ZHITOMIR, or JITOMIR, a town of western Russia, capital of the government of Volhynia, on the Teterev river, 83 m. W.S.W. of Kiev. Pop. (1900) 80,787, more than one-third Jews. It is the see of an archbishop of the Orthodox Greek Church and of a Roman Catholic bishop. Two printing offices in Zhitomir issue nearly one-half of all the Hebrew books printed in Russia. The Jewish merchants carry on a considerable export trade in agricultural produce, and in timber and wooden wares from the forests to the north. Kid gloves, tobacco, dyes and spirits are manufactured.
Zhitomir is a very old city, tradition tracing its foundation as far back as the times of the Scandinavian adventurers, Askold and Dir (gth century). The annals, however, mention it chiefly in connexion with the invasions of the Tatars, who plundered it in the 13th, 14th and 17th centuries (1606), or in connexion with destructive conflagrations. It fell under Lithuanian rule in 1320, and during the 15th century was one of the chief cities of the kingdom. Later it became part of Poland, and when the Cossacks rose under their chieftain, Bogdan Chmielnicki (1648), they sacked the town. It was annexed to Russia along with the rest of the Ukraine in 1778.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)