Paul Robert Magocsi


Chapter 9 from the book ”History of Ukraine”,  Toronto / 1996   

Map excerpted from the book “Ukraine: A Historical Atlas”, Toronto / 1985





The last era of Kievan Rus' history on Ukrainian territory coincides with the rise to prominence of the principality, later the Kingdom, of Galicia-Volhynia. It was one of the three new power centers established during the era of formation within Kievan Rus, which, in Ukrainian history, can be said to have lasted from the Mongol appearance in the 1240s until the demise of Galicia-Volhynia a century later.

In many ways, Galicia and Volhynia were similar to the other lands of Kievan Rus'. Both were ruled by princes descended from Jaroslav the Wise; their economies were integrated with that of the rest of the Kievan lands; and their religious and secular culture as well as legal and social structures belonged to those of Kievan Rus'. In its historical development, Galicia-Volhynia was a kind of microcosm of Kievan Rus'. Both Galicia and Volhynia experienced periods of political and economic stability made possible by powerful and charismatic princes as well a as periods of decline and instability marked by conflict over the transfer of power, civil war, and foreign invasion.

But despite the many similarities between Galicia-Volhynia and the rest of Kievan Rus', there were some differences with regard to foreign relatlions, demography, and social developments. Located along the western periphery of the Kievan realm, Galicia and Volhynia were less often subjected to the attacks of the nomadic peoples from the east, who had easier access, for instance, to Kev, Pereiaslav, and Chernihiv. In contrast, Galicia and Volhynia were open to invasion from their immediate neighbors – Poland, Hungary, and, later, Lithuania. Also, both principalities, but especially Galicia, were more densely populated than any of the other Rus' lands. This demographic fact, combined with the relstive freedom from nomadic raids, allowed for the early growth of a prosperous agricultural economy, which in turn contributed to the existence of a rich class of landowning boyars. The early princes in Galicia also tended to give more power to their princely retinues and, later, to the boyars than did the princes in other Rus’ lands. Consequently, the political power of the boyars was great, and their strength would have disruptive consequences for Galician political life. Finally, although Galicia and Volhynia, like other Rus' lands, had become part of Christian, Orthodox world, they were bordered by Roman Catholic countries in the west (Poland) and south (Hungary). This meant that the influence of Catholicism would be felt more strongly in these principalities than anywhere else in Kievan Rus'.


The history Galicia-Volhynia during the Kievan period can be divided into three stages. The first stage began in the 980s, the years for which there is first mention  of the territory in the chronicles, and lasted until 1199, the beginning of the second stage, when the heretofore separate principalities, now joined together, struggled to create a stable power base that could ensure internal stability and withstand foreign invasion, especially from their western neighbors. The third stage, from 1238 to 1349,marked the apogee of Galician-Volhynian power, beginning with the reign of Danylo and lasting until the united kingdom was again divided and lost its independence to the two new dominant powers in the region, Poland and Lithuania.

Halizien   Файл:Alex Volhynia.svg


Galicia and Volhynia before their unification

The earliest mention of Galicia and Volhynia appears in the Primary Chronicle's entry for the year 981, which records that 'Volodymyr marched upon the Liakhs (Poles) and took their cities Peremyshl' [Przemysl], Cherven', and other towns.’1 The incident reflected Volodymyr the Great's policy of expanding the Kievan realm, especially toward the west, where the main object of contention between the Poles and the Rus' was control of the so-called Cherven' cities (Brest, Chelm/ Kholm. Cherven', Belz) and Przemysl, along the western borders of Volhynia and Galicia. The Rus'-Polish struggle continued, with the result that during the century following Volodymyr's acquisition these cities changed hands at least five times. This conflict subsequently produced a still-unresolved historical debate.Rus’ tradition suggests that the original East Slavic Cherven' settlements (located on both sides of today's Polish-Ukrainian border) were 'taken back' in 981; Polish historiography asserts that they were originally part of a Polish political patrimony and simply were 'taken away.'

