Mogilev land prides itself upon its history, being part of march of European civilization history and going back to remote ages. Mogilev land has preserved a number of archaeological monuments which picture the life of our ancestors for many centuries. Sites of stone and bronze ages, hillforts of early iron age and middle ages, Slavonic burial hills and ruins of ancient settlements give evidence of constant development of the community from the most remote times (100-35 thousand years ago) till the appearance of first state structures.
In 1410 a battle that determined the fate of Europe took place at Grunwald. That battle brought fame to the warriors of Mstislavl gonfanon, summoned by Mstislavl duke Semen. Particularly ancestors of present Mogilev citizens stood against Teutonic order in that battle. This was the major contribution of Mogilev people to the European history. Besides, Mogilev land was turned into historical arena repeatedly.
In 9-12 centuries all lands of contemporary Mogilev area was the part of Kievan Russia. At that time the trade route from Varangians to the Greeks crossed the Dnieper. Therefore, numerous settlements appeared on its shores, and we find first references to Mogilev in 12 century manuscripts. The year 1135 is considered the year of foundation of Mstislavl, a year later Krichev and Slavgorod were founded. From the 12th till the middle of the 16th century Mogilev area was a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and later a part of Polish –Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the second half of the 17th century a thirty-year long war burst between Russian and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The whole Belarus found itself in its fiery womb. Mogilev land suffered enormously, having lost every second citizen. The North War didn’t leave Mogilev land on the side. Our ancestors fell under unmerciful terror and theft both from the Swedish and the Russian. In 1708 a significant battle took place in the village Lesnaya (near Slavgorod), which brought an important victory to the Russian troops. In 200 years’ time a memorial was erected there in order to commemorate perished soldiers.
17th and 18th centuries stand out due to a number of rebellions of handcraftsmen and the poor, who were brought to desperation by exploitation and exactions, national and religious oppression. The most known is the rebellion of 1749 in Krichev under the leadership of V. Voschila, who had maintained strict order in the city for four years before that. The rebellion drowned in blood, but freedom-loving fellow countrymen succeeded in gaining some easing.
In 1772 after the first division of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Eastern Belarus land became a part of the Russian Empire, and at the same time Mogilev province was founded. Katherine II gave out land and property of the magnates who didn’t’ accept Russian nationality, to her favorites, Krichev-to the duke Potsemkin, Shklov-to the colonel Zorich, Propoisk-to the duke Golitsyn.
And again Mogilev was turned into war arena during the war of 1812. The biggest battle took place at the village Saltanovka (12km to the west of Mogilev) where general Rayevsky, covering the retreat of Russian troops, destroyed the outnumbered corps of marshal Davu. In 1912 to honour 100-year jubilee of this historic event a monument was erected near Saltanovka. In the 20th century our land was once more the center of large-scale historic events.
During the first years of the WW I in August 1915, the General Headquarters of the Russian Commander-in-Chief tsar Nikolay II was organized in Mogilev. Here he was informed about the revolution of 1917 and precisely from Mogilev the emperor train started its final journey. Soviet power was established in Mogilev in December 1917. In 1938 Mogilev region with its present borders was established.
Mogilev was not destined to exist in peace without bloodshed. At the end of 1941 the guns of the WW II spoke here. The enemy was heading to Moscow, but was brought to a halt.
Mogilev defense lasted 23 long days and played an important role in gaining time needed for mobilization of forces to push the enemy back. In Buinichi field there is a memorial to commemorate those who were killed during the last war.
Mogilev region was awarded with Lenin order for courage and persistence of ordinary citizens during the war and for the success achieved in economic and cultural development.
The results of the first 12 years of independence in a sovereign state are ambiguous. Old economic ties broke apart, economic crisis contributed to decrease of the income of the population. However, step by step industrial associations and enterprises re-orientated to new types of production, set up more beneficial contacts, including those with former partners. In recent years the growth of industrial production has been observed. International relations are developing, cooperation with foreign partners has entered the next stage.
Mogilev citizens have seen in the 21st century with optimism and keep looking ahead with great hopes.