Key dates in the history of Belarus

6th — 7th centuries Penetration of Slavs into the territory of future Belarus

862 First mention of Polotsk in the chronicle “Tale of the Bygone Years”

10th century The city of Polotsk becomes the predominant center of power on Belarusian territory, competing with Novgorod and Kiev

988 Christianisation of Kiev by Prince Vladimir

1044–1066 Erection in Polotsk of St. Sophia Cathedral as a symbol of independent power

1067 The bloody battle on the Nemiga River. First mention of the city of Minsk — now Belarus’ capital

1020 — 1173 Life of St. Euphrosinia, granddaughter of Prince Vseslav; enlightener & God defender of Belarus

1161 The jeweller Lazar Bogsha, creates the Cross for Euphrosinia which is treated as the most respected Belarusian object of worship

1240 — 1263 Rule of Duke Mindovg, who consolidates east Lithuanian & west Belarusian territories into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) with the capital in Novogrudok

1315 — 1341 Rule of Grand Duke Gedemin, who transfers the capital of GDL to Vilnya (Vilnius) in 1323. Grand Duke Jagaylo concludes a personal union with Poland by marring the Polish queen & promising to catholicise Lithuania

1392 Grand Duke Vitovt is recognized by King Jagaylo as the independent ruler of the Grand Duchy

1410 The Great Battle of Gruenwald, during which the united armies of Poland and the Grand Duchy crushed the Germans of the Teutonic Order

1432, 1434, 1447 Royal Charters establish equality of feudal lords of both Catholic & Orthodox confessions

1468 King Kazimir’s Code of Laws (Statute of Kazimir), the first code of criminal & procedural laws of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (written in Belarusian) in which punishment is individualized

1498 The city of Polotsk is granted the Magdeburg Law of Rule

1499 The city of Minsk is granted the Magdeburg Law of Rule Early 16th century First Belarusian printing shop in Vilnya

1517 Luther’s “95 Theses” precipitate the Protestant Reformation

1517 — 1519 Francisk Skorina of Polotsk translates & publishes the Bible in Belarusian in Prague

1569 Political union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with Poland establishing the Commonwealth of Poland. Arrival of the first Jesuits in Vilnya; start of the Counter–Reformation in the Grand Duchy

1577 The city of Mogilev is granted the Magdeburg Law of Rule

1581 The city of Pinsk is granted the Magdeburg Law of Rule

1597 The city of Vitebsk is granted the Magdeburg Law of Rule

1654 — 1667 War of the Commonwealth with Russia

1668 Russo–Polish “Eternal Peace”

1696 By a decision of the Warsaw General Confederation, the Russian (old Belarusian) language is replaced by Polish in official documents of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

1772, 1793, 1795 Three partitions of the Polish Commonwealth among Russia, Prussia & Austria. All of Belarus is incorporated into the Russian Empire

1776 Most Belarusian cities & towns are deprived of their Magdeburg Law of Rule

1794 Anti–Russian uprising led by Tadeush Kosciusko

1812 Napoleon’s march into Russia

1861 Abolition of serfdom in Russia

1863 — 1864 Massive anti–tsarist uprising in Poland, Belarus & Lithuania led in Belarus by Kastus Kalinovsky

1882–1942 life of Yanka Kupala, people’s poet & national prophet of Belarus

1882–1956 life of Yakub Kolas, one of the greatest poet of future Belarus & public

1914 The beginning of the World War I

1917, April The Russian Revolution causes Tsar Nickolay II to abdicate

1917 Great October Socialist Revolution

1919, January The Foundation of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic

1922, January The Foundation of the USSR

1939, September The beginning of the World War II

1941 — 1944 The German Occupation Of Belarus results in the deaths of 2.2 mln people, the destruction of 209 cities & township & 9,200 villages and uncounted material losers

1945, April Belarus becomes one of the United Nation’s member

1991, August 25 Belarus declared independence

1991, December 8 Russia, Belarus & Ukraine form the Commonwealth of the Independent States. The USSR comes to a virtual end

1994, July 10 Alexander Lukashenko becomes the First President of the Republic of Belarus

1996, November 24 The new editing of the 1994 Constitution is adopted

1997, April The treaty to form the Union Russia–Belarus is signed

1999, December 8 The President of the Republic of Belarus Lukashenko A.G. & the President of Russia Eltsyn B.N. sign the treaty about the formation of the Common State

2000, January 26 Belarus & the Russian Federation exchange deeds about ratifying the Treaty about the formation of the Common State

2001, September 9 Alexander Lukashenko for the second time becomes the President of the Republic of Belarus

2006, March 19 For the third time Alexander Lukashenko is elected the President of the Republic of Belarus by overwhelming majority, (82,6% of voters)