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Bill Thayer

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Public service message, 24 Feb 22: A Ukrainian historical researcher who has contributed to this site has advised me that The Ukrainian Red Cross Society is accepting donations from abroad in relief of civilian populations in Ukraine and persons displaced due to the Russian war against that country, and has set up a page for those wishing to donate. (And yes, I've donated a bit myself, about $350 thru Oct 2023.)

Ukraine in Foreign Comments and Descriptions

Volodymyr Sichynsky

The Book and the Author

The book was first published in Lviv in 1938 under the title Чужинці про Україну (Foreigners on Ukraine), and underwent several augmented editions in Ukrainian (Prague 1942, Augsburg 1946 are the two most recent that I know of, with reprints into our own century) before being translated into English (New York, 1953) as the work transcribed on this site.

A good biographical capsule of the author is provided at the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine.

For technical details on how this site is laid out, see below, following the Table of Contents.

 (p5)  Table of Contents





Ukraine during the VI‑XII Centuries


Western European Travellers from the XIIIth to XVIth Centuries


The Rise of the Zaporozhian Sich


Description of Ukraine by Sieur de Beauplan 1650


The Period of Bohdan Khmelnytsky and his Successors


The Period of Hetman Mazepa


English, French and Other Foreign Travellers Visiting Ukraine in the XVIII Century


Ukraine in the Foreign Literature of the XIXth Century




 p223  Table of Illustrations

A part of the map of the world by Beatus of the XIth century. Between the Danubius (River) and Eusin Pontus lies Alania.


The signature of Anna (Ana Reina), daughter of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev on an official French Document of 1063.


The title page of the book by Giles Fletcher on Moscovia, London, 1591.


The City of Lviv. Engraving of the publication Civitates orbis terrarum, Koeln, 1617.


The City of Peremyshl. Dutch engraving of 1659.


The general map of Ukraine by Beauplan of 1648: Delineatio Generalis Camporum Desertorum vulgo Ukraina cum adjacentibus provinciis.


Ukrainian Kozak officers. Engraving on the map of Beauplan.


Middle stream of the Dnieper River on the map of Beauplan.


Title page of A Description of Ukraine by Beauplan in the English translation of 1744.


Map of Ukraine by Sanson, reproduced in Rome in 1678: Ucraine o Paese de Cosacchi.


Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Engraving by Hondius, Danzig, 1651.


The "European Assembly" with the participation of Ukraine ("Die Ucraine zitternd bebt").


A part of a Dutch map by de Witte, which encompasses Ukrania, Amsterdam, the 60′‑80′ of the XVIIth century.


Hetman Petro Doroshenko. A Flemish engraving of the late XVIIth century.


Ukraine on a Dutch map of the end of the XVIIth century: Ukranie of 'T Land der Cossacken. (Found in the Baworowski Library in Lviv).


The Castle of Kamenets in Podolia. Engraving from La Galerie agréable du Monde, 1699.


The title (cover) page of the book, Diarum itineris in Moscoviam Perillustris, by G. Korb, Vienna, 1701.


The City of Azov from Diarum itineris in Moscoviam Perillustris, by G. Korb, Vienna, 1701.


Map of Europe in the book: Churchill: A Collection of Voyages, 1744. The Ukrainian territory is marked: Ukrain-Cosacks.


The city of Ochakiv, an engraving of the middle of the XVIIIth century.


The city of Kaffa (Theodosia), an engraving of the middle of the XVIIIth century.


Map of Ukraine by T. K. Lotter, 1745.


The title page of the book: Travels, by Joseph Marshall, London, 1772.


A page from the book by J. Marshall — from his travels in Ukraine, 1770.


A page from the book by J. Marshall — from his travels in Ukraine, 1770.


Map of Ukraine from the book, Memoirs of Russia, by C. H. Manstein, London, 1773.


Map of the Dnieper delta and the city of Ochakiv from Memoirs of Russia, by C. H. Manstein, London, 1773.


A view from the banks of the Dniester River. A colored lithograph from the book Travels, by Adam Neale, London, 1818.


Landscape of the Black Sea. A colored lithograph from the book Travels, by Adam Neale, London, 1818.


Present day map of countries of the Black Sea basin.


Technical Details

Edition Used and Copyright

The text I transcribed is that of the first and maybe only edition,

published by
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, Inc.
New York, 1953

The copyright on the underlying original Ukrainian-language text, published in 1938, was governed by the law of the Soviet Union as revised in 1928, in which the term was fixed at 15 years after the death of the author. Prof. Sichynsky died in 1962: the original text therefore may have risen into the public domain on January 1, 1978. Alternatively, in view of various retroactive extensions of Soviet and Ukrainian law, since the work was published in the Soviet Union in 1938 and was thus in the public domain in 1995, and its author had died before that year, the original text rose into the public domain on January 1, 1989.

The English translation was published in the United States in 1953, and its copyright is therefore subject to American law, which at the time specifically required a copyright notice in the form of "Copyright ––––––––– 1953" in order to be valid. The printed book does not include such a notice, contenting itself merely with "All rights reserved", and the English translation can be considered to have been in the public domain from the very moment of its first publication. The question is moot, however, since any copyright that there might have been was not renewed in 1980/81 as then required by the same American law to maintain it, and the translation has definitely been in the public domain since January 1, 1982: details here on the copyright law involved.


Of the book's 30 black-and‑white illustrations, 29 are old engravings and the like, long in the public domain. They were manifestly taken from secondary sources — i.e., from previous books rather than from the original prints — and are thus often blurry and improperly or not at all rescreened: to the point that some captions and most map indications are unreadable even when magnified. I've therefore substituted a better version of the same identical illustration, sometimes in its original colors, wherever necessary and possible. For a good example of illustrations printed in the book and my substitutions, see the title page and map on p119.

While some of the illustrations accompany the text at more or less suitable places in the printed book, others are somewhat haphazardly scattered, and at least one illustration (#10) has no direct connection with the text at all. I've felt no compunction in moving them to places I felt were more appropriate.

Illustration 30, a map, was specially drawn for the book by the author. I've colorized it for readability.

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

My transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree; a red background would mean that the page had not been proofread. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The printed book was fairly well proofread (bearing in mind that I'm not an expert in Slavic geographical or personal names), except for the bibliography, which was a disaster. A few errors were significant, and are marked with a bullet like this,º but most of the errors were trivial, and I marked them with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the underscored words to read what was actually printed. Similarly, glide your cursor over bullets before measurements: they provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

Some odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked. They are also few.

Any over­looked mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you, or the pdf copy of it at Diasporiana.

[image ALT: A horizontal squiggle ending in a blob towards the upper right corner of the image — a schematic indication of a river flowing into the Black Sea. Beneath, in uncial script, the words 'hic capud europae'. The image is a detail from an 11c map of the world, and serves as the icon on this site for the book 'Ukraine in Foreign Comments and Descriptions' by Volodymyr Sichynsky.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is taken from the first illustration in the book, which is also the oldest image reproduced in it, the 11c map on p31. The detail shown in my icon is the area corresponding to what is now Right-Bank Ukraine, which is labelled "hic capud Europae": "Here is the beginning of Europe."

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Site updated: 28 Aug 22