First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state that existed in southeastern Europe between the 7th and 11th centuries AD. It was founded circa 681 when Bulgar tribes led by Asparukh moved to the north-eastern Balkans, there they secured Byzantine recognition of their right to settle south of the Danube by defeating – possibly with the help of local South Slavic tribes – the Byzantine army led by Constantine IV. At the height of its power, Bulgaria spread from the Danube Bend to the Black Sea, as the state solidified its position in the Balkans, it entered into a centuries-long interaction, sometimes friendly and sometimes hostile, with the Byzantine Empire. Bulgaria emerged as Byzantiums chief antagonist to its north, resulting in several wars, Byzantium had a strong cultural influence on Bulgaria, which led to the eventual adoption of Christianity in 864. After the disintegration of the Avar Khaganate, the country expanded its territory northwest to the Pannonian Plain, the Bulgarians confronted the advance of the Pechenegs and Cumans, and achieved a decisive victory over the Magyars, forcing them to establish themselves permanently in Pannonia.
During the late 9th and early 10th centuries, Simeon I achieved a string of victories over the Byzantines, thereafter, he was recognized with the title of Emperor, and proceeded to expand the state to its greatest extent. After the annihilation of the Byzantine army in the battle of Anchialus in 917, the Byzantines, eventually recovered, and in 1014, under Basil II, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Bulgarians at the Battle of Kleidion. By 1018, the last Bulgarian strongholds had surrendered to the Byzantine Empire, and it was succeeded by the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1185. After the adoption of Christianity, Bulgaria became the center of Slavic Europe. Old Bulgarian became the lingua franca of much of Eastern Europe, in 927, the fully independent Bulgarian Patriarchate was officially recognized. The Bulgars and other tribes in the empire gradually adopted an essentially foreign Slavic language. Since the late 9th century, the names Bulgarians and Bulgarian gained prevalence and became permanent designations for the local population, the First Bulgarian Empire became known simply as Bulgaria since its recognition by the Byzantine Empire in 681.
Some historians use the terms Danube Bulgaria, First Bulgarian State, during its early existence, the country was called the Bulgar state or Bulgar qaghanate. Between 864 and 917/927, the country was known as the Principality of Bulgaria or Knyazhestvo Bulgaria, in English language sources, the country is often known as the Bulgarian Empire. The eastern Balkan Peninsula was originally inhabited by the Thracians who were a group of Proto-Indo-European tribes, the whole region as far north as the Danube River was gradually incorporated into the Roman Empire by the 1st century AD. The decline of the Roman Empire after the 3rd century AD, nonetheless, it never relinquished the claim to the whole region up to the Danube. A series of administrative, legislative and economic reforms somewhat improved the situation, the group of Slavs that came to be known as the South Slavs was divided into Antes and Sclaveni who spoke the same language. The Slavic incursions in the Balkans increased during the half of Justinian Is reign and while these were initially pillaging raids
Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius were two brothers who were Byzantine Christian theologians and Christian missionaries. Through their work influenced the cultural development of all Slavs. They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used to transcribe Old Church Slavonic, after their deaths, their pupils continued their missionary work among other Slavs. Both brothers are venerated in the Orthodox Church as saints with the title of equal-to-apostles, in 1880, Pope Leo XIII introduced their feast into the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared them co-patron saints of Europe, the two brothers were born in Thessalonica, in present-day Greece – Cyril in about 827–828 and Methodius about 815–820. Cyril was reputedly the youngest of seven brothers, he was born Constantine, Methodius was born Michael and took the name Methodius upon becoming a monk at Mysian Olympus, in northwest Turkey. Their father was Leo, a droungarios of the Byzantine theme of Thessalonica, the exact ethnic origins of the brothers are unknown, there is controversy as to whether Cyril and Methodius were of Slavic or Byzantine Greek origin, or both.
The two brothers lost their father when Cyril was fourteen, and the powerful minister Theoktistos, who was logothetes tou dromou, one of the ministers of the Empire. Cyril was ordained as priest some time after his education, while his brother Methodius remained only a deacon until 867/868, Cyrils mastery of theology and command of both Arabic and Hebrew made him eligible for his first state mission. He was sent to the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil to discuss the principle of the Holy Trinity with the Arab theologians and this mission was unsuccessful, as the Khagan imposed Judaism on his people as the national religion. It has been claimed that Methodius accompanied Cyril on the mission to the Khazars, the account of his life presented in the Latin Legenda claims that he learned the Khazar language while in Chersonesos, in Taurica. In 862, the brothers began the work which would give them their historical importance and that year Prince Rastislav of Great Moravia requested that Emperor Michael III and the Patriarch Photius send missionaries to evangelize his Slavic subjects.
