Bukovina (bōkəvēˈnə) [key], Rom. Bucovina, Ukr. Bukovyna, historic region of E Europe, in SW Ukraine and NE Romania. Traversed by the Carpathian Mts. and the upper Prut and Siretul rivers, it is heavily forested [ Bukovina means "beechwood" in Romanian] and produces timber, textiles, grain, and livestock. Salt is produced in quantity; other mineral resources include manganese, iron, and copper. Chernivtsi, in Ukraine, is the chief city. The population is largely Romanian in S Bukovina and Ukrainian in the north. Most of the region's Jews were exterminated during World War II. A part of the Roman province of Dacia, Bukovina was overrun after the 3d cent. A.D. by the Huns and other nomads. It later (10th–13th cent.) belonged to the Kievan state (see Kiev) and the Halych and Volhynia principalities. After the Mongols withdrew from Moldavia, Bukovina became (14th cent.) the nucleus of the Moldavian principality. The term Bukovina was first mentioned in an agreement concluded in 1412 between King Ladislaus II of Poland and Sigismund of Hungary. In 1514, Bukovina, then part of Moldavia, became tributary to the Turkish sultans. Ceded by the Ottoman Empire to Austria in 1775, it was at first a district of Galicia but in 1848 was made, as a titular duchy, a separate Austrian crownland. The region won limited autonomy from Austria, and in 1861 Chernivtsi was made the seat of a provincial diet. Bukovina became an object of irredentism when Romania achieved full independence in 1878. The country's boundaries encompassed Suceava, the ancient capital of Moldavia, but Chernivtsi was incorporated into Austria. With the dissolution of the Austrian empire in 1918, the Ukrainian national council at Chernivtsi voted the incorporation of N Bukovina into the West Ukrainian Democratic Republic. The Treaty of Saint-Germain (1919) gave only the southern part of Bukovina to Romania, but the subsequent Treaty of Sèvres awarded Romania the entire region. In a treaty of June, 1940, Romania ceded the northern part of Bukovina (c.2,140 sq mi/5,540 sq km) to the USSR, which incorporated it into the Ukrainian SSR. Although Romanian troops reoccupied N Bukovina during World War II, the Romanian peace treaty of 1947 confirmed Soviet possession of the area. N Bukovina now forms part of the Chernivtsi oblast in Ukraine. The remainder of the area (c.1,890 sq mi/4,895 sq km) forms one of the historical provinces of Romania and is part of the administrative region of Suceava.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.