About Galicia

A Brief History of Galicia

  • Originally called Galicia-Lodomeria by the Austrians when they took that territory from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the First Partition of Poland in 1772, its borders varied slightly over the years, especially during the Napoleonic Wars, following which Krakow and surrounding lands were eventually added to the province.
  • The largest province of the Austrian Empire, Galicia bordered Moravia to the west, the Russian Empire to the north and east, and Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (Moldavia) to the south.
  • Returned to Poland when that state was reestablished after the First World War.
  • Divided between Ukraine and Poland after the Second World War. Today, the eastern half of Galicia is part of Ukraine, and the western half is part  of Poland. The term “Galicia” no longer describes an administrative or political region in either country. In Poland, Galicia is often called “Malopolska”, or Lesser Poland.
  • Bukowina, acquired by the Austrian Empire from the Ottoman Empire in 1775, merged with Galicia in 1787, became a separate province of the Austrian Empire after 1849, and shares with Romania a history of Turkish and Romanian administration that was not experienced by Galicia. Bukowina is not included in the focus of Gesher Galicia. Contact the Romanian Special Interest Group, Rom-SIG.

Map of Galicia

Major towns and cities in Galicia during the Austro-Hungarian period

The Pronunciation of “Galicia”

  • The pronunciation of the word “Galicia” is quite varied among researchers. The local pronunciation, if written phonetically by a native speaker of American English, would be something like [gal-EE-tsya]. The Polish spelling of the name is “Galicja.” The German spelling is “Galizien.”

More Information

Gesher Galicia is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people research their Jewish family roots in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire province of Galicia, which is today southeastern Poland and southwestern Ukraine. Our organization's primary focus is researching Jewish roots in Galicia, but the diverse community records in our databases contain names that span all the ethnic and religious groups who once lived in this region.

Search our free All Galicia Database, Map Room, and Archival Inventory today, and learn about our terrific member benefits for genealogists, researchers, and families, starting at just $36/year. You can join online!