Was Ukraine Independent in the 16th century? Emperor Rudolph II thought so


In May of 1594, Erich Lassota von Steblau, a special envoy of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II to the Zaporozhian Cossacks arrived in Kyiv. The Holy Roman Empire, the House of Habsburg intended for the first time in its history to invite Cossacks to form the new anti-Turkish coalition and for that reason, they sent Erich Lassota to negotiate with the Cossacks’ authorities. The “Diary of Erich Lassota: Habsburg and Zaporozhian Cossacks” in German is available on Archive.com. An English translation can be downloaded here. What does that simple fact mean? First, the Zaporozhian host was a powerful force even for the European prominent house to seek its support. Second, the Cossacks were independent in making their decision about which alliance to join and which not. The title map for this article was the work of a prominent German map publisher of the 18th century Matthäus Seutter. As can be seen, for European elite of the 16-18th centuries, the name “Ukraine” was strongly associated with the Lands of the Cossacks. This fact adds more weight to the supposition made in the previous article about the meaning of the name. 

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