4

Did the name "白俄罗斯" for Belarus exist in Chinese language before 1991 or was it created only when Belarus became an independent state in 1991?

4

the internet archive has the book 瀛環志畧, in volume 4, "白峩" was used to translate belarus:

https://archive.org/stream/02087085.cn#page/n43/mode/1up

pic

this book was published in 1849.

the 峩 (u+5ce9) was a variant of 峨 (u+5ce8), both of them share the same pronunciation with the character 俄 (u+4fc4), that is used in modern days translation.

then, the internet archive has another book 海國圖志, in volume 54, "白峩羅斯" was used in lieu of belarus:

https://archive.org/stream/02087117.cn#page/n50/mode/1up

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this book was published in 1843, maybe the first geographic / atlas type of book in imperial china.

btw, minsk was translated as "閔士其" :)

have fun :)

1
  • indeed, if you can read literary chinese, the volume 56 mentioned many books about "russia", i guess some of them would talk about belarus. Nov 10 '17 at 2:04
1

Presumably it already existed. Prior to the present-day republic, there was the Belarusian People's Republic, the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia, and the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. All of the official Chinese names for these states/provinces include 白俄罗斯. There seem to be pre-1991 Chinese books that use the term, but Google Books is not a perfect source.

1
  • @brilliant, google books has some results. It's hard to say if some of them might be recent translations into Chinese of works originally published earlier, though. Nov 9 '17 at 23:57

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