Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, and has a population of over 9 million. The name „Belarus“ corresponds literally with the term „White Russia“. The first signs of settlements in ancient Belarus date back approximately 100 000 – 35 000 years. Belarus has five land borders: with Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Russia and Ukraine. Until the 20th century, the lands of modern-day Belarus belonged to several countries, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. During the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence in 1991. Minsk is the capital and largest city in Belarus.