First posted on February 12th 2008, last revised on July 29th 2010
History and Administrative Division .
The territory of the Government of Kovno was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania / of
Poland-Lithuania until 1795, when it was annexed by the
From 1795 to 1797 the territrory of future Kovno Gubernia was part of Vilna Gubernia, from 1797 to 1801
it was part of Lithuania Gubernia
(combining former Vilna and Slonim Gubernias, capital Vilna), from 1802 to 1843 part of a smaller Lithuania Gubernia (in essence the
old Vilna Gubernia, capital Vilna). In 1843 Kovno Gubernia was created by separation from Vilna Gubernia.
Vilna Gubernia bordered on the Prussian (later German) province of East Prussia, on
and on Vilna Gubernia in the south, on Kurland Gubernia
in the north. Kovno Gubernia was divided in 7 Uyezds (districts) : Kovno (Kaunas), Novo Alexandrovsk (Zarasai), Ponevyezh (Panevezys),
Rosieny (Raseiniai), Shavli (Siauliai), Telshi (Telsiai), Vilkomir (Vilkmerge).
Following the Russian Revolution, most of Kovno Gubernia formed part
of Lithuania; small parts of Kovno Gubernia in 1920 became part of Latvia,
a stretch of land in the extreme east became part of Poland.
The population was 1,156,040 in 1870, and 1,553,244 in 1897. Ethnically, it was composed of majority Lithuanians, with German, Polish,
Latvian and Russian minorities; by religion the majority was Roman Catholic, followed by Jews, Protestants and Russian Orthodox christians.
The area and population was affected by Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812-1813, the Polish insurrection of 1830-1831, the Polish
insurrection of 1863-1864, by the Russification policy enforced in 1880-1905, by World War I, the Russian Civil War and the Polish-Russian War
of 1919-1921. Nineteenth century publications often differentiate the Lithuanians into Lithuanians and Zhmuds.
In 1883, 36 % of the area was farmland, 33 % pastorage, 22 % covered by forest; main agricultural products were grain and potatoes.
Government Kovno etc. 1882, from FEEFHS (Blackie & Sons 1882)
Kovno, Vilna Gubernia, from Belarus Guide, in Russian
Lithuania 1867-1914, from Wikipedia
Map : Royaume du Pologne, (shows Kovno Gubernia;
Heck, Atlas Geographique et Historique 1835), posted by M. Witkam
Maps : Kovno, (Atlas Marksa, 2nd edition 1910), posted by M. Witkam
David G. Kirby, The Baltic World 1772-1993, London : Longman 1995
Manfred Hellmann, Grundzüge der Geschichte Litauens (Main Features of Lithuania's History), Darmstadt : Wissenschaftliche
Buchgesellschaft 1976 (in German) [G]
Kevin O'Connor, The History of the Baltic States, Westport CT : Greenwood 2003, KMLA Lib.Sign. 947.9 O18h