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Timeline Consequences of Border Changes
The History of the Administrative-Territorial Division of Belarus

by Nancy Holden

Year Ruling Country District Comments
1569 Poland Unification with Lithuania New economic opportunities for Jews
From 1569 - end 18th century Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Rzecz Pospolita
Territory of Belarus Polish nobility initiated a vast colonization on the steppes of Ukraine. The administration of these estates by Jews under "Agricultural arenda"
1648 Ukraine against Polish Nobility Great Cossack and Peasant Revolt led by Chmielnicki: Jews fled to Poland. Population turned against the Jews. Communities destroyed. Thousands massacred.
1654-1656 Grand Duchy of Lithuania Russo-Swedish War Russian armies to NE parts of Poland/Lithuania. In Mogilev Cossacks massacred the Jewish population.
1664 Grand Duchy of Lithuania Anti-Jewish riots in Lvov  
1680 Grand Duchy of Lithuania Anti-Jewish riots in Brest  
1687  Grand Duchy of Lithuania Jews of Poznan attacked  
1698-1704 Grand Duchy of Lithuania Blood libel in Sandomierz  
1700-1721 Eastern Europe Great Northern War Communities in NW Poland/Lithuania and Ukraine affected most of all
1734 Russia Haidamacks  Terrorize Eastern regions of Poland with tacit approval of Russia. Slogan: Polish Lords and Jews out of the Ukraine"
1772 First Partition of Poland Poland to Russia - 60,000 Jews Mogilev, Vitebsk, Mstislav, Polotsk, Eastern part of Minsk. Polish Livonia (Dinaburg) Massive adoption of surnames
1772 Poland to Prussia - 10,000 Jews Pomerania (not Gdansk), Malbork, Chelmno  
1772 Poland to Austria - 60,000 Jews Ruthenia,Buczacz (Podalia), Volhynia, Betz, Sandoierz (part), Aushwitz and Zator areas.Became known as Galizia. East Galicia until 1803
1772 Russian Empire The Formation of Mogilev and Pskov gubernias from some of the eastern parts of Belarus:The Mogilev gubernia divided into Mogilev, Mstislavl, Orsha, and Rogachev provinces; the Pskov gubernia divided into Vitebsk, Velikie Luki, Polotsk, and Pskov provinces.   
1773 First Partition of Rzecz Pospolita     
1775   Pskov gubernia provinces were further divided into uyezds: the Dvinsk province - into Dinaburg, Marienhauzen, and Rezhitsk uyezds; the Polotsk province - into Nevel, Polotsk, and Sebezh uyezds; the Vitebsk province - into Velizh, Vitebsk, and Gorodok uyezds.   
1776   Vitebsk, Dvinsk, and Polotsk provinces formed a separate Polotsk gubernia  
1777   The Mogilev gubernia was divided into 12 uyezds (povets, the term "povet" was officially used along with the word "uyezd" until 1840): Babinovichi, Belitsa renamed as Gomel uyezd, Klimovichi, Kopys, Mogilev, Mstislavl, Orsha, Rogachev, Senno, Stary Bykhov renamed as Bykhov uyezd, Chausy, and Cherikov uyezds.  
1793   Lepel uyezd was established.  
Between 1778 and 1796   In 1778, the Mogilev gubernia was renamed Mogilev namestnichestvo numbering 11 uyezds: the Drisa, Dinaburg, Lyutsin, Nevel, Polotsk, Rezhitsk, Sebezh, and Surazh uyezds. 
1778-1796   Mogilev namestnichestvo abolished in 1796, and the uyezds went into the Belarusian gubernia.  
23 July 1787 Austria All Jews living within the Hapsburg Empire to adopt fixed family names. Deadline Jan 1 1788 - Including Jews in Galicia.
1788 Poland Four Year Sejm  
1791  Pale of Settlement    
1793 Second partition of Rzecz Pospolita (1793) The central part of Belarus was annexed to the Russian Empire, where the Minsk gubernia was formed (in 1795-1796 - a separate namestnichestvo). The Minsk gubernia consisted of 13 uyezds: the Bobruisk, Borisov, Vileika, David-Gorodok, Disna, Dokshitsy, Igumen, Mozyr, Minsk, Nesvizh, Postavy, Pinsk, and Slutsk uyezds.  
1793  Poland to Russia Polish Ukraine (Volhynia, Podalia, part of Kiev) and towns of Minsk and Pinsk in Belarus  
1793 Poland to Prussia Parts of Western Poland; Gdansk and Torun, Gnezno, Inowroclaw, Kalisz, Kuyavia, Leczyca, Plock, Poznan, Sieradz Wielun, parts of Mazovia and Rawa.  
