The oldest traces of human presence date from small groups of moose hunters during the 9000s BC. Their culture (so-called Baltic magdalenia) was akin to the bromine culture in southern Scandinavia. Locations have been found on the Nemunas River and at lakeside beaches.
During the Mesolithic period (7000s BC), the local nemuna culture was developed, mainly based on fishing but also on hunting of moose, deer and beaver. Utensils were made mainly of bones and horns; Related forms are found in both the Scandinavian maglemose and the north Baltic customer culture.
During the younger Stone Age (from about 4000 BC), inland, both the bearers of the nemuna culture and narra culture lived on hunting for, among other things. wise and wild horse, fishing and gathering (hazelnuts, lake nuts), while agriculture was insignificant. Several settlements at Šventoji have preserved organic material. On the coast, a local variant of the war ax culture dominated, characterized by significant ceramic production. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Lithuania.
Several places where large amber deposits were exploited are located on the land tongue Kuriska nose outside Kurisches Haff (Kuršių marios). During the Bronze Age (from the end of the second millennium BC), the settlements were consolidated.
The Iron Age brought early influence from the Germanic cultural sphere, and from the first century AD. Trade relations with the Roman Empire were maintained. Possibly the area was already inhabited by Indo-European-speaking Baltic people (at Tacitus named Aestii). In western Lithuania, agriculture became more common, which in connection with the export of amber increased wealth.
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About 500 AD larger villages, defended by small, well-fortified castles, and real great man tombs were built. From places like Truso, founded on the coast in the 600s, trade was conducted both with Northern Europe and with the Black Sea region. During the 800s, Slavic expansion reached eastern Lithuania, but by the end of the Iron Age, the country was dominated by Lithuanian tribes.
Lithuania is mentioned in written sources from the early 1000s, but as a political unit, Lithuania’s birth should rather date to the first half of the 13th century, when Prince Mindaugas, under the pressure of a growing external threat from the German order, succeeded in subduing competing princes and uniting different Lithuanian tribes to a grand principality. By adopting Roman Catholic doctrine, he gained papal legitimacy and was crowned king in 1253. The murder of Mindaugas ten years later led to a period of divide and return to paganism, before the feudal state of Lithuania in the 1300s could finally be consolidated under the great princes Gediminas, Algirdas, Kęstutis and Vytautas the Great.
In successful wartime competition with the powerful German words in the Baltic Sea region, the Mongolian Golden Horde, the newly created Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Kingdom of Poland, the Lithuanian Grand Princes directed their expansion both south and east. At the end of the 13th century, Lithuania covered an extensive territory from the Baltic to the Black Sea, comprising most of present-day Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine, and thus the control of the Dnieper River. At the same time, new fortified trading cities grew, while the Lithuanian peasants were increasingly transformed into livelihoods. Culturally, the Lithuanians took the impression of their East Slavic, Orthodox subjects.
The Union time
However, stronger cultural and political ties came to Lithuania with Poland. The external threats were a major contributing factor behind the personnel union between the two countries ratified by the Treaty of Kreva in 1385, which was sealed a year later by the marriage of Lithuanian Grand Duke Jagiello to Polish Queen Hedvig (Jadwiga) and his ascension of the Polish throne during the name of Vladislav II. Jagiello’s simultaneous adoption of Roman Catholic doctrine further strengthened ties with Poland and Christianized the country as the last European nation. However, Catholic Christianity encountered resistance among both pagan and Orthodox groups in Lithuania, who feared that the Grand Principality would be subordinate to Poland. Over time, this threat picture became increasingly real, especially since the personnel union was transformed into a real union by the Treaty of Lublin in 1569 and Lithuania became a province with reduced autonomy and shrinking territory.
Despite increased opposition to Poland, the Lithuanian nobility was increasingly polarized, which was largely due to the lack of Lithuanian-speaking political and cultural institutions since the early consolidation period. The quality of life in Lithuania was deepened by a statute in 1588.
