About Belarus

Where: Europe-Belarus is bordered on the NW by Lithuania and Latvia, on the E by Russia, on the S by Ukraine, and on the W by Poland. Its area is about 207,600 sq km (about 80,200 sq mi).

Who: The estimated population for 2010 was 9,490,500. The overall density was about 48 persons per sq km (about 123 per sq mi). Minsk (pop., 2005 est., 1,765,900) is the capital and largest city, and the headquarters of the CIS.

When:Present-day Belarus is populated by Baltic and Slavonic tribes since the first century. As far as a Belarusian state, the state of Polatsk emerges in the ninth century, it is absorbed by Kievan Rus' in the tenth century. After the collapse of Rus'in 1240, in the northwest of present-day Belarus, the Great Lithuanian Principality state starts to flourish. The state is mainly populated by Belarusians and absorbs all Belarusian lands. The state language is Belarusian and the Belarusian culture dominates the country. Lithuania unites with Poland in a personal union in 1386. The two countries are united 1569 as the United Commonwealth of the Two Nations. Lithuania is from now on part of Poland. The Commonwealth includes areas from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Three divisions between Prussia, Austria and Russia in the period between 1772 and 1792 lead to the disapppearance of the Commonwealth. Present-day Belarus becomes part of Russia. At the end of World War I, in 1918, major parts of these region, now named Belorussia, are occupied by Germany. Later that year Belarus secedes from Russia as an independent state: originally a Belarusian Democratic Republic, but shortly after the Belarusian People's Republic. In 1919 the country is renamed Belarus Soviet Socialist Republic. At the end of that year Eastern Belarus merges with Soviet controlled areas of Lithuania into the Lithuanian-Byelorussian Socialist Soviet Republic. Poland and Russia fight a war in Belarus, in which in 1920 the Lithuanian-Belorussian SSR collapses. In 1920 the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (Byelorussia) is reconstituted, this republic joins the USSR in 1922. When the USSR invades Poland in 1939 Western Belarus is incorporated in Byelorussia. From 1941 to 1944 Byelorussia is occupied by Germany. The Republic of Belarus declared its independence from the USSR on Aug. 25, 1991.