In medieval Europe cultural boundary codes were based on a native ground demarcation.
Ukraine, with its lexical roots kraj (country) and krayaty (to cut, and hence to demarcate), meant "[our] circumscribed land." The ethnonym Rus was the main self-identification in Ukraine until the seventeenth century when the term Ukraine reappeared in documents.
Rus is mentioned for the first time by European chroniclers in 839 The Kyivan state experienced a cultural and commercial flourishing from the ninth to the eleventh centuries under the rulers Volodymyr I (Saint Volodymyr), his son Yaroslav I the Wise, and Volodymyr Monomakh.
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The name Ukraine first appeared in twelfth century chronicles in reference to the Kyivan Rus.
This Eastern Slavic state flourished from the ninth to the thirteenth centuries on the territory of contemporary Ukraine, with Kyiv as its capital.
Ukraine's regional ethnographic cultures, not always congruent with oblast boundaries are: Donbas, Slobozhanshchyna, Zaporizhzhya, Steppes Ukraine, Poltava, Cherkasy, Polissya, Podillya, Volyn, Halychyna, Bukovyna, Transcarpathia, and Crimea.
Crimean Tatar culture predominates in Crimea, and the Hutsul highlanders live in Halychyna, Bukovyna, and Transcarpathia. Ukraine's 1989 census showed a population of 51,452,000.
Its main geographical features are the Polissya and Volyn northern forests, the central forest steppes, the Donetsk eastern uplands (up to 1,600 feet [500 meters] above sea level), and the coastal lowlands and steppes along the Black and Azov Seas.
The Carpathian mountains in the west reach 6,760 feet (2,061 meters) at Mount Hoverla.This ethnonym of Rus people, Rusych (plural, Rusychi ), evolved into Rusyn , a western Ukrainian self-identification interchangeable with Ukrainian into the twentieth century.Ruthenian , a Latinization of Rusyn , was used by the Vatican and the Austrian Empire designating Ukrainians. Ukraine, Europe's second largest country during the twentieth century, occupies 232,200 square miles (603,700 square kilometers).A negative population growth was probably caused by economic and environmental crises, including the Chernobyl disaster.The 1989 census shows the following percentages of the population's ethnic composition: Ukrainians, 72.7 percent; Russians, 22.1 percent; Jews, 0.9 percent; Belorussians, 0.8 percent; Moldovans, 0.6; Poles, 0.5 percent; Bulgarians, 0.4 percent; Hungarians, 0.3 percent; Crimean Tatars, 0.2 percent; Romanians, 0.2 percent; Greeks, 0.2 percent; Armenians, 0.1 percent; Roma (Gypsies), 0.1 percent; Germans, 0.1 percent; Azerbaijanis, 0.1 percent; Gagauz, 0.1 percent; and others, 0.5 percent. Ukrainian is an Indo-European language of the Eastern Slavic group.From east to west, they are Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Poltava, Zaporizhzhya, Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odessa, Cherkasy, Kyiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsya, Rivne, Luts'k (Volyns'ka oblast'), Khmel'nyts'kyj, Ternopil', Lviv, Ivano-Frankivs'k, Uzhhorod (Zakarpats'ka oblast'), and Chernivtsi.