The Vilna Governorate (1795–1915) (also known as Lithuania-Vilna Governorate from 1801 until 1840) (Russian: Виленская губерния, Vilenskaya guberniya, Lithuanian: Vilniaus gubernija, Polish: gubernia wileńska) or Government of Vilna was a governorate (guberniya) of the Russian Empire created after the Third Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795. It was part of the Lithuanian General Governorate, which was called the Vilnius General Governorate after 1830, and was attached to the Northwestern Krai. The seat was in Vilna (Vilnius) where the Governors General resided.
The first governorates, Vilna Governorate (consisting of eleven uyezds or districts) and Slonim Governorate, were established after the third partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Just a year later, on December 12, 1796, by order of Tsar Paul I they were merged into one governorate, called Lithuania Governorate, with its capital in Vilnius. By order of Tsar Alexander I on September 9, 1801 Lithuania Governorate was split into the Lithuania-Vilna Governorate and the Lithuania-Grodno Governorate. After thirty nine years, the word "Lithuania" was dropped from the two names by Nicholas I. In 1843 another administrative reform took place, creating Kovno Governorate out of seven western districts of the Vilna Governorate, including all of Samogitia. Vilna Governorate received three additional districts: Vileyka and Dzisna from Minsk Governorate and Lida from Grodno Governorate. It was divided to districts of Vilna, Trakai, Disna, Oshmyany, Lida, Vileyka and Sventiany. This arrangement remained unchanged until World War I. A part of it was then included in the Lithuania District of Ober-Ost, formed by the occupying German Empire.
In 1834 the governorate had about 789,000 inhabitants; in 1897 the population grew to about 1,591,000 souls (37 per square kilometer) and consisted of 56,1 percent Belorussians, 17,6 percent Lithuanians, 12,7 percent Jews and 8,2 percent Poles.
|Uyezds in 1795||Uyezds in 1843|
|Braslaw (since 1835 Novoaleksandrovsk (Zarasai))||To Kovno Governorate|
|From Minsk Governorate||Dzisna|
|Kovno (Kaunas)||To Kovno Governorate|
|From Grodno Governorate||Lida|
|Raseiniai||To Kovno Governorate|
|Šiauliai||To Kovno Governorate|
|Telšiai||To Kovno Governorate|
|Ukmergė||To Kovno Governorate|
|Upytė (since 1843 Panevėžys)||To Kovno Governorate|
|From Minsk Governorate||Vileyka|
Governors General residing in Vilnius
- Nikolai Vasilyevich Repnin (1794 — 1797)
- Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov (1799 — 1801)
- Levin August, Count von Bennigsen (1801 - 1806)
- Alexander Michailovič Rimsky-Korsakov (1806 - 1830)
- Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov-Vilensky (1863 - 1865)
- Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1865 — 1866)
- Aleksandr Potapov (1868-1874)
- Eduard Totleben (1880 — 1884)
- Pyotr Dmitrievich Sviatopolk-Mirskii (1902 — 1904)
Russian authorities periodically performed censuses. However, they reported strikingly different numbers:
- (Lithuanian) Kulakauskas, Antanas (2002). "Administracinės reformos". Gimtoji istorija. Nuo 7 iki 12 klasės. Vilnius: Elektroninės leidybos namai. ISBN 9986-9216-9-4. Retrieved 2008-01-01.
- (Russian) "Литовская губерния". Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary. 1890-1906.
- Simas Sužiedėlis, ed. (1970-1978). "Administration". Encyclopedia Lituanica I. Boston, Massachusetts: Juozas Kapočius. pp. 17–21. LCC 74-114275.
- (Lithuanian) Vaitiekūnas, Stasys (2006). Lietuvos gyventojai: Per du tūkstantmečius. Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos institutas. pp. 79, 92. ISBN 5-420-01585-4.
- Meyers Konversations-Lexikon. 6th edition, Vol. 20, Leipzig and Vienna 1909, pp. 655-656.
- (German) Nikolajew, Christina Juditha (2005). Zum Zusammenhang zwischen nationaler Identitätsbildung und Katholischer Kirche in Litauen. Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. p. 16.