Bukovina (Bucovina in Romanian; Буковина, Bukovyna in Ukrainian; Buchenland or Bukowina in German; Bukowina in Polish), on the slopes of the Carpathian Mountains, comprises an historic province now split between Romania and Ukraine.
The term Bukovina has a Slavic origin and derives from the word for beech; the German equivalent Buchenland means "beech land". Most likely one of the names originated as a translation of the other. The name Bukovina came into use in 1775 with the region's annexation to the Austrian Empire.
Since ancient Roman times Dacian peoples (the ancestors of Romanians) inhabited the territory. In the 5th century the territory came under the rule of the Avars. Around the 5th century, Slavic populations settled in the region.
From the mid-14th century, this region became the nucleus of the Romanian Principality of Moldova, with the city of Suceava as its capital from 1388. In the 15th century parts of the region became objects of dispute between the Moldavian state and the Polish kingdom. In this period the patronage of Ştefan cel Mare and his followers on the throne of Moldavia saw the painted Monasteries of Moldoviţa , Putna , Suceviţa and Voroneţ erected. With their famous exterior frescoes, these monasteries remain some of the greatest cultural treasures of Romania today.
In the 18th century Bukovina fell under the control of the Ottoman Turks, then it was occupied by Russia in 1769, and then by the Habsburg Austrians in 1774. It remained under Austrian administration, in 1849 becoming a crown province.
In World War I several battles were fought in Bukovina between the Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian armies. Although the Russians were finally driven out in 1917, Austria would lose Bukovina with the war; the most part of the Austrian province, being majority Romanian, was reunited with Romania after the Treaty of St. Germain.
On June 28, 1940, Northern Bukovina was occupied by Soviet troops as a consequence of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Hitler and Stalin. Almost the entire German population which was settled during the Austrian rule of the Northern Bukovina emigrated into the Reich. It would change hands again during the course of World War II, notably when Petre Dumitrescu led the Romanian Third Army into the North. During World War II, the Jewish community of the Bukovina was destroyed by the deportations over the Dnester and Bug rivers. In the end, the northern part of Bukovina was annexed to the Ukrainian SSR, while the southern part remained with Romania.
Most of the historical Bukovina is now included in the county of Suceava of Romanian, the western part of Chernivtsi province of Ukraine and a small part became part of the Odessa province of Ukraine.
A compact Romanian minority inhabits the southern Chernivtsi province. The capital of the province is Chernivtsi.