LITHUANIA – A COUNTRY YOU MAY THINK YOU KNOW – BUT DO YOU REALLY? smile emoticon smile emoticon smile emoticon * Text/research: Aage Myhre * Map: Grand Duchy of Lithuania around 1400 1. A WORLD SUPER POWER, EUROPE’S LARGEST COUNTRY Did you know that Lithuania was a world super power – much longer than USA has been a super power. – and Europe’s largest country for more than 300 years (1300-1600), stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea? 2. WAS A HAVEN OF TOLERANCE Grand Duke Gediminas (1275-1341) – founder of Vilnius and the first Grand Duke of the family of Lithuanian rulers during 300 years– made Lithuania a ‘haven of tolerance’ according to British historian Norman Davies. …3. STOPPED THE MONGOLS FROM INVADING EUROPE Lithuania (the Grand Duchy) was the country stopping the Golden Hordes (the Mongols) from invading Europe (late 1300s). 4. LAST EUROPEAN COUNTRY TO BE CHRISTIANISED Lithuania was the last European country to be Christianised (around 1400), and Paganism is still going strong here. Even Christian crosses sometimes contain pagan elements (sun, flowers, grass snakes). 5. TURKIC PEOPLE LIVING HERE FOR MORE THAN 600 YEARS Karaims – the Turkic-Crimean people who guarded the Grand Dukes – came to Lithuania in 1397 – and the Trakai town (at the castle above) near Vilnius is now their world capital. … 6. NAPOLEON NAMED VILNIUS AS THE ‘JERSUALEM OF THE NORTH’ Napoleon Bonaparte named Vilnius Jerusalem of the North when he arrived here in 1812. Lithuanian Jews (the Litvaks) had an extraordinary life here for 600 years. 7. THE WORLD’S MOST ITALIAN CITY OUTSIDE ITALY Vilnius is the world’s most Italian city outside Italy. Lithuania and Italy share a very unique common history. … 8. LANGUAGE OLDER THAN SANSKRIT The languages Old Sanskrit and Lithuanian are having the same Indo-European roots. Incredible similarities between Indian and Lithuanian cultures since the early civilisations. … 9. NATIONAL REBIRTH 1920-1940 Lithuania declared independence in 1918, after 123 years of mostly Russian occupation. The interwar years were very successful and the country prospered immensely. Kaunas was the capital for the period 1919-1940, after Poland occupied Vilnius and southern Lithuania. … 10. 300. 000 INNOCENT PEOPLE WERE DEPORTED TO SIBERIA During 1940–1953, some 132. 000 Lithuanians were deported to remote areas of the USSR. More than 70% were women and children. 30. 000 died there due to climate, hard slave work and starvation. 50. 000 were not able to return to Lithuania. During the same period, another 200. 000 people were prisoned and 150. 000 of them were sent to Siberian Gulags. …11. HOLOCAUST KILLED 95% OF ALL JEWS IN LITHUANIA The Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Lithuania resulted in the near total destruction of Lithuania’s Jewish population. Out of more than 200. 000, around 95% were murdered during WWII, the most tragic, worst example of Holocaust in the whole world. 12. MODERN EUROPE’S LONGEST, BLOODIEST PARTISAN WAR 22. 000 Lithuanian ‘forest brothers’ and 70. 000 Soviet soldiers were killed in modern Europe’s longest and bloodiest guerrilla war, after the Balts withdrew into the woods to organize their powerful armed partisan resistance when the Soviet Union re-occupied the Baltic States in 1944. 13. LITHUANIA WAS SOVIET’S SILICON VALLEY Post-war Lithuania became known as the Soviet Silicon Valley, and also today this country enjoys a very strong research and development sector. Lithuanian world-class specialists cooperate with NASA, NATO, Volvo, Saab, Philips, and many others in the fields of biotechnology, biochemistry, laser optics, chemistry, physics, etc. … 14. THE SINGING REVOLUTION THAT CHANGED THE WORLD The Singing Revolution – that between 1987 and 1991 led to the restoration of the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, culminating with the Soviet attack in January 1991 and the Union’s fall later same year. In august 1989, two million people joined hands to form a human chain spanning over 600 km (370 mi) across the three Baltic States. Im festen zustand liegt wasser aufgrund der ausbildung ghostwriter münchen der wasserstoffbrückenbindungen in kristalliner struktur vor. 15. 50% OF ALL LITHUANIAN NOW LIVE IN OTHER COUNTRIES Former President Valdas Adamkus was one among the tens of thousands fleeing Lithuania at the end of WWII. Chicago is counted as Lithuania’s 2nd largest city, and it is estimated that around one million Lithuanians live in the U. S. A new wave of emigration started in 1991, and one expects that half of all Lithuanians now live outside their home land. 16. LITHUAN JEWS ‘RULE THE WORLD’ OF TODAY smile emoticon During the 19th and 20th century, hordes of Lithuanian Jews emigrated to the U. S. and South Africa (90% of its 100. 000 Jewish population are from Lithuania). Litvaks are today playing leading roles worldwide. 17. VILNIUS CATCHES AND CAHNGES YOUR SOUL Paris has its Eiffel Tower. London its bridges. Rome has the Colosseum. Washington has the White House, and Berlin its Brandenburg Gate. Vilnius has its wonderful, mysterious Old Town with narrow, winding streets, courtyards, cellars, smells, music of all kinds, and the very atmosphere of 700 years development of a Mediterranean-like city far away from mainstream Europe. .