Prehistory and Foundation
The site of the present-day city of Galich has been inhabited by humans since at least the Neolithic period based on the discovery of archaeological finds known as the Galich treasure hoard, however it is officially considered to have been founded in 1159 just after the reign of Yury Dolgoruky who was responsible for founding many cities in what was then the north-eastern part of Kievan Rus. It is likely that Galich, like Kostroma and Moscow, was also founded by Yury Dolgurky as a fortified outpost of his Rostov-Suzdal Principality.
In 1237 the city was first mentioned in chronicles, under the name of Galich Mersky, in connection with being sacked by the invading Mongol-Tatar armies. In 1247 Galich, along with Dmitrov, became a joint centre of the Galich-Dmitrov Principality when the two cities and surrounding areas were given to Konstantin Yaroslavich a younger son of Grand Prince Yaroslavich Vsevolodovich of Vladimir and brother to Aleksandr Nevsky. The fact that Konstantin received Galich while his younger brother Daniil received Moscow shows how Galich was then considered to be more significant than Moscow. Konstantin Yaroslavich died in 1255 and was succeeded by his son David Konstantinovich, who in turn was succeeded by his brother Vasily in 1280.
Second Galich Dynasty
In the first half of the 14th century the Galich-Dmitrov Principality split into two and it is during this time it is claimed to have been purchased by Ivan Kalita. In approximately 1363 Dmitry Donskoy forced Galich's then prince to flee and the Galich Principality was incorporated into the Moscow Principality. Upon Donskoy's death in 1389, Galich, along with Zvenigorod and Ruza, were given to Donskoy's son Yury Dmitrievich thereby creating the second, Moscow, dynasty of Galich princes.
Moscow Civil War
Galich, as one of the strongholds of Yury Dmitrievich, played a significant rule during the Moscow Civil War of 1425-1453 as Yury and then his sons waged war against Grand Prince Vasily II. Vasily II eventually emerged victorious and in 1450 the Galich Principality once and for all became part of the Moscow Principality.
15th and 16th Centuries
In 1408 Galich became one of several cities to be sacked by the Tatar emir Edigu. Upon becoming a part of the Moscow Principality, Galich became an outpost and strategic in defending the principality from Tatar raids from the Kazan Khanate. One such attack came in 1523 when Khan Sahib I Geray of Kazan besieged the city but could not breach the fortresses and resorted to just sacking the surrounding area.
Time of Troubles and Redevelopment
During the Time of Troubles Galich was captured by Polish interventionists and was subsequently razed to the ground by the Lisowczycy group of Polish soldiers wreaking havoc in Russia at the time. However despite the destructive years of the Time of Troubles the city quickly regrew and developed a flourishing trade in fish from Lake Galichskoe as well as in furs from nearby forests. The part of Galich known as Rybnaya Sloboda (Fishing Settlement) was first mentioned in 1626. The money brought into the city was subsequently put to good use in building monasteries and churches in the city, during this period the city had 10 monasteries.
In 1708 Galich became part of the Arkhangelsk Governorate during the reforms of Peter the Great. The subsequent foundation of St Petersburg had a detrimental effect on the city's trade as Galich was located on the White Sea trade route via Arkhangelsk which was practically completely disused after the founding of Peter's new capital with access to the Baltic Sea. In 1778 during the reign of Catherine the Great the city became part of the newly established Kostroma Viceroyalty as the centre of the Galich District. In 1779 a coat of arms was granted to the city depicting armour and other military items on a red background. During this period a regulated city plan was also adopted.
The 19th century saw Galich redevelop as an industrial centre especially for fur, leather and brick production. The arrival of the first railways here at the end of the century further benefited the city's growing industries.
During the Second World War Galich was not occupied but its citizens nevertheless played their role in fighting at the front and 13 people from Galich were named Heroes of the Soviet Union, a relatively large number for a rather small city. Galich's industrial development continued into the 20th century and in 1961 its most famous factory was opened - the Galich Crane Factory - which till this day still produces cranes marked "Galichanin" which can be spotted all over Russia.