Republic of Belarus
Historically, the country was referred to in English as "White Russia" (translating the Latin Ruthenia Alba); the practice continues to this day in other languages.The first known use of "White Russia" to refer to Belarus was in the late 16th century by Englishman Jerome Horsey. He used the term to describe the areas of Ivan the Terrible's empire.
During the 17th century the Russian tsars used "White Rus", asserting that they were trying to recapture their heritage from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After the Commonwealth broke up, the lands that now make up Belarus were officially referred to as "Belarus" and "Belarusi", instead of the then-banned terms of "Litwa" and "Licwiny".
Nowadays, the Republic of Belarus is situated in the centre of Europe. The area of the country is 207,6 ths.km2, population - 9,849 mln.inh. (01.01.2004). The population of the capital of Belarus - Minsk City is about one fifth of the country population.
The state languages are Belarusian and Russian.