Cossack Hetmanate

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Zaporozhian Host
Військо Запорозьке (Ukrainian)
Location Zaporizhian Host.png
The Cossack Hetmanate in 1654
StatusVassal of the Ottoman Empire (1655–1657) [1]
(1669–1685) [2] [3]
Protectorate of the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire (since 1654)
Concurrent with the Kiev Governorate (1708–1764)
Capital Chyhyryn a(1648–1676)
Baturyn b(1663–1708)
Hlukhiv c(1708–1764)
Common languages Ruthenian, Polish, Yiddish (spoken)
Ruthenian, Polish, Latin, Russian (in official use)
Eastern Orthodox
Government Stratocratic elective monarchy [4] [5] [6] [7]
 16481657 (first)
Bohdan Khmelnytsky
 17501764 (last)
Kirill Razumovsky
Legislature General Cossack Council
Council of Officers
18 (8) August 1649
 Hetman post abolished in Poland
 Kolomak Articles
 Hetman post abolished in Russia
21 (10) November 1764
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of the Zaporizhian Sich.svg Zaporozhian Sich
COA of Kiev Voivodship XVII.svg Kiev Voivodeship
Zaporozhian Sich Flag of the Zaporizhian Sich.svg
Little Russia Governorate (1764–1781) Flag of Russia.svg
Danubian Sich Flag of the Zaporizhian Sich.svg
Today part of Ukraine
  1. Hetmanate capital
  2. alternate Hetman residence
  3. Little Russia capital

The Cossack Hetmanate [nb 1] (Ukrainian : Гетьма́нщина, romanized: Hetmanshchyna; Polish : Hetmanat, Hetmańszczyzna, or Cossack State; Russian : Ге́тманщина, romanized: Getmanshchina), officially the Zaporozhian Host or Army of Zaporozhia (Ukrainian : Військо Запорозьке, romanized: Viisko Zaporozke; Latin : Exercitus Zaporoviensis), [8] is a historical term for the 17th-18th centuries Ukrainian Cossack state [8] located in central Ukraine. [5] [9] It existed between 1649 and 1764, although its administrative-judicial system persisted until 1782.


The Hetmanate was founded by the Hetman of the Zaporizhian Host, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, during the Khmelnytsky Uprising from 1648 to 1657 in the eastern territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Establishment of vassal relations with the Tsardom of Russia in the Treaty of Pereiaslav of 1654 is considered a benchmark of the Cossack Hetmanate in Soviet, Ukrainian, and Russian historiography. The second Pereiaslav Council in 1659 further restricted the independence of the Hetmanate, and from the Russian side there were attempts to declare agreements reached with Yurii Khmelnytsky in 1659 as nothing more than the "former Bohdan's agreements" of 1654. [10] [11] [12] The 1667 Treaty of Andrusovo, conducted without any representation from the Cossack Hetmanate, established the borders between the Polish and Russian states, dividing the Hetmanate in half along the Dnieper and putting the Zaporozhian Sich under a formal joint Russian-Polish administration.

After a failed attempt to break the union with Russia by Ivan Mazepa in 1708, the whole area was included into the Kyiv Governorate, [13] and Cossack autonomy was severely restricted. Catherine II of Russia officially abolished the institute of the Hetman in 1764, and from 1764 to 1781, the Cossack Hetmanate was incorporated as the Little Russia Governorate headed by Pyotr Rumyantsev, with the last remnants of the Hetmanate's administrative system abolished in 1781.


The official name of the Cossack Hetmanate was the Zaporizhian Host or Army of Zaporizhia (Ukrainian : Військо Запорозьке, romanized: Viiskо Zaporozkе). [14] The historiographic term Hetmanate (Ukrainian : Гетьманщина, romanized: Hetmanshchyna, "Hetman state") was coined in the late 19th century, [5] deriving from the word hetman , the title of the general of the Zaporizhian Army. Despite not being centered in Zaporizhia, the region's name (meaning "beyond the rapids" in Ukrainian) was derived from cossacks in Southern Ukraine centered on the Zaporizhian Sich, [15] as well as a general name of Ukrainian Cossacks as a political and military organization. [15]

The Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk refers to it as "Little Russia" (quote: "кордони Малої Росії, Вітчизни нашої", "borders of Little Russia, our Fatherland") and "Ukraine" (Ukrainian : Україна, Latin : Ucraina); the latter name is found in various Polish, Russian, [16] [17] Ottoman and Arab sources. The Cossack Hetmanate was called the "Country of Ukraine" (Turkish : اوكراینا مملكتی/Ukrayna memleketi) by the Ottoman Empire. [18] In the text of Treaty of Buchach, it is mentioned as the Ukrainian State (Polish : Państwo Ukraińskie). [19] Map of Ukraine, made by Johann Homann, refers to it as Ukraine, or the Land of Cossacks (Latin : Ukrania quae et Terra Cosaccorum). In Russian diplomatic correspondence, it was called Little Russia (Russian : Малороссия, romanized: Malorossiya). [20] The Russian poet Alexander Pushkin also talks about "Ukraine" rather than "Cossack Hetmanate" in his poem Poltava describing events around the 1709 Battle of Poltava.

The founder of the Hetmanate, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, declared himself the ruler of the Ruthenian state to the Polish representative Adam Kysil in February 1649. [21] His contemporary Metropolitan Sylvestr Kosiv recognized him as "the leader and the commander of our land". In his letter to Constantin Șerban (1657), he referred to himself as Clementiae divinae Generalis Dux Exercituum Zaporoviensium. [22]

Grand Principality of Ruthenia was the proposed name of the Cossack Hetmanate as part of the Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth. [23] [24]


Latin: Delineatio Generalis Camporum Desertorum vulgo Ukraina
(General Map of the Deserted Plains, commonly known as Ukraine), 1648. North is at bottom of map. General Depiction of the Empty Plains (in Common Parlance, the Ukraine) Together with its Neighboring Provinces WDL79.png
Latin : Delineatio Generalis Camporum Desertorum vulgo Ukraina (General Map of the Deserted Plains, commonly known as Ukraine), 1648. North is at bottom of map.


After many successful military campaigns against the Poles, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky made a triumphant entry into Kyiv on Christmas 1648, where he was hailed as a liberator of the people from Polish captivity. In February 1649, during negotiations in Pereiaslav with a Polish delegation, Khmelnytsky made it clear to the Poles that he wanted to be the Hetman of a Ruthenia stretching to Chelm and Halych, and build with the Tatar's help. He warned them he intended to resume his military campaign.

Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky's triumphal entry to Kyiv in 1648 Pic I V Ivasiuk Mykola Bohdan Khmelnytskys Entry to Kyiv.jpg
Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky's triumphal entry to Kyiv in 1648
General map of the borders of the new lands of Ukraine in 1649, or Palatinates of Podolia, Kyiv, Bratslav Typus Generalis Ukraina 1649.jpg
General map of the borders of the new lands of Ukraine in 1649, or Palatinates of Podolia, Kyiv, Bratslav
The Zaporizhian Cossack host in 1654 (against the backdrop of contemporary Ukraine) Location of Cossack Hetmanate.png
The Zaporizhian Cossack host in 1654 (against the backdrop of contemporary Ukraine)

When the delegation returned and informed John II Casimir of Khmelnytsky's new campaign, the king called for an all szlachta volunteer army, and sent regular troops against the cossacks in southern Volhynia. However, after obtaining intelligence of superior cossack forces, the Polish troops retreated to Zbarazh to set up a defense. The forces of Jeremi Wiśniowiecki reinforced the Zbarazh defenders while he took the lead of all Polish forces. Khmelnytsky besieged the city, wearing it down through a series of random attacks and bombardments. The king, while rushing to help Wiśniowiecki, was ambushed with his newly gathered forces. Khmelnytsky, leaving part of his army with Ivan Cherniata near Zbarazh, moved together with İslâm III Giray to intercept the Polish reinforcements and block their way at a river crossing near Zboriv. Caught by some degree of surprise, John Casimir started negotiations with the Tatar's khan. With the khan at his side, he forced Khmelnytsky to start peace negotiations. Khmelnytsky signed the Treaty of Zboriv in August 1649, with a result somewhat less than the Cossack leader had anticipated from his campaign.