The immediate goal of Volodymyr and his successors, however, was to secure control over this economically strategic borderland. The Cherven' cities were directly located along the international trade route that connected Kiev with Cracow, Bohemia, and the rest of central Europe. Apart from the interest of Kiev's early rulers in controlling eastern Europe's international trade routes, Galician territory was valuable in its own right, because near the city of Halych were salt mines. Salt, as a preservative, was one of the most valuable medieval commodities, and the subsequent salt trade transformed Halych into Galicia's leading city. Some scholars have argued that the very name Halych is derived from the Indo-European word for salt, *hal. On economic and perhaps linguistic grounds, therefore, Galicia (the Latin name derived from the Rus'-Ukrainian form Halychyna) could be considered the 'land of salt.'

Galicia's strategic and economic value encouraged the princes of Kiev and of neighboring Volhynia to try to extend their control over the area. Volhynia had been assigned in Iaroslav the Wise's last testament to his fifth-oldest surviving son, Ihor. But while Iaroslav before his death in 1054 had given Galicia to his grandson, Rostyslav, the bequeathal was not mentioned specifically in his testament Its omission seemed to justify the claims of both Kiev's and Volhynia's rulers to Galicia. Rostyslav himself was driven from the area, and his three sons, who formed the Rostyslav dynasty, were continually under attack from their Rus' neighbors to the east, especially Prince Ihor and his son David of Volhynia.


It was not until the conference of Liubech in 1097 that the rest of the Rus' princes finally recognized Rostyslavych rule over Galicia. Nonetheless, the Volhynian prince David almost immediately violated the Liubech accord by attacking Galicia again and blinding its ruler (described in great detail in the Primary Chronicle). This act so incensed the other Rus' princes that they convened another Meeting at Liubech (1100), at which they deprived David of his throne in Volhynia. As a result, in the early twelfth century Volhynia passed to the Mstyslav branch of Volodymyr Monomakh's descendants.



Click on the map for better resolution


Galicia, meanwhile, was able to survive as an independent principality under the able rule of Volodymyrko (reigned 1124-1153) and his son Iaroslav Osmomysl' (‘of Eight Minds,' reigned 1153-1187), the two most outstanding princes of the Rostyslav dynasty. It was during the reign of Iaroslav Osmomysl' that Galicia first realized its economic potential. He extended the principality's influence down the Dniester River as far as the Black Sea. This made possible the opening of an important international trade route from the Baltic Sea (via the Vistula and Buh Rivers) across Galicia to Bilhorod, at the mouth of the Dniester, and from there across the Black Sea to Constantinople. Moreover, when in the second half of the twelfth century the Polovtsians effectively cut off access to salt from the Crimea, Kiev's new primary source of that valuable commodity became Galicia.


In political terms, this first period in the history of Galicia and Volhynia was marked by (1) efforts on the part of the princes in both principalities to create their own distinct dynasties (the Ihorevyches in Volhynia and the Rostyslavyches in Galicia), and (2) an ongoing struggle between the rulers of the two principalities, set in motion by the Volhynian princes' claim to authority over what they considered a single Galician-Volhynian patrimony. By the twelfth century, the rivalry between Galicia and Volhynia had worsened, since rulers on both sides frequently were calling for assistance from abroad, especially from Hungary, as well as from the boyars living within the territory of their respective antagonists. The result was an increase in the independence of the boyars vis-a-vis princely authority and frequent invasion by the Hungarians, especially in Galicia.


In 1189, during their invasions from the south, the rulers of Hungary proclaimed themselves kings of Galicia and Lodomeria (the Latin name for Volhynia). Although the Hungarian presence did not last long, the addition of the new title to the Hungarian crown would have important consequences in the future. It provided Hungary with a pretext for continued expansionist efforts north of the Carpathians during the next century and a half, and six centuries later the claim to Galicia and Volhynia as expressed in Hungary's royal title provided the Habsburg emperors (who upon their accession simultaneously became kings of Hungary) with a legal justification for their annexation of Galicia in 1772.


The unification of Galicia and Volhynia

The second period in the history of Galicia and Volhynia began in 1199, when at the death of their own Rostyslavych prince the politically powerful boyars in Galicia decided to invite their dynasty's enemy, Roman (reigned 1197-1205), the ruler of Volhynia, to rule over them. By accepting the invitation, Roman finally achieved Volhynia' long-term goal of gaining control over Galicia. For their part, the Galician boyars had expected an enhancement of their own political role under the rule of an 'absentee' Volhynian prince. In fact, the opposite occurred.

