Belarus State University was established in 1921 and V.I. Picheta, a professional historian, became its first rector. Ten years later, in 1931, a department of the ‘History of the Peoples of the USSR’ was organized, which taught, inter alia, courses in Belarusian history. This department was then a part of the Faculty of Education. In 1934, a Faculty of History was reestablished and originally it had only one department of history. In 1936 it was reorganized once more and a separate department of ‘History of the USSR and BSSR’ was created. The department had among its chairs such professors as A.P. Piankov, A.A. Savich, P.S. Savochkin, and I.M. Ignatenko. In 1958 history of Belarus started to be taught by a separate department; its first chair was Professor L.S. Abetsedarskii. He was followed by V.V. Chepko, I.O. Tsariuk, and A.P. Ignatenko.
The department took its modern form in 1994 when the department of Belarusian history was reorganized into two separate departments: the Department of Ancient and Mediaeval History of Belarus and the Department of Modern and Contemporary History of Belarus. Petr Ivanovich Brigadin was elected as a chair of the latter department. In 1999 he was followed by the Associate Professor Aleksandr Kokhanovsky. In 2001 the department was merged with the Department of General and Local History (previously the Department of the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union). Professor V.N. Michniuk, Associate Professor V.S. Kosmylev, Professor V.I. Lemeshonok, and other prominent Belarusian historians were associated with the Department at various stages of its history.
Today the Department is proud to list among its staff such prominent historians as Associate Professor A.G. Kokhanovsky (the Chair), Professor P.I. Zelinsky, Professor V.K. Korshuk, Professor P.I. Brigadin, Fellow of Belarusian Academy of Sciences Professor M.P. Kostsiuk, Professor V.I. Adamushko, I.F. Romanovsky, Associate Professors A.B. Bogdanovich, Associate Professor E.A. Brukhanchik, Associate Professor A.L. Dashkevich, Associate Professor A.I. Kotov, Associate Professor l.N. Kulesh, Associate Professor A.M. Lukashevich, Associate Professor V.S. Makarevich, Associate Professor A.I. Maskevich, Associate Professor L.A. Osipova, Associate Professor M.A. Popov, Associate Professor A.V. Unuchek, Associate Professor A.S. Khadasevich, Associate Professor V.A. Teplova, Senior Lecturer A.V. Kuznetsova, Senior Lecturer E.L. Strelchenko, Lecturer A.V. Burachonok, Lecturer A.E. Veremeichik, Lecturer L.Iu. Kazakov, Lecturer N.V. Karpovich, Lecturer O.V. Knysh, Assistants N.D. Ampilova, E.G. Iskenderova, and V.G. Korotkova. Professor V.I. Ladysev is a Director of Graduate Studies.
The Department’s achievements have been recognized in a numer of honours and awards to the staff. The National Prize was awarded to V.I. Adamushko, and awards for excellence in education were awarded to A.G. Kokhanovsky, V.K. Korshuk, and I.F. Romanovsky. P.I. Brigadin, P.I. Zelinsky, V.K. Korshuk, I.F. Romanovsky were honoured for their longstanding service to the University; P.I. Zelinsky, V.K. Korshuk, and I.F. Romanovsky were awarded honourary certificates by the Supreme Council of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic, P.I. Zelinsky and V.K. Korshuk were honoured by the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus and by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus., and A.I. Kotov was awarded an honorary certificate of the Presidium of the Republican Council of the BGAV and an award for excellence in work from the Ministry of Education of the USSR. V.A. Teplova received an award from the Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for her ‘contribution to the spiritual renewal and preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of the republic of Belarusian nation’.