His motives in doing so were more political than religious. Rastislav had become king with the support of the Frankish ruler Louis the German, Rastislav is said to have expelled missionaries of the Roman Church and instead turned to Constantinople for ecclesiastical assistance and, presumably, a degree of political support. The Emperor quickly chose to send Cyril, accompanied by his brother Methodius, the request provided a convenient opportunity to expand Byzantine influence. Their first work seems to have been the training of assistants, in 863, they began the task of translating the Bible into the language now known as Old Church Slavonic and travelled to Great Moravia to promote it. They enjoyed considerable success in this endeavour, they came into conflict with German ecclesiastics who opposed their efforts to create a specifically Slavic liturgy. For the purpose of mission, they devised the Glagolitic alphabet
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia. Julius Pokorny believes the name Pannonia is derived from Illyrian, from the Proto-Indo-European root *pen-, water, the Ionian Danube fleet reached as far as Boio-Aria, populated until the late 8th century CE by Celts and Slavs under Aryan rulers. Pliny the Elder, in Natural History, places the eastern regions of the Hercynium jugum and he gives us some dramaticised description of its composition, in which the close proximity of the forest trees causes competitive struggle among them. But even he—if the passage in question is not an interpolated marginal gloss—is subject to the legends of the gloomy forest and he mentions unusual birds, which have feathers that shine like fires at night. Medieval bestiaries named these birds the Ercinee, the first inhabitants of this area known to history were the Pannonii, a group of Indo-European tribes akin to Illyrians.
From the 4th century BC, it was invaded by various Celtic tribes, little is heard of Pannonia until 35 BC, when its inhabitants, allies of the Dalmatians, were attacked by Augustus, who conquered and occupied Siscia. The country was not, definitively subdued by the Romans until 9 BC, when it was incorporated into Illyricum, the frontier of which was thus extended as far as the Danube. After the rebellion was crushed in AD9, the province of Illyricum was dissolved, the date of the division is unknown, most certainly after AD20 but before AD50. The proximity of dangerous barbarian tribes necessitated the presence of a number of troops. Some time between the years 102 and 107, between the first and second Dacian wars, Trajan divided the province into Pannonia Superior, and Pannonia Inferior. According to Ptolemy, these divisions were separated by a line drawn from Arrabona in the north to Servitium in the south, the whole country was sometimes called the Pannonias. Pannonia Superior was under the legate, who had formerly administered the single province.
Pannonia Inferior was at first under a praetorian legate with a single legion as the garrison, after Marcus Aurelius, it was under a consular legate, the frontier on the Danube was protected by the establishment of the two colonies Aelia Mursia and Aelia Aquincum by Hadrian. In the 4th-5th century, one of the dioceses of the Roman Empire was known as the Diocese of Pannonia. It had its capital in Sirmium and included all four provinces that were formed from historical Pannonia, as well as the provinces of Dalmatia, following the Migrations Period in the middle of the 5th century, Pannonia was ceded to the Huns by Theodosius II. After the collapse of the Hunnic empire in 454, large numbers of Ostrogoths were settled by Emperor Marcian in the province as foederati, afterwards, it was again invaded by the Avars in the 560s, the Slavs, who first settled c. This language and the culture became extinct with the arrival of the Magyars. The native settlements consisted of pagi containing a number of vici, the cities and towns in Pannonia were, The country was fairly productive, especially after the great forests had been cleared by Probus and Galerius
The peninsula is located south of the Ukrainian region of Kherson and west of the Russian region of Kuban. It is connected to Kherson Oblast by the Isthmus of Perekop and is separated from Kuban by the Strait of Kerch, the Arabat Spit is located to the northeast, a narrow strip of land that separates a system of lagoons named Sivash from the Sea of Azov. Crimea has historically been at the boundary between the world and the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Crimea and adjacent territories were united in the Crimean Khanate during the 15th to 18th century, in 1783, Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empire. It became the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within newly independent Ukraine in 1991, with Sevastopol having its own administration, within Ukraine, the ex-Soviet Black Sea Fleet and its facilities were divided between Russias Black Sea Fleet and the Ukrainian Naval Forces. The two navies shared some of the harbours and piers, while others were demilitarised or used by either country. Sevastopol remained the location of the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters with the Ukrainian Naval Forces Headquarters based in the city, most of the international community does not recognize the annexation and considers Crimea to be Ukrainian territory.
