 2009

    Russia once again turns off gas on 1 of January as Moscow claims Kyiv has failed to pay its bills. This time the EU steps in to resolve the dispute.

  • 2010

    Despite allegations of a fraudulent election in 2004, Viktor Yanukovych becomes president in a closely fought February poll. Many Ukrainians fear press freedom and democracy will suffer under his rule.

  • 2010

    In the Ukrainian parliament, fights break out and eggs and flour bombs are thrown by the opposition as a treaty allowing Russia’s Black Sea fleet to remain in Sevastopol until 2042 is ratified.

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