As ruler of the Hetmanate, Khmelnytsky engaged in state-building across multiple spheres: military, administration, finance, economics, and culture. He invested the Zaporozhian Host under the leadership of its hetman with supreme power in the new Ruthenian state, and he unified all the spheres of Ukrainian society under his authority. This involved building a government system and a developed military and civilian administration out of Cossack officers and Ruthenian nobles, as well as the establishment of an elite within the Cossack Hetman state.

The Hetmanate used Polish currency, and Polish as an administrative language and language of command. [25] However, after the Truce of Andrusovo in 1667, the "simple language" (Ukrainian : проста мова), or the commonly spoken vernacular language of Ukraine, began to be written down and widely used in official documents of the Cossack Hetmanate. [26]

Russian protectorate

After the Crimean Tatars betrayed the Cossacks for the third time in 1653, Khmelnytsky realized he could no longer rely on Ottoman support against Poland, and he was forced to turn to Tsardom of Russia for help. Final attempts to negotiate took place in January 1654 in the town of Pereiaslav between Khmelnytsky with Cossack leaders and the Tsar's ambassador, Vasiliy Buturlin. The treaty was concluded in April in Moscow by the Cossacks Samiilo Bohdanovych-Zarudny and Pavlo Teteria, and by Aleksey Trubetskoy, Vasilii Buturlin, and other boyars. As a result of the treaty, the Zaporozhian Host became an autonomous Hetmanate within the Russian state. The treaty also led to the Russo-Polish War of 1654–1667. [27]

The Ruin

The period of Hetmanate history known as "the Ruin", lasting from 1657 to 1687, was marked by constant civil wars throughout the state. After Bohdan Khmelnytsky died in 1657, his sixteen-year-old son Yurii Khmelnytsky was elected as successor. Bohdan`s son was not only too young and inexperienced, but also clearly lacked the charisma and leadership qualities of his father.

In response, Ivan Vyhovsky, the general scribe (Ukrainian : писар, romanized: pysar) of the Hetmanate and an adviser to Bohdan Khmelnytsky, was elected hetman in 1657 by the Starshyna council. His election caused widespread discontent among other regiments and the Zaporizhian Host, who sent runners to Moscow with complaints. As a result, new elections were called that same year at which Vyhovsky was reelected at the General Military Council. This election was also confirmed by Russian authorities who were informed according to the Pereiaslav treaty. Moscow continued to accept runners from the regions of Cossack Hetmanate completely disregarding the authority of hetman and spreading rumors that in truth Russia did not support the candidacy of Vyhovsky. [28] Vyhovsky, seeing the situation turning out of his control, went on to extinguish the revolt led by the Zaporozhian Kish otaman Yakiv Barabash and Poltava Colonel Martyn Pushkar. In the spring [28] of 1658 Vyhovsky crossed Dnieper and confronted mutineers near Poltava with the help of Tatars. During the battle Pushkar was killed and replaced with a new colonel, while the leaders of the uprising were strictly repressed.

After this, Vyhovsky and General Starshyna considered the relationship with Russia to be broken. The newly elected Metropolitan Dionisi Balaban was transferred to Chyhyryn, away from Kyiv. A manifest nullifying the union with Russia was sent throughout Europe, mainly because it was conducting friendly relationships with Poland and supporting internal opposition within the Hetmanate. Negotiations with Sweden had frozen, while he had military support from the Crimean Khanate, so Vyhovsky decided to renegotiate with Poland, with whom talks continued for quite some time.

On September 16, 1658 in Hadiach, an official document was signed between representatives of the Cossack Hetmanate and Poland. Under the conditions of the treaty, Ukraine would become a third and autonomous component of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, under the ultimate sovereignty of the King of Poland but with its own military, courts, and treasury. But the treaty, although ratified by the Diet in May 1659, was never implemented because it was unpopular among the lower classes of the Ruthenian society,[ citation needed ] where more rebellions occurred. Eventually Vyhovsky surrendered the office of hetman and fled to Poland. The newly re-installed Yurii Khmelnytsky signed the newly composed Pereiaslav Articles that were increasingly unfavorable[ citation needed ] for the Hetmanate and later led to introduction of serfdom rights.

In 1667, the Russo-Polish war ended with the Treaty of Andrusovo, which split the Cossack Hetmanate along the Dnieper River: Left-bank Ukraine enjoyed a degree of autonomy within the Tsardom of Russia, while Right-bank Ukraine remained part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and was temporarily occupied by the Ottoman Empire in the period of 1672-1699 (see the Treaty of Buchach and the Treaty of Karlowitz). For a short time, Petro Doroshenko became the hetman of both banks. After treason by Demian Mnohohrishny and a new Polish offensive, Dorosenko concluded an alliance with the Ottomans, who granted him Ukraine, while the hetman agreed to support Ottoman military action with his army. "By 1669 the Porte issued a patent (berat, nişan) granting Doroshenko all of Cossack Ukraine as an Ottoman sancak or province". [2] This move sharply reduced his popularity among the Ukrainians and commoners, giving rise to the emergence of two self-proclaimed Right-bank hetmans, Petro Sukhovii and the pro-Polish Mykhailo Khanenko. Direct armed support of the anti-Doroshenko forces by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forced Sultan Mehmed IV to intervene in the conflict. In 1672, Ottoman troops captured Podillia, the Bratslav region, and the southern Kyiv region and forced the Poles to sign the Treaty of Buchach. Doroshenko restored his power, but due to Tatar raids and violent islamization, the Ukrainian population of the Right-bank began to flee to the Left-bank of the Dnieper, Sloboda Ukraine, Galicia and Volhynia. In 1674, Samoilovych's Left-bank Cossacks, together with the Russian army, invaded the Right-bank, and in 1676, deprived of support, Doroshenko capitulated, surrendering the hetman's capital of Chyhyryn with kleinods. These events unleashed the Russo-Turkish War, as a result of which the Ottoman-Tatar army completely destroyed the Cossack capital Chyhyryn. In order to deprive the enemy of support, the Left-bank hetman government forcibly removed the entire population of the Dnieper region to the Left-bank. The war ended with the conclusion of the Bakhchysarai Peace in 1681. According to this treaty, the Russo-Ottoman border was established along the Dnieper; the Dnieper-Buh confluence had to be uninhabited for 20 years. After the defeat of the Ottomans at the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the Tsardom of Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth concluded the Treaty of Perpetual Peace in 1686, which also established the division of the Hetmanate between them. On the Left-bank, Samoilovych was considered to be the culprit of the disintegration of the Cossack state between the Tsardom of Russia, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. After the unsuccessful Crimean campaign of 1687, he was denounced, arrested and exiled to Siberia. At the same time, on the Right-bank, the Poles abolished the Cossack self-government and the regimental system in 1699. As a result, the Hetmanate continued to exist only on the Left-bank of the Dnieper. [29]

The time of Mazepa

The St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral in Kyiv, built with funds from Hetman Ivan Mazepa St. Michael's Catheral view.JPG
The St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral in Kyiv, built with funds from Hetman Ivan Mazepa
A 1720 map by Johann Baptist Homann: Ukraine, or Cossack Land Ukrania quae et Terra Cosaccorum cum vicinis Walachiae, Moldoviae, Johann Baptiste Homann (Nuremberg, 1720).jpg
A 1720 map by Johann Baptist Homann: Ukraine, or Cossack Land

The period of the Ruin effectively ended when Ivan Mazepa was elected hetman, serving from 1687 to 1708. He brought stability to the Hetmanate, which was again united under a single hetman. The Hetmanate flourished under his rule, particularly in literature and architecture. The architectural style that developed during his reign was called the Cossack Baroque style.

During his reign, the Great Northern War broke out between Russia and Sweden. Mazepa's alliance with Peter I caused heavy losses of cossacks and Russian interference in the Hetmanate's internal affairs. When the tsar refused to defend Ukraine against the Polish King Stanislaus Leszczynski, an ally of Charles XII of Sweden, Mazepa and some Zaporozhian Cossacks allied themselves with the Swedes on October 28, 1708. The decisive battle of Poltava (in 1709) was won by Russia, putting an end to Mazepa's goal of independence, promised in an earlier treaty with Sweden.

