Ukrainians are profoundly affected by the country’s long history, which left its mark on modern times.
In the V-th century BC, a kingdom of the Scythians is formed in the Southern parts of Ukraine.
The evidence available is not sufficient to form a definite opinion about the ethnic background of the earliest tribes inhabiting Ukraine, or about their social and economic structure.
In the late sixth or early fifth centuries there appear on the Crimean Southern Coast a number of Greek city-states and a lively cultural exchange between the Scythians and the Greeks follow.
In the I-st century AD Romans come to the Southern Crimea and establish its hegemony over some parts of it. In the following centuries, waves of barbarians roll through Ukraine, including the Goths and the Huns.
In the end of the V-th century AD Kiev was founded as a center of a conglomerate of Eastern Slavic tribes, and by the end of the IX-th century it became the capital of the big state known as “Kievan Rus” and stretching up to the Baltic Sea in the North, and almost to Volga River in the East.
During the XI-th and XII-th centuries “Kievan Rus” became the largest and most powerful and culturally most advanced state in Eastern Europe, after Byzantium. Kiev, the capital of modern Ukraine, became the most important city of the “Kievan Rus”.
It laid the foundation for the national identity of Ukrainians and Russians.
The Golden Age of Kievan Rus' began with the reign of Prince Vladimir the Great (980–1015), who turned Rus' toward Byzantine Christianity. During the reign of his son, Prince Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054), Kievan Rus' reached the zenith of its cultural development and military power.The state soon fragmented as the relative importance of regional powers rose again.
The XIII-th century Mongol invasion devastated “Kievan Rus”. Kiev was totally destroyed in 1240.
On Ukrainian territory, the principalities of Halych and Volodymyr-Volynskyi arose, and were merged into the state of Galicia-Volhynia. Danylo Romanovych (Daniel I of Galicia or Danylo Halytskyi) son of Roman Mstyslavych, re-united all of south-western Rus', including Volhynia, Galicia and Rus' ancient capital of Kiev.
After that, for many centuries Ukraine was ruled by the Lithuanian Duchy, then Poland.
During this time, the Ukrainian Cossack armies led by a Hetman (military leader) were formed.
In 1648, one of the most famous Hetmans Bohdan Khmelnitsky liberated Kiev and concluded the treaty with Russia, which led to a long period of domination by the Russian Empire, and then the Soviet Union, until 1991, August 24, when Ukraine gained its sovereignty and became an independent state.