Duchy of Bukovina

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Duchy of Bukovina
Herzogtum Bukowina (de)
Ducatul Bucovinei (ro)
Герцогство Буковина (uk)
Military district of the Habsburg Empire (1775–1787)
Kreis within Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria (1787–1849)
Kronland of the Austrian Empire (1849–1867)
and Cisleithanian Austria-Hungary (1867–1918)
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Duchy of Bukovina within Austria-Hungary
Capital Czernowitz (Cernăuți / Chernivtsi)
Languages German, Romanian, Ukrainian, Polish
Government Military district (1775–1787)
Kreis (1787–1849)
Kronland (1849–1918)
 •  Annexation of northwestern Moldavia by the Habsburg Monarchy[1][2][3] January 1775
 •  Duchy of Bukovina March 4, 1849
 •  Declaration of Union with Romania November 28, 1918
 •  Treaty of Saint Germain September 10, 1918
 •  1910 10,442 km2 (4,032 sq mi)
 •  1910 est. 794,929 
     Density 76/km2 (197/sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Romania
Today part of  Romania

The Duchy of Bukovina was a constituent land of the Austrian Empire from 1849 and a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria–Hungary from 1867 until 1918.


The name Bukovina came into official use in 1775 with the region's annexation from the Principality of Moldavia to the possessions of the Habsburg Monarchy, which became Austrian Empire in 1804, and Austria-Hungary in 1867.

The official German name, die Bukowina, of the province under Austrian rule (1775–1918), was derived from the Polish form Bukowina, which in turn was derived from the Ukrainian word, Буковина (Bukovyna), and the common Slavic form of buk, meaning beech tree (бук [buk] as, for example, in Ukrainian or, even, Buche in German).[4][5] Another German name for the region, das Buchenland, is mostly used in poetry, and means "beech land", or "the land of beech trees". In Romanian, in literary or poetic contexts, the name Țara Fagilor ("the land of beech trees") is sometimes used.

In English, an alternative form is The Bukovina, increasingly an archaism, which, however, is found in older literature.


Czernovitz: Seat of the Bukovina provincial government, about 1900

After the Mongol invasion of Europe, the Bukovina lands since the 14th century had been part of the Principality of Moldavia, with Suceava being the princely capital from 1388 to 1565. In the 16th century, Moldavia came under Ottoman influence, but still retaining its autonomy.[6]

During the early 18th century, Moldavia became the target of the Russian Empire's southwards expansion, inaugurated by Peter the Great during the Russo-Turkish War of 1710-1711. In 1769, during the Russo-Turkish War (1768–74), Moldavia was occupied by Russian troops. Following the First Partition of Poland in 1772, the Habsburg Monarchy had aimed at a land connection from the Principality of Transylvania to the newly acquired Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. After the Russo-Turkish Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca was concluded in July 1774, the Austrians entered into negotiations with the Sublime Porte from October and could finally obtain a ceded territory of about 10,000 square kilometres (ca. 4,000 square miles) they called Bukovina, which they formally annexed in January 1775. On 2 July 1776, at Palamutka, Austrians and Ottomans signed a border convention, Austria giving back 59 of the previously occupied villages, and remaining with 278 villages.

For opposing and protesting the annexation of the northwestern part of Moldavia by the Habsburg Empire, the Moldavian ruler Prince Grigore III Ghica was assassinated by the Ottomans.[7][8]

Czernowitz: main square and town hall

Bukovina at first was a closed military district from 1775 until 1786, and then was incorporated as the largest district, Kreis Czernowitz (later also Kreis Bukowina) of the Austrian constituent Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. So far, the Moldavian nobility had traditionally formed the ruling class in that territory. The Habsburg emperor Joseph II wished to affiliate the region with the provinces of the Austrian monarchy (though not with the Holy Roman Empire) and had the devastated lands colonised by Danube Swabians, later known as Bukovina Germans. In the mid 19th century the town of Sadhora became the centre of the Hasidic Sadigura dynasty. The immigration process promoted the further economic development of the multi-ethnic country, though it remained a remote eastern outpost of the Danube Monarchy.

