Hutsuls — an ethnographic group living mainly in Ukraine along the northern and southern slopes of the *Carpathian Mountains. According to present-day administrative divisions in Ukraine Hutsul-inhabited territory (Ukrainian: Hutsul’shchyna) includes: (1) the Verkhovyna and parts of the Kosiv, Nadvirna, and Kolomyia districts (raiony) of the Ivano-Frankivs’k oblast in historic Galicia; (2) the Putyl’ and Vyzhnytsia districts of southwestern Chernivtsi oblast in historic Bukovina; (3) the Rakhiv district east of the Shopurka River in the Transcarpathian oblast of historic *Subcarpathian Rus’; and (4) in neighboring Romania a few villages in that country’s Maramures district (judete) (see Map 3). The Hutsuls settled on the northern slopes of the Carpathians over a period stretching from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. At the end of this period (seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) they settled the southern slopes of the mountains in what is today Ukraine’s Transcarpathia and Romania’s *Maramures region. In these two areas there are only about 30 Hutsul villages. The Hutsuls have traditionally considered themselves to be different from Rusyns in the rest of *Carpathian Rus’. Beginning with the early twentieth century the Hutsuls gradually adopted a Ukrainian national identity.
The origin of the word Hutsul is unknown. Some ethnographers derive the term from kochul (nomad); some claim it is derived from the name of an ancient Turkic tribe called Utsians or Uzians; others argue that it is derived from hotul/hot, which in Romanian means a highway robber or brigand. Still others believe that the ancestors of the Hutsuls were the East Slavic tribe of Ulichians. The Hutsuls were first identified as a distinct ethnographic group by writers in Galicia at the end of the eighteenth century and described in some detail by the Polish writers Kazimierz Wojcicki (1840) and Jozef Korzeniowski (Karpaccy gorale, 1843), among others. Traditional Hutsul society is characterized by *patriarchal social relations and its economic life with transhumance, i.e., the seasonal movement of sheep between high mountain (polonyna) and lowland pastures, as well as with mountain agriculture and forestry. (See also Architecture; Ethnography; Patriarchal society) Bibliography: Raimund Kaindl, Die Huzulen: Ihr Leben, ihre Sitten und ihre Volksuberlieferung (Vienna, 1894); Volodymyr Shukhevych, Hutsul’shchyna, 5 vols. (L’viv, 1899-1908)—Polish ed. Wlodzimierz Szuchewicz, Huculszczyzna, 4 vols. (Cracow, 1902-08); Volodymyr Hnatiuk, “Hutsuly,” Podkarpatska Rus’, I, 1, 2, 3, 4 (Uzhhorod, 1924), pp. 19-23, 43-50, 79-85, and 110-114; Stanislaw Wincenz, Na wysokiej poloninie (1936, rev. ed. 1956, repr. 1983)—English ed. On the High Uplands (New York, 1955); Volodymyr Hrabovets’kyi, Hutsul’shchyna XIII-XIX stolit’: istorychnyi narys (Kiev, 1982); Iurii H. Hoshko, ed., Hutsul’shchyna: istoryko-etnohrafichne doslidzhennia (Kiev, 1987).
Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.