Who are the Hutsuls?
The Hutsuls are an ethno-cultural group of Ukrainians, who for centuries have inhabited the Carpathian mountains, mainly in Ukraine and in the northern extremity of Romania (in the areas of Bukovina and Maramureş). Hutsuls regard themselves as being part of the broader Rusyn ethnic minority and/or as Ukrainian highlanders.
Hutsuls inhabit areas situated between the south-east of those inhabited by the Boykos, down to the northern part of the Romanian segment of the Carpathians.
Several hypotheses account for the origin of the Hutsuls. According to Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga, "huțuli" or "huțani" are denationalized Romanians. Other opinions show that Hutsuls descend from the White Croats, a Slavic tribe that inhabited the area from the 4th until the 12th century, or from the Slavic tribe of the Ulichs, who had to leave their previous homes near the Southern Bug river under pressure from the Pechenegs. According to Ukrainian sources, Hutsuls identify themselves as a part of Ukrainian ethnos, having at the same time their local identity as a sub-ethnos. However, many Rusyns disagree.