Russia currently administers the peninsula as two federal subjects, the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. Ukraine continues to assert its right over the peninsula, the classical name Tauris or Taurica is from the Greek Ταυρική, after the peninsulas Scytho-Cimmerian inhabitants, the Tauri. In English usage since the modern period the Crimean Khanate is referred to as Crim Tartary. The Italian form Crimea becomes current during the 18th century, the omission of the definite article in English became common during the 20th century. The name Crimea follows the Italian form from the Crimean Tatar name for the city Qırım which served as a capital of the Crimean province of the Golden Horde, the name of the capital was extended to the entire peninsula at some point during Ottoman suzerainty. The origin of the word Qırım is uncertain, suggestions argued in various sources include, a corruption of Cimmerium. A derivation from the Turkic term qirum, from qori-, other suggestions that have not been supported by sources but are apparently based on similarity in sound include, a derivation from the Greek Cremnoi.
However, he identifies the port, not in Crimea, no evidence has been identified that this name was ever in use for the peninsula. The classical name was revived in 1802 in the name of the Russian Taurida Governorate, in the 8th century BCE the Cimmerians migrated to the region and subsequently the Scythians as well it being the site of Greek colonies. The most important city was Chersonesos at the edge of todays Sevastopol, the Persian Achaemenid Empire expanded to Crimea. Later occupiers included the Romans, Huns, the Byzantine Empire, the Kipchaks, the Golden Horde, consideration of the succeeding residents of the peninsula by their linguistic grouping is of relevance
Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. The building was converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935, famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have changed the history of architecture. It remained the worlds largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years and it was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The church contained a collection of relics and featured, among other things. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, by that point, the church had fallen into a state of disrepair. Nevertheless, the Christian cathedral made an impression on the new Ottoman rulers. Islamic features—such as the mihrab and four minarets—were added and it remained a mosque until 1931, when it was closed to the public for four years.
It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey, Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting almost 3.3 million visitors annually. According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, from its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul. The first church on the site was known as the Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, or in Latin Magna Ecclesia, inaugurated on 15 February 360 by the Arian bishop Eudoxius of Antioch, it was built next to the area where the imperial palace was being developed. The nearby Hagia Eirene church was completed earlier and served as cathedral until the Great Church was completed, both churches acted together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire. Writing in 440, Socrates of Constantinople claimed that the church was built by Constantius II, a tradition which is not older than the 7th or 8th century, reports that the edifice was built by Constantine the Great.
Zonaras reconciles the two opinions, writing that Constantius had repaired the edifice consecrated by Eusebius of Nicomedia, after it had collapsed. Since Eusebius was bishop of Constantinople from 339 to 341, and Constantine died in 337, the edifice was built as a traditional Latin colonnaded basilica with galleries and a wooden roof. It was preceded by an atrium and it was claimed to be one of the worlds most outstanding monuments at the time. The Patriarch of Constantinople John Chrysostom came into a conflict with Empress Aelia Eudoxia, wife of the emperor Arcadius, during the subsequent riots, this first church was largely burned down. Nothing remains of the first church today, a second church on the site was ordered by Theodosius II, who inaugurated it on 10 October 415
Colonies in antiquity
Colonies in antiquity were city-states founded from a mother-city, not from a territory-at-large. Bonds between a colony and its metropolis remained often close, and took specific forms, unlike in the period of European colonialism during the early and late modern era, ancient colonies were usually sovereign and self-governing from their inception. An Egyptian colony that was stationed in southern Canaan dates to slightly before the First Dynasty, narmer had Egyptian pottery produced in Canaan and exported back to Egypt, from regions such as Arad, En Besor and Tel ʿErani. Shipbuilding was known to the ancient Egyptians as early as 3000 BC, the Archaeological Institute of America reports that the earliest dated ship—75 feet long, dating to 3000 BC – may have possibly belonged to Pharaoh Aha. Egypt at its height controlled Crete across the Mediterranean Sea, the Phoenicians were the major trading power in the Mediterranean in the early part of the first millennium BC. They had trading contacts in Egypt and Greece, and established colonies as far west as modern Spain, from Gadir the Phoenicians controlled access to the Atlantic Ocean and the trade routes to Britain.
