Brest brĕst [key], formerly Brest-Litovsk–lĭtôfsk´ [key], Pol. Brześć nad Bugiem, city (1989 pop. 258,016), capital of Brest region, W Belarus, at the confluence of the Western Bug and Mukhavets rivers near the Polish border. As a point of entry into Belarus, it has industrial, commercial, and transportation concerns. Industries include food processing and the production of metals, textiles, and electrical machinery. Founded by Slavs in 1017 as Bereste, the city was conquered by the Mongols in 1241 and by Lithuania in 1319. During the 14th cent. it was renamed Brest-Litovsk. In 1569 it became capital of the newly merged Polish and Lithuanian state. Brest passed to Russia in the third partition of Poland (1795). German forces took the city in 1915 and three years later signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Soviet Russia there. Held by Poland between the world wars, Brest was regained by the USSR in 1939, occupied by Germany from 1941–44, and finally liberated by the Soviet army.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: CIS and Baltic Political Geography