Following the Battle of Poltava, the Hetmanate's autonomy became nominal and the governorate of Kyiv was established. The Russian Empire also began to purge all suspected allies of Mazepa, culminating in the executions of Cossacks in Lebedin. This resulted in the death of over 900 cossack officials, accused of treason.

End of the Cossack Hetmanate

During the reign of Catherine II of Russia, the Cossack Hetmanate's autonomy was progressively destroyed. After several earlier attempts, the office of hetman was finally abolished by the Russian government in 1764, and his functions were assumed by the Little Russian Collegium.

In 1781, the regimental administrative system of the Hetmanate was abolished and viceroyalties were formed. In 1781, the Hetmanship was divided into three viceroyalties (provinces): Kyiv, Chernihiv and Novhorod-Siverskyi, which together formed the Governorate-General of Malorossia.

In 1783 with Cossack army abolished and serfdom introduced, Hetmanate was fully incorporated into Russian Empire.


The Hetmanate coincided with a period of cultural flowering in Ukraine, particularly during the reign of hetman Ivan Mazepa.


In the construction of dwelling, for a long time, the type of "house in two halves" characteristic of Ukrainian housing was preserved, but in the case of the Cossack Starshyna society, they differed in the number of rooms and interior decoration. In many respects, the interior of the home of the Cossack Starshyna still resembled folk dwellings. The traditions of painting windows, doors, strollers, and baby carriages were preserved. The inner walls of the houses were covered with wallpaper. The rooms were decorated with carpets made by local artisans. Stoves for heating were lined with tiles. Life was decorated with colourful and beautiful things. They bought mirrors, chandeliers, a lot of beautiful dishes – silver, porcelain dishes, teapots, coffee pots, spoons, knives, beer bottles, silver trays, cups, etc. [30]

Clothing and accessories

Clothes do not only perform a purely utilitarian function, but are also the subject of aesthetic tastes and preferences that form a style characteristic of different eras. In general, the clothes of the Starshyna society, both male and female, did not differ from the Eastern European style of the time. Men's zhupan (robes), kuntush, various belts were worn both in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and in Ukraine, just like the women's clothing – skirts, corsets (laces) were typical for the whole of Europe in the 18th century. [31] The elements of the outfit differed, presumably, in the details of the cut, decorativeness, while the fabrics used were common to all of Europe: velvet, satin, brocade, taffeta, textile, silk, which were imported to Ukraine from Silesia and Saxony. Trade in these goods was conducted very actively, which indicates the demand for them. [32]

Interestingly, the clothes had value not only for women. According to sources, including diaries and property descriptions, men also attached importance to their wardrobe, although it was not as varied. The basic outerwear for men, kuntush, zhupan or kaftan, has been traditional for a long time. Zhupans or kaftans are mentioned in documents of the 16th century. Silk and cloth belts were quite expensive. In Ukraine, as well as in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, zhupans and kuntush remained the main men's clothing until the end of the 18th century. The clothes of a Cossack Starshyna indicated belonging to a certain society, where the accepted style prevailed. At the same time, there was a formation of an individual style that distinguished a person among a certain social group. Clothes also had a family value. It was a tradition to leave the clothes of the deceased in the family, giving away some of them after death. Among the things that were given great importance in the Starshyna society were jewelry. This can be traced to dowry registers, wills, property descriptions. Jewels, which are ornaments made of gold, silver, various precious stones – rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, pearls, corals – were called "jewels". They were used as capital investments, for example, to provide a dowry for daughters, and at the same time had a symbolic value, certifying status of their master, and were also family heirlooms.


The household was important not only because it was the main source of livelihood for the master and his family, but also because it was the main support for military service. The fighting capacity of the Cossack army, the duration of military operations, and often the outcome of the entire war depended on the supply of food. [33] Daily food was fish. It was dried, salted and boiled. The typical food of the Cossacks was varenyky (dumplings), halushky, borshch. The Cossacks consumed mainly boiled, stewed and baked food, thus, peculiar taste stereotypes and habits developed. Popular food in the Sich was porridge-like dishes made from various grains: solomakha (Ukrainian : соломаха), teteria (Ukrainian : тетеря), shcherba (Ukrainian : щерба), bratko (Ukrainian : братко). Kulish (Ukrainian : куліш) was also often prepared. One of the peculiarities of the Cossack diet was the insignificant consumption of baked bread, because there was not always enough flour. One of the most famous first courses is the Cossack teteria, which is quite similar to the kulish. Simple and easy-to-prepare meals were nutritious, but above all, they kept for a long time. Eastern influence is also felt on the derivative cuisine. Teteria and solomakha became dishes that were formed on the steppe spaces in close contact with nomads.

Meat was an essential addition to the diet of the Cossacks both in summer and in winter. The food reserves of the Cossacks were constantly replenished. Those who lived in winter quarters especially tried. Their main task was to supply the Cossacks with various foods – from meat, flour, lard, cereals to vegetables and fruits. During military campaigns, the diet was completely different, and the set of products also changed. When going on a campaign, a Cossack had to take with him a supply of food, which should last for several months. That is why they took something that did not spoil and could be used for a long time on the road. The basis of the ration in the campaigns was sukhari (rusks), cereals, flour, salo (salo is a high-calorie product – more was used in reserve: it can be stored for a long time, and also used in canning products). Cossacks carried water in wooden trunks tied to the saddle. Fishing nets were also taken on hikes. [34] Among the sweet dishes in Cossack times, the following were known: kvas (Ukrainian : квас), kutia (Ukrainian : кутя) with honey, kutia with poppy seeds and nuts, rice with honey and cinnamon, kutia with raisins and nuts, soup made of dried apples, plums and cherries (uzvar). Traditional local tonic drinks were weak beer and fruit kvas.

In general, the food was divided into daily, festive and fasting. There were differences in the diet of wealthy Cossacks and the poor. Often the poor were satisfied with empty borshch (without meat), fish and sauerkraut. Food was cooked in an oven (in the winter in the house, in the kitchen, in the summer in the summer kitchen or in the summer oven in the yard). Every family needed simple utensils: a Dutch oven (Ukrainian : чавун, romanized: chavun), bowls, pans, rohachi (Ukrainian : рогачі), pokers.


Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Proekt Staroakademichnogo korpusu.png
Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Visitors from abroad commented on the high level of literacy, even among commoners, in the Hetmanate. There was a higher number of elementary schools per population in the Hetmanate than in either neighboring Russia or Poland. In the 1740s, of 1,099 settlements within seven regimental districts, as many as 866 had primary schools. [35] The German visitor to the Hetmanate, writing in 1720, commented on how the son of Hetman Danylo Apostol, who had never left Ukraine, was fluent in the Latin, Italian, French, German, Polish and Russian languages. [36] Under Mazepa, the Kyiv collegium was transformed into an academy and attracted some of the leading scholars of the Orthodox world. [37] It was the largest educational institution in lands ruled by Russia. [38] Mazepa established another collegium in Chernihiv. These schools largely used the Polish and Latin languages and provided a classic western education to their students. [38] Many of those trained in Kyiv – such as Feofan Prokopovich – would later move to Moscow, so that Ivan Mazepa's patronage not only raised the level of culture in Ukraine but also in Moscow itself. [37] A musical academy was established in 1737 in the Hetmanate's then-capital of Hlukhiv. Among its graduates were Maksym Berezovsky (the first composer from the Russian Empire to be recognized in Europe) and Dmitry Bortniansky.

In addition to traditional printing presses in Kyiv, new printing shops were established in Novhorod-Siverskyi and Chernihiv. Most of the books published were religious in nature, such as the Peternik, a book about the lives of the monks of the Kyiv-Pechersk monasatary. Books on local history were compiled. In a book written by Inokentiy Gizel in 1674, the theory that Moscow was the heir of ancient Kyiv was developed and elaborated for the first time. [39]


Among the cultural and educational interests that characterize the leisure time of a Cossack Starshyna, there is a passion for music. A love of music, singing, and dancing was cultivated in the Cossack Starshyna environment. Things that brought aesthetic pleasure, provided comfort to everyday life, were musical instruments. Keyboard instruments such as the clavichord were widespread. Also violin and horns, husli (Ukrainian : гуслі) and bandura (Ukrainian : бандура). [40] While on a campaign, the Starshyna society danced, on church holidays they sang. Cossacks were extremely fond of church singing.