The most famous and successful of Phoenician colonies was founded by settlers from Tyre in 814–813 BC and called Kart-Hadasht (Qart-ḥadašt, the Carthaginians founded their own colony in the southeast of Spain, Carthago Nova, which was eventually conquered by their enemy, Rome. But in most cases the motivation was to establish and facilitate relations of trade with foreign countries, colonies were established in Ionia and Thrace as early as the 8th century BC. There were two types of colony, one known as an ἀποικία - apoikia and the other as an ἐμπορίov - emporion. The first type of colony was a city-state on its own, through this Greek expansion the use of coins flourished throughout the Mediterranean Basin. The Greeks colonised modern-day Crimea on the Black Sea, among the settlements they established there was the city of Chersonesos, at the site of modern-day Sevastopol. Another area with significant Greek colonies was the coast of ancient Illyria on the Adriatic Sea, the extensive Greek colonization is remarked upon by Cicero when noting that It were as though a Greek fringe has been woven about the shores of the barbarians.
Several formulae were generally adhered to on the solemn and sacred occasions when a new colony set forth, if a Greek city was sending out a colony, an oracle, especially one such as the Oracle of Delphi, was almost invariably consulted beforehand. A person of distinction was selected to guide the emigrants and make the necessary arrangements and it was usual to honor these founders of colonies, after their death, as heroes. Some of the fire was taken from the public hearth in the Prytaneum. After the conquests of the Macedonian Kingdom and Alexander the Great, the relation between colony and mother-city, known literally as the metropolis, was viewed as one of mutual affection. Any differences that arose were resolved by peaceful means whenever possible and it is worth noting that the Peloponnesian War was in part a result of a dispute between Corinth and her colony of Corcyra. The charter of foundation contained general provisions for the arrangement of the affairs of the colony, the constitution of the mother-city was usually adopted by the colony, but the new city remained politically independent
Pope Clement I
Pope Clement I, known as Saint Clement of Rome, is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 to his death in 99. He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church, few details are known about Clements life. Clement was said to have been consecrated by Saint Peter, early church lists place him as the second or third bishop of Rome after Saint Peter. Tertullian considered Clement to be the successor of Peter. In one of his works, Jerome listed Clement as the bishop of Rome after Peter. Clement is put after Linus and Cletus/Anacletus in the earliest account, that of Irenaeus, Clements only genuine extant writing is his letter to the church at Corinth in response to a dispute in which certain presbyters of the Corinthian church had been deposed. He asserted the authority of the presbyters as rulers of the church on the ground that the Apostles had appointed such. His letter, which is one of the oldest extant Christian documents outside of the New Testament, was read in church, along with other epistles and these works were the first to affirm the apostolic authority of the clergy.
A second epistle,2 Clement, was attributed to Clement, in the legendary Clementine Literature, Clement is the intermediary through whom the apostles teach the church. According to tradition, Clement was imprisoned under the Emperor Trajan, thereafter he was executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea. Clement is recognized as a saint in many Christian churches and is considered a saint of mariners. He is commemorated on 23 November in the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, in Eastern Orthodox Christianity his feast is kept on 24 or 25 November. Starting in the 3rd and 4th century, tradition has identified him as the Clement that Paul mentioned in Philippians 4,3, a fellow laborer in Christ. The 2nd-century Shepherd of Hermas mentions a Clement whose office it was to communicate with other churches, most likely, the Liber Pontificalis, which documents the reigns of popes, states that Clement had known Saint Peter. It states that he wrote two letters and that he died in Greece in the year of Emperor Trajans reign.
