MINSK, CITY, a town of Russia, capital of the government of the same name, on the Svisloch, a tributary of the Berezina, at the intersection of the Moscow-Warsaw and Libau-Kharkov railways, 430 m. by rail W. from Moscow. It had, in 1897, 91,494 inhabitants, of whom one-third were Jews of the poorest class; the others were White Russians, Poles and Tatars. Amongst its public buildings is a cathedral, built in 1611. Minsk is the headquarters of the IVth Army Corps and the see of a bishop of the Orthodox Greek Church, and from 1798 to 1853 it was a see of the Roman Catholic Church. The manufactures are few and insignificant. Since the introduction of railways the commercial importance of the place, which formerly was slight, has begun to increase.
Minsk is mentioned in Russian annals in the 11th century under the name of Myen'sk, or Menesk. In 1066 and 1096 it was devastated, first by Izyazlav and afterwards by Vladimir, prince of Kiev. It changed rulers many times until the 13th century, when it became a Lithuanian fief. In the 15th century it was part of Poland, but as late as 1505 it was ravaged by Tatars, and in 1508 by Russians. In the 18th century it was taken several times by Swedes and Russians. Russia annexed it in 1793. Napoleon I. took it in 1812.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)