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Sunday, 31 January 2016



The first known record of the name of Lithuania appeared in an entry in the annals of the monastery of Quedlinburg (in modern Germany) on March 9, 1009.

In 1219, twenty-one Lithuanian dukes signed a peace treaty with Galicia–Volhynia – the first proof that the Baltic tribes were uniting.

After continuous warfare with two Christian orders, the Livonian Order and the Teutonic Knights, the Lithuanian lands were united in the 1230s by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania. The first unified Lithuanian state, the Kingdom of Lithuania, was created on July 6, 1253.

Lithuania State Day is a national holiday observed on July 6. On this day, Lithuanians honor the coronation of Mindaugas.

In 1261, Mindaugas broke the peace with the Livonian Order, and his assassination two years later by Treniota ended the early Christian kingdom in Lithuania.

King Mindaugas was the only King Lithuania has ever had. For most of the middle ages its ruler was a Grand Duke.

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a pagan empire for the next 120 years, fighting against the Teutonic and Livonian Orders during the Northern Crusades.

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.

The Christianization of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania took place in 1387. It was initiated by the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Władysław II Jagiełło and his cousin Vytautas and signified the official adoption of Christianity by Lithuanians, the last pagan nation in Europe.

The Treaty of Melno was signed on September 22, 1422, establishing the Prussian–Lithuanian border, which afterwards remained unchanged for about 500 years.

The Lithuanian Civil War of 1431–1435 was a conflict over the succession to the throne of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, after Vytautas the Great died in 1430 without leaving an heir.

The first Lithuanian-language book, Simple Words of Catechism, was published in Königsberg on January 8, 1547.

The first Lithuanian printed book Catechism of Martynas Mažvydas (1547, Königsberg)

Lithuania was taken over by the Russian Empire in 1795.

Realizing that the Russification of Lithuania was not working, the Russian Empire lifted in 1904 the 40-year-old ban on publications using the Lithuanian language.

Twenty Lithuanian men signed the Act of Independence of Lithuania on February 16, 1918. After Lithuania lost its independence during World War II, six of the surviving signatories were sent to prison or executed by the Soviet government, and six others went into exile.

The original 20 members of the Council of Lithuania after signing the Act of Independence of Lithuania, 16 February 1918. Owned by Lietuvos nacionalinis muziejus (National Museum of Lithuania), CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikipedia Commons

Lithuania was taken over by the Soviet Union on June 16, 1940, by Nazi Germany from 1941-1944 and again the Soviet Union from 1944-1990.

Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara signed transit visas in Lithuania for more than 6,000 Jews in 1940. He wrote visas for 18-20 hours every day, continuing to sign them through the window of a train and throw them into the crowd as he fled Lithuania.

Of the approximately 220,000 Jews who lived in the Republic of Lithuania in June 1941, almost all were entirely annihilated during the Holocaust. The community numbered about 4,000 at the end of 2009.

Lithuanian Jews and a German Wehrmacht soldier during the Holocaust in Lithuania. By Bundesarchiv, 

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

The flag of Lithuania was first used in Lithuania's first period of independence (in the 20th century) from 1918 to 1940. It was re-adopted on March 20, 1989, a year before the re-establishment of Lithuania's independence.

The colors of the Lithuanian flag are yellow (at the top), for The Sun, green (in the middle), for the fields, and red (at the bottom), for the blood of Lithuanians fighting for its independence.

Lithuania became the 19th member of the Eurozone on January 1, 2015.


In Lithuania, Midsummer Day (June 24) is a public holiday.

After a re-estimation of the boundaries of the continent of Europe in 1989, Jean-George Affholder, a scientist at the Institut Géographique National determined that the Geographic Centre of Europe is located in Lithuania, specifically 16 miles (26 kms) north of its capital city, Vilnius.

The Geographic Centre of Europe is in Lithuania. By Wojsyl 

There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 0.2 million abroad.

Of all languages spoken today, Lithuanian is the closest to ancient Sanskrit.

Lithuanian is believed to be the linguistically most conservative living Indo-European tongue, retaining many archaic features otherwise found only in ancient languages such as Sanskrit or Ancient Greek.

As per the 2011 census, 77.2% of Lithuanians belonged to the Roman Catholic Church. The Church has been the majority denomination since the Christianisation of Lithuania at the end of the 14th century.

Lithuania ranked first as of October 30, 2011 in the world by the internet upload speed and download speed. The high speeds are largely due to the fact that Lithuania has Europe's most available FTTH network. According to a study published by the FTTH Council Europe,  by 2013 the country had connected 100% of households to the FTTH network.

Lithuania was the first country to introduce Local Breakout (LBO) technology offering cheap mobile internet for travelers which allows to avoid big data roaming charges.

Lithuania is the only country in the world with its own official scent called, appropriately enough, the Scent Of Lithuania.

Basketball is the national sport of Lithuania. The Lithuania national basketball team has won the EuroBasket on three occasions (1937, 1939 and 2003), as well a total of 8 other medals in the Eurobasket, the World Championships and the Olympic Games.

Source Daily Express

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