Lithuania History

By | January 9, 2023

Lithuania – national flag

Lithuania National Flag

At independence in 1918, a yellow-green-red flag was chosen in Lithuania, which was officially adopted in 1922. The yellow color stands for the ripe wheat, the green for the country’s forests and hope, and the red for the flowers and love for the country. The flag was in use 1918-40 and again from 1988.

  • Countryaah: What does the flag of Lithuania look like? Follow this link, then you will see the image in PNG format and flag meaning description about this country.

Lithuania (Prehistory)

The first immigrants were elk hunters in Allerødtid, approximately 11,800-11,000 BC, followed by reindeer hunters in the last cold period of the late period, approximately 11,000-9300 BC Flint shaft tongue arrows were used as hunting weapons. In the Mesolithic, the country was inhabited by hunters and fishermen belonging to the Maglemose and Kunda cultures. After approximately 4000 BC the Narva and Nemunas cultures arose, from which pottery is known in the form of pointed-bottomed vessels and cod-liver oil lamps. The varied utilization of nature’s resources is illustrated by finds from settlements in bogs, e.g. from Šventoji, where naturalistic human and animal representations have also been found. Agriculture only became widespread after approximately 3000 BC, at the same time as the lagoon coast towards the Baltic Sea was under the influence of the string ceramic Haffküsten culture. From the Bronze Age, many castles with stone and earth ramparts are known. Metal was only used sparingly until approximately 500 BC, when iron began to be extracted locally. In the Roman Iron Age, the birth of Christ-400 AD, there was a flourishing of agriculture and trade, imported Roman luxury goods and jewelry. Construction of cities and ever-larger fortifications characterizes the time after approximately 500. The emergence of rich arms graves approximately 600 and other signs of militarization testify that control eventually fell into the hands of a powerful elite.

  • AbbreviationFinder: Check three-letter abbreviation for each country in the world, such as LTH which represents the official name of Lithuania.

Lithuania – history

The formation of the state in Lithuania took place earlier than in Estonia and Latvia, and it can be dated to the first half of the 1200’s. It was the threat from the German Order of the Sword Knights (founded 1202) that enabled Prince Mindaugas to unite the rival petty princes in a grand principality.

According to a2zgov, the Swordsmen’s attempt to penetrate further into Lithuanian territory was tentatively stopped in 1236, and to consolidate and legitimize his power, Mindaugas in 1251 allowed himself to be Christianized. At his death in 1263, the country was weakened by internal strife.

First under Grand Duke Gediminas in the 1300’s. and a number of prominent grand princes after him, Vytautas the Great (d. 1430), the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was consolidated. During that period, Lithuania was in the field of tension between the German Order, the Mongolian Golden Horde, the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Kingdom of Poland. To gain freedom of action to the east, Grand Duke Jogaila entered into a personnel union with Poland, which came into force when he married the Polish queen Jadwiga in 1386. The marriage meant that in addition to the Grand Duke, he also became King of Poland under the name Władysław II, and that he adopted the Christian faith.

In the late 1300-t. Lithuania had expanded its territory so that after the conquest of Belarus and Ukraine it went from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. The threat from the German Order was diminished after the Battle of Tannenberg in 1410, when the Polish-Lithuanian army pushed back the order.

The relationship between Poland and Lithuania was from the late 1400’s. characterized by the expansionist policy of the Muscovite Empire to the west, which meant that Lithuania increasingly had to rely on the Polish military to defend itself.

In 1569, the Personnel Union was replaced by the Lublin Union, where Lithuania had to accept Polish dominance in all major political issues. Therefore, until 1795, the history of Poland became partly also the history of Lithuania. The Lithuanian nobility became increasingly polonized, while Lithuanian language and culture survived in the peasant population.

Despite the fact that the united Polish-Lithuanian state succeeded in defending itself against both Swedish and Russian invasion, the state slowly disintegrated. The nobility blocked an effective state power, leading to the election of a number of weak kings who represented the interests of other countries. The Polish-Lithuanian state finally ceased to exist in 1795, and Lithuania was until 1918 a government of Russia.

After the 1820’s, the country was subjected to a vigorous Russification that set in against educational institutions, the Lithuanian nobility, and the Catholic Church. At the same time, attempts were made to convert the peasants to the Russian Orthodox faith. After the uprisings against the tsarist regime in 1831 and 1863, the pressure increased; The University of Vilnius was closed in 1831, and in 1864 Lithuanian was banned as a spoken and written language in schools, and the alphabet should now be Cyrillic. The Catholic Church gained a central position in the opposition to the tsarist regime along with a number of political groupings.