In 1804, the region became part of the newly established Austrian Empire. After the political turmoil of the 1848 revolutions, the Duchy of Bukovina became a separate Austrian Kronland (crown land) with effect of 4 March 1849, governed by a k.k. Landespräsident (not a stadtholder, as in other crown lands) and was declared the Herzogtum Bukowina, a nominal duchy as part of the official full style of the Austrian Emperor. In 1860 it was again amalgamated with Galicia, but reinstated as a separate province once again 26 February 1861, a status that would last until 1918.[9] In 1867, with the re-organisation of the Austrian Empire as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it became part of the Cisleithanian or Austrian territories, and remained so until 1918.

During World War I, parts of the duchy were temporarily occupied by Imperial Russian troops after the Battle of Galicia, combated by Common Army and German forces. In the autumn of 1918, Austria-Hungary collapsed.

On 18 October 1918, the Ukrainian National Council established in Lemberg, Galicia, planned to declare a Ukrainian Republic that would also incorporate Bukovina and Transcarpathia, to Galicia.[10] On 25 October 1918, a Ukrainian regional committee, led by Emilian Popowicz, was established in Czernowitz to represent the Ukrainian National Council in Bukovina.[10] On 14/27 October 1918, at the initiative of Sextil Pușcariu, Iancu Flondor, and Isidor Bodea, the Constituent Assembly of Bukovina established, in Czernowitz, the Romanian National Council (consisting of representatives from the Austrian parliament and from the Bukovina diet, and local political activists), which adopted a declaration to support the union of Bukovina with Romania, and demanded the Austrian governor Etzdorf to cede its power.[11] In the meantime, the local paramilitary forces of the Ukrainian National Council took control over Czernowitz and other parts of Bukovina, effectively supplanting Austrian control by the 6th of November. Although local Ukrainians attempted to incorporate Bukovina into the so-called West Ukrainian People's Republic, they were not able to set up an administration.[9] In the light of Ukrainians' actions, the Romanian National Council leader Iancu Flondor, request the Romanian government to intervene in Bukovina. Five days later, the Romanian 8th Division, led by General Iacob Zadik, entered Czernowitz,[11] against Ukrainian protests,[12][13] while the Ukrainian paramilitary forces withdrew without resistance to Galicia.[10] Further attempts by local Ukrainians to incorporate parts of northern Bukovina into the West Ukrainian People's Republic were swiftly suppressed by the troops, with the leadership of the Ukrainian National Council fleeing across the Dniester River, to Galicia, which was partially under Ukrainian military control.[9][10]

After the Romanian troops secured the region, a General Congress of Bukovina was established on 15/28 November 1918, which counted among its members 74 Romanians, 13 Ruthenians, 7 Germans, and 6 Poles were elected (this is the linguistic composition, and Jews were not recorded as a separate group).[citation needed] A popular enthusiasm sprang throughout the region, and a large number of people gathered in the city to wait for the resolution of the Congress.[14][15]

The Congress elected the Romanian Bukovinian politician Iancu Flondor as chairman, and voted for the union with the Kingdom of Romania, with the support of the Romanian, German, Jewish, and Polish representatives, and in the absence of the Ukrainian ones.[16][17] The reasons stated were that, until its takeover by the Habsburg in 1775, Bukovina was the heart of the Principality of Moldavia (where the voivods' burial sites are located), and right of self-determination.[18][19]

Romanian control of the province was recognized internationally in the Treaty of St. Germain, in 1919.


