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Novorossiya (Russian: Новоро́ссия, Ukrainian: Новоросія; literally New Russia) is a historical term denoting an area north of the Black Sea which was conquered by the Russian Empire at the end of the 18th century. It included the southern part of the Zaporizhian Sich and the steppes between the Zaporizhian Sich and the northern coast of the Black Sea which had previously been controlled for centuries by the Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Turkey. Administratively the newly incorporated area became known as the Novorossiysk Governorate with Novorossiysk (present-day Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk, not to be confused with present-day Novorossiysk, Russian Federation) as its capital. In the 19th century Novorossiya was the name of the General Government centered in Odessa, a major port on the north-west coast of the Black Sea. Novorossiya was changing during the beginning of the 19th century due to the intensive movement of Russians who rapidly created towns, villages and agricultural colonies in the area.
The area was devastated as a result of bitter hostilities between the Russian Imperial Army and its opponents, and later completely rebuilt. Major Turkish fortresses of Ozu-Cale, Akkerman, Khadzhibei, Kinburn and many others were conquered and destroyed during the Russo-Turkish Wars and new cities and settlements were established in their places.
It started with the establishment of Novorossiysk Governorate administered from Kremenchuk city in the mid 18th century. Historically, the area was known as the Wild Fields for lack of scientific and historical information. It covers roughly the modern territories of southern Ukraine and southern Russia.
The western part of it (between the Dniester and the Dnieper rivers) was known as Dykra in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and subsequently the province of Yedisan, an autonomous region of the Ottoman Empire, and was previously inhabited mostly by ethnic Tatars Nogais who moved in the area during the Golden Horde conquest.
The Russian Empire gradually gained control over the area by peace treaties with Cossack Hetmanate and the Ottoman Empire at the conclusion of the Russo-Turkish Wars of 1735–39, 1768–74, 1787–92 and 1806–12. It also forcefully liquidated the Free lands of Zaporizhian Sich as they became inconvenient for Russian colonization. The colonization of the land at the end of 18th century was led by Prince Grigori Potemkin who was granted the powers of an absolute ruler over the area by Catherine the Great. The lands were generously given to the Russian dvoryanstvo (nobility), and the enserfed peasantry mostly from Ukraine and fewer from Russia were transferred to cultivate what was a sparsely populated steppe. Catherine the Great also invited European settlers to these newly conquered lands: Germans, Poles, Italians, Greeks, Serbs, and others. Over time the people living in eastern regions have developed a more pro-Russian orientation. In the former New Russia, the Russian language is common in cities and some areas outside, while Ukrainian is more prevalent generally in rural areas, smaller towns, and villages. With its history, the ethnic composition varies, including communities of Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians, Tatars, and many others. In 1922 the region was made a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by the Bolsheviks.
In modern terms it encompasses Donetsk Oblast, Luhansk Oblast, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Zaporizhia Oblast, Mykolaiv Oblast, Kherson Oblast, Odessa Oblast and Crimea in Ukraine, Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, Rostov Oblast, and the Republic of Adygea in Russia.
In the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary election, the Party of Regions, which often speaks out on behalf of protecting Russian language, gained a majority in the regions of southern Ukraine where the region of Novorossiya used to exist.
List of founded cities
Many of the cities that were founded during the colonial period are major cities today.
- Yelisavetgrad (Kirovohrad) (1754)
- Aleksandrovsk (Zaporizhia) (1770)
- Yekaterinoslav (Dnipropetrovsk) (1776)
- Kherson (1778)
- Mariupol (1778)
- Sevastopol (1783)
- Simferopol (1784)
- Melitopol (1784)
- Pavlohrad (1784)