Belarus Table of Contents
St. George, patron saint of Belarus
Period Description 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. FOURTEEENTH CENTURY 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'état takes place in Moscow; Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine declare independence. 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
Belarus Table of Contents