Grodno Gubernia 1801-1842, Wilno Gubernia 1842-1917

Short Description/History

"Lida" means "a place cleared of forest".  The Lida River, a tributary of the Nemen, flows through Lida.  It is the capital of Lida  district, and a railway centre for travel and shipping to Grodno,Wilno, Molodechno, and Baranowicze.

There are passing mentions of Lida in chronicles from 1180.  Until the early 1300's the settlement at Lida was a wooden fortress. In 1323, Lithuanian Prince Gedimin built a stone/brick fortress there.  1380 is generally considered the founding year of the city of Lida.  The fortress with stood Crusader(Krzyzacy) attacks from Prussia in 1392 and 1394 but it was burned to the ground in 1710. Following the death of Gedimin, when Lithuania was divided into principalities Lida became the capital of one ot them, the seat of Prince Olgierd.

Lida was in the Great Lithuanian Principality in the second half of the 14th and 15th centuries, and became a centre of production by craftsmen and trade.  Lida was connected with Wilno, Nowogrodek and Minsk and most closely with Polotsk, source of raw materials. At that time the town had the market square and four streets Wielenska, Zamkowa, Kamienska, Krivaya. In 1588 Lida became the seat of Lida "District" in Wilno wojewodstwo. Magdeburg Rights were granted to the town in 1590 and confirmed in 1776 by the Polish Sejm. By these rights Lida held two annual fairs of little import to the local economy. Around 1550 Lida was the centre of Wilno province and seat of a Starosta.  The seal of the city of Lida was also granted with the Magdeburg rights. 

The population of the town at that time was between 2000 to 5000.

The 17th century was a difficult time in Lida.  Caught in wars between RzeczPospolita with Russia and Sweden.  A depression resulted, and people moved out of Lida en masse. By 1786, only 514 inhabitants were left in Lida.  Beginning 1795, Lida was part of the Russian Empire as a powiat centre of Slonim (1795). Then Lida was part of Lithuania gubernia in 1797 and in 1801 Grodno gubernia.

The town was greatly destroyed during the French occupation in 1812. In 1817. The 1837 population was 1366 people. Beginning in 1842 Lida is the "district" centre in Wilno gubernia. In 1863 and 1873, two beer factories were built in Lida. In 1870-80 leather factories a tobacco factory and a starch factory opened.  In 1884, the railway Wilno-Lunenets was finished. In 1907, the railway Molodechno-Mosty opened.  The 1897 population was 8626 people.

A two-year school opened. Then, a parish school with the department for girls opened as did a Jewish school. In 1899 a hospital opened which consisted of 25 beds.  In 1901 cast-iron plant began to operate. In 1903 sawmill started it's operation. At the end of 19th century and at the beginning of 20 century two brick plants were built. In 1904, there were 1000 houses of which 275 were brick, fourteen small enterprises, four hospitals with beds for 115 people, and six elementary schools for 700 pupils. In 1904, the Russian Social Democratic Party was formed. During the revolutions of 1905-07, the uprisings of the workers took place, complete with political slogans. In 1914, there were almost 40 factories.

World War 1 and after

During WWI Lida was occupied by the German troops.

In accordance with Riga Peace Treaty of 1921, it belonged to Poland as the powiat centre in Nowogrudek wojewodstwo. In 1927, there were twenty-four factories in Lida. Forty-nine people employed at the agricultural machine factory. Forty-nine people worked at the mill "Avtomat". These were the biggest factories. 1928 were years of rapid growth in the production. A new rubber good's factory started up, employing almost 800 people.

In 1939, Lida became part of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Beginning January 1940 Lida was the centre of Lida region, Baranowicze district. From June 1941 to July 1944, it was occupied by the German troops who slaughtered almost 25,149 people. Beginning of September 1944, Lida was in Grodno district.

Currently there are seventeen large industrial plants: agricultural machines, electric devices, paint production, shoes, and beer. Lida in 1990s has sixteen secondary schools, a gimnazium, a special secondary training school, a music training college, forty kindergartens, two  cinemas, an historical museum, three policlinics, two hospitals, and five monuments to the victims of WWII. Historical monuments: Lida Castle, Catholic Church (1765-70), and Iosif church (1797-1824).

Towns in the Lida area