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Lviv history



 Lviv coat of arms

Lviv was founded by King Danylo Halytskiy of the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia, and named in honor of his son, Lev. When Danylo died Lev made Lviv the capital of Halich-Volhynia.[citation needed] The city is first mentioned in the Halych-Volhynian Chronicle,which dates from 1256. It was captured by Poland in 1340 and, in 1356, Casimir III of Poland brought in German burghers and granted the Magdeburg rights which implied that all city matters were to be resolved by a council, elected by the wealthy citizens. The city council seal of the 14th century stated: S(igillum): Civitatis Lemburgensis. As part of Poland (and later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), Lviv became the caPrince Leopital of the Ruthenian Voivodeship.



As Lviv prospered, it became religiously and ethnically diverse. The 17th century brought invading armies of Swedes, Hungarians from Transylvania, Russians and Cossacks to its gates. However, Lviv was the only major city of Poland that was not captured by the invaders. In 1672 it was besieged by the Ottomans, who also failed to conquer it. Lviv was captured for the first time by a foreign army in 1704, when Swedish troops under King Charles XII entered the city after a siege.


 Austrian Lviv

In 1772, following the First Partition of Poland, the city known in German as Lemberg became the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. It was captured by the Russian army in September 1914 but retaken by Austria-Hungary in June the following year.



With the collapse of the Habsburg Empire at the end of World War I Lviv became an arena of conflict between the local Ukrainian and Polish-Jewish populations. During these fights an important role was taken by young Polish city defenders called Lwów Eaglets. Soon afterward, Lviv was attacked by the Red Army under the command of Aleksandr Yegorov and Stalin during Polish-Soviet War, but the city resisted[2]. For the courage of its inhabitants Lviv was awarded the Virtuti Militari cross by Józef Piłsudski on 22 November 1920.



Between the World Wars, it was the third largest Polish city (after Warsaw and Łódź) and the seat of the Lwów Voivodeship with a large Jewish population. Pogroms and repression had (save for isolated incidents) always been worse in countries outside of Poland, so cities like Lviv grew through Jewish immigration that was spurred by prejudices and repression in other countries.



In the Soviet invasion of Poland (1939), the Soviet Union took Lviv, which became the capital of the Lviv Oblast. But in the initial stage of Operation Barbarossa (late June, 1941), Lviv was taken by the Germans. This was a period of massacres in Galicia. The evacuating Soviets decided to kill the mass of people waiting in the prisons for deportation to the Gulag even if their fault was petty crimes or no fault at all. When the Wehrmacht forces arrived in the area, they discovered the evidence of the mass murders committed by the NKVD and NKGB, including the mass killing of Jews and Polish intelligentsia.



On June 30, 1941, Yaroslav Stetsko declared in Lviv the Government of an independent Ukraine. This was done without approval of the Germans, and Galicia was subsequently incorporated into the General Government as Distrikt Galizien. As Germany viewed Galicia as already aryanized and civilized, the non-Jewish Galicians escaped the full extent of German intentions more than many other Ukrainians who lived further eastward. Despite the more lenient extent of German control over the majority of the Galician population, the Jewish Galicians were deported to concentration camps, much like elsewhere in Ukraine. The Soviets retook Lviv in the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive of July, 1944.



Lviv and its population suffered greatly from the two world wars as the wars were fought across the local geography causing major collateral damage and disruption. Because of immigration in part, it recovered somewhat faster between the wars than comparable cities. World War II also brought the deliberate murders of the Holocaust. After the war, the Soviet Union expelled most of the ethnic Polish population, which was resettled in the Recovered Territories. Little remains of Polish culture in Lviv except for the Italian-influenced architecture. The Polish history of Lwów is still well remembered in Poland.


From the first days of Ukraine’s independence Lviv obtained the status of the cultural and spiritual capital of the Ukrainian state. In 2004 Lviv acted as the principal social catalyst of the democratic Orange Revolution. Quite recently, in 2006, Lviv celebrated its 750th birthday.


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