Regional Maps – The Gesher Galicia Map Room
This section of the Gesher Galicia Map Room presents a wide variety of historical maps which depict Galicia at several levels of scale and context, and across more than a century and a half of evolution. Together, the maps illustrate the changing administrative divisions at and within Galicia's borders; they also chronicle the development of new modes of transport (by roads, rivers, and railroads) and communication (including postal, telegraph, and telephone). These regional maps served political and military purposes, enabled land and resources management, provided educational references, and supported tourism. (A small number of maps produced with unusual content within the outline of Galicia are shown separately in the Special Maps section of the Map Room.)
Many of the maps presented here are available in digital forms from public archives and academic libraries; where possible we have linked to the original source in the map description. A few of the maps were provided to Gesher Galicia from private collections and are not otherwise available in digital format. For links to these and other important resources for regional map research, see the Sources page in the Map Room, which also features links to the three Austrian military surveys of Galicia and to the WIG regional map collection.
The regional maps in the Gesher Galicia Map Room are listed and linked below by groups pertaining to scale and time; the maps are listed chronologically within each group. Feel free to browse the maps which interest you, or click on a group heading here to go directly to that subsection:
- Maps of the Partitions of Poland
- Maps of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
- Maps of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, with Bukovina and other Habsburg Territories
- Maps of Galician Kreise
- Maps of Interwar Poland (1919 to 1939)
For more information about how to interpret and use these maps for family history and other research, see the References section in the Map Room.
Maps of the Partitions of Poland
The Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ("Galicia") was created as a crownland of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1772 as part of the First Partition of Poland, an agreement with the Kingdom of Prussia and the Russian Empire to divide what had been the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Third Partition of Poland in 1795 added more land to Galicia, but for fewer than 15 years (see the Galicia section below).
Maps of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
This group of maps depicts the larger empire of which Galicia was a part. Like Galicia but on a much greater scale, that empire evolved from the 1770s until its dissolution after World War I; the changes complicate any study of central Europe, not only for the shifting borders and political alliances but also through the official and common names of the empire. Viewed from Galicia and Bukovina in 1772, the highest royal authority began with the Habsburg Monarchy, which included many lands and kingdoms, notably Hungary. In a defensive move against Napoleon, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II declared himself Emperor of Austria in 1804 and dissolved the Holy Roman Empire two years later, bringing to prominence (and rule over Galicia and Bukovina) the Austrian Empire; the Kingdom of Hungary was now independently ruled. The Duchy of Bukovina split from Galicia as a separate entity reporting to the Emperor in 1849, rejoined Galicia in 1860 and then split again in 1861, retaining separate status until the disintegration of the entire empire.
Following battle losses to the Kingdom of Prussia, in 1867, the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary reformed into Austria-Hungary (also known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire and by many other names) as a co-equal union and a major European power; this "Dual Monarchy" incorporated major and minor allied lands into Cisleithania and Transleithania, centered in Vienna and Budapest on either side of the Leitha tributary of the Danube. The union lasted some 50 years, until its defeat in World War I.
Maps of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, with Bukovina and other Habsburg Territories
Although the boundaries of the Kingdom of Galicia at its beginning in 1772 looked much like the boundaries at its end in 1918, in between there were many changes, both small and large; the historical maps linked here capture most of those changes. The largest of the changes was the brief addition of "West Galicia" (which included the city of Lublin and a large area east and south of Warsaw), but there were subtle (and often temporary) changes around Kraków, Tarnopol, and more. One caution about using these maps for research: sometimes the map date is out of sync with the actual boundary changes, and sometimes the map boundaries as drawn are based on inaccurate contemporary information. In the map titles below, unless otherwise noted the maps show boundaries of Galicia at least roughly similar to those in 1772 and 1918.
Maps of Galician Kreise
Within the Kingdom of Galicia, the territory was divided into administrative units called "kreise" ("circles", in German). The kreise were roughly comparable in size and population to small provinces or states, or large districts in other countries and at other times. Galician kreis boundaries shifted over the decades, as the collections of kreis maps linked here show. Knowing in which historical kreis one's ancestors lived can be important to locating records, and to understanding the relative importance of larger urban centers in those ancestors' lives.
Losy de Losenau Kreise Maps of Galicia and Bukovina 1790:
Von Schlieben Kreise Maps of Galicia ca. 1828:
Maps of Interwar Poland (1919 to 1939)
At the end of World War I, the Kingdom of Galicia was absorbed mostly intact into the newly-formed Second Polish Republic, and it would remain under Polish rule until the invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union which triggered World War II. At the end of the second world war, former Galicia straddled a new border between Poland and Ukraine.