Description of Ukraine, or Regions of the Kingdom of Poland between Muscovy and Transylvania


Presented here is an early translation into Russian of Description d'Ukranie, an influential work first published in French in 1651. The author, Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan, was a French engineer who worked in Poland between 1630 and 1647. He built fortifications in Ukraine, most of which was then under Polish control, took part in battles with the Cossacks and Tatars, and in 1639 traveled by boat down the Dnieper River. Beauplan produced two important early maps of Ukraine that were based on his own observations and his own careful astronomical and topographic measurements. The book contains a foreword by the author and his dedication of the work to Jan II Kazimierz, King of Poland. The main text is in seven chapters, “Description of Ukraine,” “Description of the Crimea,” “About the Crimean Tartars,” “About the Ukrainian Cossacks,” “About the Election of Polish Kings,” “On the Freedom of Polish Noblemen,” and “On the Mores of Polish Noblemen.” The book contains detailed descriptions of Kiev and other towns that remain important sources of information about 17th century Ukraine. It describes the Tartars as a cruel and warlike people, who used their base in the Crimea to mount attacks on Muscovy and Poland. The chapter on the Cossacks discusses how the Cossack hetman (chief) was selected and the powers he was given, and claims that if the hetman displayed weakness he was killed by his subordinates. It describes how the Cossacks built ships that they used to stage raids on the coasts of Asia Minor, where they captured Turkish ships and engaged in looting. The chapter also covers such topics as Cossack marriage customs, diseases and medicines among the Cossacks, Cossack drinking habits, and the severe winter in the Ukraine. The edition of Description d'Ukranie shown here is a translation into Russian published in 1832 in Saint Petersburg. The book is indexed and contains a dedication and foreword by the translator.

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Subject Date

Publication Information

Karl Krai Press, Saint Petersburg


Title in Original Language

Описаніе Украйны : сочиненіе

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 book : illustrations ; 179 pages

Last updated: January 27, 2016