1795 Poland Kosciusko's insurrection  
1795 Third partition of Rzecz Pospolita The western part of Belarus was incorporated into the Russian Empire; the Vilnia and Slonim gubernias were formed.

The Slonim gubernia comprised 8 uyezds: the Brest, Volkovysk, Grodno, Kobrin, Lida, Novogrudok, Pruzhany, and Slonim uyezds.

1795 Lithuania,
Western Belarus to Russia
Including Vilna, right bank of the Neiman (Troki including Grodno, Samogitia) Novogrodek, Brest Litovsk.  
1795 Poland to Prussia Remaining Mazovia including Warsaw, southern part of Samogita and Rawa, Bialystok Region. South Prussia (Warsaw, Kalish, Posen)
New East Prussia (Bialystok and Plock)
1795 Poland to Austria Borders set between the rivers Bug and Pilica including Lublin and remaining parts of Mazovia, Krakow, Sandomierz, Ruthenia. New Glaicia or West Galizia until 1803
1795   A part of the Minsk gubernia was added to the Polotsk namestnichestvo (to the Polotsk and Lepel uyezds).  
1796   Polotsk namestnichestvo was abolished. It was incorporated together with the Mogilev namestnichestvo into the Belarusian gubernia (with Vitebsk as its center) numbering 19 uyezds: the Belitsk, Velizh, Vitebsk, Gorodok, Dinaburg, Lyutsin, Mogilev, Mstislavl, Nevel, Orsha, Polotsk, Rogachev, Sebezh, Senno, Chausy, and Cherikov uyezds.   
1796   David-Gorodok, Dokshitsy, Nesvizh, and Postavy uyezds were abolished  
1797   Rechitsa uyezd was included into the Minsk gubernia.  
1797   The Slonim and Vilnia gubernias were incorporated into the Lithuanian gubernia (with Vilnia as its center) including 19 uyezds: the Braslav, Brest, Volkovysk, Vilnia, Vilkomirsk, Grodno, Zavileisk, Kobrin, Kovno, Lida, Novogrudok, Oshmyany, Pruzhany, Rossiena, Slonim, Teleshevo, Troki, Upity, Shavel.  
17 April 1797 Prussia Legislation affected the Jews of New East and South Prussia but did not take place for 10 years.  
1801   The Lithuanian gubernia was a newly divided into the Vilnia and Slonim (from 1802 - Grodno) gubernias.   
1802   The Grodno gubernia comprised 8 uyezds: the Brest, Volkovysk, Grodno, Kobrin, Lida, Novogrudok, Pruzhany, and Slonim uyezds.   
1802   In 1802, the Belarusian gubernia was abolished, its territory was divided into the Vitebsk and Mogilev gubernias. The Mogilev gubernia was re-established including the former 12 uyezds.  
1802   The Vitebsk gubernia was divided into 12 uyezds: the Velizh, Vitebsk, Gorodok, Drisa, Dvinsk, Lepel, Lyutsin, Nevel, Polotsk, Rezhitsk, Sebezh, and Surazh (abolished in 1866) uyezds.  
1803 Austria   Merged to Galicia
1807- 1913 Grand Duchy of Warsaw Peace Treaty of Tilsit 1808- Civil records kept in Polish according to Napoleonic format
1807 Peace treaty of Tilsit   The Belostok region was a part of the territory which went to Prussia as a result of the third partition of Rzecz Pospolita (1795), and which was given to Russia in 1807 according to the Peace Treaty of Tilsit.  
1808   The territory was named as Belostok region and it was divided into 4 uyezds: the Belostok, Belsk, Sokolka, and Drogichin uyezds.  
1815 Kingdom of Poland full autonomy- Russian rule.   243,000 Jews - adoption of permanent surnames
March 27, 1821 - 1825 Kingdom of Poland   Central Polish Archvies.
Resolution: adoption of surnames results in massive conformity
26 Mar 1831 - 9 Jul 1831  Lithuania Russian rule interrupted by rebellion in conjunction with the "First Insurrection" in Poland.  
1836-1840 Russia The Vilnia gubernia (until 1840 - the Lithuanian-Vilnia gubernia) comprised 11 uyezds: the Braslav (from 1836 - Novo-Aleksandrovsk), Vilnia, Vilkomirsk, Zavileisk, Kovno, Oshmyany, Rossiena, Troki, Upity (Ponevezhis), Teleshevo, and Shavel uyezds.   