The revolution in Russia in 1905 led to a short-lived liberalization of political and cultural life, and the same year the demand for an autonomous Lithuania was formulated, but without result. In September 1917, the demand was repeated by a Lithuanian National Committee against the Germans, who had occupied Lithuanian territory in September 1915 in connection with World War I. The National Committee adopted a declaration of independence on 16 February 1918, but it was not until Germany’s defeat in November 1918 that independence became real.

Lithuania’s period of independence lasted until 1940. The beginning became chaotic when Soviet troops, with the support of pro-communist Lithuanians, occupied the country in 1919 to create a Belarusian-Lithuanian state, which did not succeed. Next, in 1920, Poland occupied the Vilnius area. After a referendum in 1922, which was partially boycotted, Poland retained the territory and thus also the capital Vilnius. Kaunas was instead named capital. In 1923, the Lithuanians occupied Klaipėda (Memel), which had to be ceded to Germany in 1939.

The period up to 1926 was marked by a democratic development. In a coup d’état in 1926, the nationalist Antanas Smetona took power as president, and in 1927 he dissolved parliament and introduced an authoritarian government. The reason was fear that the pro-communist parties would seek rapprochement with the Soviet Union; in 1937 almost all parties were banned. Lithuania was hit hard by the Depression in 1929; this was especially true of agricultural exports, which accounted for a large share of foreign trade.

In June 1940, the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in accordance with the agreements of the German-Soviet Non- Aggression Pact of 1939. The Vilnius area returned to Lithuania, and Vilnius became the capital again. By manipulated elections in July 1940, there was a majority in favor of Lithuania applying for membership in the Soviet Union. The Sovietization set in, and a total of 37,000 were deported, among them the former leaders.

In 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union and thus also the Lithuanian territory. In the three years under German occupation, approximately 90% of Lithuania’s Jews exterminated. In 1944, the Soviet Union again occupied Lithuania and continued the interrupted transformation of the country according to the Soviet pattern, which meant further mass deportations of about 370,000 Lithuanians in the period 1944-53. Armed groups, the “Forest Brothers”, resisted the Soviet regime, but by 1953 the resistance had been defeated. Sovietization continued in all areas, and the language of administration became Russian. As in earlier periods of severe repression, many Lithuanians emigrated, especially to the United States and Canada.

With Mikhail Gorbachev’s takeover of the Soviet Union in 1985, the possibility of draining the population’s dissatisfaction was opened up. In 1988, it was expressed in the People’s Front, Sąjūdis, which under the leadership of Vytautas Landsbergis demanded reforms and self-government. In the 1989 Soviet General Assembly elections, Sąjūdis won an overwhelming victory. As the first of the Baltic countries, Lithuania was declared independent by the parliament on March 11, 1990, and Landsbergis was proclaimed head of state. This led to an economic blockade on the part of Moscow, and the situation escalated in early 1991. Soviet armed forces were deployed to restore constitutional order, and on January 13, 1991, soldiers killed 13 civilians among the Lithuanians trying to protect the TV tower in Vilnius.

It was not until the August coup in Moscow in 1991 that independence became real and recognized abroad. At the first free presidential election in 1993, the former communist leader Algirdas Brazauskas (1932-2010) was elected president by direct election. Relations with Russia improved, and the last Russian troops left the country in August 1993. In 1993, Lithuania became a member of the Council of Europe, and in 1994, the country became the first former Soviet republic to apply for NATO membership.and joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace. At the election in December 1997, he was replaced by the exiled Lithuanian Valdas Adamkus (b. 1926). In 2003, Adamkus lost the election to Rolandas Paksas, who had to resign in 2004 after a state court case, after which Adamkus was re-elected for a period of five years. In early 2006, Brazauska was prime minister of the 13th government since independence. In a referendum in 2003, 91% voted for EU membership, and in 2004 Lithuania became a member of both the EU and NATO. These two organizations are the focal points of the country’s foreign and security policy, with Lithuania seeing it as its task to strengthen relations between them and the CIS countries in Europe. In 1997, Lithuania and Russia signed a border agreement, Russia’s first border agreement with a former Soviet republic. However, the agreement was not ratified by the Russian parliament until 2003. Lithuania’s membership of the EU and participation in the Schengen cooperation created difficulties for the residents of the Russian exclave of the Kaliningrad region, located on the Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Poland. They and other Russian citizens could no longer travel freely between the exclave and the rest of Russia through Lithuania without a visa, and during Denmark’s EU presidency in 2002, an agreement was negotiated between the EU and Russia on simplified travel documents for Russians in transit through Lithuania.

After joining the EU, Lithuania experienced strong economic progress, but it came to an abrupt end in connection with the international financial crisis in 2008, when the country became one of the hardest hit European countries. In 2009, GDP had fallen by 12.6% compared with the previous year. In 2012, the Social Democratic Party won power and its leader Algirdas Butkevičius became the country’s 12th Prime Minister after independence.