The Russian era
One reason for the relative strength of the Union bands was the fear of Russia’s expansionary policy, which since the second half of the 15th century deprived Lithuania of several previous possessions and made the country increasingly dependent on Polish military aid. To protect its territory from Russia, Lithuania sought support outside the Union as well; in 1655, for example, a treaty was signed against both Russia and Poland in Kėdainiai by the Swedish commander Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie and the Lithuanian hetman Jonušas Radvila. Nevertheless, the country became increasingly in the Russian sphere of interest, and when Lithuania, as part of Poland in three divisions in 1772, 1793 and 1795, was wiped out of Europe’s political map, the Lithuanians became tsarist subjects, a minor part after an interplay in Prussia in 1795-1815.
The repression, which was predominantly directed at educational institutions such as the University of Vilnius as well as the Roman Catholic Church and the Polonized Nobility, led many Lithuanians to actively participate in the Polish uprisings against Russia in 1830 and 1863. Others emigrated to the United States during the 19th century and brought where the fight against tsar power continues. Many rebellious Lithuanians were deported or murdered.
The refreshment periods were interrupted by more liberal periods. During Alexander II, in 1861, the livelihood in Lithuania was abolished in the same way as in the rest of Russia, after several peasant uprisings decades before. The compulsion to buy out the formerly used land forced poor Lithuanian farmers to move outside the poor industrialized Lithuania to industrial cities such as Riga and Saint Petersburg. During another liberal period, at the end of the revolution year 1905, the Lithuanians demanded an autonomous position within the Russian Empire. This demand from a political party composed of a national congress in Vilnius was rejected, with renewed repression as a result.
The German occupation of Lithuania in September 1915 and the downfall of Tsarist Russia in 1917 completely changed the conditions for independence. After a national council, led by the lawyer Antanas Smetona, on February 16, 1918, with the approval of the occupying power proclaimed a free state with close relations with Germany, the independent republic of Lithuania could be declared in connection with Germany’s defeat in the world war in November that year.
Independent Lithuania (1918–40)
Lithuania’s development during the interwar years shows both similarities and differences in relation to the equally newly formed neighboring states of Latvia and Estonia. The big difference lies in the fact that, in accordance with deep historical patterns, Lithuania was forced to master a situation with two external conflict poles: Russia/Soviet Union and Poland.
During the years 1918-19, Lithuania succeeded in surviving the Red Army and a newly formed Lithuanian Communist Party’s attempt to establish a Lithuanian-Belarusian Soviet republic, and during the summer of 1920 a peace treaty was signed with the Bolsheviks. the historic capital Vilnius was catered for (see Lithuanian-Russian wars). A few months later, the Poles instead invaded the city and incorporated it into Poland in 1922, which created tension between the countries throughout the interwar period (see Polish-Lithuanian War).
In the years 1920–39 Kauna was the capital of Lithuania. The Polish conquest method was used before. a few years later by Lithuania, when Lithuanian troops took control in 1923 and the following year in an international forum, they were able to hear the occupation of the economically significant, German-dominated port city of Klaipėda (Memel), which was under ally control. In 1939, Lithuania was forced to hand over Klaipėda to Germany.
The similarities with the other Baltic republics are most evident in the internal situation: all were hit by difficult economic problems and a political development from democracy to authoritarian rule. The Lithuanian agricultural economy, reinforced by radical land reform during its first independent years, was heavily export-dependent and hit hard by the international depression. Politically, the liberation led to a democratic system including well-respected minority rights were established. However, the approach of the ruling left parties to the Soviet Union gave rise to a military coup in 1926, which abolished democracy and brought nationalist Smetona to power. The authoritarian regime, whose main goal was to recapture the Vilnius area and keep the Communists away from power, ruled the country until the Soviet occupation in 1940.
From the Second World War
In the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, Lithuania was assigned to the Soviet sphere of interest, which soon forced the country into a defense agreement with the Soviet Union, and in June 1940 was accepted by Soviet troops. After a manipulated election, Lithuania’s voluntary entry into the Union was approved as a Soviet Republic, and a communist-dominated so-called People’s Government took office, while the leading groups of the interwar years were arrested and deported. A three-year German occupation in 1941–44 quickly gave the Lithuanians broken hopes of renewed autonomy, but also resulted in the destruction of some 165,000 Jews or 75% of Lithuania’s Jewish population.
