Connected Central European Worlds, 1500-1700

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The Frontiers and Routes in Sloboda Ukraine in the Eighteenth Century

Dr Yuliia Koniva, Université de Rouen


The lands of the east part of Ukraine were the last to be settled from all Ukrainian territories. What makes Sloboda Ukraine unique, is that this region was formed on the crossings of three frontiers: a settled population of two ethenones – Ukrainians and Russians, and nomads. It is possible to see the developing and moving of this frontier through the formation and the changes of roads and paths in this region. The intensive economic development of Ukrainian lands led to the development of a network of trade routes. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, a network of roads between the Sloboda Regiments began to form along with the traditional ways of the steppe people, which were still existing in Sloboda Ukraine as well at that time. To a large extent, the communications of the nomads were used from north to south, and roads from Sloboda Ukraine connected this region with the Cossack Regiments of the Hetmanate – from west to east. The administrative changes in Sloboda Ukraine in the second part of the eighteenth century led to the changes in the local system of the routes as well.


Yuliia Koniva gained her BA in History and MA in Archival Science from the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in 2013 and in 2014. After that, she started her postgraduate program at the National Technical University ”Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute” in 2014. During this time, she published six articles, one of them in a Polish scientific journal and worked as the assistant of professor at the Department of Ukrainian Studies, Cultural Studies and History of Science of National Technical University “Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute”. She completed her PhD in 2019 and defended her paper at Oles Honchar Dnipro National University. Her book entitled ”The roads of Sloboda Ukraine in the 1700s-early 1800s” was published in 2020. When the war broke out, she was forced to leave Kharkiv and to continue her research she got to the PAUSE Programme for scientists in exile in France. Also, she joined the research group “Groupe de Recherche d’Histoire” at University of Rouen Normandy (France) in 2022, and still works there at the position of postdoctoral fellow. Her primary research interest is the history of Ukraine in the 18th century, and specific areas of interest include history of roads in Sloboda Ukraine, historical geography and historical cartography.