funkybelorussian logo contact learn Belorussian phrases
funkybelorussian home funkybelorussian samples funkybelorussian subscription page
Belorussian phrases
learn Belorussian language
 
 


A Brief Overview of Belarusian History

The region that is now modern-day Belarus was first settled by Slavic tribes in the 6th century. They gradually came into contact with the Varangians, a band of warriors consisting of Scandinavians and Slavs from the Baltics. Though defeated and briefly exiled by the local population, the Varangians were later asked to return and helped to form a polity—commonly referred to as the Kievan Rus'—in exchange for tribute. The Kievan Rus' state began in about 862 around the city of Kiev or alternatively around the present-day city of Novgorod,

Upon the death of Kievan Rus' ruler, Prince Yaroslav the Wise, the state split into independent principalities. These Ruthenian principalities were badly affected by a Mongol invasion in the 13th century, and many were later incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Of the principalities held by the Duchy, nine were settled by ancestors of the Belarusian people. During this time, the Duchy was involved in several military campaigns, including fighting on the side of Poland against the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410; the joint victory allowed the Duchy to control the northwestern border lands of Eastern Europe.

On 2 February 1386, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland were joined in a personal union through a marriage of their rulers. This union set in motion the developments that eventually resulted in the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, created in 1569. The Russians, led by Tsar Ivan the III, began military conquests in 1486 in an attempt to reunite the Kievan Rus' lands, specifically the missing Belarus and Ukraine. The union between Poland and Lithuania ended in 1795, and the commonwealth was partitioned by Imperial Russia, Prussia, and Austria, dividing Belarus. Belarusian territories were acquired by the Russian Empire during the reign of Catherine IIand held until their occupation by Germany during World War I.


Recent Belarusian History

In March 1990, elections for seats in the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorussian SSR took place. Though the pro-independence Belarusian Popular Front took only 10% of the seats, the populace was content with the selection of the delegates. Belarus declared itself sovereign on 27 July 1990, by issuing the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic. With the support of the Communist Party, the country's name was changed to the Republic of Belarus on 25 August 1991. Stanislav Shushkevich, the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus, met with Boris Yeltsin of Russia and Leonid Kravchuk of Ukraine on 8 December 1991, in Belavezhskaya Pushcha to formally declare the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States. A national constitution was adopted in March 1994, in which the functions of prime minister were given to the president.

Two-round elections for the presidency (24 June 1994 and 10 July 1994) resulted in the politically unknown Alexander Lukashenko winning more than 45% of the vote in the first round and 80% in the second round, beating Vyacheslav Kebich who got 14%. Lukashenko was reelected in 2001 and in 2006.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Home | Drop a line | Samples | Subscribe | Sign In | Belarus