Roman, who had experience as a ruler in Volhynia and, previous to that, ill Novgorod, not only founded a new dynasty, the Romanovyches, but also reversed the policies of Galicia's Rostyslavyches. During his short, six-year reign, Volhynia and Galicia were united through his person as the ruling prince of the Romanovyches. He also curbed the power of the boyars, expelled those who opposed him. and promoted the interests of the urban and rural population. On the international front, Roman formed an alliance with Poland and held the Hungarians ill check.

The activity of Roman and the presence of a strong Galician-Volhynian power base frightened the grand prince in Kiev. As a result, a coalition of Rus' armie, was formed and sent against Galicia-Volhynia. Roman not only defeated his adversaries, but in 1200 captured Kiev as well. But since Kiev by the beginning of the thirteenth century had lost its appeal as a power center, Roman (like Andrei Bogoliubskii of Vladimir-Suzdal' before him) decided to appoint subordinates to rule in Kiev and to return to his more prosperous capital of Halych. It was during Roman's absence that in 1203 the former ruler of Kiev, together with the Polo%__ tsians and Rus' allies from Chernihiv, retook the city, after sacking it even more mercilessly than Andrei Bogoliubskii's coalition had done three decades before. Toward the end of his short career, Roman's alliance with the Poles broke down. and in 1205 he was killed in battle aganst them. He left only his wife and two ven young sons, Danylo and Vasyl'ko, who were as yet unable to rule.

The rest of this second period of Galician-Volhynian history, following the death of Roman, was marked by a power vacuum in the region. Nearly four decades of civil strife followed, which paralleled the breakdown of order that waS occurring in the Kievan realm as a whole during its era of disintegration before 1240. In Galicia-Volhynia, a complicated series of events unfolded that were dominated by internal rivalry between princes and boyars and by frequent foreign invasion. The period can be explained in terms of the four principles that guided what might be called the political program of the Galician boyars: (i) to oppose the establishment of any kind of hereditary princely dynasty; (2) to block especially Roman's son Danylo, who enjoyed popularity among the masses; (3) to put up various pretenders to the princely throne, thereby weakening the prestige of the position; and (4) to allow the role of the prince to be nominal at best, with real power resting in the hands of the boyars. Attempting to implement these principles, the Galician boyars first drove Roman's widow and two sons from the region. They they invited other Rus' princes to accept the princely throne; sided at different times with invading armies from Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, and Novgorod; and in 1214 even placed one of their own (a boyar named Volodyslav Kormyl'chych) on the throne. This was the only instance in Kievan Rus' history in which someone not of royal blood, that is, not a descendant of Iaroslav the Wise, ruled one of the Rus' principalities.

Meanwhile, Danylo, who had been five years old at the time of his father's death in 1205, had grown to manhood and had attempted twice to regain his throne (1230-1232 and 1233-1235). He had already become known for his courageous participation in the first battle against the Mongols on the Kalka River in 1222. Finally, in 1238 Danylo returned to Halych and succeeded in regaining his throne. For the next quarter century, he was to remain ruler of a reunified Galician-Volhynian realm. With this third and final accession of Danylo to princely power in 1238, the last period of Galician-Volhynian history began.




Galician and Wolhynian warriors facing the Mongols (reconstruction by Angus McBride)


While the Mongols were ravaging the northern Rus' lands, Danylo was left alone to unite his own patrimony. He even expanded eastward, taking control of Kiev on the eve of the Mongol attack in late 1240. As we saw in chapter 8, when the Mongol armies finally began their advance across the southern Rus' lands, they passed rapidly through Galicia-Volhynia in early 1241 on their way to Poland and Hungary. Because Poland and Hungary were weakened by the Mongol incursions, Danylo was able to exclude both these powers as well as Lithuania in the north from further interference in Galician affairs.

In order to restore prosperity in his realm after forty years of interprincely war and foreign invasion, Danylo introduced a policy whereby foreigners, especially Armenians, Germans, Jews, and Poles, were invited to settle in his realm, particularly in the cities, to which they brought their highly advanced artisanal and commercial skills. The resultant peace and stability also made possible a renewal of Galicia's salt trade and a revival of its role as a commercial emporium located between eastern and east-central Europe.