In October 1944, Lithuania was repatriated by the Red Army, followed by a more in-depth transformation of the Soviet model, with nationalization of and hard work on industry, collectivization of agriculture with deportations of wealthy peasants and central government of the economy as the most important element. As in pre-Soviet times, educational institutions and the Roman Catholic Church were subjected to repression. The Lithuanian reactions can also be said to go back to patterns from the Tsarist era: tens of thousands of Lithuanians engaged in a guerrilla war against the Soviet power, which went on in the 1950s. Many Lithuanians fled to the West, especially to the United States, while even more actually or allegedly opposites were arrested and deported to labor camps. Resistance to Soviet power later went underground and, above all, expressed itself in a multitudesamizdat works.
During the 1980s, the Lithuanians took strong impressions of the Polish struggle for freedom from the communist Soviet power and of the militant role of the Polish church. Although the Russian population in Lithuania, due to its limited numeracy, did not raise the same concerns as in the other Baltic republics, developed during Gorbachev’s openness period in the second half of the 1980s mutually reinforcing protest movements against the Soviet power in both Lithuania and Latvia and Estonia, jointly against central government, cultural repression and crushing, and environmental degradation.
In June 1988, the Lithuanian national front Sąjūdis was formed, which under the music professor Vytautas Landsbergis became a unifying force for the entire Baltic freedom struggle. The Popular Front made great success in the 1989 elections to the Soviet Union’s People’s Congress, which divided Lithuania’s Communist Party. In March 1990, the Lithuanian Supreme Council issued a first declaration of independence and elected Landsbergis as president. Despite an economic blockade against Lithuania and Soviet domestic troops’ assassination of fourteen Lithuanians in January 1991, Lithuania’s independence became real following the failed Soviet coup in August 1991.
Independent Lithuania was given a constitution in connection with the first post-Soviet parliamentary elections in October 1992. At that time, the country also chose a territorial principle of citizenship which allowed the Russian-speakers (which did not amount to more than about 10 percent) to become citizens immediately. The election was won by the Lithuanian Democratic Workers’ Party (the Reformed Communist Party), while the people’s front Sąjūdis, which was converted into the Fosterlands League last year, and Landsbergis lost big.
Algirdas Brazauskas, leader of the workers’ party and popular popular politician, became president in 1993. He was succeeded in 1998 at the post of Valdas Adamkus, who returned from exile in the United States. After being defeated in the 2003 presidential election by Rolandas Paksas (born 1956), a former fighter pilot, Adamkus returned as president in 2004. Paksas became the first head of state in Europe to face national law and fell after a number of political scandals. In the May 17 presidential elections, EU Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaitė won. She was re-elected in 2014 and succeeded in 2019 by economist Gitanas Nausėda (born 1964).
In office, the Labor Party was far from socialist, without pushing for liberal economic reforms that would lead Lithuania towards implemented market economy and Western integration. Since winning the parliamentary elections in 1996, the parliamentary elections were established in Lithuania, according to patterns from Central Europe, but unlike the Baltic neighbors, a clear right and left alternative that opposed each other in politics during the 1990s. In Lithuania, there was a political consensus on working for Western integration in the first place. In the spring of 2004, Lithuania joined NATO (March) and the EU (May). The entry into the EU enabled the labor migration of young Lithuanians to especially Ireland, Britain and Scandinavia.
Economic reform efforts in Lithuania have been slower than in neighboring states due to difficulties in securing sales for the agronomically dominant production and a large dependence on the Russian Federation, not least in terms of fuel supply. However, the economic development up to 2008 was good, and after the 2008-09 crisis, the country soon showed positive economic growth again. However, this has not been large enough to achieve a more comprehensive and general raising of the standard of living. Voters’ dissatisfaction with the traditionally largest parties led to election victory in 2016 for the central party Lithuanian peasants and green alliance (LVZS). New prime minister became the former national police chief and interior minister Saulius Skvernelis (born 1970).