1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mogilev on the Dnieper

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MOGILEV ON THE DNIEPER, a town of Russia, capital of the government of Mogilev. Pop. (1900), 47,591, two-thirds Jews. It is situated on a hilly site on both banks of the Dnieper, 120 m. by rail S.W. of Smolensk. It is the see of an archbishop of the Orthodox Greek Church. The public buildings include the cathedral of the Orthodox Greek Church (founded by Catherine II. of Russia and Joseph II. of Austria in 1780), a Roman Catholic cathedral (built in 1692), an old castle, a museum, a church dating from 1620, and an old Tatar tower. The principal industries are tanneries. The commerce is mostly in the hands of Jews. Corn, salt, sugar and fish are brought from the south, whilst skins and manufactured wares, imported from Germany, are sent to the southern governments.

Mogilev is mentioned for the first time in the 14th century as a dependency of the Vitebsk, or of the Mstislavl principality. At the beginning of the 15th century it became the personal property of the Polish kings. But it was continually plundered—either by Russians, who attacked it six times during the 16th century, or by Cossacks, who plundered it three times. In the 17th century its inhabitants, who belonged to the Orthodox Greek Church, suffered much from the persecutions of the United Greek Church. In 1654 it surrendered to Russia, but in 1661 the Russian garrison was massacred by the inhabitants. In the 18th century the town was taken several times by Russians and by Swedes, and in 1708 Peter the Great ordered it to be destroyed by fire. It was annexed to Russia in 1772. Near here the French under Davout defeated the Russians under Bagration on the 23rd of July 1812.