The first people appeared on the territory of modern Belarus about 100 thousand years ago. The current Belarusians are the result of a mixture of Dregovichi, Krivichi and Radimichi. In the 6th-9th centuries, such large cities as Smolensk, Polotsk and Turov began to be built here, around which the principalities of Polotsk, Turov-Pinsk and Smolensk were concentrated. In the 9th-10th centuries, these principalities were part of Kievan Rus. Later, in the 10th-11th centuries, the cities of Brest, Vitebsk, Minsk, Pinsk, Borisov and Orsha appeared. In the 10th century, Christianity began to spread here, and with it writing. After the Mongol-Tatar invasion of 1237-1240, these lands were captured by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The term “Belaya Rus” was first mentioned in the Teutonic chronicles. To protect their lands in 1569, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland united to form the Commonwealth. In 1596, the Brest Church Union was concluded, according to which the Belarusian Orthodox Church was subordinate to the Pope. Gradually, the nobility began to adopt Polish culture and language and began to convert to Catholicism, but the peasants and poor townspeople opposed this and retained their culture and language. The Commonwealth reached the peak of its power at the beginning of the 17th century, it was at this time that the name Belaya Rus or Belorussia was assigned to the territory of modern Belarus. For the next century and a half, battles between Russia, Poland and Sweden often took place in this region. The most brutal were the Russo-Polish War and the Northern War, as a result of which the majority of the population of White Russia died. Check a2zdirectory for old history of Belarus.
At the end of the 18th century, as a result of several divisions of the Commonwealth between Russia, Prussia and Austria, part of the territory of modern Belarus became part of the Russian Empire. In 1794, a national liberation uprising led by Tadeusz Kosciuszko took place in Belarus, it was suppressed by Russian troops led by A.V. Suvorov. In 1839, the Uniate Church was liquidated, in 1840 the Russian judicial code was put into effect, and the use of the term Belarus was prohibited. This state of affairs could not but excite the Belarusians, the Belarusian nobility and some part of the peasantry under the leadership of Kastus Kalinovsky took part in the Polish-Lithuanian uprising of 1863, which, like all previous ones, was suppressed.
During the First World War, in 1915-1918, Belarusian lands were occupied by German troops. On March 25, 1918, representatives of national parties and movements under the German occupation announced the creation of an independent Belarusian People’s Republic. After the Red Army liberated Belarus, the government of the Belarusian People’s Republic emigrated, and on January 1, 1919, the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed in Smolensk. A month after the proclamation of the republic, Polish troops invaded its territory. According to the results of the Riga Peace Treaty of 1921, the territories of Western Belarus with the predominant Belarusian population departed to Poland. In December 1922, the BSSR became part of the USSR. In the 1920s-1930s, industry and agriculture began to develop rapidly in Belarus. The Soviet authorities pursued a tough policy of Russification of the population, part of which was the language reform of 1933. On the territory of Western Belarus, which was annexed by Poland in 1921, a policy of infringement of the rights of national minorities was also carried out, opponents of the Polish regime were imprisoned in concentration camps. In September 1939, Western Belarus was occupied by Soviet troops and annexed to the BSSR.
At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the territory of Belarus was occupied by German troops. During the war, many concentration camps were created, where civilians were killed and tortured. In 1943-1944 Belarus was liberated by Soviet troops. In total, during the war years, Belarus lost about a third of the population, in addition, the main large cities and thousands of villages were destroyed here. After the war, the republic began to recover: industry and agriculture developed intensively.
With the collapse of the communist system, on July 27, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the BSSR adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty. On August 25, 1991, Belarus officially declared itself an independent state, and on September 19 of the same year, the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic was renamed the Republic of Belarus. In December 1991, after the signing of the Belovezhskaya Accords, Belarus joined the Commonwealth of Independent States.
On March 15, 1994, the constitution of the Republic of Belarus was adopted. The constitution provided for the creation of the post of president, vested with broad powers. In July 1994, presidential elections were held, which became Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenka immediately tightened the legislation on political organizations and the press, many opposition publications were closed. In subsequent years, demonstrations against the policies of President Lukashenko did not stop in Belarus. On November 24, 1996, a republican referendum was held to amend the 1994 constitution, which significantly expanded presidential power and extended his powers until 2001. The Constitutional Court and Parliament refused to recognize the results of the referendum. However, the president dissolved the Supreme Council and formed a new bicameral parliament, the National Assembly.
On December 8, 1999, Belarus and Russia signed an agreement on the creation of a union state. Yugoslavia also joined the union as an observer. In May 2000, the presidents of Russia and Belarus agreed to introduce in the future a single currency, common citizenship and a common foreign and defense policy. In March 2001, customs duties were unified, but later the Russian ideas were not supported by the Belarusian side and the introduction of a single currency, as well as other items, were not implemented. In September 2001, the second presidential election took place, as a result of which Lukashenka was elected President of the Republic of Belarus for a second term. In October 2004, a referendum lifted the two-term limit on the presidency. The opposition accused the government of rigging the results of the referendum,
On March 19, 2006, the next presidential elections were held, in which Lukashenka again won, gaining more than 82% of the vote. All CIS countries, together with Russia, recognized the elections as free and fair. However, representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that the elections were not free and did not meet the criteria for democratic elections, the US also accused the country’s authorities of falsifying their results. The EU heads of state decided to impose sanctions on Belarusian leaders, including President Lukashenko’s trips to European countries.