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The world's first "Primer" is of Belarusian origin, scientists say

The Belarusian primer turned out to be older than one thought. Until recently, it was considered that the first edition of a Belarusian ABC book is the one authored by Spyridon Sobol, dating back to 1631. But now scientists have made a discovery of a historic scale. They proved that the first book called Primer (ABC book) has Belarusian roots and was published much earlier, in 1618. 

There are only two copies of this book in the world. One is stored in the UK while the other in Denmark.

Researcher Alexander Susha had a unique opportunity to look at the very first Primer, though virtually. To do this, he went to London to the library Middle Temple.

Alexander Susha, Deputy Director of the National Library of Belarus:
I went to the Middle Temple library, where I saw that small book. It seemed modest and thin. The book was printed in Yevye in 1618.

It was in the town of Yevye where the oldest Belarusian publishing house in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was located. It was here where the first ever Primer in the world was publised about 400 years ago. 

Alexander Susha, Deputy Director of the National Library of Belarus:
Today we know with confidence that the oldest ABC book is the one from Belarus. Belarusians really have something to be proud of.

The book was prepared by the monks. Most likely, it was a collective work. The Primer includes Slavonic alphabet, with prayers and engravings. It taught not only reading but also spirituality.

Anatoly Steburako, candidate of historical sciences:
This "Primer" was designed for a wide range of readers. Of course, these are fraternal schools. The largest were in Vilnius, Mogilev, Minsk and Slutsk. Of course, I'm confident this publication affected the overall culture and school textbooks in particular.

These days, digital copies of this book were made. In the future, it will allow printing a facsimile edition of the oldest Belarusian Primer, which any Belarusian will be able to touch.

The world's first "Primer" is of Belarusian origin