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This article is about Ukrainian people of West Ukraine. For the surname, see Boyko (surname).
Boyko inhabitants of Galicia, lithograph from 1837
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 Ukraine 131 (2001)[1]
 Poland 258 (2011)[2]
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Boyko or Boiko (Cyrillic: Бойки, Polish: Bojkowie, Slovak: Pujďáci) are a distinctive group of Ukrainian highlanders or mountain-dwellers of the Carpathian highlands. Along with Lemkos and Hutsuls they are a national continuum of Carpathian nationalities also known as Gorals.

Boykos identify themselves as part of the Ukrainian ethnos which has derived from the Ruthenians (Ukrainian: Русини, Rusyny). With time the term "Ukrainian" replaced the term "Ruthenians" in Eastern Ukraine a century earlier, became more common among Western Ruthenians/Ukrainians, including Boykos, as well. According to the recent census practically all Boykos in Ukraine declared their ethnicity as Ukrainian. Only 131 people are distinctly identified as Boykos [1]. In the Polish census of 2011, 258 people identified their nationality as Boyko, but only for 14 of them it was the only national identification.

The Boyko language is based on the Ruthenian language, much influenced by the liturgic Old Church Slavonic language.[3]


The Boykos inhabit the central and the western half of the Carpathians in Ukraine across such regions as the southern Lviv Oblast (Skole, Turka, Drohobych, Sambir and Stary Sambir Raions), western Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast (Dolyna and Rozhniativ Raions) and parts of the northeastern Zakarpattia Oblast (Mizhhiria Raion), as well as the adjacent areas of southeast Poland and northeast Slovakia.

To the west of Boykos live Lemkos, east or southeast - Hutsuls, to the south or southwest - Rusyns.


The name "Boyko" is thought by some to originate in their patterns of speech, specifically the use of the affirmative exclamation "bo-ye!", meaning the only or because it is so. Example: "Nu, bo vono tak i ye.", "This is the way it is."[citation needed] In this instance the word bo is unusual for the common Ukrainian language. It was first coined by the priest Joseph Levytsky in the foreword of his Hramatyka (1831).

One view proposed by Soviet scholars considers the Boykos an autochthonous population with specific language and dialectal features, of which their use of bo ye meaning "yes" is a prominent example (hypothesis of I. Verkhratsky).[4] An older view proposed by the 19th century authors I. Vahylevych, Ya. Holovatsky, and P. Šafárik links the Boyos to the Celtic Boii, a tribe unattested since the beginning of the Christian Era.[citation needed]

Most Boykos belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, with a minority belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The distinctive wooden church architecture of the Boyko region is a three-domed church, with the domes arranged in one line, and the middle dome slightly larger than the others.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ukrainian Census 2001
  2. ^ Ludność. Stan i struktura demograficzno-społeczna. Narodowy Spis Ludności i Mieszkań 2011 (National Census of Population and Housing 2011). GUS. 2013. p. 264.
  3. ^ Boykos
  4. ^ Nikitin, AG; Kochkin IT; June CM; Willis CM; McBain I; Videiko MY (February 2009). "Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in Boyko, Hutsul and Lemko populations of Carpathian highlands.". Human Biology 81 (1): 43–58. doi:10.3378/027.081.0104. ISSN 0018-7143. OCLC 432539982. PMID 19589018. MtDNA haplogroup frequencies in Boykos were different from most modern European populations.