St. George, patron saint of Belarus
Chronology of Important Events
Late Emergence of Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic
state, which soon splits into a number of
principalities. One, Polatsk, becomes nucleus of
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
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
1772, 1793, and 1795 Russia, Prussia, and Austria carry
out three partitions of Poland.
Belorussia, formerly part of
Poland, now almost entirely within
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.
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
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
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
Data as of June 1995