Ladies & Gentlemen,
Below is a new article from a brand new project of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine entitled “Cartographic Propaganda” by Ukrainian historian Kyrylo Halushko
1699: Emergence of “Little Russia” Instead of “Ukraine”
Under the young and energetic czar Peter the Great, at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Russian Czardom not only established itself as a European power and turned into an “empire”, but also formed its image in other countries. The educated European public and representatives of political circles of the era used the following sources of information: newspapers, various almanacs and geographic maps, which were more important than today. Jan Vermeer’s paintings show wall maps as regular elements of Dutch homes. Maps depicting the external world were a sort of CNN TV picture of the era. The events changed in newspapers regularly, but the outlook of nations in the maps did change not so often. The names and borders of territories were extremely important. Geopolitics of those days was based on those images.
Peter the Great did not like that Russia was named Muscovy on the western maps. Muscovy was something Asian or barbaric. Peter advanced the name “Russia” (“Rossia” – Greek name of Rus’, “Russia” – name taken from Latin) – inherited from Byzantium and Constantinople. “Russia” became a new brand. Some Russia-dependent territories, like Ukraine, did not look properly on the maps too. Popular maps of the era by French Nicolas Sanson depictured Ukraine as “The Land of Cossacks” (Nicolas Sanson I, Ukraina Paese de Cosacchi, 1678, Fig. 1). However, this led to the thought that “Ukraine” is not “Russia”. First maps of the epoch of Peter the Great were translated from European originals. Therefore, circa 1700 the only Russian map before 1917 depicting actual “Ukraine” emerged (Fig. 2, from the collection of the Kremlin Armory, electronic source). It was a translation from Sanson: “Ukraine – the Land of Cossacks”.
Peter the Great, however, quickly amended such a “nuisance” by removing the name of “Ukraine”. Different information was circulated at the European cartographic market. Then emerged the actively promoted in Europe map dedicated to Peter’s campaigns against Azov, a Turkish fortress at the Don River (1695-1696), where Ukraine is indicated as “Little Russia” (Pars Russiae Minoris in Latin). The map was printed in Amsterdam in 1699 (Fig.3). It was the first time. Since the ancient times, the Don (Tanais) was considered the eastern border of Europe; therefore, its conquest by Moscow turned it into a European state symbolically.