Lithuania/Lithuanians


Lithuania/Lithuanians:
Development of a Nation
How Lithuania became
Lithuania,
and how the Lithuanians became Lithuanian.


LithuaniaHow
Lithuania as a people, and the country of Lithuanians as a nation-state,
evolved and materialized into current form, in terms of ancestral
bloodlines, the Lithuanian language, borders, culture, and even how they
received their name.


Ancestral Background
Development of Language
Formation of Borders
Etymology (How Name Received)
Culture
Lithuania in 2008


Lithuanian Ancestral Background:


  1. Balt tribe distribution
    3000
    BC – The Proto-Balto-Slavic population (based on speakers of the
    Proto-Balto-Slavic language) materialized around modern Lithuania.
  2. 1000 BC – A division in the Proto-Balto-Slavic
    population occurs, as a group moves southeastward toward modern
    Ukraine and Moscow. This break-away group represented the earliest
    Slavs. The group that remained behind in the region south of Baltic
    Sea became the basis of the Balt nationality. In the following
    centuries, the Balts proceeded to establish themselves throughout
    modern Latvia, Lithuania, and northern Poland.
  3. As Crusaders from Germany expanded to the east
    during 12th and 13th centuries, Balts
    consolidated in modern Lithuania and Latvia, forming a
    loosely-affiliated band of Baltic tribes.
  4. The Livonian Order (Germanic Catholic order of
    knightly priests, also know as Teutonic Knights) captured the
    territory that comprised modern Latvia (along with Estonia),
    separating it from Lithuania.
    Those
    Balts in modern Lithuania, including others in surrounding areas,
    escaped German rule, consolidating in modern Lithuania to
    successfully defend this last vestige of an independent Balt people.
    Subsequently, the Kingdom of Lithuania was formed, a fully organized
    Baltic state and the predecessor to modern Lithuania
    .

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Development of Lithuanian Language:

  1. 3000 BC – The Proto-Balto-Slavic language
    (branch of

    Proto-Indo-European
    ) is spoken by Proto-Balto-Slavic group
    centered around Lithuania.
  2. After a split in the Proto-Balto-Slavic nation
    around 1000 BC, the language of those that migrate east and south
    evolves into Slavic (thus the origin of Slavic peoples). The
    language of those that remain in the Baltic region evolves into
    Baltic.
  3. Sometime between 400 and 600 AD, the Baltic
    languages split into Western Baltic (ancestral to languages such as
    Old Prussian) – all of which are extinct, and Eastern Baltic
    (ancestral to Latvian and Lithuanian) – with descendant languages
    still in use to this day.
  4. By about 800, Latvian and Lithuanian began to
    develop as dialects of Western Baltic, the divergence between the
    two would spawn separate but related languages.

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Northern Europe crusades
Formation
of Lithuanian
Borders:

  1. 3000 BC – The Proto-Balto-Slavic population
    materializes around modern Lithuania.
  2. 1000 BC – A division occurs in the
    Proto-Balto-Slavic population. Those that migrate to the south and
    east toward modern Ukraine and Moscow become predecessors to the
    Slavic ethnogroup. Those that remain behind near the Baltic coast,
    around modern Latvia, Lithuania and Northern Poland become the
    forerunners to the Balts.
  3. As Crusaders from Germany expand to the east
    during the 12th and 13th centuries, Balts
    consolidated in modern Lithuania and Latvia, forming a
    loosely-affiliated band of Baltic tribes.

  4. Teutonic Knight gains
    By
    1237, Germanic priestly knights (Livonian Order) conquered the Balts
    in modern Latvia and southern Estonia, which becomes Livonia.
    Livonian-ruled population was largely comprised of Balts (and Finnic
    Estonians to the north), with Germans as the ruling class.
    Many
    of the Balts were able to resist German rule, consolidating in
    modern Lithuania. From this final stronghold, they defeated the
    Germans, forming the first, fully organized Baltic sovereign state,
    the Kingdom of Lithuania, in 1251. It was the first predecessor to
    the modern Lithuania state, establishing the approximate border
    between Lithuania and Latvia, which has remained in place with only
    minor fluctuations ever since
    .
  5. The western coastal territories of the Kingdom
    of Lithuania were conquered by the Livonian Order (a.k.a. Teutonic
    Knights) in 1308.
  6. In the 14th century, Lithuania
    began to take the offensive against the Mongols who had gained
    control of much of Rus (Russia), expanding into parts of modern
    western Russia, and most of Belarus and Ukraine. Lithuania managed
    to protect itself from Mongol domination.
  7. Russia attempted to gain Baltic access,
    invading the Livonian Order in 1558. Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania and
    Poland joined the Order to restrain Russia. The Livonian
    Order/Teutonic Knights are wiped out in disastrous defeats to Russia
    in battle in 1560, ceding its Estonian territory to Lithuania (Duchy
    of Livonia), Sweden (the northern portion), and Denmark (island of
    Osel), which collectively went on to defeat Russia. This marked the
    end of the Livonian Order, and the Teutonic Knights outside of the
    Holy Roman Empire.
  8. Poland and Lithuania combined to form the
    Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth in 1569, making the Duchy of Livonia
    part of this new political entity. It was dominated by Poland, as
    Lithuania was forced to combine with Poland due to the growing
    Russian threat.

