Jews in Vitebsk are first mentioned in 1551, during the reign of the Polish king Zigmund August. In a Sejm speech on November 27, `peasants and jews' are freed from the taxes. 15 cities with jewish population are mentioned, including Vitebsk1.1. A decision of the Royal Tribunal dated September 15, 1712, on the complaint of the jewish community about a pogrom earlier that year, mentions privileges obtained by the Jews of Vitebsk from the Lithuanian Governor in 15691.2. On November 27, 1627, Vitebsk governor (`voevoda') issues a permit to the jewish community to contruct a sinagogue, emphasising that this decision is based on the privileges granted by his parents1.3. On March 9, 1633, Vladislav IV issues to Shmuel and Lazar, two brothers from Vilna, a permission for the Vitebsk Jews to buy plots and houses in Vitebsk1.4. By 1689 there are jewish settlements on both shores of Dvina1.5.