A common phenomenon of the cultural life of the Hetmanate was the performances of the so-called traveling diaks (Ukrainian : дяки), students of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy or collegiums, who earned money for living and studying during the holidays by performing popular acts – interludes. There was also such a kind of intellectual pursuit of time as a game of chess. Among the popular leisure activities was playing cards, especially in winter. In 1727, such card games as picket, lumberjack, and fantas were mentioned. They played for money, sometimes a present could be, for example, a horse. Often the Starshyna had large apiaries and treated this business not only as a source of income, but also liked to rest there. Also, drinking coffee became a certain means of rest and relaxation in the environment of the Starshyna society.

The free time of the Cossacks was filled with various physical exercises: competitions in swimming, running, rowing, wrestling, fistfights, etc. All these and other exercises had a military orientation and were a good means of physical training of the Cossacks. Among the Zaporozhian Cossacks, various systems of martial arts have become widespread. The most famous formed the basis of the Cossack hopak (Ukrainian : гопак) dance. [41]


The Mezhyhirskyi Monastery, located on the right bank of the Dnieper. Mezhyhirskyi Monastery, 1843.jpg
The Mezhyhirskyi Monastery, located on the right bank of the Dnieper.

In 1620 The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople reestablished the Kyiv Metropolis for the Eastern Orthodox communities that refused to join the Union of Brest. In 1686 the Orthodox Church in Ukraine changed from being under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch in Constantinople to being under the authority of the Patriarch of Moscow. Nevertheless, before and after this date local Church leaders pursued a policy of independence. [42] Hetman Ivan Mazepa established very close relations with Metropolitan Varlaam Iasynsky (reigned 1690–1707). Mazepa provided donations of land, money and entire villages to the Church. He also financed the building of numerous churches in Kyiv, including the Church of the Epiphany and the cathedral of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, and restoration of older churches such as Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, which had deteriorated to near ruin by the mid-17th century, in a style known as Ukrainian Baroque. [43]


The social structure of the Hetmanate consisted of five groups: the nobility, the Cossacks, the clergy, the townspeople, and the peasants.


As had been the case under Poland, the nobility continued to be the dominant social class during the Hetmanate, although its composition and source of legitimacy within the new society had changed radically. During the Khmelnytsky Uprising, the Polish nobles and Polonized Ruthenian magnates fled the territory of the Hetmanate. As a result, the noble estate now consisted of a merger between the nobility that had stayed in the territory of the Hetmanate (old noble families that did not succumb to Polonization and lesser nobles who had participated in the uprising on the side of the Cossacks against Poland) with members of the emergent Cossack officer class. Unlike the Polish nobles whose lands were redistributed, the nobles loyal to the Hetmanate retained their privileges, their lands, and the services of the peasants. Together, the old nobles and the new Cossack officers became known as the Distinguished Military Fellows (Znachni Viiskovi Tovaryshi). Thus, the nature of noble status was fundamentally changed. It no longer depended on ancient heredity, but instead on loyalty to the Hetmanate. [44] Over time, however, Cossack officer lands and privileges too became hereditary, and the Cossack noble and officer class acquired huge landed estates comparable to those of the Polish-Ruthenian magnates whom they had replaced and emulated. [45]


Most Cossacks failed to enter the noble estate and continued their role as free soldiers. The lower rank Cossacks often resented their wealthier brethren and were responsible for frequent rebellions, particularly during the Ruin, a period of instability and civil war in the 17th century. These resentments were frequently exploited by Russia. The Zaporizhian Sich served as a refuge for Cossacks fleeing the Hetmanate as it had been prior to Khmelnytsky's uprising.


During the Hetmanate, the Roman Catholic Church and Uniate clergy were driven from Ukraine. The "black", or monastic, Orthodox clergy enjoyed a very high status in the Hetmanate, controlling 17% of the Hetmanate's land. Monasteries were exempt from taxes and at no times were peasants bound to monasteries allowed to forgo their duties. The Orthodox hierarchy became as wealthy and powerful as the most powerful nobles. [46] The "white", or married, Orthodox clergy were also exempt from paying taxes. Priests' sons often entered the clergy or the Cossack civil service. It was not uncommon for nobles or Cossacks to become priests and vice versa. [46]


Twelve cities within the Hetmanate enjoyed Magdeburg rights, in which they were self-governing and controlled their own courts, finances and taxes. Wealthy townsmen were able to hold office within the Hetmanate or even to buy titles of nobility. Because the towns were generally small (the largest towns of Kyiv and Nizhyn had no more than 15,000 inhabitants), this social group was not very significant relative to other social groups. [46]


Peasants comprised the majority of the Hetmanate's population. Although the institution of forced labor by the peasants was reduced significantly by the Khmelnytsky Uprising, in which the Polish landlords and magnates were expelled from the territory controlled by the Hetman, those nobles loyal to the Hetman as well as the Orthodox Church expected the peasants under their control to continue to provide their services. Thus as a result of the uprising, approximately 50% of the territory consisted of lands given to Cossack officers or free self-governing villages controlled by the peasants, 33% of the land was owned by Cossack officers and nobles, and 17% of the land was owned by the Church. With time, the amount of territory owned by the nobles and officers gradually grew at the expense of the lands owned by peasants and rank-and-file Cossacks, and the peasants were forced to work increasingly more days for their landlords. Nevertheless, their obligations remained lighter than they had been prior to the uprising; and until the end of the Hetmanate, peasants were never fully enserfed and retained the right to move. [47]

Administrative divisions

Subdivisions of the Cossack Hetmanate

CoA Hetmanate.svg

First Regiment Ukrainian : полк, romanized: polk, pl. Ukrainian : полки, romanized: polky
Second Sotnia Ukrainian : сотня, romanized: sotnia, pl. Ukrainian : сотні, romanized: sotni
Third Kurin Ukrainian : курінь, romanized: kurin, pl. Ukrainian : курені, romanized: kureni

The Cossack Hetmanate was divided into military-administrative districts known as regiments (regimental districts; Ukrainian : полк, romanized: polk) whose number fluctuated with the size of the Hetmanate's territory. In 1649, when the Hetmanate controlled both the right and left banks, it included 16 such districts. After the loss of Right-bank Ukraine, this number was reduced to ten. The regimental districts were further divided into companies (sotnias; Ukrainian : сотня, romanized: sotnia), which were administered by captains ( sotnyk ; Ukrainian : сотник, romanized: sotnyk). The lowest division was the kurin (Ukrainian : курінь, romanized: kurin). [48] Companies were named either by a toponym of their origin or their leader and greatly varied in numbers up to 16.

It is known that the first who introduced the regimental division was Prince Ostafii Ruzhynsky in 1515. [49] Initially created 20 regiments consisting of 2,000 Cossacks each, were reduced by the King of Poland Stephen Báthory in 1576 to 10.

