March 3, 2022 by Neely Tucker
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the latest violent development in a long and turbulent history in the land of the steppes, and the Library has international resources on the region that go back for hundreds of years.
You can learn a lot here, from one of the first maps that used the name “Ukraine” for the area (in 1648), to the poetry and writings of national hero Taras Shevchenko in the 19th century, to up-to-the-minute news and analysis from the Congressional Research Service.
You can also watch an hourlong seminar, Putin, Ukraine, and What’s Likely to Happen, hosted by the Library’s Kluge Institute and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, recorded just before Russia invaded.
This article is a brief summary of the Library’s holdings regarding the region.
Some descriptions are from official Library documents.
First, it helps to know that Ukraine roughly translates as “frontier” and its location between Europe and Asia has meant that human beings have traipsed through it, going east or west, for thousands of years. It has been included in any number of empires, divided into many different configurations and called by any number of names before it declared independence in its current boundaries in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Our primary documents thus refer to the region by the name (or names) it was known at the time. The maps, lithographs, books and manuscripts shine through with illuminations and hand-coloring from centuries long past.