I am interested in Hermann Minkowski and, according to Wikipedia, he “was born in Aleksotas, a village in the Kovno Governorate of the Russian Empire” in 1864. Wikipedia also says that Aleksotas “became part of the Russian Empire” that same year. How did that happen? A city doesn't become part of another country just like that. I suppose that this is somehow connected with the January Uprising of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but I was unable to find a link between these events. Does anyone know more about how did this happen?

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    Kovno was part of Russian empire proper since 1795. Aleksotas is a suburb on the left bank of the Neman, which was first transferred to Prussia, then to Congress Poland. In 1864 it was in Augustow and later in Suvalki governorate, nominally still in Poland. – jmster Oct 29 '17 at 21:34
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    To simplify the things, Congress Poland was a part of Russian empire. It only lost its autonomy within the empire after the uprising. There was no such entity as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 19th century. – Alex Oct 30 '17 at 0:22
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    @jmster until 1864 Congress Poland was nominally a separate kindom - ruled by the same monarch as Russian Empire, but from a legal standpoint, a separate state. A technicality, of course, but one that explains what the author of the question read. – Danila Smirnov Oct 30 '17 at 3:35
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    @DanilaSmirnov Sure. I just have overreacted to the reference to Kovno gvt. Maybe the OP's source was confused by the fact that now Aleksotas lies within the bounds of Kaunas city, but before 1918 there was a regional border between them, and before that a state border. – jmster Oct 30 '17 at 4:02

You found your answer already - after the January Uprising, the Congress Poland was stripped of any remaining autonomy and incorporated into Russian Empire. The process started in 1832 after the defeat of November Uprising, and after the January Uprising was crushed, Kingdom of Poland was transformed into a namestnichestvo (a type of region ruled by governor-general) named Privislinsky krai or Vistula Land.

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