List of regiments

RegimentUkrainianCoat of armsYears of formationNotes
Chyhyryn Regiment Чигиринський Chyhyryn polk.svg 1625-1678other formation: 1704-1712
Cherkasy Regiment Черкаський Coats of arms of None.svg 1625-1686merged with Pereiaslav
Korsun Regiment Корсунський Korsun polk.svg 1625-1712
Bila Tserkva Regiment Білоцерківський Bila Cerkva polk.svg 1625-1712
Kaniv Regiment Канівський Kaniv polk.svg 1625-1712
Pereiaslav Regiment Переяславський Pereyaslav polk.svg 1625-1782
Kyiv Regiment Київський Kyiv polk.svg 1625-1782
Myrhorod Regiment Миргородський Myrhorod polk.svg 1625-1782
Ovruch Regiment Овруцький Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-????
Irkliiv Regiment Іркліївський Irakliiv polk.svg 1648-1648other formation: 1658-1659

merged with Kropyvna

Sosnytsia Regiment Сосницький Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-1648other formation: 1663-1668

merged with Chernihiv

Chornobyl Regiment Чорнобильський Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-1649other formation: 1651-1651
Borzna Regiment Борзнянський Borzna polk.svg 1648-1649other formation: 1654-1655

merged with Chernihiv

Zhyvotiv Regiment Животівський Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-1649merged with Vinnytsia
Ichnia Regiment Ічнянський Ichnia polk.svg 1648-1649merged with Pryluky
Hadiach Regiment Гадяцький Hadyach polk.svg 1648-1649merged with Poltava
Zviahel Regiment Звягельський


Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-1649also known as Volhynia
Ostropil Regiment Остропільський


Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-1649also known as Volhynia

other formation: 1657-1658

Podillia Regiment Подільський


Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-1649also known as Mohyliv

other formation: 1657-1676

Liubartiv Regiment Любартівський Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-1649
Lysianka Regiment Лисянський Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-1657split among others
Bratslav Regiment Брацлавський Braclav polk.svg 1648-1667other formation: 1685-1712

merged with Vinnytsia

Vinnytsia Regiment Вінницький


Vinnytsia polk.svg 1648-1667also known as Kalnyk

merged with Chechelnyk

Uman Regiment Уманський Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-1675
Pavoloch Regiment Паволоцький Coats of arms of None.svg 1648-1675
Poltava Regiment Полтавський Poltava polk.svg 1648-1675
Lubny Regiment Лубенський Lubny polk.svg 1648-1781
Nizhyn Regiment Ніжинський Nizhyn polk.svg 1648-1782
Pryluky Regiment Прилуцький Pryluky polk.svg 1648-1782
Chernihiv Regiment Чернігівський Chernihiv polk.svg 1648-1782
Kropyvna Regiment Кропивнянський Kropyvna polk.svg 1649-1658split between Lubny and Pereiaslav
Chechelnyk Regiment Чечельницький Coats of arms of None.svg 1650-1673
Novhorod Regiment Новгородський Coat of Arms of Novhorod-Siverskyi (old).svg 1653-1654other formation: 1668

merged with Starodub

Belarus Regiment Білоруський


Coats of arms of None.svg 1654-1659also known as Chausy
Pinsk-Turiv Regiment Пінсько-Турівський Coats of arms of None.svg 1654-1659
Starodub Regiment Стародубський Starodub polk.svg 1654-1782
Kremenchuk Regiment Кременчуцький Coats of arms of None.svg 1661-1666
Hlukhiv Regiment Глухівський Hlukhiv polk.svg 1663-1665merged with Nizhyn
Zinkiv Regiment Зіньківський Zinkiv polk.svg 1671-1782name changed to Hadiach
Fastiv Regiment Фастівський Coats of arms of None.svg 1684-1712merged with Bila Tserkva
Bohuslav Regiment Богуславський Bohuslav polk.svg 1685-1712

The first regimental districts were confirmed by the Treaty of Kurukove in 1625, among which were Bila Tserkva Regiment, Kaniv Regiment, Korsun Regiment, Kyiv Regiment, Pereiaslav Regiment, Cherkasy Regiment. All of them were situated within the Kyiv Voivodeship. According to the Treaty of Zboriv, there were 23 regiments. In 1667 the signing of Truce of Andrusovo between the Tsardom of Russia and Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth secured 10 regiments of Left-bank Ukraine for Russia, including Kyiv, while the other six stayed in Right-bank Ukraine as part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The capital was the city of Chyhyryn. After the Treaty of Andrusovo, in 1669 the capital was transferred to Baturyn, as Chyhyryn became part of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (located in Right-bank Ukraine). After the Baturyn's tragedy of 1708 conducted by the Russian army of Aleksandr Menshikov, the area was incorporated into the Kyiv Governorate the city of Hlukhiv nominally served as the residence of Hetman.

Within the Hetmanate, Polish was frequently used as the language of administration and even of command. [45]

In 1764-65 both Cossack Hetmante and Sloboda Ukraine were liquidated and transformed into Malorossiya Governorate and Sloboda Ukraine Governorate. On the territory of Zaporizhian Sich was created the Novorossiya Governorate. The general-governor of all Ukrainian territories became Pyotr Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky.



Map of the part of Ukrainian lands in the Russian empire, 1740-1750, superimposed over the territory of modern Ukraine in yellow. Grey: the Hetmanate. Yellow: Zaporizhzhia. Green: Sloboda Ukraine. Ukraine 1740 kossaks map.svg
Map of the part of Ukrainian lands in the Russian empire, 1740-1750, superimposed over the territory of modern Ukraine in yellow. Grey: the Hetmanate. Yellow: Zaporizhzhia. Green: Sloboda Ukraine.

The state supreme power belonged to the General Cossack (Military) Council, while the office of head of state was presided by the Hetman. There also was an important advising body Council of Officers (Starshyna). The hetman was initially chosen by the General Council, consisting of all cossacks, townspeople, clergy and even peasants. By the end of the 17th century, however, its role became more ceremonial as the hetman came to be chosen by the Council of Officers and the Hetmanate itself was turning into an authoritarian state. After 1709, the Battle of Poltava, hetman nomination was to be confirmed by the tsar. Hetman presided until he either died or was forced out by the General Cossack Council. The office of hetman had complete power over the administration, the judiciary, the finances, and the army. His cabinet functioned simultaneously as both the general staff and as the cabinet of ministers. The Hetman also had the right to conduct foreign policy, although this right was increasingly limited by Russia in the 18th century. [50]

Each of the regimental districts making up the Hetmanate was administered by a colonel who had dual roles as supreme military and civil authority on his territory. Initially elected by that regimental district's Cossacks, by the 18th century the colonels were appointed by the Hetman. After 1709, the colonels were frequently chosen by Moscow. Each colonel's staff consisted of a quartermaster (second-in-command), judge, chancellor, aide-de-camp, and flag-bearer. [48]

Throughout the 18th century, local autonomy was gradually eroded within the Hetmanate. After the Baturyn's tragedy the autonomy was abolished, incorporating it into the Kyiv Governorate. After the Battle of Poltava, hetmans elected by the Council of Officers were to be confirmed by the tsar. They served more as a military administrators and have little influence over the domestic policies. The tsar also frequently appointed the colonels of each regimental district.

List of hetmans

No.Hetman — His Serene Highness

Гетьман — Його Ясновельможність

Elected (event)Took officeLeft office
1 BChmielnicki.jpg Alex K Chmelnitskyi.svg Bohdan Khmelnytsky

(1596–1657) Зиновій-Богдан Хмельницький

1648 (Sich)26 January 16486 August 1657
2 Yurii Khmelnytsky.png Alex K Chmelnitskyi.svg Yurii Khmelnytsky

(1641–1685) Юрій Хмельницький

death of his father6 August 165727 August 1657
3 Ivan Vyhovsky (Portrait, 19th century, before restoration).png Alex K Ivan Vygovskyi.svg Ivan Vyhovsky

(?–1664) Іван Виговський

1657 (Korsun)27 August 1657

(confirmed: 21 October 1657)

11 September 1659
4 Yurii Khmelnytsky.png Alex K Chmelnitskyi.svg Yurii Khmelnytsky

(1641–1685) Юрій Хмельницький

1659 (Hermanivka)11 September 1659

(confirmed: 11 September 1659)

October 1662
Pavlo Teterya.jpg Pavlo Teteria

(1620?–1670) Павло "Тетеря" Моржковський

1662 (Chyhyryn)October 1662July 1665
5 Ivan Briukhovetsky.png Alex K Ivan Briuhovetskyi.svg Ivan Briukhovetsky

(1623–1668) Іван Брюховецький

1663 (Nizhyn)27 June 1663

(confirmed: 27 June 1663)

17 June 1668
6 Petro Doroshenko 19.jpg Alex K Petro Doroshenko.svg Petro Doroshenko

(1627–1698) Петро Дорошенко

1666 (Chyhyryn)10 October 1665

(confirmed: January 1666)

19 September 1676
Demian Mnohohrishny.png Demian Mnohohrishny

(1631–1703) Дем'ян Многогрішний

1669 (Hlukhiv)17 December 1668

(confirmed: 3 March 1669)

