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the historical name of the part of the Ukraine on the left bank of the Dnieper that was incorporated into Russia in the second half of the 17th and 18th centuries after the Andrusovo Armistice of 1667 between Russia and Poland. Also called the Hetmanshchina, it included Chernigov and Poltava oblasts, the left-bank portions of Kiev and Cherkassy oblasts, Kiev and its environs on the right bank, and the northern part of Dnepropetrovsk Oblast.
The Left-bank Ukraine had an autonomous administration established during the War of Liberation of the Ukrainian People (1648–54). The head of the administration was the hetman, who was formally elected at a general rada (assembly) of the cossack host. The region was divided into administrative units called polki (regiments), of which there were ten, and sotni (“hundreds”), headed by polkovniki and sotniki. These offices were also nominally elective, but in practice they were held by representatives of the cossack starshina (elders), appointed by the hetman; the appointments were confirmed by a ukase from the tsar. The hetman form of administration was temporarily abolished between 1722 and 1734 and permanently in 1764 and its functions transferred to the Little Russian Collegium. The Left-bank Ukraine retained limited autonomy until 1781, when it was divided into the Chernigov, Novgorod-Severskii, and Kiev vicegerencies. In 1796 it was renamed the Little Russian Province and was subdivided in 1802 into Chernigov and Poltava provinces. In 1783 the Cossack polki were converted into regular regiments of the Russian army.
After its incorporation into Russia industry, trade, crafts, cities, and commodity and money relations developed more rapidly in the Left-bank Ukraine than in the Right-bank Ukraine. In the early 18th century factories appeared, and the economy of the region became part of the national market, particularly after the abolition of internal tariffs in 1754. Serfdom was strengthened: the enserfment of the Ukrainian peasants was completed by the ukase of May 3 (14), 1783, and in 1785 the cossack starshina was placed on an equal footing with the Russian dvorianstvo (nobility). Monastic lands were secularized in 1786–87. In 1793 the Left-bank Ukraine was reunited with the Right-bank as part of the Russian Empire.