Krivichians

Krivichians (Ukrainian: Kryvychi). An Eastern Slavic tribe (or union of tribes) of the 6th–9th centuries AD, mentioned in the chronicles of Kyivan Rus’. They lived along the upper reaches of the Dnieper River, the Daugava River, and Volga River, and in the southern basin of Chudskoe (Peipus) Lake in the Baltic region. The Krivichians migrated there either from the south in the 6th century or possibly from the west in the 8th century. Their principal cities were Smolensk, Polatsk, Izborsk, Toropetsk, Kryvychi, and, possibly, Pskov. They apparently engaged in trade with the Byzantine Empire. Their primary occupations were farming and cattle breeding and some crafts. At the end of the 9th century the Krivichian territories were incorporated into Kyivan Rus’. Their lands were transformed into Smolensk principality and Polatsk principality; the northwestern portion of their territory was absorbed by Novgorod principality. They took part in the campaigns of Prince Oleh and Prince Ihor against Constantinople. The Krivichians (together with the Drehovichians) are the ancestors of the Belarusians and Russians.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]




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