History of Kharkiv

Kharkiv municipal arms Kharkiv city was founded in the middle of XVII century, but archeological finds testify that there were settlements during a bronze epoch in ІІ millennium BC. There were found traces of Scythians (VI-III centuries BC) and Sarmatians (ІІ-І centuries BC) stay; settlements of Chernyakhovskay culture (ІІ-VI century) and the Slavic settlement Donets, known by annals, and "The lay of Igor's Warfare". However, in ХІІ-XVII centuries the present territory of Kharkiv was a part of the Wild Field, where Cuman and then Tatars dominated.

The source of city name is most likely the small river Kharkiv. Some historians connect Kharkiv with ancient settlement of Cuman Sharukan' which was nearby to the place where modern Kharkiv settles down.

In 1654 on the hill at merge of small rivers Kharkiv and Lopan' building of the powerful fortress for the purpose of protection of Russian lands, and in particular Moscow, from attacks of the Crimean Tatars, began. Ukrainian immigrants who, being rescued from Polish szlyachta, settled there with the permission of Moscow tsar constructed the fortress. Tsar Aleksey granted Kharkiv citizens considerable trading privileges, which promoted prompt growth of city riches and Cossack liberties.

Ukrainian settlers constructed new strengthening and bore defensive military service. In 1655 in Kharkiv lived nearby 600 noblemen, and the total population was nearly 2000 people. The part of townsmen was engaged in craft and trade, but the majorities lodged in large villages and were engaged in grain industry.
During the Russian-Swedish war in connection with Ivan Mazepa's military advance and revolt of the Don Cossacks, Peter І charged to strengthen the Kharkiv strengthening. In 1660-1662, former suburban strengthening was completed, and in old fortress, the new ones were created.

In 1724 in Kharkiv, there already were 61 streets and 1300 courtyard.

In due course Kharkiv began to be allocated from regimental centers of Slobozhanshchina thanks to the favorable economic and trading location. The city also started to play a leading cultural role in that area. In XVIIІ century, Kharkiv fairs (4 times in a year) expanded. There the goods from the Baltic ports and the central areas of Russia, Crimea, Kherson, Kiev, Poland, Silesia, Moldova and German cities were brought.
In 1765, the imperial government cancelled regimental self-management of Kharkiv. Cossacks became military settlers. The administrative and territorial unit - province with the centre in Kharkiv was created.

Significant event in city history was the foundation in 1805 of Kharkiv University. Such known scientists as outstanding philologist Potebnya, the winner of Nobel Prize Mechnikov were studied there, the founder of the modern Polish state Juzef Pilsudsky was registered among students of University.

In XIX century in Kharkiv 4 grammar schools for young men and some high schools for girls were based. In 1873, the veterinary institute and in 1885 Technological institute was opened. In second half of 19 century, specialized schools were opening, among them: trading, technical, musical, railway schools.

In 1867 in Kharkiv, the appellate court was created.
By the end of 19 centuries, Kharkiv became the largest intellectual, trading and industrial centre of the south of Russian empire and simultaneously the revolutionary movement centre. In 1900, for the first time in Russia, May Day demonstration took place in Kharkiv.

The population from 1800 to 1917 increased almost in 30 times and in 1917, it made 297 thousand people.
To the beginning of XX century, Kharkiv turned to a large industrial centre and railway junction. In 1904 there were 1200 enterprises in the city, and 17 000 workers were engaged there. Taking into account the handicraft enterprises, number of workers made 45 thousand people, including 28 000 handicraftsmen.
During revolution in 1917 when the power was in hands of Provisional government, the local authorities were in hands of provincial commissioner, municipal duma, country council. The 3-rd generalist of Central Rada extended its power on Kharkiv region. However, affinity of Russia, in which Bolsheviks grasped the power, and Donbas where they actually seized power, plus weakness of the Ukrainian forces solved destiny of the city. In the end of November, 1917 Red Army from Russia and sailors from Baltic came to Kharkiv. They together with local Bolsheviks disarmed the armies of Central Rada and Russian anti-Bolsheviks forces.

In April 1918 after the Brest peace treaty the German army and Ukrainian armies released Kharkiv from Bolsheviks. In November 1918, armies of Directory UNR captured the temporarily power in Kharkiv, but in January 1919, Bolsheviks again grasped the city and the Soviet government of Ukraine acted there until June 1919, when the city was occupied with the Russian White armies of general Denikin, which were to the middle of December of 1919. After the definitive victory of Red army over Denikin, the third Ukrainian Soviet government, which proclaimed Kharkiv as the capital of USSR, returned to the city.

In days of revolution and civil war Kharkiv suffered a lot, the city repeatedly passed from hands to hands, and Bolsheviks Cheka, one of the most terrible in the country, exterminated thousands of townspeople.
After the termination of civil war, Kharkiv was proclaimed as the capital of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the most brilliant period in city history began. There lived and worked the figures, which became classics of the Ukrainian culture: writers Oles Gonchar and Ostap Vishnya, poets Vladimir Sosyura and Pavlo Tychina, theatrical director Les Kurbas and film director Alexander Dovzhenko. In Kharkiv such stars of the first size, as crooners Leonid Utesov, Claudia Shulzhenko, composer Isaak Dunaevsky and others began their career.

At the same time in Kharkiv enormous accomplishment works were conducted, the building of the first high-rise building in the USSR - Gosprom, and one of the largest squares of the world became the wreath of that works. In 1931 in Kharkiv, for the first time in the world the atom of lithium was split, that began a nuclear epoch in mankind history. At that particular time world famous physicists Ioffe and Landau worked in the city.

Then new factories were constructed and some old factories were reconstructed, new inhabited complexes and campus were founded, tram lines were prolonged, buses and trolley buses were started up. In 1931 Kharkiv tractor plant, machine-tool constructing (1933), turbine (1934) gave the first production. Pre-revolutionary plants: electromechanical, metal cutting, transport mechanical engineering and others increased volume of their production.

Before approach of German army some enterprises were evacuated, the others were destroyed. Fascists entered the city on October 25, 1941.

The city stayed 22 months under occupation of German armies. In February 1943, the attempts to release Kharkiv were undertaken, but definitively Soviet armies released the city only on August 23, 1943. Because of hunger and reprisals of aggressors, the quantity of Kharkiv inhabitants decreased from 900 thousand to 300 thousand people. There again for the first time in the world history the trial over the military criminals took place, having become a prelude of the Nuremberg process.

Kharkiv as a result of war was one of the most destroyed cities of Europe, tens monuments of architecture were destroyed, numerous art values were taken out to Germany, while waste grounds and ruins on the place of destroyed quarters up to the middle of 60-th years reminded townspeople of war.
After releasing of fascists the city restoration and reconstruction of the destroyed buildings gradually began. A number of old factories were restored and the new ones were constructed. The city promptly grew, new inhabited quarters were erected: Saltovka, Pavlovoe Pole, Rogan, Alekseyevka, Kholodnaya Gora, Krasnaya Bavaria.

In 1975 opening of Kharkiv underground, having a length of 18 kilometers with 13 stations) became the important event in the city life.

In Soviet time, Kharkiv took the third place in the USSR by quantity of higher educational institutions. Now Kharkiv - is the second in Ukraine on population (one and a half million citizens).

The city continues to develop and for nowadays, it is the second city in Ukraine on importance. From 1917 to 1934 Kharkiv was the capital of Ukraine.
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