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First posted on February 13th 2008, last revised on July 19th 2010

History and Administrative Division . The territory of the Government of Vitebsk (roughly coinciding with the Voivodships of Inflanty, Polotsk and Vitebsk) was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania / of Poland-Lithuania until 1772. At first, the territory which was to become Vitebsk Gubernia was integrated into Pskov Gubernia : Dvinsk Province - into Dünaburg (= Dvinsk), Marienhausen, and Rezhitsk uezds; Polotsk Province - into Nevel, Polotsk, and Sebezh uezds; Vitebsk Province - into Velizh, Vitebsk, and Gorodok uezds. In 1776 Polotsk Gubernia, consisting of the prescribed Dvinsk, Polotsk and Vitebsk Provinces, was established; in 1778 it was elevated into Polotsk Nemastichestvo, which was abolished in 1796 when the area was annexed into the Belarussian Gubernia (capital Vitebsk); the latter was partitioned in 1802 into Vitebsk and Mogilev Gubernia.
Vitebsk Gubernia bordered on Pskov Gubernia in the north, on Smolensk Gubernia in the east, on Mogilev Gubernia in the south, on Minsk, Vilna and Kovno Gubernia in the west, on Livland Gubernia in the northwest.
Vitebsk Gubernia was divided into 11 Uyezds : Drissa, Dvinsk, Gorodok, Lepel, Liutsyn, Nevel, Polotsk, Reshitsa, Sebesh, Velish, Vitebsk. In 1911 the Zemstvo constitution was introduced in Vitebsk Gubernia.
It was an administrative unit (government, gubernia) of the Russian Empire until the Russian Revolution, following which it was contested and partitioned by Poland, the RSFSR, Latvia and Belarus.

Population . In 1885 the population was given as 1,235,350 (Meyer), in 1906 as 1,740,700 (EB 1911). The largest groups by religion (confession) were, in order of importance, Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox, Jews. By ethnicity, they were Belorussians, Lithuanians, Poles, Russians and Germans (Meyer).

Economy . In 1883, 34.6 % of the area was covered by forest, 27.2 % was farmland, 18.6 % pastorage. Main agricultural products were grain and potatoes. The area was home to 672 factories with a combined workforce of 2,936 workers; leading industries included grain mills, distilleries, leather processing, breweries, tobacco processing. The Dvina and the Beresina Canal, as well as the railroad fropm Dvinsk via Vitebsk to Smolensk were essential for transportation (Meyer).

Culture . The Julian Calendar was reintroduced in 1800.

Historic Encyclopedias on Vitebsk Gubernia (1837-1909)

Historical Atlas, Belarus , Poland ,

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Country Profiles Current Article Vitebskaya Gubernia, from Wikipedia Russian edition
Historical Articles : Governments : Vitebsk, from EB 1911
Articles : Witebsk, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, in German
Links General
on History
Historical Dictionary
Timelines Republic of Belarus Timeline
Accounts of History
Military Military Service of the Vitebsk Regiment, 1815-1855, from Russian Military History
Economy & Finances List of Match Factories in the Russian Empire : Vitebsk Gubernia, from The Virtual Matchbox Label Museum, in Russian
Russia, from Official catalogue of the industrial department, London Exhibition 1862, GB ; search for Vitebsk
Ethnography Languages of Belarus, from Ethnologue
Religion Via Crucis. 450 Years of Protestantism in Belarus, in English / Belarussian / Russian
History of the (Greek Catholic) Byelorussian Church, from Eastern Catholic Pastoral Association of Southern California
Jewish Belarus
The Jewish Virtual History Tour : Belarus
Shtetls of Belarus, click Gubernia Vitebsk, 81 entries; posted by JewishGen
History of Regions Article Pale of Settlement, from Wikipedia; Pale of Settlement, from Jewish Virtual Library
Administrative-Territorial Division of Belarus : 18th to 20th Centuries, from Archives of Belarus
Local History Articles Vitebsk : History, Polotsk : History, Rechytsa, from Wikipedia
Structures, Institutions Structurae : Belarus, Vitebsk, Polotsk

Historical Data Lists of Statesmen
Population Figures Historical Population Statistics : Belarus, from Population Statistics by Jan Lahmeyer
Documents Archival Deposits Russia - Belarus - Ukraine - Uzbekistan Documents, at Central Archive for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem
Historical Maps Government Vitebsk etc. 1882, from FEEFHS (Blackie & Sons 1882)
1834 Vitebsk Gubernia Map, from JewishGen Belarus
1899 Vitebsk Gubernia Map, posted by Michael Steinore
Kovno, Vilna, Vitebsk Gubernia, from Belarus Guide, in Russian
Belarus at the end of the XIXth Century, from Belarus Guide, in Russian
Map : Royaume du Pologne, (shows Vitebsk Gubernia; Heck, Atlas Geographique et Historique 1835), posted by M. Witkam
Maps : W. Vitebsk, E. Vitebsk (Atlas Marksa, 2nd edition 1910), posted by M. Witkam
Map of Vitebsk (city) 1778, posted by Ed Sternin
Alphabetism in the Baltic Provinces 1897, from Köztes Europa
Encyclopedia Entries
General Articles : Governments : Vitebsk, Cities : Vitebsk, Dvinsk, Polotsk, Ryezhitsa, from EB 1911
Articles Weissrussen, Weissrussland, Beresinakanalsystem, Dünaburg, Polozk, Witebsk, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, in German
Article Witebsk, from Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, in German
Articles Witebsk (Gov.), Witebsk (City), from Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1902-1908, in German
Religious Articles Vitebsk, Polotsk, Dvinsk, from Jewish Encyclopedia 1901-1906 edition
Geographical Das Gouvernement Witebsk, pp.484-487 in Th. Fr. Ehrmann, Neueste Kunde vom Russischen Reiche in Europa und Asien, vol.3 of Neueste Länder- und Völkerkunde, 1807, in German, GB
Das Gouvernement Witepsk, pp.272-274 in vol.1 of Das Russische Kaiserreich, seine Geographie, Statistik, Volks- und Regentengeschichte, 1847, in German, GB
W.H. Beable, Russian gazetteer and guide, being an account of the territorial divisions and a description of over 300 of the principal towns and cities of Russia, Finland and Siberia (1919), posted on Internet Archive; Vitebsk p.44
Parliamentary Debates foreign Hansard (British Parliament)
Tour Guides, Travelogues
Institutions Archives Archives of Belarus
Repositories of Primary Sources : Europe : Belarus, from Univ. of Idaho. Mostly Archive Webpages; 31 entries
Libraries Libraries in Belarus, from LibDex, 5 entries
Official Symbols Flags, Coats of Arms Vitebsk Gubernia Coat of Arms, from Vector Images, from Civic Heraldry

Bibliographies general RHS Bibliography
UK National Archive Online Library
ISBN Database
on Vitebsk EBSEES (European Bibliography of Slavic and Eastern European Studies), search for Vitebsk, Witebsk
Online Libraries general Internet Archives
Gutenberg Library Online
Country Specific
Online Journals full text online
General Accounts
Historical Dictionary Jan Zaprudnik, Historical Dictionary of Belarus, Lanham Md. : Scarecrow 1998