Armenians in Poland from the 14th century to the first years of the 21st century

Stanisław Nabywaniec

Abstrakt


The first groups of Armenians arrived in Red Ruthenia, Podolia, and Kyiv Ruthenia as early as in the 11th century as part of the first wave of exiles before the Seljuk invasion. At the same time the first Armenian settlements in these Polish lands were established. However, a significant development tendency of the Armenian settlement can only be mentioned concerning the reign of Casimir the Great, who also contributed to the raise of the Armenian church in Lviv to the rank of a cathedral. The greatest development of the Armenian settlement in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the 16th and 17th centuries. At the end of the 17th century, Armenian settlements stretched along the entire south-eastern border of the Republic of Poland. The Armenian colonies in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth played an important role in the organization of eastern trade. A trade route connecting the East with the West ran through the territory of the Republic of Poland. Apart from economic activity, Armenians played a significant role in the field of diplomacy. All Armenian colonies in the territory of the Republic of Poland enjoyed autonomy. The outbreak of the war in 1939 meant that Poles and Armenians shared the tragic fate. World War II dispersed the Polish Armenians. Some of them – mainly Armenians from the city of Kuty and its surroundings – were murdered in 1943–1944 by the Ukrainians, with the approval of the Germans. Others were taken to Soviet camps or sent to Central Asia. Few Armenians remained in Lviv. Polish Armenians who survived lived in postwar Poland. After the political transformation that took place in Poland and other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, new emigrants from Armenia come to Poland. According to the 2002 national population and housing census, 262 citizens of the Republic of Poland declared themselves as Armenians.


Słowa kluczowe


Armenians; Armenian colonies; Catholic Archbishop of Lwow of the Armenian rite; Eastern trade; Polish Kingdom; Polish Republic; Poland; Red Russia

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