A large congregation existed in Rome c,58, when Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans. His Captivity Epistles, as well as Mark, Acts and Peter were said to have been martyred here. Nero persecuted Roman Christians after Rome burned in 64, and the congregation may have suffered persecution under Domitian
It is situated on the M10 federal highway connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg. The city lies along the Volkhov River just downstream from its outflow from Lake Ilmen, UNESCO recognized Novgorod as a World Heritage Site in 1992. At its peak during the 14th century, the city was the capital of the Novgorod Republic, the Charter of Veliky Novgorod recognizes 859 as the year when the city was first mentioned. Archaeological dating is fairly easy and accurate to within 15–25 years, as the streets were paved with wood, and most of the houses made of wood, allowing tree ring dating. The Varangian name of the city Holmgård/Holmgard is mentioned in Norse Sagas as existing at a yet earlier stage, Holmgård referred only to the stronghold southeast of the present-day city, Rurikovo Gorodische. First mention of this Nordic or Germanic etymology to the name of the city of Novgorod occurs in the 10th-century policy manual De Administrando Imperio by Byzantine emperor Constantine VII, in 882, Ruriks successor, Oleg of Novgorod, conquered Kiev and founded the state of Kievan Rus.
Novgorods size as well as its political and cultural influence made it the second most important city in Kievan Rus, according to a custom, the elder son and heir of the ruling Kievan monarch was sent to rule Novgorod even as a minor. When the ruling monarch had no son, Novgorod was governed by posadniks, such as the legendary Gostomysl, Konstantin. Of all their princes, Novgorodians most cherished the memory of Yaroslav the Wise and his son, sponsored construction of the great St. Sophia Cathedral, more accurately translated as the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom, which stands to this day. In Norse sagas the city is mentioned as the capital of Gardariki, four Viking kings—Olaf I of Norway, Olaf II of Norway, Magnus I of Norway, and Harald Hardrada—sought refuge in Novgorod from enemies at home. No more than a few decades after the 1030 death and subsequent canonization of Olaf II of Norway, the town of Visby in Gotland functioned as the leading trading center in the Baltic before the Hansa League.
At Novgorod in 1080, Visby merchants established a trading post which they named Gutagard, later, in the first half of the 13th century, merchants from northern Germany established their own trading station in Novgorod, known as Peterhof. At about the time, in 1229, German merchants at Novgorod were granted certain privileges. In 1136, the Novgorodians dismissed their prince Vsevolod Mstislavich, the year is seen as the traditional beginning of the Novgorod Republic. One of the most important local figures in Novgorod was the posadnik, or mayor, the tysyatsky, or thousandman, originally the head of the town militia but a commercial and judicial official, was elected by the Veche. Another important local official was the Archbishop of Novgorod who shared power with the boyars, archbishops were elected by the Veche or by the drawing of lots, and after their election, were sent to the metropolitan for consecration. While a basic outline of the officials and the Veche can be drawn up. The boyars and the archbishop ruled the city together, although where one officials power ended, throughout the Middle Ages, the city thrived culturally
Millennium of Russia
The Millennium of Russia is a bronze monument in the Novgorod Kremlin. It was erected in 1862 to celebrate the millennium of Ruriks arrival to Novgorod, a competition to design the monument was held in 1859. An architect Viktor Hartmann and an artist Mikhail Mikeshin were declared the winners, Mikeshins design called for a grandiose, 15-metre-high bell crowned by a cross symbolizing the tsars power. The bell was to be encircled with tiers of sculptures representing Russian monarchs, generals. As for the Russian rulers, Ivan the Terrible is famously absent from the monument due to his role in the 1570 pillage and massacre of Novgorod by the Oprichnina. Alongside the Muscovite princes, the mediaeval Lithuanian dynasts such as Gediminas or Vytautas the Great who reigned over the Eastern Slavs of the present-day Belarus and Ukraine are represented. The most expensive Russian monument up to time, it was erected at a cost of 400,000 roubles. In order to provide an appropriate pedestal for the sculpture, sixteen blocks of Sortavala granite were brought to Novgorod.
The bronze monument itself weighs 100 tons, at the time when the monument was inaugurated, many art critics felt that it was overloaded with figures. Supporters regard Mikeshins design as harmonious with the setting of the Kremlin. During World War II, the Nazis dismantled the monument, the Red Army regained control of Novgorod and the monument was restored to public view in 1944. A 5-ruble commemorative coin was released in the USSR in 1988 to commemorate the monument and description on the website of the Novgorod administration
Slavs are the largest Indo-European ethno-linguistic group in Europe. They are native to Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeastern Europe, Northeastern Europe, North Asia, Slavs speak Slavic languages of the Balto-Slavic language group. From the early 6th century they spread to inhabit most of Central, states with Slavic languages comprise over 50% of the territory of Europe, therefore it is the largest ethno-linguistic group in Europe by land area. Present-day Slavic people are classified into West Slavs, East Slavs, there are an estimated 360 million Slavs worldwide. The Slavic autonym is reconstructed in Proto-Slavic as *Slověninъ, plural *Slověne, the oldest documents written in Old Church Slavonic and dating from the 9th century attest the autonym as Slověne. The word slovo and the related slava and slukh originate from the Proto-Indo-European root *ḱlew-, cognate with Ancient Greek κλῆς, whence comes the name Pericles, Latin clueo, some other theories have limited support. The English term slave eventually derives from the ethnonym Slav, Slavs were captured and enslaved by the Muslims of Spain during the ninth century AD.