April 1672
7 Hetman Ivan Samoylovych.jpg Alex K Ivan Samoilovych.svg Ivan Samoilovych

(1630s–1690) Іван Самойлович

1672 (Cossack Grove)17 June 1672August 1687
8 Portret Mazepa.jpg Alex K Ivan Mazepa.svg Ivan Mazepa

(1639-1709) Іван Мазепа

1687 (Kolomak)4 August 16876 November 1708
9 Ivan Skoropadsky (Portrait, 1840s, Stepan Zemlyukov) 1.jpg Alex K Ivan Skoropadskyi.svg Ivan Skoropadsky

(1646–1722) Іван Скоропадський

1708 (Hlukhiv)6 November 170814 July 1722
Nash polubotok.jpg Pavlo Polubotok

(1660–1724) Павло Полуботок

appointed hetman17221724
10 Danylo Apostol (Portrait, Sumy Art Museum).jpg Alex K Danylo Apostol.svg Danylo Apostol

(1654–1734) Данило Апостол

1727 (Hlukhiv)12 October 172729 March 1734
Yakiv Lyzohub

(1675–1749) Яків Лизогуб

appointed hetman17331749
11 Kirill Razumovsky Tokke.jpg Alex K Rozumovski family.svg Kyrylo Rozumovsky

(1728–1803) Кирило Розумовський

1750 (Hlukhiv)22 February 17501764
Flag of Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Bohdan (B) Khmelnytsky (Kh), hetman (G) of Host (V) of Zaporozhia (Z) and of His (E) Royal (K) Majesty (MLS) of Rzecz Pospolita. Alex K Bohdan Chmelnickyi prapor.svg
Flag of Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Bohdan (Б) Khmelnytsky (Х), hetman (Г) of Host (В) of Zaporozhia (З) and of His (Е) Royal (К) Majesty (МЛС) of Rzecz Pospolita.


Some historians, including Mykola Arkas, question the legitimacy of the Teteria's elections, accusing him of corruption. Some sources claim that the election of Teteria took place in January 1663. The election of Teteria led to the Povoloch Regiment Uprising in 1663, followed by greater unrest in Polissia (all in the Right-bank Ukraine). Moreover, the political crisis that followed the Pushkar–Barabash Uprising divided the Cossack Hetmanate completely on both banks of the Dnieper River. Coincidentally, on 10 January 1663 the Tsardom of Muscovy created the new Little Russian Office (Prikaz) within its Ambassadorial Office.

Vouched for by Charles Marie François Olier, marquis de Nointel, Yurii Khmelnytsky was freed from Ottoman captivity and, along with Pasha Ibragim, was sent to Ukraine to fight the Moscow forces of Samoilovych and Romadanovsky. In 1681, Mehmed IV appointed George Ducas hetman of Ukraine, replacing Khmelnytsky.

Following the anathema on Mazepa and the election of Ivan Skoropadsky, the Cossack Hetmanate was included in the Russian Kyiv Governorate in December 1708. Upon the death of Skoropadsky, the elections oh hetmans were discontinued and were awarded as a gift and a type of princely title, first to Moldavian noblemen and, later, to the Russian Empress's favorites.

On 5 April 1710, the Council of Cossacks, veterans of the Battle at Poltava, elected Pylyp Orlyk as the hetman of Ukraine in exile. Orlyk waged a guerrilla war at the southern borders of the Russian Empire with support from the Ottoman and Swedish empires.

Polish appointed hetmans

The appointed hetman Mykhailo Khanenko was elected the hetman of Ukraine by a council of Sukhovii's Cossacks in Uman to depose Doroshenko. In 1675 John III Sobieski awarded the title to some Ostap Hohol (died in 1679). Same thing happened in 1683 when John III Sobieski awarded the title to Stefan Kunytsky and in 1684 to Andrii Mohyla. Those awards were given during the Great Turkish War.

No.Hetman — His Serene Highness

Гетьман — Його Ясновельможність

Elected (event)Took officeLeft office
(1) Mykhailo Khanenko.jpg Mykhailo Khanenko

(1620–1680) Михайло Ханенко

1669 (Uman)1669

(confirmed: 2 September 1670)

1674pro-Polish faction [lower-alpha 1]
(2) Hetman Stefan Kunicki 0001.jpg Stefan Kunytsky

(?–1684) Стефан Куницький

23 August 168323 August 1683

(confirmed: 24 August 1683)

January 1684pro-Polish faction
(3) Hetman Andrij Mohyla.jpg Andrii Mohyla

(?–1689) Андрій Могила

January 1684January 1684

(confirmed: 30 January 1684)

January 1689pro-Polish faction

First Little Russian Collegiate

Hetman Danylo Apostol Danylo Apostol (Portrait, Sumy Art Museum).jpg
Hetman Danylo Apostol

In 1722 the governmental branch responsible for the Hetmanate was changed from the College of Foreign Affairs to the imperial Senate. That same year, the hetman's authority was undermined by the establishment of the Little Russian Collegium. It was appointed in Moscow and consisted of six Russian military officers stationed in the Hetmanate who acted as a parallel government. Its duty was ostensibly to protect the rights of rank-and-file Cossacks peasants against repression at the hands of the Cossack officers. The president of the collegiate was Brigadier Stepan Veliaminov. When the Cossacks responded by electing as Hetman Pavlo Polubotok, opposed to these reforms, he was arrested and died in prison without having been confirmed by the tsar. The Little Russian Collegium then ruled the Hetmanate until 1727, when it was abolished and a new Hetman, Danylo Apostol, was elected.

A code consisting of twenty-eight articles was adopted in 1659 that regulated the relationship between the Hetmanate and Russia. It continued to be in force until the Hetmanate's dissolution. With election of the new Hetman new set of "Pereiaslav Articles" was signed by Danylo Apostol. The new document, known as the 28 Authoritative Ordinances, stipulated that:

Second Little Russian Collegiate

In 1764, the office of Hetman was abolished by Catherine II, and its authority replaced by the second Little Russian Collegiate that was transformed out of the Little-Russia Prikaz (Office of Ukrainian Affairs) subordinated to the Ambassadorial Office of the Russian Tsardom. The collegiate consisted of four Russian appointees and four Cossack representatives headed by a president, Pyotr Rumyantsev, who proceeded to cautiously but firmly eliminate the vestiges of local autonomy. In 1781, the regimental system was dismantled and the Little Russian Collegiate abolished. Two years later, peasants' freedom of movement was restricted and the process of enserfment was completed. Cossack soldiers were integrated into the Russian army, while the Cossack officers were granted status as Russian nobles. As had previously been the practice elsewhere in the Russian Empire, lands were confiscated from the Church (during the times of the Hetmanate monasteries alone controlled 17% of the region's lands [52] ) and distributed to the nobility. The territory of the Hetmanate was reorganized into three Russian provinces (governorates) whose administration was no different from that of any other provinces within the Russian Empire. [53]

Foreign relations

Bohdan Khmelnytsky

Bohdan Khmelnytsky pursued a multi-vectored foreign policy for the newly created Ukrainian Cossack state. [54] "The hetman and his colleagues began to think in terms of establishing a Cossack or Ukrainian state, either independent or allied with some other state." [55] One system of opposition to Poland, who was waging war against the Hetmanate, was an "anti-Catholic block of Orthodox and Protestant states" that included Russia, Moldavia, Wallachia, Transylvania, and Sweden. Another option was to incorporate the Cossack Hetmanate into the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as an equal partner to Grand Duchy of Lithuania and to Poland. Another system would include Ukraine into the Ottoman orbit, similar to Wallachia, Transylvania, Moldavia, and the Crimean Khanate. Finally, Khmelnytsky developed another possibility that would have involved pitting the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth against Russia and the Don Cossacks or, alternatively, to get Poland join Venice in their fight against the Ottomans. [56]

In the early days of the uprising, Khmelnytsky recruited the military support of the Crimean Khanate, which was crucial in opposing the Polish forces for the Hetmanate. [57] However, the Crimean Tatars proved to be an unreliable ally because their actions prevented Cossack victories in potentially decisive battles. It was in the interest of the khanate to keep the Cossack uprising alive so that the Poland would be weakened, but a strong rival Ukrainian state was also not favorable for the khanate. [58]

