It was founded as "Borisov" in 1102 by an obscure Polish prince, and during the Middle Ages was completely destroyed and burnt to the ground a couple of times, each time rebuilt. Throughout history, it has belonged to the Duchy of Lithuania, Poland, and the Russian Empire.
Today, Barysaw is best known for its elaborate local Russian church.
People Born in Barysaw
Barysaw in People's Lives
Napoleon Bonaparte: I won the Battle of Berezina outside this town in 1812, though with massive losses. My troops and I, already fleeing Russia after our dismal failure of occupying the unconquerable city of Moscow, were simply trying to cross the Berezina River and return home. Already, tens of thousands of my troops had died in the bitter Russian winter, trudging along in snow up to our knees, leaving a trail of men and horses behind us, who had either starved or frozen to death, or both. Russian forces attacked and attempted to trap us, but we pushed through and successfully crossed the river, though nearly half of my army was slaughtered or lost to the freezing waters. The battle was so awful, the word "berezina" was introduced to colloquial French, meaning "disaster."