1840   Vilenskaya part of Northwest Region of Russia    
1840   Babinovichi abolished  
1842 Russia Novogrudok uyezd was added to the Minsk gubernia from the Grodno gubernia; the Vileika and Disna uyezds went into the Vilnia gubernia.  
1842 Russia Belostok was abolished and the uyezds were added to the Grodno gubernia; the Drogichin and Belsk uyezds were united into the Belsk uyezd.  
1843 Lithuania/Russia Some uyezds were given to the newly created Kovno gubernia. The Vilnia, Oshmyany, Sventsyany (Zavileisk), and Troki uyezds remained as a part of the Vilnia gubernia. The Lida uyezd was added to the Vilnia gubernia from the Grodno gubernia; the Disna and Vileika uyezds were added from the Minsk gubernia.
1842 Kovenskaya Guberniya formed out of Vilenskaya. 
1843 Russia In 1843, the Belostok, Belsk, and Sokolki uyezds were added to the Grodno gubernia from the abolished Belostok region; the Novogrudok uyezd was given to the Minsk gubernia, and the Lida uyezd - to the Vilnia gubernia.  
1852   Belitsa and Bykhov abolished  
1861   Kopys abolished   
1 May 1863   Vilenskaya part of Northwest region of Russia including Grodno and Kaunas  
2 Feb 1863 - 10 Feb 1864  Lithuania/Russia Russian rule interrupted by rebellion in conjunction with the "Second Insurrection" in Poland.  
September 1917 The Western region Mogilev gubernia belonged to the Western Region  
June - November 1917 The Western region The Minsk gubernia was included into the Western Region. the Vitebsk gubernia was included into the Western Region. The Western region was formed in June 1917 in order to centralize the local Soviets (councils). The center of the region was the city of Minsk.   
October Revolution 1917 The Western region After the October Revolution of 1917, the region comprised the Vilnia, Vitebsk, Mogilev, and Minsk gubernias  
September 1918 Western Commune of the RSFSR Minsk - into the Western Commune. Vitebsk September 1918 into the Western Commune of the RSFSR  
February 1918   After German occupation of some part of Belarus, the center of the region was moved to Smolensk.   
April 1918 The Western region Smolensk gubernia was included into the Western region.   
September 1918 Western Commune of the RSFSR The region was renamed as Western commune, which was abolished after proclamation of the BSSR (January 1, 1919).  
1918 Belarusian People's Republic (BPR, 1918), Belarusian People's Republic (BPR, 1918),  
1919 Poland Some part of Western Belarus was also included into the Belostok voevodstvo formed in 1919 with the Avgustov, Belostok, Volkovysk (from 1921), Grodno (from 1921), and Sokolka povets. The principal city of the territory was Vilnia. 
(Litbel, 1919) The Russian Empire The Lithuanian-Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic   
January 1 1919  BSSR The Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic was formed  
  RSFSR The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR, - eastern part of Belarus),  
January-February 1919 BSSR  Vitebsk into the BSSR   
March 1919 BSSR  Vitebsk into the RSFSR
January 1919 - BSSR  Mogilev to the BSSR  
February 1919 Lithuanian-Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (Litbel). A part of the territory of the BSSR was united with the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic into the Lithuanian-Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (Litbel).  
February 1919 RSFSR Vitebsk into the RSFSR.   
February 1919  RSFSR Mogilev to the RSFSR.  
1 January 1919 BSSR Minsk into the BSSR  
2 February 1919 Lithuanian-Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (Litbel). Minsk into Litbel  
26 April 1919 RSFSR Gomel gubernia was formed on April 26, 1919 (confirmed by RSFSR NKVD on July 11, 1919) in the territory of 9 uyezds (Bykhov, Gomel, Gorki, Klimovichi, Mogilev, Orsha, Rogachev, Chausy, and Cherikov uyezds) of the abolished Mogilev gubernia, the Rechitsa uyezd of Minsk gubernia, and the Novozybkov, Mglin, Starye Duby, Surazh uyezds of Chernigov gubernia.  
11 July 1919   Mogilev gubernia was abolished.9 uyezds went into the Gomel gubernia; the Mstislavl uyezd was given to the Smolensk gubernia; and the Senno uyezd was given to the Vitebsk gubernia.  
1919   Baranovichi uyezd was formed, the Rechitsa uyezd was added to the Gomel gubernia, as well as the Mozyr uyezd and some parts of the Bobruisk, Borisov and Igumen uyezds.  