    Europe 1650 AD

  9. Partition of Poland
    In
    the Polish-Swedish War of 1625 – 1629 (battle for supremacy along
    the southern Baltic coast), Sweden gained Livonia, consisting of
    southern portion of Estonia and the northern portion of Latvia.
    Southern Latvia remained part of Poland-Lithuania.
  10. In the Great Northern War (1700-21, battle
    over supremacy of Baltic Sea), Russia defeated Sweden, gaining all
    of Livonia. Southern Latvia remained with Poland-Lithuania.
  11. 1725: Poland-Lithuania falls under Russian
    control.
  12. The three partitions of Polish-Lithuanian
    Commonwealth (1772, 1793, 1795) divided Lithuania between Russia and
    Prussia, with most of it allocated to Russia. The Lithuanians no
    longer have a sovereign state of their own.
  13. The southwest portion of Lithuania that had
    been split between Prussia and the Duchy of Warsaw (French puppet
    state) was awarded to Russia after Napoleonic Wars in 1815, placing
    all of Lithuania within Russia control.
  14. With the disarray caused by the Russian
    Revolution (1917 – 22) and German occupation, Lithuania declared
    independence in 1918, after German withdrawal and surrender in WWI.
    This triggers the Lithuanian War of Independence, won by Lithuania.
  15. As both Lithuania and Poland were in the
    process of defeating the Russians to gain the respective
    independence, a border dispute arose between the two, involving the
    Vilnius Region. Lithuania claimed it in 1920, since it was the
    historic capital of Lithuania, and was ceded to Lithuania by the
    Russians upon the conclusion of the Lithuanian War of Independence.
    Poland claimed it due to its sizable Polish population. The
    controversy led to the Polish-Lithuanian War in 1920, resulting in a
    Polish victory. Consequently, the region remained with Poland,
    despite the fact that the League of Nations diplomatically sided
    with Lithuania, and had requested Poland to withdraw, to which
    Poland refused.
  16. In 1923, Lithuania took possession of the
    Klaipeda Region (Memel territory), which had long been part of
    German Prussia, making it permanent part of Lithuania.
  17. In 1939, the German Nazis issued an ultimatum
    to Lithuania, demanding that they return the Klaipeda Region, to
    which Lithuania complied, as the German-friendly National Socialist
    Party had taken over in Lithuania.
  18. As part of a secret pact between Nazi Germany
    and the USSR in 1939, the USSR claimed control over various Eastern
    European nations, including Lithuania, under the agreement that Nazi
    would not interfere (as USSR would not interfere with German
    annexation of various central European nations). The USSR moved in
    to occupy Lithuania in 1940, during World War II. In betrayal of the
    secret pact, Nazi Germany began its invasion of Russia in 1941,
    occupying Lithuania in 1941. When the Red Army had the Nazis
    retreating a few years later, it reoccupied Lithuania in 1944. Upon
    the defeat of the Nazis in WWII, the Soviets refused to withdraw
    from Lithuania, establishing the Lithuania SSR (Soviet Socialist
    Republic), as part of the USSR. The USSR also occupied Poland,
    electing to assign western Vilnius region back to Lithuania, and
    eastern Vilnius region to Belarus. The USSR annexed the Klaipeda
    Region taken by the Nazis in 1939, assigning it back to Lithuania,
    with which it would remain even after Lithuania became independent
    in 1990.
  19. Upon the collapse of the USSR, Latvia declared
    independence in 1989 (the first Soviet Republic to do so), resulting
    in military suppression of independence movement by Russian
    soldiers. Russia finally recognizes independence of the Republic of
    Lithuania in 1991, as it faced the reality of its situation and its
    inevitable collapse.

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Etymology (How
Name Received):

Of Baltic
origin referring to a body of water, possibly a river in Lithuania.

Lithuanian Culture:

Like Latvian culture, original Latvian culture stems back before the
Northern Crusades into the region during the 12th century, when most of
Lithuania was forcibly Christianized. However, Lithuania managed to
remain independent from foreign rule for a few more centuries, allowing
Balt culture to flourish more in Lithuania than Latvia.

Also like
Latvia, Lithuania faced attempts by foreign rulers to extinguish its
language and culture, which it successfully resisted. Lithuanians also
faced severe persecutions under Soviet rule, making it wary of an
assertive Russia. Unlike other former, similarly suspicious Soviet
Republics, Lithuania is more open to Russian influence and ties, perhaps
due to a large Russia contingency within its borders, that has possibly
softened the nation toward its former captor.


Lithuania in 2008:


Economy: Unlike other former Soviet Republics, Lithuania embraces
trade with Russia, experiencing strong growth since the Russian economic
recovery beginning in 1998, and still ascending this day as energy
prices continue to rise. Lithuania has also increased its trade with
western partners as well. Transition to a privatized, free-market
economy is nearly complete. Since joining the EU in 2004, has seen a
large emigration rate to other, more established European nations with
higher wages, but strong growth is closing the gap more each year.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Roman Catholic 79%, Russian Orthodox 4.1%. Bucking the trend
of Europe, church activity has increased since escaping Soviet control
in 1990. 49% believe in God, 36% other ID, 12% atheist.
Demographics: Latvian 83.4%, Polish 6.7% (historically tied
together, as kingdoms were united for a long time during late middle
ages), Russian 6.3 (long time Russian rule – soviet republic –
population exchange).
Foreign Policy: EU and NATO in 2004.
Population: 3,565,205 (2008)



Formation of Nations (All European Nations)


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