Stony women (from first people to XVII cen.)
The first people appeared in our area somewhere about
150,000 years ago. According to modern historians, they
had a brain of insignificant volume, a low forehead,
massive jaws and large teeth..."
The settlements of the primitive people were found in
the outskirts of the city and on Monastyrskiy
Island. This unique island appears throughout the
history of Prydniprovye, constantly being in the center
As a matter of fact, it is also the ancient nucleus
of the city. After the last Ice Age - 10 thousand years
ago - the settling of the Prydniprovye area began more
intensely. In ~3500-2700 BC the first farmers lived
here (the so-called Tripolskaya culture people).
The mighty, broad Dnieper River (Greeks called it the
Borisphen) with its picturesque islands and peaceful
backwaters, lush flood-meadows and shadowy oak woods
stretches along river valleys and ravines. Abundant
game and fish in local forests and waters are a result
of good climate and vast fertile land... All this attracted
hunters, fishers, cattle-breeders and land-tillers to
3000 years ago the cattle-breeders came from the East
- Cimmerians, written about by Homer and glorified
by Hollywood ("Conan the Barbarian").
They gradually overcame the Scythians (~ 700
BC), who were known for their graceful creations from
bronze and named as a frontier area of ancient civilization
(Crimea). The invasions from the East proceeded and
in 200 BC the Sarmatians came here. They won
and assimilated the rests of Scythians.
Most inhabitants of the city and visitors
know and like the distinctive features of the small
square near the Museum of History - the place where
the Stony Women stay (which actually are not females...).
The visitors are amazed with the centuries-old natives
- their oval forms. They were ancient creations of the
steppe nomadic people and are a modular collection
from neighboring barrows. In the past they served as
the index points for the steppe inhabitants.
Cossacks (Cossacks' time, XVII-XVIII cen. )
The first century of the new era was marked by fast
inhabitation of the Dnieper River banks by Slavic
tribes. The rocks of Monastyrskiy Island remember well
the first time Slavs floated down the Dnieper River
to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
On this island in the IX century the Monastery was founded
by Byzantian monks (from it the island received
its name). It existed until 1240 when it was destroyed
by Tatars. The Dnieper River has for many centuries
served as a border between East and West and its banks
have served as arena of struggle between the Slavs and
the Asian nomads.
This situation continued for many centuries until the
XV century when there appeared a new force - the free
people - Cossacks - Zaporiz'ki Kazaky (Zaporizhya
- the lands south of Prydniprovye, translate as "The
Land After the Weirs [Rapids]")...
- free people, robbers, and exiles of
different nations - gradually generated a great ethnic-mixed
force with which there was no equal in all of East Europe...
They engaged in hunting, fishing, grain
farming and trade. They also set up numerous seasonal
farms and later built permanent farm-steads and villages.
On the map of our modern city remain many toponimic
labels of the Zaporizhians: Sukhachivka, Diyivka, Taroms'ke,
Mandrykivka and other names. The Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom
governed in Ukraine in the beginning of the XVII century.
The authority reached practically to all territories,
with the exception of the Zaporizhian Sich.
Dnipro rapids - A Historical and Geographical Essay
New city (Yekaterinoslav - new city in Russian empire, XVIII-XIX cen. )
In 1635 the goal of the Polish Kingdom was to suppress
the Cossacks and not allow flight to the peasants. Therefore
they constructed the Kodak Fortress. In the opinion
of some historians this event is the time of foundation
of the city. It is underlined, however, that the town
of Stari Kodaki (that was near the fortress) existed
also before the time of Cossacks in these places. The
fortress did not become completely Polish - practically
at once it was won. The ruins of the Kodak are visible
now. There is a currently a project to restore it and
create a tourist center and park-museum.
After the Ukrainian revolts against the Polish feudal
lords in 1648 the Prydniprovye lands were completely
under the authority of Zaporizhians.
However, after the signing by Bohdan Khmel'nitsky of
the agreement about the Union with Moscow, the territory
officially passed under the authority of the Russians.
But actually, Prydniprovye lands remained as a self-controlled,
sub-borderian area up to the end of the XVIII century.
"The City of Yekaterinoslav - entirely the creation
of Prince Grigoriy Potyomkin" - wrote the famous Ukrainian
Yavornitskyi. And the construction plans were far
ahead of their time...
In the 1770s the Russian Empire bacame anxious with the problem
of Turkish domination in Asia Minor. The numerous Turkish fortresses on the Black
Sea coast and Dnieper River banks prevented border crossings to the empire to
the south. The last Slavic fortified territories were Cossacks' forts - Zaporiz'ka
Sich. Cossack AND Russian armies participated in the war with Turkey.