The Slavs under name of the Antes and the Sclaveni make their first appearance in Byzantine records in the early 6th century. Procopius wrote in 545 that the Sclaveni and the Antae actually had a name in the remote past. He described them as barbarians, who lived under democracy, and that believe in one god. They lived in scattered housing, and constantly changed settlement, regarding warfare, they were mainly foot soldiers with small shields and battleaxes, lightly clothed, some entering battle naked with only their genitals covered. And they live a life, giving no heed to bodily comforts. Jordanes described the Sclaveni having swamps and forests for their cities, another 6th-century source refers to them living among nearly impenetrable forests, rivers and marshes. Menander Protector mentions a Daurentius that slew an Avar envoy of Khagan Bayan I. The Avars asked the Slavs to accept the suzerainty of the Avars, he declined and is reported as saying, Others do not conquer our land. The relationship between the Slavs and a called the Veneti east of the River Vistula in the Roman period is uncertain.
The name may refer both to Balts and Slavs, perhaps some Slavs migrated with the movement of the Vandals to Iberia and north Africa. Around the 6th century, Slavs appeared on Byzantine borders in great numbers, the Byzantine records note that grass would not regrow in places where the Slavs had marched through, so great were their numbers
Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres is forested and its strongest economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing. In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence as the Belarusian Peoples Republic, the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1922 and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Belarus lost almost half of its territory to Poland after the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921, during WWII, military operations devastated Belarus, which lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources. The republic was redeveloped in the post-war years, in 1945 the Byelorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR. The parliament of the declared the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990. Alexander Lukashenko has served as the president since 1994.
Belarus has been labeled Europes last dictatorship by some Western journalists, Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy. Though not directly espousing communism like the five remaining communist countries of China, Laos and North Korea, in 2000 Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, with some hints of forming a Union State. Over 70% of Belaruss population of 9.49 million resides in urban areas, more than 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages and Russian, the Constitution of Belarus does not declare any official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Belarus is the only European country to retain capital punishment in both law and practice, the name Belarus is closely related with the term Belaya Rus, i. e. White Rus. There are several claims to the origin of the name White Rus, an alternate explanation for the name comments on the white clothing worn by the local Slavic population.
A third theory suggests that the old Rus lands that were not conquered by the Tatars had been referred to as white, other sources claim that, before 1267, the land not conquered by the Mongols was considered White Rus. The name Rus is often conflated with its Latin forms Russia and Ruthenia, in some languages, including German and Dutch, the country is generally called White Russia to this day. The Latin term Alba Russia was used again by Pope Pius VI in 1783 to recognize the Society of Jesus there, exclaiming Approbo Societatem Jesu in Alba Russia degentem, approbo. The first known use of White Russia to refer to Belarus was in the century by Englishman Sir Jerome Horsey. During the 17th century, the Russian tsars used White Rus to describe the lands added from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a country in Eurasia. The European western part of the country is more populated and urbanised than the eastern. Russias capital Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world, other urban centers include Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a range of environments. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, the East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, in 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus ultimately disintegrated into a number of states, most of the Rus lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion. The Soviet Union played a role in the Allied victory in World War II.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the worlds first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the second largest economy, largest standing military in the world. It is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic, the Russian economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2015. Russias extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the producers of oil. The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. The name Russia is derived from Rus, a state populated mostly by the East Slavs. However, this name became more prominent in the history, and the country typically was called by its inhabitants Русская Земля.
In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus by modern historiography, an old Latin version of the name Rus was Ruthenia, mostly applied to the western and southern regions of Rus that were adjacent to Catholic Europe. The current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Kievan Rus, the standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is Russians in English and rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are translated into English as Russians