Rigelman, Aleksandr

Rigelman, Aleksandr [Ригельман, Александр; Rigel'man], b 1720 in Saint Petersburg, d 3 November 1789 in Andriivka, Chernihiv region. Historian, military engineer, and topographer; descendant of a German aristocratic family that settled in Russia in the 1730s. He studied at the cadet Corps in Saint Petersburg (1738) and was stationed in the Zaporizhia (1741–3) to work on the demarcation of the Russian-Turkish border. Then he drew plans for Ukrainian cities (1745–8) and built fortified lines extending through Southern Ukraine, along the coast of the Sea of Azov, and around the periphery of Kyiv (1747–9). In the 1750s and 1760s he worked in the Don region, where he built the Saint Dimitrii Fortress (now Rostov-na-Donu). After his retirement in 1782, he settled on his Ukrainian wife’s (née Lyzohub) estate, where he died.

Rigelman produced a number of historical studies, focusing mainly on Ukraine and the Don region, most of which were published in the 19th century. They included Istoriia ili povestvovanie o Donskikh kazakakh (The History or Account of the Don Cossacks; written in 1778, published in 1846) and Letopisnoe povestvovanie o Maloi Rossii i ee narode i kazakakh voobshche (A Chronicle Account of Little Russia and Its People and the Cossacks in General; written in 4 pts in 1785–6, published by Osyp Bodiansky in Chteniia Moskovskogo obshchestva istorii i drevnostei, nos 5–9 [1847], and separately). He also wrote a five-part supplement to the chronicle that included a description of the life and customs of the Zaporozhian Cossacks and an ethnographic description of the Ukrainian people, with 28 drawings by Tymofii Kalynsky of Ukrainian types in traditional costumes.

Iershov, A. ‘“Letopisnoe povestvovanie” O. Rigel’mana,’ Zapysky Nizhyns'koho instytutu narodnoï osvity, vol 7 (1927)
Dzyra, Ia. ‘Dzherel'na osnova pratsi O. Rihel'mana z istoriï Ukraïny,’ in Istoriohrafichni doslidzhennia v Ukraïns'kii RSR, 2nd edn (Kyiv 1969)

Oleksander Ohloblyn

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

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