August 1919-1920   Senno uyezd of Mogilev gubernia (July 1919) and the Orsha uyezd of Gomel gubernia (November 1920) were given to the Vitebsk gubernia due to formation of the Gomel gubernia (April 1919),  
1919-1920   The Gomel gubernia comprised the Mozyr uyezd, and parts of the Bobruisk, Borisov, and Igumen uyezds.   
1920   Nesvizh uyezd was established  
1920 Poland   The majority portion of the Vilnia gubernia was occupied by Polish troops.
Soviet-Polish War of 1920 Poland The western territories of Belarus (Western Belarus) were occupied by Poland and belonged to it until September, 1939. They were divided into povets which formed a part of different territorial-administrative entities.   
31 July 1920  BSSR The BSSR was restored including only the Minsk gubernia (without Rechitsa uyezd) and Belarusian uyezds of the Grodno and Vilnia gubernias.   
11 August 1920 Latvia The peace treaty between RSFSR and Latvia dated August 11, 1920, the Dvinsk, Lyutsin, and Rezhitsk uyezds went into Latvia.   
November 1920   The Orsha uyezd was given to the Vitebsk gubernia.   
1921 Poland Volkovysk and Grodno included in Belostok voevodstvo formed in 1919 with other parts of Western Belarus.  
1920 -1930 Poland Western part of Belarus to Poland  
Riga Peace Treaty of 1921, Poland The territory of the Grodno gubernia went into Poland; the former uyezds went into the Belostok (the Belostok, Belsk, Volkovysk, Grodno, and Sokolka uyezds), Polesye (the Brest, Kobrin, Pruzhany uyezds), and Novogrudok (the Slonim uyezd) voevodstvos. The western part of Belarus went to Poland.   
Riga Peace Treaty of 1921 BSSR The following 6 uyezds of the former Minsk gubernia remained in the BSSR: the Bobruisk, Borisov, Igumen (since 1923 - Cherven), Mozyr, Minsk, and Slutsk uyezds.  
1921 Poland When a part of the Minsk gubernia excluding the Bobruisk, Borisov, Igumen, Mozyr, Minsk, and Slutsk uyezds went into Poland, the Minsk gubernia ceased to exist.  
1921 Poland There were formed voevodstvos: Novogrudok voevodstvo (the Baranovichi, Vileika, Volozhin, Disna, Dunilovichi, Lida, Nesvizh, Novogrudok, Slonim, Stolbtsy, Shchuchin (from 1929) povets) and Polesye voevodstvo (the Brest-Litovsk, Drogichin, Kamen-Kashirsky, Kobrin, Kossovo, Luninets, Pinsk, Pruzhany, and Sarno povets)  
1922-1939 Poland Vilnia territory (formed in April 1922), which included the Braslav, Vilnia-Troki, Osmyany, and Sventsyany povets. Vilnia Gubernia was included into the Vilnia voevodstvo of Poland, the remainder part went into Lithuania, and a small part of the Vileika uyezd went into the BSSR.  
February 1923   As a result of uyezds' enlargement, the Gorodok, Senno, and Drisa uyezds were abolished; the Lepel uyezd was renamed as Bocheikovo uyezd  
1922 to 1991. the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics    
May 1922 BSSR Chausy and Mglin uyezds were abolished; the Surazh uyezd was renamed as Klintsy; the Pochepy uyezd was created.   
July 1922 BSSR The biggest part of the Gorki uyezd was given to the Smolensk gubernia. The Disna, Dunilovichi, and Vileika povets were added to the Vilnia territory.  
February 1923 BSSR The Bykhov uyezd was abolished.   
May 1923 BSSR The Pochepy uyezd was given to the Bryansk gubernia.  
March 1924 BSSR The Bykhov, Klimovichi, Mogilev, Rogachev, Chausy, and Cherikov uyezds, as well as a part of the Rechitsa uyezd were included into the BSSR,  
  BSSR The Klintsy, Novozybkov, and Starye Duby uyezds - into the Bryansk gubernia.  
March 1924 1st enlargement of the BSSR, As a result Vitebsk, Gomel, and Smolensk gubernias, where Belarusian population prevailed, were incorporated into the BSSR.   
10 March 1924 BSSR The Vitebsk gubernia was abolished in connection with the 1st enlargement of the BSSR. The territory of the Vitebsk, Gorodok, Drisa, Lepel, Polotsk, Senno, and Surazh uyezds was included into the BSSR; the Velizh, Nevel, and Sebezh uyezds - into the Pskov gubernia of RSFSR.  
