Sloviano-Serbia [Слов’яносербія]. An administrative-territorial region of the mid-18th century in southern Ukraine. The region was created by the Imperial Russian government in 1753 to protect the southern borders of the Russian Empire against Turkish and Tatar attacks and to colonize sparsely inhabited territory; it was situated south of the Donets River in the area between the Bakhmutka River and the Luhanka River. It bordered on the lands of the Don Cossack Host to the east and partially to the south, on the Zaporizhia to the west, on Slobidska Ukraine to the north, and on the Crimean Khanate to the south. Bakhmut became its administrative center. As in the case of New Serbia, Serbs from Serbian military units were moved in from Hungary (as well as Bulgarians, Greeks, Wallachians, and other Orthodox peoples from the Ottoman Empire). Some of the military formations, however, consisted of Ukrainian peasants and Cossacks, and the majority of new settlers were Ukrainians. The Serbs, who were granted a certain degree of autonomy, were organized into two regiments (1,300 soldiers), under R. Preradovich and I. Shevich, and placed along the Dnipro Line; their presence gave the region a semimilitary character. According to the census of 1760 there were 112 settlements, with a total population of 26,000, in the new territory. Frequent conflicts arose between the foreign military units and the local Ukrainian population as well as with the Ukrainians of neighboring Zaporizhia. In 1764 the territory was liquidated and included in the New Russia gubernia created by Catherine II. The foreign population eventually assimilated with local Ukrainians.

Bahalii, Dmytro. Zaselennia Pivdennoï Ukraïny (Kharkiv 1920)
Polonska-Vasylenko, Nataliia. The Settlement of the Southern Ukraine (1750–1775) (New York 1955)

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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