375"FAO's Information System on Water andAgriculture"(http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/countries/belarus/index.stm) .FAO. http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/countries/belarus/index.stm.Retrieved 4 April 2008.Stamp with the Cross of St.Euphrasynefrom 1992Position of Grand Duchy of Lithuania in Eastern Europe until1434.
lands that were not conquered by the Tatars(i.e., Polatsk, Vitsiebsk and Mahilyow) had been referred to as "white". Other sources claim that before 1267, the land not conquered by the Mongols was considered "White Rus' ".
In 2008, historian Ales Bely defendedhis PhD thesis,
Localization of the Choronym of White Rus' in the European Written and Map Sources of the 13th to mid-18th centuries
which demonstrated that
originally referred to the area of the Novgorod Republicconquered by the Grand Duchyof Moscowin 1478; in terms of present-day geography, this translates to Eastern Belarusand areas acquired via the westward expansion of Muscovyduring the Livonian Warinthe 17th century.The names "Ruthenia" and "Rus' " are often conflated with Russia, their modern derivative, and thus White Ruthenia is often referred to as "White Russia". Thismisinterpretation has been supported by the Moscovite regents after the fall of Kievan Rus'. The Moskovite dukes, starting with Ivan IV, considered themselves to bethe rightful successors of the Ruthenian grand ducal dynasty, and their use of the name "Russia" as referring to all former Ruthenian (i.e., east Slavic) lands became a political weapon and a casus bellifor claiming the west Ruthenian territories from Lithuania and Poland.
The name first appeared in Germanand Latinmedievalliterature; the chronicles of Jan of Czarnkówmentions the imprisonment of Lithuanian grand duke Jogailaand his mother at "Albae Russiae, Poloczk dicto" in 1381.
The Latin term "Alba Russia" was used again by Pope Pius VIto establish a Jesuit society in 1783. His official Papal bullexclaimed "Approbo Societatem Jesu in AlbaRussia degentem, approbo, approbo."
Historically, this territory was referred to in English as "White Ruthenia". The first known use of "White Russia" to refer toBelarus was in the late-16th century by Englishman Sir Jerome Horsey, who was known for his close contacts with the Russian Royal Court.
During the 17thcentury, Russian tsarsused "White Rus"" to describe the lands captured from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Belarus was formally named "Belorussia" (Russian: Белоруссия; the latter part similar, but spelled and stressed differently from Россия, "Russia") in the days of theRussian Empire, and the Russian tsar was usually styled "Tsar of All the Russias", as "Russia" or the "Russian Empire" was formed by all the Russias –the Great, Little,and White. After the Bolshevik Revolutionin 1917, the term White Russia caused some confusion as it was also the name of the military force that opposed the redBolsheviks.
During the period of the Belorussian SSR, the term "Byelorussia" was embraced as part of a national consciousness. In western Belarus under Polishcontrol, "Byelorussia" became commonly used in the regions of Białystok and Grodno during the interwar period.
The term "Belorussia" (its names in other languages such as English being based on the Russian form) was only used officially until 1991, when the Supreme Sovietof the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic decreed by law that the new independent republic should be called "Belarus" (Беларусь) in Russian in order to reflect thecorrect Belarusian language forms. The use of Byelorussian SSR and any abbreviations thereof were allowed from 1991 to 1993.
Conservative forces in the newlyindependent Belarus did not support the name change and opposed its inclusion in the 1991 draft of the Constitution of Belarus.
Accordingly, the name "Belorussia" was replaced by "Belarus" in English
and to some extent in Russian (although the traditional name still persists in that languageas well); likewise, the adjective "Belorussian" or "Byelorussian" was replaced by "Belarusian" in English (though Russian has not developed a new adjective)."Belarusian" is closer to the original Russian term of "bielaruski".
Belarusian intelligentsia in the Stalin era attempted to change the name from "Belorussia" to a formof "Krivia" because of the supposed connection with Russia.
Some nationalists also object to the name for the same reason.
However, several popular newspapers published locally still retain the old name of the country in Russian in their names, for example
Komsomolskaya Pravda v Byelorussii
, which is thelocalized publication of a popular Russian newspaper. Also, those who wish for Belarus to be reunited with Russia continue to use "Belorussia".
Officially, the fullname of the country is "Republic of Belarus" (Рэспубліка Беларусь, Республика Беларусь, Respublika Belarus" listen).
Main article: History of Belarus
Prior to First World War
and Neanderthalremains have been found in the region. From 5,000 to 2,000 BCE, Bandkeramikcultures predominated. In addition, remains for the Dnieper-Donets culturewere found in Belarus and parts of Ukraine.
Cimmeriansand other pastoralists roamed through the area by 1,000 BCE, and by 500 BCE,Slavs had taken up residence in the area, which was circumscribed by the Scythianswho roamed its outskirts. Various Asiatic barbarian by the Hunsand Avarssweptthrough c. 400–600 CE, but were unable to dislodge the Slavic presence.
The region that is now Belarus was first settled by Slavictribes in the 6th century. They gradually came into contact with theVarangians, bands of Scandinavianwarriors and traders.
Though defeated and briefly exiled by the local population, theVarangians were later asked to return
and helped to form a polity—commonly referred to as the Kievan Rus'—in exchange for tribute. The state of Kievan Rus' originated in 862 in the vicinity of either Kiev
or the present-day city of Novgorod.
Upon the death of Kievan Rus' ruler Yaroslav I the Wise, the state split into independent principalities.
These Ruthenian principalities were badly affected by a Mongol invasionin the 13th century, and many were later incorporated into the Grand Duchyof Lithuania.
Of the principalities held by the Duchy, nine were settled by ancestors of the Belarusian people.
During this timethe Duchy was involved in several military campaigns, including fighting on the side of Poland against the Teutonic Knightsat theBattle of Grunwaldin 1410; the joint victory allowed the Duchy to control the northwestern borderlands of Eastern Europe.
On 2 February 1386, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Polandwere joined ina personal unionthrough a marriage of their rulers.
This union set in motion thedevelopments that eventually resulted in the formation of the Polish–LithuanianCommonwealth, created in 1569. The Russians, led by Ivan III of Moscow, began militaryconquests in 1486 in an attempt to reunite the lands of Kievan Rus', specifically the territoriesof Belarus and Ukraine.
The union between Poland and Lithuania ended in 1795 with the partitioning of PolandbyImperial Russia, Prussia, and Austria.
During this time the territories of Belarus were acquired by the Russian Empireunder thereign of Catherine II
and held until their occupation by German Empireduring World War I.
Since initial independence
During the negotiations of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Belarus first declared independence under German occupation on 25 March1918, forming the Belarusian People's Republic.
Immediately afterwards, the Polish–Soviet Warignited, and Belarus founditself torn between resurgent Poland and Soviet Russia. A part of Belarus under Russian rule emerged as the Belorussian SovietSocialist Republicin 1919. Soon thereafter it merged to form the Lithuanian–Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. The contestedlands were divided between Poland and the Soviet Unionafter the war ended in 1921, and the Belorussian SSR became a foundingmember of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922.
The western part of modern Belarus remained part of Poland.
In the 1920s, agricultural reforms that culminated in the Belarusian phase of Soviet collectivizationwas set in motion. In the 1930s,the implementation of the Soviet five-year plans for the national economyled to rapid industrialization.
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