Although he never acknowledged it, Danylo was actually helped in his activity by the Mongols. After the Golden Horde's Khan Batu returned from Mongolia to his headquarters at Sarai, near the mouth of the Volga River, he turned his attention to establishing Mongol administrative control over eastern Europe in cooperation with those Rus' princes who could be made to see the advantages of the new Pax Mongolica. Danylo was potentially one such leader, and in 1246 Batu demanded that he appear in Sarai to make his obeisance. Because the khan knew of Danylo's bravery in battle against the Mongols at the Kalka River and was aware of the Rus' prince's firm control over Galicia and Volhynia, Danylo was treated with great respect even though he had to pledge himself a vassal of the Mongol ruler. Danylo's pride and that of his military entourage was deeply wounded, however. In the words of the Galician-Volhynian Chronicle: 'Oh, the greatest disgrace is to be thus honored by the Tatars. Danylo Romanovych, the great prince who ruled the land of Rus' - Kiev, Volodymyr, and Halych - and other lands with his brother, is now on his knees and is called a slave! 12

For their part, the Mongols approved of Danylo's rule in Galicia-Volhynia. And the Poles and Hungarians in their turn were impressed with Danylo's stature in the eyes of the all-powerful Mongols, who only a few years before had ravaged both Poland and Hungary. Danylo was even given the responsibility of collecting the Mongol tribute, a function that in the early years of Mongol rule was almost always carried out by the khan's personal representatives (baskaki). Thus, what Danylo perceived as personal humiliation, others — in particular his western rivals — viewed as a great political victory. In retrospect, his decision to submit to the Mongols played an important role in ensuring Galicia-Volhynia's strength and prosperity.

Nonetheless, Danylo was dissatisfied, and almost immediately he made plans for a crusade against the Golden Horde. His strategy was to neutralize his neighbors and to organize a coalition that would include forces from western Europe. First, he transformed his former enemies — Hungary, Poland, and Lithuania — into allies, mostly through the establishment of marriage ties. Then, in 1245, he began negotiations with the pope, requesting support for his anti-Mongol coalition as well as recognition of royal status. As part of these negotiations, Danylo, the Galician church hierarchs, and some of the boyars indicated a willingness to acknowledge the pope as head of their church. These developments culminated in 1253, when a papal delegation was sent to crown Danylo King of Rus' (rex Russiae), whereby he was recognized as a full-fledged monarch in the context of the western European feudal order.

But the Mongols became suspicious of Danylo's ventures in foreign policy and began fomenting discontent both among those Rus' boyars who opposed Danylo's Roman Catholic orientation and among the Turkic Chorni Klobuky, who lived along Galicia-Volhynia's southern frontier region. Danylo suppressed this movement in 1254, and two years later he even ousted the Mongol troops from northern Podolia and eastern Volhynia. The khan was not about to accept such insubordination, however, and in 1259 he sent a large Mongol army (under Burunday) to reassert his authority over this recalcitrant Galician Rus' prince. The Mongols raided freely throughout Galicia and Volhynia, and they forced Danylo to join them in a campaign against Lithuania as well as to dismantle the fortifications he had built around several of his cities (Volodymyr, Luts'k, Kam"ianets'-Podil's'kyi, and L'viv).

Disheartened by the lack of support in the west for his anti-Mongol crusade (as a result of which he repudiated any further Roman Catholic influence in his realm) and faced with the bitter fact that he was still a vassal of the Mongol khan, Danylo died in 1264. But it must be reiterated that the policy of submission to the Mongols, a policy he had personally despised, made it possible for his kingdom to prosper for most of his reign and thus to remain, along with Vladimir-Suzdal' and Novgorod in the north, one of the three leading Rus' states to evolve from the Kievan federation during the realignment of political power that culminated after the Mongol invasion.

The long reign of Danylo's son, Lev (1264-1301), was marked by a renewal of the stability in the Galician-Volhynian Kingdom that had begun to break down during the last years of his father's rule. This stability was owing to Lev's conduct as ruler in fulfilling his duties to the Mongol khan and in maintaining the alliance with Hungary formed by Danylo. It was also during Lev's reign that L'viv became the capital of the kingdom.


