Bukovina The Austrian revolution that broke out in Vienna on 13 March 1848 did not bypass this ethnically mixed, overwhelmingly agricultural region of the Habsburg m onarchy. In Chernivtsi (Czernowitz), Bukovina's capital, mobs attacked unpopular figures, including the mayor and police commissioner. Volunteers formed a national guard of six companies; the guardsmen wore blue and red, Bukovina's colors. In June 1848 Bukovina elected eight deputies to the constituent Austrian Reichstag. Five of the deputies were Ukrainian by nationality, two were Romanian and one was German. Except for the last, elected by the city of Chernivtsi, all the Bukovinian deputies were peasants. The revolution called forth large-scale peasant unrest in Bukovina. In 1848 Bukovina was not a separate province of Austria, but one of the circles (Kreise) of Galicia. In Galicia, the governor abolished serfdom earlier than anywhere else in the monarchy, on April 22, 1848: however, the abolition did not apply to the circle of Bukovina. This unfavorable separate treatment angered the Bukovinian peasantry, which remained discontent even after serfdom was formally abolished (August 9, retroactive to July 1, 1848). After the Reichstag was dispersed in October 1848 in connection with the insurrection in Vienna, one of the Bukovinian peasant deputies, Lukian Kobylytsia, a Hutsul (Ukrainian highlander), returned to his village instead of rejoining the Reichstag in Kromeriz (Kremsier). He organized an armed rebellion and occupied an area in the Carpathian mountains; here he dismissed and appointed local officials and settled disputes in the villages. The Austrian government quelled the peasant movement and arrested Kobylytsia and other peasant leaders in April and May 1849.
The revolution also saw the emergence of national conflict between Romanians and Ukrainians. The major issue of contention was the status of Bukovina. The Romanians, led by the boyar Eudoxiu Hurmuzaki, editor of the newspaper Bucovina, sought to separate Bukovina from Galicia, hoping eventually to unite it with Transylvania and the Banat and even with Moldavia and Muntenia (Wallachia) to form a Romanian duchy under Habsburg suzerainty. The Ukrainians, led by their peasant deputies and taking their cue from the Galician-based Supreme Ruthenian Council, sought to keep Bukovina, or at least Ukrainian-inhabited northern Bukovina, with Galicia (or rather, within Ukrainian-inhabited eastern Galicia, which was to be separated from Polish western Galicia). After the presentation of petitions and debates in the Reichstag, a decree from Vienna finally settled the issue on March 1, 1849; the duchy of Bukovina became a separate crown land, but not in union with other Romanian-inhabited regions.
Hungarian insurgents led by General Jozef Bem attacked Austrian
forces in southern Bukovina in January 1849 and caused great damage
in the countryside. The Russian army also passed through Bukovina
on its way to suppress the Hungarian insurrection (May-June 1849)
as well as on its way back (September 1849).
Gh. Platon edited by John-Paul Himka
Balan, Teodor. Bucovina in anul 1848. Chernivtsi: Mitr. Silvestru, 1942.
Kaindl, Raimund Friedrich. "Die Bukowina in den Jahren 1848 und 1849." Oesterreichisch-Ungarische Revue 25 (1899): 221-39, 274-328.
Kvitkovs'kyi, D., Bryndzana, T., and Zhukovs'kyi. Bukovyna. Ii mynule i suchasne. Paris, Philadelphia, Detroit: Bydavnytstvo "Zelena Bukovyna," 1956.
Wagner, Rudolf. Die Revolutionsjahre 1848 /49 im Koenigreich Galizien-Lodomerien (einschliesslich Bukowina): Dokumenten aus oesterreichischer Zeit. Munich: Verlag "Der Suedostdeutsche," 1983.
JGC revised this file (http://www.ohiou.edu/~chastain/ac/bucovina.htm) on October 14, 2004.
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© 1999, 2004 James Chastain.