Historically, Minsk is an ancient town founded in 1067. In the Annals of Past Years Minsk (or ancient Menesk and later Mensk called so up to the beginning of the 20th century) was mentioned in the entry of 1067 as a fortress in the Polotsk Principality situated on the banks of the Svisloch and the Nemiga rivers and surrounded by swamps and woods.

Minsk has a very adventageous geographic position. This is why its histiry is full of blood-shedding warfare. The 1st one known to the scholars was registered in The Lay of Igor's Host. The unknown author described the battle on the banks of the Nemiga river in March of 1067 as a vicious and senceless massacre after which Minsk was ruined, its men murdered and women and children enslaved.

By the end of 11th century Minsk branched away from the Polotsk principality to from a separate Minsk Principaliry, Gleb Vseslavich being its 1st prince. In the beginning of the 14th century the Minsk Principality was incorporated by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a powerful medieval state with the Belarussians taking up about 80% of its population. In 1499 under the Magdeburg Law the city was granted the right of selfgovernment and land ownership, as well as certain privileges relating to crafts, commers, duties, etc. In 1569 the Grand Duchy of Lithuania united with Polish Kingdom to form a joined state of Rzeczpospolita. Not idealizing this union of the two countries we would like to note it as an example of European integration which took place more than 400 years ago to observe the common interests of the parties. Unfortunately, Rzeczpospolita was doomed to distruction and in 1793 the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was unified with the Russian empire, Minsk bing transformed into a gubernia (province) centre.

This transformation had a positive effect on the city's industrial and demographic development. Suffice it to say that in 1897 Minsk was inhabited by 90900 people as compared to 5800 people in 1796. Year by year, step by step the city was turned in one of the largest industrial and trade centres in the region. Minsk kept on its old tradition of being a place where the merchants from the four parts of the world meet until 1914, the year of the greatest shock for the whole mankind, the year when the World War I began.

The October revolution of the 1917 in Petrograd, the Civil War, the German and the Polish invasions with the consequent period of economic chaos had the most negative impact on Belarus. Yet, with great hardships the situation started to improve gradually. Minsk acquired the status of capital city, the large-scale construction program was adopted. It was the period of a relatively stable economic growth.

The news of enemy having crossed the western border in the small hours of June 22, 1941 was a complete shock to the communist leadership. Serious mistakes in the military strategy resulted in the fascists entering Minsk already on the 6th day of the war, June 28. The three years of occupation had a disastrous effect on Minsk. Its central part was actually rased to the ground, more than 80% of the dwelling houses were ruined. Only about 40000 people lived in Minsk by the time it was liberated on July 3, 1944 as compared to 270000 inhabitants on the eve of the war.

In the post-war period the Belarussian capital was practically built anew to become a large industrial, political, scintific and cultural centre. New enterprises were erected in that period - Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ), Minsk Tractor Plant (MTZ), Minsk Automatic Lines Plant (MZAL), Minsk Motorcycle and Bicycle Plant (MMVZ), Computer Plant, etc. Minsk is proud for its scientists and engeneers, writers and teachers, artists and sportsmen who have established Belarus internationally as a higly developed state in Central Europe willing to live in peace and friendship with all countries.

Despite of innumerable internecine battles, 8 great wars and 5 devastating fires which Minsk has survived throughout its histiry, the city has ever arisen from its ashes like the legendary bird Phoenix for a better life and a brighter future.

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