File:Bucovina.JPG When Kreis Bukowina was elevated to a duchy in its own right in 1849, it was initially still administrated from the Galician capital Lemberg. By order of the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, Czernowitz became the seat of an Imperial-Royal (k.k.) stadtholder in 1850. By the 1861 February Patent the Duchy of Bukovina got a representative assembly, the Landtag diet with a Landesausschuss executive branch led by a Landeshauptmann. Upon the Cisleithanian legislative election, 1907 the duchy was represented by 14 delegates in the Austrian Imperial Council legislature.

The subdivision of the crown land was amended in 1868; by 1914 the Duchy of Bukovina consisted of eleven political districts (Bezirke):

District Area Pop. (1900)
Czernowitz 876.05 km2 (338.24 sq mi) 99,438
Gurahumora (est. 1893) 739.89 km2 (285.67 sq mi) 55,741
Kimpolung 2,349.48 km2 (907.14 sq mi) 55,688
Kotzmann 518.80 km2 (200.31 sq mi) 94,633
Radautz 184.097 km2 (71.080 sq mi) 82,152
Sereth 518.8 km2 (200.3 sq mi) 60,743
Storoschinetz 1,152.31 km2 (444.91 sq mi) 80,100
Suczawa 569.32 km2 (219.82 sq mi) 62,447
Waskoutz am Czeremosz (est. 1903) 427.87 km2 (165.20 sq mi) 43,595
Wysznitz 1,499.89 km2 (579.11 sq mi) 71,631
Zastawna (est. 1905) 492.82 km2 (190.28 sq mi) 51,502

Historical population

According to the 1775 Austrian census, the province had a total population of 86,000 (this included 56 villages which were later returned to Moldova). The census only recorded social status and some ethno-religious groups. In 1919, the historian Ion Nistor claimed that Romanians constituted an overwhelming majority in 1774, roughly 64,000 (85%) of the 75,000 total population. Meanwhile, about 8,000 (10%) were Ruthenians, and 3,000 (4%) other ethnic groups.[20] On the other hand, an anthroponimical analysis of the Russian census of the population of Moldova in 1774 asserted a population of 68,700 people in 1774, out of which 40,920 (59.6%) Romanians, 22,810 Ruthenians and Hutsuls (33.2%), and 7.2% Jews, Roma, and Armenians.[21] The Ruthenians lived more densely in the north-west of Bukovina, especially in the zone between Prut and Dniester and the Hutsulians were concentrated in the mountain zone in the west of the province, especially in the zone of the rivers Ceremuș and Putyla. In 1787, the imperial officials documented in Czernowitz 153 Romanian houses, 84 Germans, 76 Jews, and a group of Armenians, Czechs, Greeks, Poles, Hungarians, and Albanians.[7]

During the 19th century, the Austrian Empire policies encouraged the influx of many immigrants (Austrian authorities encouraged immigration in order to develop the economy[22]) such as Germans, Poles, Jews, Hungarians, and Ukrainians (at that time referred to as Ruthenians from Galicia), as well as Romanians from Transylvania.[23] Official censuses in the Austrian Empire (later Austria-Hungary) did not record ethno-linguistic data until 1850-1851. H.F. Müller gives the 1840 population used for purposes of military conscription as 339,669.[24] According to Alecu Hurmuzaki, by 1848 55% of the population was Romanian. The Austrian census of 1850-1851 which for the first time recorded data regarding languages spoken, shows 48.50% Romanians and 38.07% Ruthenians[25]

In 1843 the Ruthenian language was recognized, along with the Romanian language, as 'the language of the people and of the Church in Bukovina'.[23]

According to estimates and the census data of Austria-Hungary, the population of Bukovina was:

Year Romanians Ruthenians (Ukrainians) Other
1774.[20][21] 40,920 - 64,000 59.6% - 85.33% 8,000 - 22,810 10.6% - 33.2% 3,000 - 4,970 4.0% - 7.2%
1848[20] 209,293 55.4% 108,907 28.8% 59,381 15.8%
1851[26] 184,718 48.5% 144,982 38.1% 51,126 13.4%
1880[27] 190,005 33.4% 239,960 42.2% 138,758 24.4%
1890[28] 208,301 32.4% 268,367 41.8% 165,827 25.8%
1900[29] 229,018 31.4% 297,798 40.8% 203,379 27.8%
1910 273,254 34.1% 305,101 38.4% 216,574 27.2%