The prestige attained by the kingdom was also reflected in the high level of Galician-Volhynian culture during the thirteenth-century reigns of Danylo and Lev. The founding of new cities, such as L'viv in 1264, and the fortification of several older centers encouraged an extensive program of civil and church architecture. Examples of the latter included several churches (no longer standing) in Danylo's temporary capital of Chelm and the strongly western-influenced Church of St Nicholas in L'viv. From this era also derives the most poetic and stylized of Rus' historical writings, the Galician- VolhTnZ an Chronicle, begun at the initiative of Danylo. The literary qualitities of this thirteenth-century work seem to continue the tradition of generally high standards set earlier, and some scholars suggest that the Lay of Ihor's Campaign, the famous epic poem attributed to the previous century, was likely composed by a native of Galicia.


The metropolitanate of Rus'

Galicia-Volhynia's rulers were deeply concerned with ecclesiastical affairs. In this regard, they followed in the footsteps of Kiev's greatest leaders, Volodymyr the Great and Iaroslav the Wise, who had understood the value of religion as a means of forging ideological unity throughout the vast Rus' realm. Their desire to achieve the conceptual merger of territorial and religious identities was realized as Christianity finally took root in the countryside during the last era of Kievan history, after 1240. More and more it became evident that one was of the Rus' land because one was of the Rus' faith, and vice-versa. This convergence of religious and territorial identities, which in modern times has come to be called a national identity, was of particular importance in Galicia-Volhynia, which bordered on Roman Catholic countries.

Because of the degree to which the church contributed to the political and cultural outlook of medieval Kievan Rus', the question of where the head of that church, the metropolitan, would reside was of the greatest importance. His presence lent significant prestige to the local secular ruler. Beginning with the first known Rus' metropolitan, the Greek Theopemptos, who took up his office in 1037, all the heads of the Rus' church resided in Kiev. This tradition continued until the 1240s and the aftermath of the Mongol invasions, at which time the metropolitan of Kiev disappeared during the fall of the city.

Danylo was then ruling in Galicia-Volhynia and, well aware of the political value of the church, he proposed that the new metropolitan be a native of Galicia, specifically Cyril, the bishop of Chelm. With Danylo's support, Cyril (reigned 1243-1281) was elected metropolitan of Kiev in 1243, although it was not until 1251 that he travelled to Constantinople in order to be consecrated in his new post by the ecumenical patriarch, the ultimate authority of the Rus' church. The ecumenical patriarch agreed to Cyril's election, but on the condition that he not reside in Galicia, because Danylo had been negotiating with the pope. Barred from Galicia by his ecclesiastical superior, Cyril was unenthusiastic about returning to Kiev, where the unstable political situation after (as before) the Mongol invasion was responsible for the absence of or frequent changes in the ruling prince and thus placed in jeopardy the metropolitan's regular income, traditionally guaranteed by the prince himself. This consideration prompted Cyril to move to one of the new power centers other than Galicia, namely the grand duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal' farther north and its capital of Vladimir-na-Kliazma, where he resided for long periods of time and was assured of greater political stability and a steady income. Despite Cyril's absence, Kiev remained the seat of the metropolitan. In contrast to Cyril, his successor, Maksym the Greek (reigned 1283-1305), while maintaining the title of Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus', left the city in 1299 and settled permanently in Vladimir-na-Kliazma the following year. In turn, Maksym's successor moved once again, this time to Moscow, which after 1326 became the permanent residence of the Kievan metropolitanate.

It is therefore the year 1299 which can be seen to mark the final demise of Kiev as the center of the Rus' realm. By the first half of the twelfth century, the city had lost its preeminence as the economic center of Kievan Rus'. Then, political authority had become diffused during the period of disintegration (1132-1240), and it had gradually been reconsolidated in three new power centers – GaliciaVolhynia, Vladimir-Suzdal', and Novgorod – during the hundred years after 1240. Finally, during this last period of realignment of political power (1240-1349), Kiev lost its cultural preeminence as symbolized by the departure (temporarily after the 1240s, permanently after 1299) of Kiev's metropolitans and the permanent transfer of the residence of the Rus' church to the north (1326).

