(, , , , Slonim
) is a city in Hrodna Voblast
, capital of the Slonim District
. It is located at the junction of the Shchara
and Isa river
, 143 km southeast of Hrodna
. The population in 2008 was 50,800.
Etymology and historical names
Slonim has been known by several versions of its name: Сло́нім (Belarusian
), Słonim (Polish
), Сло́ним (Russian
). Slonim was first mentioned in chronicles in 1252 as Uslonim and in 1255 as Vslonim. 'Uzslenimas' in the Lithuanian language
simply means 'beyond the valley'.
The earliest record is of a wooden fort on the left bank of the Shchara river in the 11th century, although there may have been earlier settlement.
The area was disputed between Lithuania
and Kievan Rus'
in early history and it changed hands several times. In 1040, the Kievans won control of the area after a battle but lost Slonim to the Lithuanians in 1103. The Rutenians retook the area early in the 13th century but were expelled by a Tartar
invasion in 1241 and the town was pillaged. When, later in the year, the Tartars withdrew, Slonim became Lithuanian again.
In 1569, Lithuania and Poland
united and Slonim became an important regional centre within Commonwealth of Lithuania-Poland
. From 1631 to 1685 the city flourished as the seat of the Lithuanian diet
The Commonwealth of Lithuania-Poland
was dismantled in a series of three "partitions"
in the second half of the 18th century and divided among its neighbours, Germany