Poltava

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Poltava (Ukrainian: Полтава, Russian: Полтава) is a city in central Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Poltava Oblast, as well as the administrative center of the surrounding Poltavskyi Raion within the oblast. The city itself is also designated as its own separate raion within the oblast. The current estimated population is 313,400 (as of 2004). The city lies on the banks of the river Vorskla.

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History

It is still unknown when the city was founded. Though the town was not attested before 1174, municipal authorities chose to celebrate the town's 1100th anniversary in 1999, for reasons unknown. The settlement is indeed an old one, as archeologists unearthed a Paleolithic dwelling as well as Scythian remains within the city limits.

The present name of the city is traditionally connected to the settlement Ltava which is mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle in 1174. The region belonged to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the 14th century. The Polish administration took over in 1569. In 1648 Poltava was captured by the Ruthenian-Polish magnate Jeremi Wiśniowiecki (1612-51). Poltava was the base of a distinguished regiment of the Ukrainian Cossacks and served as a Cossack stronghold during the Khmelnytsky Uprising. After the pro-Polish hetman Ivan Vyhovsky came to power and a civil war broke out, Poltava in the year 1658 under polkovnyk Martyn Pushkar was the leading town of the rebells, but was ultimately burned down and pillaged by the troops of Vyhovsky while many of its women and children were enslaved by the Crimean Tatars. In 1667 the town passed to the Russian Empire.

In the Battle of Poltava on June 27-28, 1709 (Old Style), or 8 July (New Style), tsar Peter the First, commanding 53,000 troops, defeated a Swedish army of 19,000 troops led by Field Marshal Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld (who had received the command of the army after the wounding of the Swedish king Charles XII on June 17). The battle marked the end of Sweden as a great power and the rise of Russia as one.

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