Since the Union of Horodlo of 1413, local nobility was assimilated into the traditional clan system by means of the formal procedure of adoption by the szlacht... Initially mostly Ruthenian and Orthodox, with time most of them became polonized. This was especially true for major magnate families... whose personal fortunes and properties often surpassed those of the royal families and were huge enough to be called a state within a state. Many of them founded their own cities... with settlers from other parts of Europe. Indeed there were Scots, Germans and Dutch people inhabitating major towns of the area, as well as several Italian artists who had been "imported" to the lands of modern Belarus by the magnates.Have you thought about Belarus, today's "History of" country?
January 17, 2013
"Throughout their existence as a separate culture, Ruthenians formed in most cases rural population, with the power held by local szlachta and boyars..."
"... often of Lithuanian, Polish or Russian descent. As in the rest of Central and Eastern Europe, the trade and commerce was mostly monopolized by Jews, who formed a significant part of the urban population."