4. Land and Peoples Between the Empires (ca. 1700)

The 17th and the 18th centuries are marked by a steadier, though still multifaceted image of the vast region south of River Don bordering the Black Sea. This was also a time when the neighboring political entities interfered heavily in the partition and governance of such territories, specifically described as buffer spaces and lands occupied by colonists. The former evokes the memory of the hordes but also of the confrontation between the Turks and the Christians. The latter projects the intentions of political powers, as self-anointed bearers of prosperity and order. Both perspectives are exemplified in Guillaume le Vasseur de Beauplan’s Description d’Ukraine from 1660. Featuring a map drawn in 1648 by Willem Hondius (ca. 1597–1652), Beauplan’s publication established ‚Ukraine‘ as a geographical toponym across Europe. Cartographic and written works are prominent sources of information about statal and ethnic patterns. On the one hand, reports of diplomatic missions as well as those chronicling long journeys made to remote areas often include notes on politics and international affairs, military, architecture, and equipment – the reports compiled by a fairly unknown figure, Sieur Ferrand (1720 and 1732 ), being exemplary in that respect. On the other hand, with the deepening of geographical knowledge and cartographic techniques, when maps become transversal to various cultural milieus, there is a turn to a broader cartographic readership. With the imaginative power of the ’learned gaze’ applied to spaces and sites, there is a reinforced need for ‘chorographic’ and topographic visualization, exemplified on the Ukrainian side by Vassilij Grigorovich Barskij’s (1701–1747) sketches from his Pilgrimage (1778). The possibility of indexing places and peoples and an increased capability of mapping sites and territories result from the various strands of the Enlightenment converging from the East and the West at varied pace. [AT]