Development of capitalism ( end of XIX cent. - 1926)
In 1774 Prince
Grigoriy Potyomkin (1739-91) was nominated as governor of Novorossiysk
gubernia (region). In that year the Turkish-Russian war was settled. Now the Cossack
army as a rallied military force was not so necessary for the Empire. The fertile
land of Zaporizhya had attracted Russian landowners for a long time and the new
plan of Katherine II the Great was the gradual destruction of the Cossacks'
1775 Sich was destroyed. Division of the Zaporizhian lands and its gradual settling
by foreigners of all nations required construction of new cities and settlements.
Then began the realisations of the large projects in glory to Katherine the Great:
construction of the cities of Kherson, Nikolaev and Yekaterinoslav. The first
site of the new city in 1776 was chosen rather unsuccessfully: at the confluence
of Kil'chen' River into the Samara River in the area of Loshakivka.
In 1782 the city's population was 2194 inhabitants, however the next year it was
ordered the site be transferred because of the unfitness of the place for construction
and residing. Spring waters transformed the city into a bog. (look map of Yekaterinoslav
Yekaterinoslav-2 was based in 1783 in the Zaporizhian village of Polovytsia
(founded approximately at the end of 1760s), between the settlements of Old and
New Kodaki. Polovitsia was settled west of the main section of the city (between
Ozyorka and the present central part of the city). After some years it was absorbed
by the growing city limits.
The construction plans of the city were huge: 30 verstas (Russian length unit
1 versta=~ 1 km) in length, 25 in width, up to the Mokra Sura River. The main
structures would settle down on the hill. At the corona of it all would be the
Preobrazhenskiy Cathedral (the size to be
"unique in the whole world") In addition to the Cathedral there were construction
plans to build a huge "magnificent university" (but it was not built).
The streets of the new city were to be direct and wide. On Monastyrskyi Island
there was supposed to be a botanical garden. Many of these unique and unusual
plans were lost in Russian red tape, defective workmanship and stealing. Structures
including Potyomkin Palace were under construction
very slowly. The construction site was bought from retired Cossack yesaul (colonel)
Lazar' Globa, who possessed a lot of lands up to the borders of the new city (Lazar
Globa is known for his gardens which partly exist now).
Prospering larceny and a change of authority (both Prince Potyomkin and Katherine
II had died and the receiver Pavel the First hated favorite creations of his mother)
caused all construction to stop by the end of the century. The plans were reconsidered,
the size of the Cathedral was reduced (it was completed only in 1835), parts of
buildings were left unfinished.
From 1797 to 1802 the city was called Novorossiysk. It eventually decayed and
became a silent village. The great plans were in the past. From them there was
only the spirit of what could have been greatness. So it was until 1870, when
the city became alive again....
In the beginning of 19th century the city of Yekaterinoslav
had only 6389 inhabitants, in 1865 - 22,816, in 1887
- 48,000 and in 1897 the population had increased to
121,200 people. For the last thirty years of the
century the population of the city increased 5 times.
What was reason for such a population boom?
Two men: the Englishman Mr. John Hughes
(who developed the Donetsk coal deposits) and Ukrainian
Pol', who opened the Kryvyi Rih iron ores. He found
ore casually in 1866 while involved in archaeological
research. The Donetsk coal was necessary for melting
the pig-iron of Kryvyi Rih ore and there was a need
for a connecting railway. It wasn't until 1881 that
the sanction for its construction was received and in
1884 it began to work. The constant metal bridge through
Dnieper was opened. From this moment the city began
to grow quickly.
New settlements appeared: Amur, Nizhnedniprovsk and
the factory areas developed. In 1897, because of the
development of the city, third in the Russian Empire,
Yekaterinoslav opened the electrical tram... In 1899
the High Mining School was open and by 1913 it had grown
to be the Mining Institute.
The end of 1905 was filled with blood of the first anti-tsar
revolts. Some tens of people were killed and hundreds
were wounded. The wave of devastation of the Jews had
passed. The atmosphere in society was heated. After
the revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Civil War
the city was dominated by ruin and an infinite change
of authorities for some years. All this resulted in
a paralysis of industry and transport. During eight
months of 1918, in the period of Hetman (the Chairman
of Ukraine), under the decree of Hetman Pavlo Skoropads'kyi,
the city was called Sicheslav.
By Skoropads'kyi's initiative the University in Yekaterinoslav
was open on the basis of High Female School. Finally,
the authority of the Bolshevik Party was established
in Prydniprovye to the end of 1920, but there were still
a few revolts up to the middle of 1921.
In 1926 the city of Yekaterinoslav was renamed - Dnipropetrovsk
had appeared.... The Dnipropetrovs'k (Dnepropetrovsk
in Russian) city name consists of two words: "Dnipro"
(the Dnieper River) and "Petrovsk" (named for Petrovsky).
Grigoriy Petrovsky (1878-1958) was the first Parliament (Soviet) leader of the new communist Ukrainian republic.