Belarus,[a] officially the Republic of Belarus,[b] is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Belarus covers an area of 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi), with a population of 9.4 million, and is the thirteenth-largest and the twentieth-most populous country in Europe. The country is administratively divided into seven regions, and is one of the world’s most urbanized, with over 40% of its total land area forested. Minsk is Belarus’s capital and largest city.
Minsk (Belarusian: Мінск [mʲinsk], Russian: Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislač and the Niamiha rivers. As the capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is the administrative centre of Minsk Region (voblasć) and Minsk District (rajon). As of January 2018, its population was 1,982,444, (not including suburbs), making Minsk the 11th most populous city in Europe. Minsk is the administrative capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and seat of its Executive Secretary.
The earliest historical references to Minsk date to the 11th century (1067), when it was noted as a provincial city within the Principality of Polotsk. The settlement developed on the rivers. In 1242, Minsk became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It received town privileges in 1499.
From 1569, it was a capital of the Minsk Voivodeship, in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was part of a region annexed by the Russian Empire in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. From 1919 to 1991, after the Russian Revolution, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, in the Soviet Union. In June 2019, Minsk hosted the 2019 European Games.