The Hutsul (Romanian Huțul) are mountain peoples with occupations in cattle breeding, shepherding, forestry and timber, who live in the upper reaches of the river Prut, in Pokutia (Romanian Pocuţia). The origin of the Hutsul has been suggested to be from one of the migrating peoples – Cuman, Scythian, Celtic, Gothic, Dacian, or Romanian. However, they speak a dialect of Ukrainian and generally identify themselves as Slavic, but have many commonalities with Romanians in their language, costume and customs.
In the 9th century the political unity of the Ukraine was formed around the Poianian tribe of the Kiev region. Most of the original tribal names are only left as geographical and territorial names, but in the mountainous Carpathians some traces of the old tribal characteristics have been preserved in the Hutsul, Lemko and Boiko peoples.
The first references to the Hutsul date from the 14th century in current southern Ukraine. During the 15th century they settled along the river Prut, over the mountains and along the river Tisa into Maramureș, and along the river Ceremuș towards northern Moldavia. In the 17th century they migrated across the mountains to the upper Suceava valley. By the late 17th century there were around 40 villages in the upper valleys of the Moldavia and Bistrița rivers and further migration continued subsequently.
The population information (see Andronic, 1918) gives some indication of the situation in the early 19th century. Some villages are majority Hutsul such as Moldova Sulița, Izvoarele Sucevei, and Argel, other are mixed such as Brodina.
|Valley region||Village||Number of Hutsul|
|Brodina de Jos||307|
|Breaza se Sus|
|Breaza în Cel|