Lithuania History

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History[edit | edit source]

For centuries, the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania, and the first unified Lithuanian state, the Kingdom of Lithuania, was created on 6 July 1253. During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy.

With the Lublin Union of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state personal union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighbouring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory.

Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, as World War I neared its end, declaring the founding of the modern Republic of Lithuania. In the midst of the Second World War, Lithuania was first occupied by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end and the Germans retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania.

On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Baltic state to declare itself independent, resulting in the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

1569 - The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was created
1655 - Vilnius was taken by the Russian army when they looted the city, 8000-10000 citizens were killed
1655–1661 During the Northern Wars the Lithuanian territory and economy were devastated by the Swedish army. Almost all territory of Grand Duchy of Lithuania was occupied by Swedish and Russian armies
1700–1721 - The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. The war, a plague, and a famine caused the deaths of approximately 40% of the country's population
1772, 1792, and 1795 Eventually, the Commonwealth was partitioned by the Russian Empire, Prussia, and Habsburg Austria. The largest area of Lithuanian territory became part of the Russian Empire
1867 - 1868 Large numbers of Lithuanians went to the United States after a famine
1915 - As a result of the Great Retreat during World War I, Germany occupied the entire territory of Lithuania and Courland
1918 - 1940 The council adopted the Act of Independence of Lithuania in 1918 which proclaimed the restoration of the independent state of Lithuania governed by democratic principles
1940 - The Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed in July and accepted into the Soviet Union in August. Lithuania was rapidly sovietizied and 12,000 people, including many prominent figures, were arrested and imprisoned
1941 - Over 120,000 Lithuanian Jews, or 91–95% of Lithuania's pre-war Jewish community, had been killed. Nearly 100,000 Jews, Poles, Russians and Lithuanians were murdered at Paneriai
1944 - 1953 After the retreat of the German armed forces, the Soviets reestablished their control of Lithuania and the massive deportations to Siberia were resumed
1944 - 1952 Guerrilla warfare of the Lithuanian population, took place and it sought to restore an independent state of Lithuania, to consolidate democracy by destroying communism in the country. 20,000 people were killed during this time period
1990 - The Supreme Council announced the restoration of Lithuania's independence. Lithuania became the first Soviet occupied state to announce restitution of independence
1993 - The last units of the Soviet Army left the territory of Lithuania

References[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

The Lithuanian Word. History. 1862-1904
Lithuania Profile – Important Facts, People and History
Lithanus Lithuania 1863-1893
Encycopaedia Britannica Lithuania History
Every Culture Culture of Lithuania