From the beginning of the uprising, Khmelnytsky also appealed to Russia, which denied giving any military aid to Khmelnytsky for almost six years. [58] Between fall 1648 and spring 1651, Khmelnytsky frequently corresponded with Ottomans, who made vague promises of military aid to the Khmelnytsky. The hetman repeatedly asked the sultan to take him as his subject, but the Ottomans never explicitly acknowledged him as such. The sultan did say that "if the hetman remains faithful", and ahidnâme, will be granted, meaning that the sultan would guarantee peace and protection. However, by 1653, it became clear to Khmelnytsky that no ahidnâme would be granted. Khmelnytsky would show his letters from the sultan to the tsar to blackmail him into accepting the hetman into his suzerainty. [59] The Pereiaslav Agreement, signed in March 1654, was a deal to incorporate Ukraine under Russian protection as an autonomous duchy and led to a war between Poland and Russia. [60] Despite this treaty, Khmelnystky continued to correspond with the Ottomans in order to pit the Russians and the Ottomans against each other. He told each side that they had allied with the other only for tactical reasons. [61]

Vyhovsky and Doroshenko

After Bohdan Khmelnytsky died in 1657, Ukraine become more instable, leading to conflicts between pro-Polish and pro-Russian factions of Cossacks. In 1658, hetman Ivan Vyhovsky negotiated the Union of Hadiach, which would set up a three-part Commonwealth, incorporating the Cossack Hetmanate as the "Grand Duchy of Ruthenia" on equal footing with the current members: the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. However, the fall of Vyhovsky meant that this wouldn't come to fruition, as conflicts continued within the Cossack state. By 1660, the state was essentially divided along the Dnieper river, with a Polish-controlled west and a Russian-controlled east. [62] In 1663, Cossacks rebelled against the Commonwealth and with the help of the Crimean Tatars in 1665, Hetman Petro Doroshenko took power, with the hopes of taking Ukraine out from under both Russia and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The two powers had completely ignored the Hetmanate's interests and partitioned the Hetmanate along the Dnieper in the Truce of Andrusovo. In 1666, Doroshenko restarted Cossack correspondence with the Ottomans. [63]

The Ottoman Empire perceived the Truce of Andrusovo as a threat and began to engage in a more active policy in the region. On 8 June 1668, Doroshenko became the sole hetman of all Ukraine and returned to the idea of putting Ukraine under Ottoman protection, knowing that it would be difficult to survive. Following negotiations, both parties agreed that 1,000 janissaries wouldn't be stationed in Kodak and Ukraine would not have to pay any tribute. Doroshenko also drafted 17 articles on the basis of which he would accept Ottoman protection. [64] Doroshenko issued a letter of submission to the sultan on December 24, 1668, which was confirmed by the Sublime Porte by June 1669. [2] When the Commonwealth attempted to unseat Doroshenko and take over the Hetmanate, the Ottomans declared war in 1672 and marched north on Kamianets-Podilskyi, with Doroshenko's Cossacks and the Crimean Tatars on their side. [65] Following the war, the Ottomans signed a treaty with the Commonwealth, which handed the region of Podolia over to the Ottomans. [18] Continued fighting with the Commonwealth resulted in the Ottomans ceding the province of Podolia back to the Commonwealth in the Treaty of Karlowitz. In 1674, Russia invaded the Hetmanate and besieged the capital of Chyhyryn, leading the Ottomans and Crimean Tatars to send their armies to confront the Russians. The Russians withdrew before any confrontation happened, but the Ottomans razed and plundered the settlements in the Hetmanate that had been friendly to the Russians in accordance with Darü’l-İslam. Doroshenko surrendered to the Russians 2 years later, in 1676. [66]

Although the Ottomans, Poles and Russians all had evidence that the Cossack Hetmanate swore allegiance to multiple parties simultaneously, "they chose to pretend they were not aware of any dual loyalty". [67] The Ottomans did not consolidate their position in Ukraine with a strong military presence, because a frontier buffer zone suited their interests. [68] The Ottomans referred to the Cossack Hetmanate in multiple ways. The Hetmanate under Khmelnytsky[ which? ] was called an eyalet; [1] under Doroshenko, it was called a sanjak (province) by June 1669. [2] The Ottomans called the Cossack Hetmanate "the country of Ukraine" (Turkish : اوكراینا مملكتی/Ukrayna memleketi). [65] Historian Viktor Ostapchuk discusses the Ukrainian-Ottoman relationship in the following way:

So to what degree was Cossack Ukraine an Ottoman entity in this period? Since Islamic-style tribute ( haraç ) was never imposed and scarcely discussed, technically speaking, we cannot call the hetmanate an Ottoman tributary. This is, of course, why we have preferred the term "vassal," of course not in the original Western medieval sense, but in the sense of the relationship between a subject state and a suzerain, a state in which there are mutual obligations—mainly non-aggression and protection of the subject by the suzerain in exchange for, when needed, military service by the subject on behalf of the suzerain, and possibly rendering tribute. [69]


During the entire period of existence of the Cossack Hetmanate, its economy remained mainly agrarian-feudal, although pan-European trends to increase the number of factories and the share of industry in the sectoral structure of GDP were noticeable. [70]

The Hetmanate had its own budget, its own financial system and money circulation. There was a wide system of taxes in the Military Treasury (Ukrainian : Скарбниця Військова, romanized: Skarbnytsia Viiskova). One of the largest sources of revenue was taxes on mills and breweries. Income from the mills was collected by special watchmen. There were redemptions for horilka (Ukrainian : горілка; Ukrainian term for vodka), tar and tobacco. A significant collection came to the Military Treasury from the beehives. Travel, transit and internal customs duties were charged. In the Hetmanate there was a system of direct taxation of the population. Land rent was also one of the most effective sources of income.

The finances of the Hetmanate were managed by the heneralnyi pidskarbii (Ukrainian : генеральний підскарбій), who headed the Military Treasury, which was renamed the General Treasury Chancellery (Ukrainian : Генеральна скарбова канцелярія, romanized: Heneralna skarbova kantseliariia). During Khmelnytsky's presidency, the hetman personally controlled the financial affairs. The treasury was replenished at the expense of the border trade duty on export and import goods. The population also paid in-kind tribute to the army, land rent, taxes for the production of alcoholic beverages, for the use of mills, rent, ore and tar factories, and the sale of tobacco. Khmelnytsky probably tried to mint his own coin in Chyhyryn, mentions of which date back to 1649 and 1652. [71] [72]

A certain idea of the value of money and goods in the second half of the 18th century is given by the descriptions and valuation in money of the property of Cossacks and peasants of the Mena and Borzna sotnias of the Chernihiv regiment in 1766. So, a log house with hay and a shed cost from 10 to 25 karbovanets, a log barn – 3 karbovanets, a cart for horses – 40 to 50 kopecks, a plow – 12 kopecks, a fattened pig – 1,5 kopecks, a sheep – 50 kopecks, a goose – 10 kopecks, chicken – 2 kopecks, plain coat – 1,2 kopecks, striped hat – 30 kopecks, boots – 20 to 30 kopecks. [73]


As already mentioned, agriculture remained the main branch of the economy. One of the main causes of the Khmelnytsky Uprising was the anti-feudal struggle of the domestic peasantry. Therefore, immediately after the formation of their own state, all the property of the old Polish magnate nobility was expropriated by the people. Magnates, nobility, and tenants were driven out, and their lands, livestock, and property were transferred to Cossacks, peasants, burghers, and the state administration. The legislation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth lost its force and the peasants became free. The temporary partial return to the old feudal norms after the defeat in the Battle of Berestechko and the Treaty of Bila Tserkva only strengthened the resistance of the peasantry to the "hereditary lords". Finally, on the territory of the Ukrainian state, the filvarka-manor system of management, the land ownership of the crown land, Polish and Ukrainian magnates and nobility, and the Catholic Church were eliminated after the victory in the Battle of Batih.

