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Belarus: Chronology of Important Events
Country Study > Chronology of Important Events


Ninth Century

Late - Emergence of Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic state, which soon splits into a number of principalities. One, Polatsk, becomes nucleus of modern-day Belarus.

Thirteenth Century

1240 - Belorussia and part of Ukraine come under control of Lithuania. Resulting state is called Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Rus', and Samogitia.


1385 - Union of Krevo joins Poland and Grand Duchy in a federation.

Sixteenth Century

1569 - Union of Lublin unites Poland and Lithuania into a single state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

1596 - Union of Brest unites Roman Catholic Church with the part of the Orthodox Church existing within Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Eighteenth Century

1772, 1793, and 1795 - Russia, Prussia, and Austria carry out three partitions of Poland. Belorussia, formerly part of Poland, now almost entirely within Russian Empire.

Nineteenth Century

1839 - Tsar Nicholas I abolishes Uniate Church and forces Uniates (three-quarters of Belorussians are members of Uniate Church) to reconvert to Orthodoxy; bans use of name "Belorussia" and replaces it with name "Northwest Territory."

1861 - Serfdom is abolished in Russian Empire.

1863 - Kastus' Kalinowski inspires uprising in Belorussia in support of Polish-Lithuanian insurrection against Russia. Insurrection fails, and Polish territories are absorbed into Russian Empire.

1864 - Kalinowski, considered founding father of Belorussian nationalism, is hanged in Vilnius.

Twentieth Century

1905-18 - Ban on Belorussian language is lifted; Belorussian culture flourishes; period of nashanivism.

1918 March - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed, putting most of Belorussia under German control. Central Executive Committee of All-Belorussian Congress (Rada) nullifies treaty and proclaims independence of Belorussian National Republic.

1919 January - Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republican (Belorussian SSR) is established by force of arms.

1921 March - Treaty of Riga divides Belorussia among Poland, Belorussian SSR, and Russia.

1922 December - Belorussian SSR is incorporated into Soviet Union.

1928 - Forced collectivization starts.

1935 - Belorussians in Poland opposing Polish government's policies on ethnic minorities are placed in concentration camp at Byaroza-Kartuzski.

1941 - Nazis create Weissruthenische Generalbezirk (Belorussian Military District) in central part of Belorussia, establish German military regime in eastern part, and parcel out remaining Belorussian territory to Lithuania, Ukraine, and East Prussia.

1944 Summer - Red Army "liberates" Belorussian SSR from Nazis; Stalin orders sweeping purges and mass deportations.

1986 April - Chornobyl' nuclear power plant in Ukraine explodes; radiation mainly falls on Belorussian SSR. Secrecy surrounding disaster galvanizes Belorussians to mount protests against Soviet regime.

1988 June - Mass graves of Stalin's victims are found at Kurapaty, near Minsk. Discovery of some 250,000 bodies brings denunciation of old regime and demands for reform.

October - Belarusian Popular Front is formed.

1990 June - Supreme Soviet of Belorussian SSR adopts Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic; Belarusian is declared the official language.

1991 April - Demonstrations are held in several cities over economic and political issues.

August - Coup d'├ętat takes place in Moscow; Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine declare independence.

August - Supreme Soviet of Belorussian SSR declares independence on August 25 and changes name of country to Republic of Belarus. Communust Party of Belarus is temporarily suspended.

December - Belarus signs Minsk Agreement, establishing Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Eleven former Soviet republics expand CIS by issuing Alma-Ata Declaration; Minsk becomes headquarters of CIS.

1994 March - Supreme Soviet adopts new constitution; office of president is created.

July - Alyaksandr Lukashyenka is elected president.

1995 May - Parliamentary elections are held; results of two rounds of elections are insufficient to seat new Supreme Soviet.

Data as of June 1995

Last Updated: June 1995

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Belarus was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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