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A Brief History of Galicia

In Greater Poland, King Bolesław V grants rights to the Jews according to the Statute of Kalisz, allowing them to control their own fiscal, legal, and political organizations. In this statute the main business of Jews is described as money lending.  

Coat of Arms of Galicia under the Austrian Empire

Early History of Galicia and the Influence of the Kievan Rus

The ancient coat of arms of Halych

The Kingdom of Galicia and the Romanovych Dynasty

White Croats inhabit upper Dniester and Bug regions.

5th-10th centuries

White Croats become allies of the Kievan Rus

Early 10th century

Influence of Moravians in Galicia. A hybrid form of Latin and Byzantine Christianity is introduced. Jews who lived in this area at this time were probably Khazars or emigrants from the Byzantine Empire.

10th century

Przemyśl is founded in this period of Moravian influence.


According to the Rus Primary Chronicle, Volodymyr, Grand Prince of Kiev (reigned 980-1015) captured Przemyśl, Cherven, and other cities.


Rus attack White Croats in Galicia.


Under the influence of Kiev, Galicians adopt the eastern Orthodox form of Christianity. Jews emigrate from Bohemia to Galicia.

Late 10th century

Lev, son of Danylo reigns. With the decline of Kiev's influence, Galicia is the dominant force in the Southern Rus region.




The Rostyslav dynasty, a branch of Kievan Rurykovich dynasty, rules in Galicia under Prince Rostyslav (died 1065), grandson of Jaroslav the Wise of Kiev (reigned 1019-1054.). Rostyslav's three sons solidify the Galician dynasty. Jews entering Galician territories are probably traders, including slave traders. Many came from Silesia. Many were engaged in the minting of money.

after 1050

Volodymyrko (reigned 1124-1153) and Jaroslav Osmomysl (reigned 1153-1187) establish Halych as the capital of Galicia.


Jaroslav Osmomysyl extends the territory as far south as the Black Sea. Trade, especially in salt that was mined  in Halych, enriches the region.


Besieged by unrest among the boyars (wealthy landowners) and subject to armed incursion by Kiev,  Volhynia, Hungary and Poland, the Rostyslav dynasty, dies out. Prince Roman of Volhynia begins the new Romanovych dynasty. Galicia and Volhynia are united.  

Reign of Danylo, the high point of medieval Galicia.

1238- 1262

Galicia is devastated in the first of three Mongolian invasions by the armies of the Ghengis Khan and his successors. After the Tartar invasions, large numbers of Jews emigrate (along with Germans) to the Polish kingdom where they are welcomed by the king to rebuild the urban centres which had been devastated by the Mongols. The Jews name for Galicia is Reisin.

1241- 1288

Danylo, crowned by the Pope as King of the Rus,  reigns over the Kingdom of Galicia and Volhynia (regnum Galicia et Lodomeria).     


Lwów becomes the capital of Galicia.


The last male of the Romanowych line dies. Galicia is torn apart by intrigues among the boyars, new wars with the Mongols, and invasions of foreign powers:  Poles,  Hungarians and  Lithuanians.


A great number of Jews participate in the fair at Nowy Sącz.


Casimir the Great founds the city of Kazimierz close to the town of Cracow but separated from it by branches of the Vistula River. Jews settle in both towns.


This history was compiled by Valerie Schatzker