Odessa or Odesa is the fifth largest city in Ukraine, with a population of 1,003,705. The city is a major seaport located on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea and the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast. The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement, was founded by Hac I Giray, the Khan of Crimea, in 1240 and originally named after him as 'Hacbey'. After a period of Lithuanian control, it passed into the domain of the Ottoman Sultan in 1529 and remained in Ottoman hands until the Ottoman Empire's defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792. The city of Odessa was founded by a decree of the Empress Catherine the Great in 1794. From 1819 to 1858 Odessa was a free port. During the Soviet period it was the most important port of trade in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base.
Contributions by Ikip, Barbatus, and Mzajac.