What-Where-How is Lithuania?

A look at a tiny country which was once huge and respected





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Lithuania – a (very) brief
Historical Timeline

What little information has remained, it has been well documented and treasured

Archaeological remains of Lithuanian past are rare to say the least: ravaged by countless wars and swings of ownership from invading countries and in the name of Christianity, much of the history of Lithuania has burned away into obscurity.


Time BC

From around 2000BC, Lithuanian ancestors settled along the Baltic coast and moved upstream and inland creating very separate and sparse communities.


for the next 3,ooo years, scant knowledge exists around the movement and establishment of the countryside. There were no real borders to speak of but a similar language kept the communities in touch.

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from warlords to finaly a kingdom

Jump to the foundation of a country


1200s AD – 1300s

  • (1236 AD) Duke Mindaugas united local chieftains, defeated the Livonian knights at the battle of Siaule; unification helped Lithuania fend off German crusaders; the state of Lithuanian established pagan
  • (1253) Christianity embraced for political reasons, Duke Mindaugas crowned Lithuania’s one and only king: much intrigue follows with sons and relatives vying for the crown. Finally Algirdas and Gediminas begin a diarchy to rule over a vast area
  • (1323) Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, founded by Grand Duke Gediminas
  • (1386) Lithuanian Grand Duke Jogaila and Polish Queen wed, created a monarchial union; Jogaila elected King of Poland; Lithuania last pagan state converted to Christianity
  • (1387) Jogaila issued a proclamation for all Lithuanians to accept Catholicism; Vilnius first self-governed Lithuanian city
  • (1392-1430) Lithuania-Poland stretched to the Black Sea; Lithuanians and allies crushed the Teutonic Knights, ended the Teutonic Knight’s military power in the region

1400s – 1800s

  • (1400’s) Jews, Tartars, nationalities from all around began to settle in Lithuania, truly becoming a multi-cultural climate
  • (1569) Lithuania entered a formal commonwealth with Poland
  • (1657) Plague struck Vilnius, half the residents died
  • (1795) 3rd division of the Lithuanian Polish state Lithuania was annexed to Russia
  • (1811-13) Napoleon Bonaparte marches into Vilnius and claims it the Easternmost frontier of Europe and now under French command. He has amassed over 400,000 troops and begins a useless crusade to capture Moscow. He returns after a bitter cold and hostile encounter with awaiting troops oicking off a hungry and freezing army of dis-interested combatants. Less than 10,000 manage to arrive at the gates of Vilnius, and virtually half of them perish from huger, cold and disease. Lithuania returns to Russian rule.
  • (1860-1885) Lithuanian uprisings against Russian rule occurred
  • (1869) St.Petersburg-Vilnius-Warsaw railway completed, first gas factory built, cast iron foundry opened, tobacco plant opened, first brewery established


  • (1915) German troops occupied Lithuania during World War I
  • (1918) Lithuania declared independence
  • (1920) Under Treaty of Moscow, Soviet Union recognized Lithuania’s independence; Poles occupied Vilnius; Kaunas became Lithuania’s provisional capital
  • (1926) Antanas Smetona, nationalist party leader, seized power in military coup after left wing won elections
  • (1939) USSR occupied Lithuania; mass deportations to Siberia began; Moscow handed Vilnius back to Lithuania; Soviet Union compelled Lithuania to accept Soviet military bases
  • (1940) Soviet army invaded Lithuania; Smetona fled; Lithuania incorporated into USSR
  • (1941) Nazis occupied Lithuania; most of Lithuania’s Jews killed
  • (1944) Red Army returned; over 500,000 Lithuanians were deported, forced into exile, jailed or shot
  • (1987) First open protests against Soviets occurred
  • (1989) Lithuanian communists voted to break with the Soviet party
  • (1990) Lithuania declared independence; USSR imposed embargo, halted fuel supplies, caused severe economic difficulties; Lithuania agreed to suspend independence
  • (1991) Soviet crackdown killed 13 civilians in Vilnius; failed coup in Moscow, Lithuania won independence; Lithuania joined OSCE and UN
  • (1992) New constitution introduced presidency; coalition government formed
  • (1993) Brazauskas elected president; Lithuania joined Council of Europe; the litas, new national currency introduced; Soviet troops complete withdrawal
  • (1994) Lithuania joined NATO partnership for peace program; treaty of friendship signed with Poland
  • (1995) Two largest commercial banks collapsed in Lithuania; political scandal ensued
  • (1996) Prime Minister Slezevicius removed
  • (1997) President Brazauskas visited Russia; border treaty signed
  • (1998) Valdas Adamkus, US citizen who spent nearly 50 years in exile, elected president
  • (1999) Conservative Prime Minister Rolandas Paksas resigned; Andrius Kubilius became prime minister


  • (2000) Paksas reappointed prime minister, as a member of the Liberal Union
  • (2001) Following the collapse of the coalition, Brazauskas became prime minister
  • (2002) Lithuania formally invited to join NATO and the European Union
  • (2003) Rolandas Paksas elected president; impeachment proceedings began against President Paksas after parliament concluded alleged links between Paksas and Russian organized crime constituted threat to national security
  • (2004) Lithuania joined NATO; parliament impeached and dismissed Rolandas Paksas; Lithuania joined the European Union; Valdas Adamkus re-elected president; Algirdas Brazaukas carried on as prime minister; Lithuania became first EU member state to ratify new constitution; due to EU entry requirements, number one reactor at Ignalina nuclear power station shut down
  • (2005) Russian fighter jet crashed in Lithuania territory, raised diplomatic tension with Moscow; investigation found technical and human error to blame, situation defused
  • (2008) Parliament ratified EU Lisbon Treaty; parliament banned display of Soviet and Nazi symbols; Andrius Kubilius, homeland union leader, appointed prime minister at the head of a center-right coalition government
  • (2009) Dalia Grybauskaite, EU budget commissioner, won presidential election; in accordance with EU entry requirements, the second reactor at the Ignalina nuclear power station shut down