  1. The History of Bukovina
  2. The Bukovina-Germans During the Habsburg Period
  3. Charles King (1 September 2013). The Moldovans: Romania, Russia, and the Politics of Culture. Hoover Press. pp. 21–. ISBN 978-0-8179-9793-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  5. Bucovina in Brasov Travel Guide
  6. Kemal H. Karpat (January 2002). Studies on Ottoman Social and Political History: Selected Articles and Essays. BRILL. pp. 403–. ISBN 90-04-12101-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Marcel Cornis-Pope; John Neubauer (13 September 2006). History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe: Junctures and disjunctures in the 19th and 20th centuries. John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 62–. ISBN 978-90-272-9340-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Grigore Ghica III, ucis pentru că s-a împotrivit cedării Bucovinei (Romanian)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Paul R. Magocsi (2010). A History of Ukraine: The Land and Its Peoples. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-1021-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 West Ukrainian National Republic and Polish-Ukrainian War
  11. Rus, Ionas Aurelian (2008). Variables Affecting Nation-Building: The Impact Of The Ethnic Basis, The Educational System, Industrialization And Sudden Shocks. ProQuest. p. 133. ISBN 9781109059632.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Bukovyna, Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  13. "Romania inainte de 1918". Cimec.ro. Retrieved 2013-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Ion Bulei, Scurta istorie a românilor, Editura Meronia, Bucuresti, 1996, pp. 104-107
  15. Minoritatea ucraineana din Romania (1918-1940)
  16. Constantin Kiriţescu (1989). Istoria războiului pentru întregirea României: 1916 - 1919. Ed. S̨tiint̨ifică s̨i Enciclopedică. ISBN 978-973-29-0048-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Congresul general al Bucovinei, intrupand suprema putere a tarii si fiind investiti cu puterea legiuitoare, in numele suveranitatii nationale, hotaram: Unirea neconditionata si pe vecie a Bucovinei in vechile ei hotare pana la Ceremuş, Colacin si Nistru cu Regatul Romaniei". The General congress of Bukovina, embodying the supreme power of the country [Bukovina], and invested with legislative power, in the name of national sovereignty, we decide: Unconditional and eternal union of Bukovina, in its old boundaries up to Ceremuş [river], Colachin and Dniester [river] with the Kingdom of Romania.
  18. The Union Act of Bukovina with Romania (15/28 November 1918) (Romanian)
  19. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Keith Hitchins. The Romanians 1774-1866. Oxford: Clarendon Press (1996), pp. 226
  20. 21.0 21.1 Die Bevölkerung der Bukowina (von Besetzung im Jahr 1774 bis zur Revolution 1848)
  21. Raimund Friedrich Kaindl. Das Ansiedlungswesen in der Bukowina seit der Besitzergreifung durch Österreich. Innsbruck (1902), pp. 1-71
  22. 23.0 23.1 Bukovina Handbook, prepared under the Direction of the Historical Section of the British Foreign Office No.6. Published in London, Feb.1919.
  23. Müller, H F (1848). Die Bukowina im Königreiche Galizien (in German). Wien: H.F. Müller's Kunsthandlung. p. 9. Retrieved 2014-06-05. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. 1855 Austrian ethnic-map showing census data in lower right corner
  25. 1855 Austrian ethnic-map showing 1851 census data in lower right corner File:Ethnographic map of austrian monarchy czoernig 1855.jpg
  26. First Austro-Hungarian census measuring the 'language spoken at home' of the population [1]
  27. Austro-Hungarian census of 1890 [2]
  28. Austro-Hungarian census of 1900 [3]

External links