History of Belarus

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This article describes the history of Belarus. The Belarusian ethnos is traced at least as far in time as other East Slavs.

After an initial period of independent feudal consolidation, Belarusian lands were incorporated into the Kingdom of Lithuania, Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and later in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire and eventually the Soviet Union. Belarus became an independent country in 1991 after declaring itself free from the Soviet Union.

Contents

Early history

The history of Belarus, or, more correctly of the Belarusian ethnicity, begins with the migration and expansion of the Slavic peoples throughout Eastern Europe between the 6th and 8th centuries. East Slavs settled on the territory within present-day Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, assimilating local Baltic — (Yotvingians, Dniepr Balts), Ugro-Finnic (Russia) and steppe nomads (Ukraine) already living there, early ethnic integrations that contributed to the gradual differentiation of the three East Slavic nations. These East Slavs were pagan, animistic, agrarian people whose economy included trade in agricultural produce, game, furs, honey, beeswax and amber.

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