Founded c.1256 by Prince Daniel of Halych, the city was named for his son Lev and developed as a great commercial center on the trade route from Vienna to Kiev. It also served as an outpost against Tatar invasions. Lviv was captured by the Poles in the 1340s, the Turks in 1672, and the Swedes in 1704. During the first partition of Poland (1772) it passed to Austria, and became the capital of Galicia. Lviv was the chief center of the Ukrainian national movement in Galicia after 1848. The capital of the short-lived West Ukrainian Democratic Republic after World War I, the city was taken by Poland in 1919 and confirmed as Polish by the Soviet-Polish Treaty of Riga (1921). Lviv was annexed to Ukraine by the USSR in 1939. German forces held the city during much of World War II and exterminated the Jewish population; by the early 1990s the city's Jewish residents numbered about 17,000. In 1945, Poland formally ceded Lviv to the USSR, from which Ukraine declared its independence in 1991.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: CIS and Baltic Political Geography