A S. W. Government Of European Russia, bordering on Vitebsk. Mohilev, Tchcr-nigov, Kiev. Volhynia, Grodno, and Wilna; area, 35,295 sq. m.; pop. in 1867, 1,135,588. The territory of Minsk is a vast plain, over which are scattered a few hills of moderate elevation. In the north and east are large forests, and toward the south and southwest extensive marshes. The principal rivers are the Dnieper (which partly bounds it on the east), Niemen, Pripet, and Beresina. The climate is very severe in winter, but pleasant in summer. Agriculture is the principal occupation. The chief manufactures are line cloths, linen, and sugar. The principal exports are timber, salt, and grain, which are brought by the rivers to the ports of the Baltic and Black seas. The population is composed chiefly of Lithuanians, Poles, Russians, and Jews. Five sevenths of them adhere to the Greek church. The inhabitants of the southern marshy portion are subject to the disease called plica Polonica. Among the more important towns are Pinsk and Slutzk. Minsk is divided into 10 circles, and was formerly a part of the Lithuanian provinces of Poland.
A City, capital of the government, on the Svisloteh, 110 m. S. E. of Wilna; pop. in 1867, 36,277, a large part of whom are Jews. It is the seat of a Greek archbishop and a Roman Catholic bishop. It has a fine cathedral, a number of other churches, a gymnasium, and a theatre. An important trade in grain is carried on. The nuns of Minsk were subjected to persecution by the emperor Nicholas in 1840.