FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS

Belaya Rus. The term «Belaya Rus» was for the first time used in the 12th century. Up to the 15th century it was also common in north-east Rus. Lands which are the Republic's territory today were originally called «Belaya Rus» in the 14th century and the name stuck FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS to these lands.

The origin of the name, however, has so far never been precise. Some researchers put it down to the white colour of local peasants' everyday linen clothes and to their fair hair. Others associate it with the direct meaning of the word «belyi» which stands for «clean FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS, non-occupied, free, and independent». They presume that old Rus's lands which had not been captured neither by the Mongols and Tatars nor by Lithuania were called «Belaya Rus» in those early days. Still others maintain that «Belaya Rus» was the land inhabited by Christians unlike «Chernya (black) Rus FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS» where pagans lived. There are also other versions of the name's origin.

The history of Belarus goes back to antiquity. In the Middle Ages the territory of present day Belarus was populated by Eastern Slavic tribes. The ancestors of the Belarusians were the Krivichi, Radimichi FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS and Dregovichi. They lived in the basins of the Dnieper and the Zapadnaya Dvina rivers where they hunted, fished and farmed.

In the 6th - 8th centuries they lived through the disintegration of the tribal society and the emergence of feudalism. The development of arable farming led to the collapse FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS of the kinship communities based on territorial and economic relations. The tribes began to develop external relations. There was a need in a united state, and it appeared at the beginning of the 9th century. It was Kievskaya Rus -the home of three fraternal peoples - the Russians, the Ukrainians and FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS the Belarusians. Feudal wars and foreign invasions plundered these lands.

In the second half of the 13th century the Grand Duchy of Lithuania annexed Belarus. In 1569 Rzecz Pospolita was formed with the aim to struggle against the Principality of Moscow. Later, at the end of the 17th century the Belarusian people FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS were placed in bondage to the Polish feudal lords who exploited them cruelly. It was also invaded by the troops of the Swedish King Charles XII. In 1708 the Russian troops under the command of Peter the Great routed the Swedish troops which were crossing Belarus to join Charles FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS's army. It was a prologue to the famous battle of Poltava which stopped the Swedish intervention. At the end of the 18th century Belarus was annexed by Russia.

In 1812 Belarus was invaded by Napoleon. A few months later the French were defeated and driven westwards. To commemorate FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS that event and to celebrate the centenary of the war with Napoleon the citizens of Vitebsk erected a monument which stands on the Uspenski hill.

On January 1, 1919 the Revolutionary Workers and Peasants' Government of Byelorussia proclaimed the formation of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1922 it became a member of the FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS former USSR. This act had a decisive impact on the development of its economy and culture.

In 1939 Western Belarus, occupied since 1921 by Poland, joined Byelorussia. By the end of the thirties a great number of large and small plants and factories were built throughout the republic. Minsk, Gomel, Mogilev FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS, Grodno, Vitebsk, Brest, Bobruisk, Orsha and other cities grew into important industrial centres. A lot of collective and state farms were organized, the national arts and literature, science and education developed rapidly. But the peaceful labour of the people was interrupted by a new war.

World War II FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS brought to the country innumerable losses. More than 2 million people or nearly every forth of the entire population of the country died in the war. Numerous Belarusian villages and towns were burned to ashes. But Belarus has restored its cities and rebuilt its economy.

Belarus proclaimed its sovereignty on FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS July 27, 1991. And since then the Republic of Belarus has taken its place in Eastern Europe as a new independent state.

15. Answer the following questions:

1. When was the term «Belaya Rus» used for the first time? 2. How did people try to explain the origin of the word Belarus? 3. Who FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS were the ancestors of the Belarusians? 4. Where did they live? 5. When did the disintegration of the tribal society take place? 6. What were the consequences of the development of arable farming? 7. What happened at the beginning of the 9th century? 8. What was Kievskaya Rus like? 9. What was formed in FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS 1569? 10. Who exploited the Belarusian people? 11. When did the troops of the Swedish king Charles XII invade Belarus? 12. Who routed the Swedish troops? 13. What country annexed Belarus at the end of the 18th century? 14.When did Napoleon invade Belarus? 15. When did the citizens of Vitebsk erect the monument on the FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS Uspenski hill? Why? 16. When was the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic proclaimed? 17. How did the economy and culture develop before World War II? 18. What damage did World War II bring to Belarus? 19. When did Belarus proclaim its sovereignty?

16. Agree or disagree with the following statements:

1.The ancestors of the Belarusians were FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS Anglo-Saxes. 2. They lived in the basin of the Svisloch. 3. It was Kievskaya Rus that united three fraternal peoples. 4. In 1569 the Mongols and Tatars annexed Belarus. 5. The Polish feudal lords exploited the Belarusian people cruelly. 6. The troops under the command of Peter the Great helped the Belarusian people in FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS their struggle with Napoleon. 7. In 1812 Belarus was invaded by the fascist Germany. 8. On January 1, 1919 the Revolutionary Workers and Peasants' Government of Byelorussia proclaimed the formation of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. 9. By the end of the 30-ies the life of the Belarusians was unhappy. 10. Belarus has experienced the horrors of numerous FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS invasions.

17. Put in the right prepositions where necessary:

1. Kievskaya Rus appeared . . . the beginning of the 9th century. 2. Not once Belarus was invade . . . foreign troops. 3. Some researchers put it......the white colour ... the local peasants' everyday linen clothes and ... their fair hair. 4. The French army was driven FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS . . . westward. 5. The peaceful life . . . Belarusian people was interrupted ... a new war.6. The history ... Belarus goes......antiquity. 7. ... the end ... the 17th century the Belarusian people were placed... bondage... the Polish feudal lords.

18. Choose a word from the box to put into each gap:

1.The history of Belarus ... to antiquity. 2. Feudal wars and FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS foreign invasions . . . these land. 3. In the 14th century the Grand Duchy of Lithuania . . . Belarus. 4. In 1812 Belarus ... by Napoleon. 5. In 1939 Western Belarus, occupied since 1921 by Poland, ... Byelorussia. 6. Minsk, Gomel, Vitebsk, Grodno, Mogilev, Brest, Bobruisk, Orsha and other cities ... important industrial centres.

was invaded, goes back, joined, annexed, plundered, grew FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS into

19. Fill in the table with the events from the text:

The 6th -8th century
The 9th century
The 13th century
January 1, 1919

20. Work in groups. Find out from your partners:

what they know about the origin of the name «Belaya Rus»;

who inhabited Belarus in the Middle Ages FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS;

what they know about the ancestors of the Belarusians;

what led to the collapse of the kinshi p communities;

what events took place on the territory of Belarus in the first half of the 20th century;

when Belarus became an independent state.

21. Prove that:

the history of Belarus is packed with FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS hardships and ordeals;

Belarus was invaded by Napoleon.

22. Imagine that:

- you are to prepare a report on the history of Belarus, you go to the library and ask the librarian to help you to find some information about the events you are interested in. Role-play a dialogue in the FROM THE HISTORY OF BELARUS library with your partner.


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