These men were free, as opposed to the serfs of the sixteenth century, and organized to fend off marauding Tatars.
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In 1385, to consolidate power against a growing Muscovy, an alliance between Lithuania and Poland was struck.
Thus, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were years of struggle to keep Ukrainian lands from Poland, Hungary, and Lithuania, as well as free of the boyars or noblemen who tried to take control.
The direct ancestors of Ukraine's population today were the Slavs.
The Slavs made their way into the Balkans in the early seventh century A. By the middle of the ninth century, however, what was to become known as Kievan Rus was still relatively underdeveloped.
Jaroslav divided his kingdom among his sons with the idea that the eldest hold a position of seniority in maintaining unity, but Kiev declined as the political and economic center of Ukraine as each principality lived almost autonomously.
Eventually Kiev fell to the Mongols in 1240, under Ogodei Khan and Batu, the latter being the grandson of Genghis.This led to a new ruling state with the hetman as leader and a tumultuous relationship with Russia in order to fight Poland.There was also a treaty signed with Muscovy in 1654 to help protect against invaders.Much of the ensuing progress is attributed to the Varangians (or Vikings or Normans) who visited Rus in the mid-ninth century.Following the reign of Oleh, Prince Ihor, and then his wife Olha ruled.The earliest evidence of human settlement in Ukraine dates back 150,000 years.