The town was of little importance until the early part of the 19th century. The population grew significantly when Tsar Alexander I built a fortress in Bobrujsk in 1810 to counter the threat of Napoleon's Army. In pre-Revolutionary times the town was within the Minsk gubernia.
The city is situated at the confluence of two not very large rivers, the Bobr and the Berezina and is bordered by them on two sides.
Since these rivers flow ultimately into the Dniepr and thence to Kijow and on to the Black Sea. Bobrujsk was for a fairly long time an important shipping city. By the middle of the 19th century the town had became an important lumbering centre where timber from the local forests/timber camps to the south of the city was rafted or entrained to southern Russia or the Baltic ports. Vessels traveling to northern and southern Russia were frequent visitors to the port. Other major Bobruisk commerce consisted of dry goods and grain.