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Title: Boyko  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Lemkos, Rusyns, Places inhabited by Rusyns, Ulucz, Masovians
Collection: Carpathian Ruthenia, Carpathians, Slavic Ethnic Groups, Slavic Highlanders, Ukrainian Sub-Ethnic Groups
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Boyko inhabitants of Galicia, lithograph from 1837
Regions with significant populations
 Ukraine 131 (2001)[1]
 Poland 258 (2011)[2]
Ukrainian language
Greek Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Ukrainians  · Rusyns  · Lemkos  · Hutsuls
Part of a series on
Lesser coat of arms of Ukraine
Closely-related peoples
East Slavs (parent group)
Boykos · Hutsuls · Lemkos · Rusyns
Poleszuks · Kuban Cossacks
Pannonian Rusyns
Architecture · Art · Cinema · Cuisine
Dance · Language · Literature · Music
Sport · Theater
Eastern Orthodox (Ukrainian)
Greek Catholicism
Roman Catholicism
Languages and dialects
Russian · Polish · Canadian Ukrainian
Rusyn · Pannonian Rusyn
Balachka · Surzhyk · Lemko
History · Rulers
List of Ukrainians

Boyko or Boiko (Cyrillic: Бойки, Polish: Bojkowie, Slovak: Pujďáci), or simply Highlanders (verkhovyntsi) are a Ukrainian ethnographic group located in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine and Poland. Along with the neighboring Lemkos and Hutsuls, the Boykos are a sub-group of the Ukrainian people and speak a dialect of the Ukrainian language.[3] [4] Boykos differ from their neighbors in dialect, dress, folk architecture, and customs.

In Ukraine, the classification of Boykos and other Rusyns as an East Slavic ethnicity, distinct from Ukrainians is controversial.[5] [6] [7] (The deprecated and archaic term Ruthenian, while it is also derived from Rus', is ambiguous, as it technically may refer to Rusyns and Ukrainians, as well as Belarusians and even Russians, depending on the historical period.) According to the 2011 Ukraine census only 131 people identified themselves as Boykos, separate from Ukrainians.[8] However, this figure is distorted for two reasons: some people otherwise identifiable as Boykos regard that name as derogatory,[9] In the Polish census of 2011, 258 people identified their nationality as Boyko, with 14 people listing it as their only national identification.


  • Location 1
  • Origin 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


The Boykos inhabit the central and the western half of the Carpathians in Ukraine across such regions as the southern Lviv Oblast (Skole, Turka, Drohobych, Sambir and Stary Sambir Raions), western Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast (Dolyna and Rozhniativ Raions) and parts of the northeastern Zakarpattia Oblast (Mizhhiria Raion), as well as the adjacent areas of southeast Poland and northeast Slovakia.

To the west of Boykos live Lemkos, east or southeast - Hutsuls, to the south or southwest - Carpatho Rusyns.


The name "Boyko" is thought by some to originate in their patterns of speech, specifically the use of the affirmative exclamation "bo-ye!", meaning the only or because it is so. Example: "Nu, bo vono tak i ye.", "This is the way it is." In this instance the word bo is unusual for the common Ukrainian language. It was first coined by the priest Joseph Levytsky in the foreword of his Hramatyka (1831).

One view proposed by Soviet scholars considers the Boykos an autochthonous population with specific language and dialectal features, of which their use of bo ye meaning "yes" is a prominent example (hypothesis of I. Verkhratsky).[10] An older view proposed by the 19th century authors I. Vahylevych, Ya. Holovatsky, and P. Šafárik links the Boyos to the Celtic Boii, a tribe unattested since the beginning of the Christian Era.

Most Boykos belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, with a minority belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The distinctive wooden church architecture of the Boyko region is a three-domed church, with the domes arranged in one line, and the middle dome slightly larger than the others.

The Boyko dialect is much influenced by the liturgic Old Church Slavonic language.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Ukrainian Census 2001
  2. ^ Ludność. Stan i struktura demograficzno-społeczna. Narodowy Spis Ludności i Mieszkań 2011 (National Census of Population and Housing 2011). GUS. 2013. p. 264.
  3. ^ [Richard T.Schaefer (ed.), 2008, Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society, Volume 1, SAGE Publications, p. 1341.
  4. ^ James Stuart Olson, Lee Brigance Pappas & Nicholas Charles Pappas, 1994, An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires, Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 109–110.
  5. ^ Professor Ivan Pop: Encyclopedia of Subcarpathian Ruthenia(Encyclopedija Podkarpatskoj Rusi). Uzhhorod, 2000..
  6. ^ Paul Robert Magocsi, Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture . University of Toronto Press, June 2002.
  7. ^ Tom Trier (1998), Inter-Ethnic Relations in Transcarpathian Ukraine
  8. ^
  9. ^ , vol. 1Encyclopedia of UkraineSofiia Rabii-Karpynska, 1984, "Boikos" in:
  10. ^
  11. ^ Boykos
  • Anatoliy Ponomariov. "Ethnic groups of Ukrainians" (in Ukrainian). Available online.
  • "How Rusyns became Ukrainians", Zerkalo Nedeli (the Mirror Weekly), July, 2005. Available online in Russian and in Ukrainian.
  • Short photo essay about contemporary Boiko life.
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