17 July 1924 - 2 January 1925 BSSR According to the 2nd session of the 6th calling of the BSSR Central Executive Committee, there was abolished the old and adopted the new administrative-territorial division on the territory of the BSSR - okrugs, districts, and selsovets, the composition of which was approved by the BSSR Central Executive Committee and the Soviet of People's Commissars on January 2, 1925. There were formed 10 okrugs: the Bobruisk, Borisov, Vitebsk, Kalinin, Mogilev, Mozyr, Minsk, Orsha, Polotsk, and Slutsk okrugs, which united 100 districts and 1202 selsovets.   
June 1925 BSSR The Molodechno povet was formed as a part of the Vilnia territory.  
1925   Dunilovichi renamed as Postavy povet  
December 1925 BSSR There was formed the Vilnia voevodstvo including the Braslav, Vileika, Vilnia-Troki, Disna, Oshmyany, Postavy, and Sventsyany povets. Some part of Western Belarus was also included into the Belostok voevodstvo (formed in 1919) with the Avgustov, Belostok, Volkovysk (from 1921), Grodno (from 1921), and Sokolka povets. The principal city of the territory was Vilnia.   
December 1926 2nd enlargement of the BSSR,  The Rechitsa and Gomel uyezds were given to the BSSR from the RSFSR.   
8 December 1926 BSSR Rechitsa and Gomel uyezds were renamed as okrugs, and 18 volosts of the uyezds were renamed as districts.   
9 June 1927 BSSR Borisov, Kalinin, Rechitsa, and Slutsk okrugs were abolished; their districts were distributed amongst the neighboring okrugs.   
1929   Sarno given to the Volyn voevodstvo   
26 July 1930 - 8 July 1931 BSSR The remaining 8 okrugs were abolished. In the territory of the BSSR there remained only district (rayon) division. The number of districts was changing: 16 districts were abolished on August 4, 1927; 23 districts more were abolished on July 8, 1931.   
15 February 1935 BSSR 15 districts were restored.   
21 June 1935 BSSR According to the BSSR Central Executive Committee and Soviet of People's Commissars' Resolution dated June 21, 1935, the districts along the state border with Poland were united into 4 okrugs: the Lepel (4 districts), Mozyr (9 districts), Polotsk (5 districts), and Slutsk (6 districts) okrugs.   
15 January 1938 BSSR The region (oblast) division was introduced.   
20 February 1938 BSSR The 90 districts of the republic were distributed among the 5 regions: 20 districts were included into the Vitebsk region, 14 districts - into the Gomel region, 20 - into the Gomel region, 21 - into the Mogilev region, 15 - into the Polesye region. Okrug as an administrative entity was abolished.   
November 1939 BSSR
After reunification of Western Belarus and BSSR (November, 1939), 5 regions and 101 districts were formed on this territory: Baranovichi region - 26 districts, Belostok region - 24 districts, Brest region - 18 districts, Vileika region - 22 districts, Pinsk region - 11districts. The Vilnia territory and the city of Vilnia were given to Lithuania.   
World War II Germany The territory of Belarus was divided by German occupiers into General okrug "Belarus" which formed a part of the Reichscommissariat "Ostland", into rear region of the "Center" army group, and into okrug "Belostok" included into the province "Eastern Prussia". Some Belarusian districts were included into Reichscommissariat "Ukraine", and some - into General okrug "Lithuania".   
November 1940 Lithuanian SSR The Godutishki, Porechi, and Sventsyany districts of Belarus were abolished as their territories were included into the Lithuanian SSR.   
September 1944 After liberation of Belarus from German invaders 17 districts of Belostok region and 3 districts of Brest region went into Poland; the Belostok region was abolished.   
20 September1944 BSSR Three new regions were formed in the BSSR: the Bobruisk, Grodno, and Polotsk regions; the Vileika region was renamed as Molodechno region.   
8 January 1954 BSSR Baranovichi, Bobruisk, Pinsk, Polesye, and Polotsk regions were abolished; 
1956 - 1962 BSSR The enlargement of districts was carried out in the BSSR: in 1956,11 districts were abolished in 1957 - 3, in 1959 - 14, in 1960 - 15, in 1961 - 1, in 1962 - 54 districts; as a result, 77 districts remained in the republic. 
20 January 1960 BSSR The Molodechno region was abolished.   
1965 BSSR 23 districts were restored.  
1966  BSSR 17 districts were restored  
1991 Belarus Republic of Belarus is a sovereign state.  
1989 Belarus Dribin district of Mogilev region was reestablished.   
1 January 2000 Belarus The territory of Belarus is divided into 6 regions (oblasts) - the Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, Mogilev and Minsk regions, and 118 districts (rayons).   

2002 Belarus SIG