At the same time, the rulers of the other power center in the Rus' lands, Galicia-Volhynia, were reluctant to see the metropolitan's office, with its great symbolic value, slip from their grasp. Consequently, their goal was to create, if possible, a new metropolitanate. From the standpoint of the ecumenical patriarch in Constantinople, a division of the Rus' church was not necessarily advantageous, but that consideration had to be weighed against the threat of Roman Catholicism, which, in the absence of a metropolitan on the southern Rus' or Ukrainian lands, might make new inroads into the Orthodox Rus' realm. The ecumenical patriarch therefore eventually supported the establishment of a Galician metropolitanate, which came into being in 1303. Of the fifteen eparchies at the time in the Kievan metropolitanate, the six within what Constantinople called Little Rus' (Halych, Przemy§l, Volodymyr-Volyns'kyi, Luts'k, Chelm, Turatt) were placed under the new metropolitan of Galicia, with his seat at Halych. This meant that by the beginning of the fourteenth century Galicia-Volhynia not only was a politically strong and economically viable state, but also had the cultural prestige that came with being the seat of an Orthodox metropolitanate.


The demise of Galicia- Volhy nia

But at the very moment of its seeming apogee, the Galician-Volhynian Kingdom entered a period of decline that proved to usher in its final demise. The last of the Romanovyches – Iurii I (reigned 1301-1315) and Lev II (reigned 1315-1323) –introduced an anti-Mongol policy which prompted increasing attacks by the khan's forces. Finally, in the absence of a male successor, a Roman Catholic prince (Boleslaw, of the Romanovyches on the female side) acceded to the throne. In an attempt to assuage his subjects, he converted to Orthodoxy and took the name Iurii II (reigned 1323-1340). He also tried to restore the strength of the kingdom by bringing in foreign advisers, especially from the Germanic Teutonic Order along the Baltic Sea, and by introducing the German model of administration in the cities. This model was embodied in the so-called Magdeburg Law, according to which cities were allowed their own legal system and self-government and thus were protected from the interference of the prince or boyars. The establishment of the Magdeburg Law in two Galician cities (Sanok, in 1339; L'viv, in 1356) during the fourteenth century had a beneficial effect on their economies. In Galician tradition, however, the still-influential land-based boyars resented Iurii's urban policies and his dependence on foreign advisers. Moreover, they continued to suspect him of sympathizing with Roman Catholicism. In 1340, several boyars formed a conspiracy and poisoned their ruler.

Galicia-Volhynia was now plunged into a decade of internal anarchy. Moreover, this change in its fortunes occurred precisely at a time when its neighbor to the west, Poland, was under the leadership of its greatest medieval ruler, Casimir (known as 'the Great,' reigned 1333-1370). Casimir had reached an agreement with Hungary whereby the latter consented not to block Poland's expansionist policies in the east. Assured of Hungarian non-intervention, Poland attacked Galicia in 1340. This attack was soon followed by an invasion from the north by the fastest-rising power throughout eastern Europe, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In these circumstances, the independent-minded Galician boyars were forced to cooperate among themselves, and under the direction of their own leader, Dmytro Dedko, they managed to resist the foreign encroachments for a few years. Their resistance delayed but could not prevent the inevitable. In 1344, powerful Lithuania annexed Volhynia, and five years later, in 1349, the armies of Casimir's Poland took over Galicia.

With the fall of the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia in the mid-fourteenth century, the last independent political entity on the territory of Ukraine to embody the heritage of Kievan Rus' ceased to exist. The other two power centers within the Kievan realm, Vladimir-Suzdal' and Novgorod, would survive, but in a different form. During the fifteenth century, one of the cities of Vladimir-Suzdal', Moscow, became a powerful duchy in its own right. It eventually annexed the other parts of Vladimir-Suzdal', Novgorod, and other northern Rus' principalities to form a Muscovite state. The new duchy and later tsardom of Muscovy had acquired the seat of the Metropolitanate of Kiev in 1326, and before the end of the fifteenth century it was claiming all of Kievan Rus' as part of its inheritance. Muscovy was to use this claim as an ideological justification for its subsequent expansion to the south and west.

Meanwhile, the southern Rus' or Ukrainian lands beyond Galicia-Volhynia remained nominally under the hegemony of the Golden Horde's Pax Mongolica. In the second half of the fourteenth century, however, the power of the Golden Horde in eastern Europe would be effectively challenged for the first time, by a new state, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. This state's acquisition of Volhynia in 1344 marked the beginning of a process that within a half century would see the incorporation of most Ukrainian lands into Lithuania. The fall of GaliciaVolhynia, then, marked the beginning of a new era in Ukrainian history, the course of which would be determined by the destinies of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, subsequently, the Kingdom of Poland.