, bordered clockwise by Russia
to the northeast, Ukraine
to the south, Poland
to the west, and Lithuania
to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk
; other major cities include Brest
, Grodno (Hrodna)
, Gomel (Homiel), Mogilev (Mahilyow)
and Vitebsk (Vitsebsk)
. Over forty percent of its 207600 square kilometres (80,154.8 sq mi) is forested, and its strongest economic sectors are agriculture and manufacturing
Until the 20th century, the lands of modern day Belarus belonged to several countries, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire
1863 The January Uprising breaks out in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. The aim of the national movement is to regain Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth from occupation by Russia.
1942 World War II: In response to news of its coming liquidation, Dov Lopatyn leads an uprising in the Ghetto of Lakhva, in present-day Belarus.
1943 World War II: the entire population of Khatyn in Belarus is burnt alive by German occupation forces.
1990 The Supreme Soviet of the Belarusian Soviet Republic declares independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union. Until 1996 the day is celebrated as the Independence Day of Belarus; after a referendum held that year the celebration of independence is moved to June 3.
1991 Belarus declares its independence from the Soviet Union
1991 The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine sign an agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.
2006 Protesters demanding a new election in Belarus, following the rigged Belarusian presidential election, 2006, clash with riot police. Opposition leader Aleksander Kozulin is among several protesters arrested.