The main part of the liberated territories (and it was a significant land fund: the kingdom owned about 150 cities and towns, magnates and nobles owned about 1,500, and the Catholic Church – 50 estates), as well as uninhabited lands, passed to the state fund, which was owned by the Military Treasury is a component of the apparatus of the Hetman-Starshyna administration. The supreme administrator of the land was the hetman, locally it was managed by colonels and centurions. The lands of Orthodox monasteries and the higher clergy, small nobility, Cossacks and burghers remained in private ownership.

Personally, free peasants had to pay a tax to the Military Treasury in the form of a monetary rent. Peasants of free military villages considered the land they cultivated to be their property. In the second half of the 17th – at the beginning of the 18th century, it was freely inherited, given, sold, bought. In privately-owned, temporary-conditional possessions, the peasants' right to use the land was limited, and when buying and selling land, only the right to its possession was transferred with existing coercions in favor of the land owners.

After the Khmelnytsky Uprising, 80-90% of peasants owned land. According to the materials of the Russian general Rumyantsev's description of "Little Russia", the peasants of the Starshyna, monastery, and government were divided into those who owned land and those who were landless. Allotment owners bequeathed land, leased it, bought and sold it, organized farms. The number of wealthy peasants, who concentrated a large part of allotment land and livestock, increased. The landless commoners either engaged in agriculture on senior, monastic, state land allocated to them for temporary use, or lived off the sale of labor. [74] Some landless peasants kept a lot of cattle, beehives, were engaged in crafts and trades. Some of them had up to 30 to 40 heads of cattle, 20 to 30 pigs, 30 to 40 horses, and up to 300 sheep. Some peasants, the so-called servants, did not have any farms and constantly lived in the foreman's estates either "for subsistence" or for an annual fee (2 to 10 karbovanets).

Hetman Ivan Skoropadsky. One of the largest landowners, he had about 20,000 peasants. Ivan Skoropadsky (Portrait, 1840s, Stepan Zemlyukov) 1.jpg
Hetman Ivan Skoropadsky. One of the largest landowners, he had about 20,000 peasants.

Starshyna land ownership

From the very beginning of the existence of the state, Starshyna land ownership existed in two forms: private (hereditary) and rank (temporary). The Starshyna's attempt to take possession of the estates of the exiled Polish and Ukrainian lords did not find support from Khmelnytsky, who in his policy took into account the interests of hereditary Cossacks, the intransigence of peasants and ordinary Cossacks to the restoration of feudal land ownership. The Starshyna society increased land ownership at the expense of buying land from Cossacks and peasants. As a reward for serving in the Cossack army, the sergeant received land, villages and towns from the state land fund for his "rank" (position). These were temporary possessions, similar to the Western European benefice.

Later, the hetmans were actively involved in the gradual distribution of state lands among their followers. The data of the General Investigation of Estates (Ukrainian : Генеральне слідство про маєтності, romanized: Heneralne slidstvo pro maietnosti) about the growth of Starshyna land ownership in the second half of the 17th and early 18th centuries was conducted in 1729–1730 in order to regulate land relations. Only in the Chernihiv, Starodub, Nizhyn, Pereiaslav, and Lubny regiments 518 settlements passed into the ownership of the Starshyna until 1708. In the 1730s already more than 35% of the cultivated land of the Hetmanate was the private property of the Starshyna. The sources of the growth of Starshyna land ownership were: the pledge of free lands; acquisition, often forced, or seizure of Cossack and peasant lands; hetman grants and awards of the tsarist government "for service to the great sovereign" from the fund of free military estates. Under Danylo Apostol, the main land fund was distributed. The difference between hereditary and temporary conditional ownership has practically disappeared.

Monastery (church) land ownership

During the second half of the 17th and the first quarter of the 18th centuries monastic and church land ownership increased significantly due to the acquisition and seizure of Cossack-peasant and public lands. According to the General Investigation of Estates, in 1729–1730 in nine regiments (except Starodub) monasteries owned 305 estates and 11,073 yards of the commons, which was more than 20% of the total number of yards.

The Hetman-Starshyna administration tried to limit monastic land ownership. On the submission of Danylo Apostol, the tsarist government by decree of 1728 prohibited spiritual landowners from buying land, only allowed private individuals to bequeath it to monasteries. Monasteries had a monopoly on distilling and trading vodka in their estates. The church obtained the right to free ownership of a part of public lands in the form of donations. Communities allocated courtyards, fields, and hayfields to priests for farming.


The 17th and 18th centuries were the period of the turbulent process of the emergence and development of cities, the growth of their role in the economic life of Ukraine. However, unlike the cities of Western Europe, they retained their feudal and agrarian character and were small. The process of formation of the industrial and commercial population was slow. According to the census of 1666, in 36 cities of Left-bank Ukraine, 26% of residents were artisans. As a result of the policy of the Moscow authorities, which limited the development of Ukrainian industry, at the end of the 18th century, among the population of the Hetmanate, artisans made up a small number: in Chernihiv – 4,5%, in Hadiach – 16% of all residents. Significant craft centers were Nizhyn – 42,3% of artisans' yards, Starodub – 48,5%. 4,000 artisans worked in Kyiv. [75]

In the 1720s, under the influence of the transformations of Peter I, the construction of large centralized factories began in the Hetmanate. The emergence of manufactories took place in two ways: small enterprises were transformed into large independent productions, workshops were subordinated to merchant capital, which actively penetrated into production. A particularly favorable environment for the emergence of manufacturing production was urban and rural industries. They were not limited to shop workshops, therefore they were more suitable for the introduction of new mechanical processes, progressive forms of organization of production and work. A cadre of permanent workers was being formed who lived off earnings in industry.

Distillation (brewing, mead-making) was developed. Raw materials for the production of vodka and beer were rye, barley, buckwheat, oats, and wheat. Small distilleries and breweries operated in every farm, estate, and village of Ukraine. Distilling yielded a profit 2-4 times higher than the sale of bread. At the end of the 18th century, there were more than 10,000 guralenes. In the Hetmanate and the Sloboda Ukraine region, distilleries belonged to monasteries, the Cossack Starshyna, merchants, burghers, Cossacks and peasants. By the end of the 18th century, distilling had completely passed to the nobility. In the 18th century, most distilleries were small-scale. A certain part of them in terms of size and equipment belonged to the initial forms of manufactories. These were large distilleries, they were served by an average of 14 people. Distillation had a high degree of marketability. We bought raw materials, fuel, equipment, sold products – retail in taverns, wholesale. Metallurgical production continued to develop, the most common form of which was ore mining.

A special place in the industry belonged to the production of saltpeter. The center of this industry was the basins of the Psla, Vorskla, Oril, lower Dnieper and Buh rivers, the areas near Chuhuiv and Putyvl. During the period of Polish-noble rule, there were almost 20 saltpeter factories, the production of which was monopolized by the Polish government. During the Uprising in the middle of the 17th century, the saltpeter works were controlled by the Cossack army. In the 18th century, state-owned and private saltpeter vats were built, belonging to Cossack Starshyna, Cossacks and townspeople. The raw material for obtaining saltpeter was the soil of hillforts, old graves, fortress ramparts and ashes. From the 1740s, the artificial on-board method of producing saltpeter spread. From the end of the 1730s, saltpeter companies were organized: Oposhnianska (united saltpeter producers of Opishnia), merchant Shchedrov, Russian (plants were in the Kharkiv Governorate and Poltava Regiment), and others. The main buyer of Ukrainian saltpeter in the 18th century was the Russian treasury. The forced sales system had a negative impact on the development of saltpeter production. The treasury owed a lot to the factory owners. Only in the 1790s, the free sale of saltpeter, which remained from the supply to the treasury, was allowed. This contributed to the expansion of saltpeter production.

See also


  1. The term Hetmanate, especially in Russian sources, referred to Cossack regiments in Left-bank Ukraine that were under the authority of a pro-Russia hetman, from 1667 onward. This excludes both Zaporizhia and Sloboda Ukraine. [8]
  1. Following the truce of Andrusovo, the Polish government was appointing its own hetmans of Zaporizhian Host on its territory (so called Right-bank Ukraine). It is unknown whether the position performed any administrative functions over the territory.

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