Tribe. A group of people with a common language, culture, and way of life and a tradition of common descent. Larger societies that are unified by a state and have lost the sense of kinship are not called tribes. For many millennia before the rise of Kyivan Rus’, Ukraine was inhabited by various tribes. They engaged mostly in agriculture and animal husbandry and held an animistic view of the world. By the 6th century AD a number of proto-Ukrainian tribes had emerged, including the Polianians, Siverianians, Derevlianians, Dulibians (later known as Buzhanians and Volhynians), White Croatians, Ulychians, and Tivertsians. They traded among themselves and with their neighbors. The tribes generally were ruled by an assembly (viche) of all the free men and the elders elected by it. They themselves did not establish a common state. According to the Normanist theory, it was the foreign Varangians who, in the mid-9th century, laid the foundation of the Kyivan Rus’ state by bringing the tribes under their rule. Eventually dynastic ties and a sense of national identity superseded tribal loyalties.

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