List of rulers of Lithuania

The following is a list of rulers over Lithuania—grand dukes, kings, and presidents—the heads of authority over historical Lithuanian territory. The timeline includes Lithuania as a sovereign entity or legitimately part of a greater sovereign entity as well as Lithuania under control or occupation of an outside authority (i.e., Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic). The incumbents and office-holders are listed by names most commonly used in English language. Where appropriate, the alternations in Lithuanian, Ruthenian (later Belarusian) and Polish are included.

The state of Lithuania formed in the 1230s, when threatened by the Livonian Order in the north and the Teutonic Knights in the west, the Baltic tribes united under the leadership of Mindaugas. He became the only crowned king of Lithuania. His state became known as Grand Duchy of Lithuania. After Grand Duke Jogaila became also king of Poland in 1386, the two states became closer connected and since 1440 both were ruled by a common ruler. In 1569 Union of Lublin was signed and a new entity—the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth—emerged. The commonwealth was partitioned in 1795 and Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire till 16 February 1918. The Council of Lithuania was able to establish the sovereignty only in 1919, after Germany lost World War I. The first republic of Lithuania existed until 1940 when it was occupied by the Soviet Union. During the Soviet-German War, Lithuania was occupied by Nazi Germany. In 1944, as Germany was losing the war, Russia re-occupied Lithuania and established the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence. The restored Republic of Lithuania is a democratic republic, a member of both the European Union and NATO.

President of the Republic of Lithuania
Lietuvos Respublikos Prezidentas
Flag of the President of Lithuania
Coat of arms of the President of Lithuania
Dalia Grybauskaite 2014 by Augustas Didzgalvis
Dalia Grybauskaitė

since 12 July 2009
StyleHis/Her Excellency
Member ofEuropean Council
ResidencePresidential Palace
AppointerDirect election
Term lengthFive years
renewable once, consecutively
Inaugural holderAntanas Smetona
4 April 1919
FormationConstitution of Lithuania
Salary€70,000[1](annual,after tax)
WebsiteLietuvos Respublikos Prezidentė

Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1236–1569)

Title: Grand Duke (Lithuanian: didysis kunigaikštis; Belarusian: vialiki kniaź; Polish: wielki książę) except for Mindaugas, who became king of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos karalius).

House of Mindaugas (1236–1268)

Dates are approximate because of scant written sources.

Term Grand Duke Image Remarks
c. 1236–1263 Mindaugas Mindaugas Initially Grand Duke, since 1253 King of Lithuania. After he was killed by his nephew Treniota, a war between nobles for power erupted.
1263–1265 Treniota Treniota
1265–1268 Vaišvilkas Vojshalk Son of Mindaugas, voluntarily gave up the throne for the benefit of his brother-in-law Shvarn

Monomakhovichi (1268–1269)

Term Grand Duke Image Remarks
1268–1269 Švarnas Shvarn

House of Mindaugas (1269–1285)

Term Grand Duke Image Remarks
1270–1282 Traidenis Lithuanian Grand Duke Traidenis
1282–1285 Daumantas

House of Gediminas (1285–1440)

Some dates are approximate.

Term Grand Duke Image Remarks
1285–1291 Butigeidis Founder of the Gediminid dynasty
1291–1295 Butvydas Brother of Butigeidis, father of Vytenis and Gediminas
1295–1316 Vytenis Vytenis kunigaikštis Son of Butvydas
1316–1341 Gediminas Gedimin grav xvii Son of Butvydas. After his death, the domain was divided between his 7 sons.
1341–1345 Jaunutis Son of Gediminas. Overlord and Grand Duke, deposed by his brothers Algirdas and Kęstutis.
1345–1377 Algirdas Kunigaikštis Algirdas Son of Gediminas. His co-ruler was Kęstutis, who was active in the west. Algirdas was mostly active in the east.
1377–1381 Jogaila Jogaila of Lithuania.Image from around 1475-1480 Son of Algirdas. Crowned the King of Poland in 1386 and established the personal union of Lithuania and Poland. Founder of the House of Jogailaičiai.
1381–1382 Kęstutis Kiejstut Son of Gediminas, co-ruler with Algirdas. Kęstutis ruled western Lithuania (with its capital in Trakai). He deposed Jogaila in 1381 and took control of the whole of Lithuania, only to be captured and killed by him the next year.
1382–1392 Jogaila Jogaila of Lithuania.Image from around 1475-1480 Also King of Poland 1386–1434. His governor in Lithuania was Skirgaila (1387–1392).
1392–1430 Vytautas the Great Vytautas the great Son of Kęstutis. He joined his father in the fight against Jogaila, then changed sides and became Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1392. He was to be crowned King of Lithuania in 1429, but the crown was stopped by the Poles. He died before the second crown arrived.
1430–1432 Švitrigaila Lithuanian Grand Duke Švitrigaila Son of Algirdas, brother of Jogaila. Deposed by followers of Žygimantas, son of Kęstutis.
1432–1440 Sigismund Kęstutaitis Seal of Sigismund Kestutis Son of Kęstutis, brother of Vytautas. Killed by Švitrigaila supporters.

House of Jagiellon (1440–1569)

The act of personal union with Poland was signed as early as 1385, however, continuous line of common rulers of the two countries started only with Casimir IV (even then Polish and Lithuanians twice selected different rulers following earlier common monarch's death, but the Lithuanian one always eventually assumed the Polish throne). The monarchs retained separate titles for both parts of the state, and their numbering was kept separately. The Jagiellon dynasty was a direct continuation of the Gediminids.

Term Incumbent Image Remarks
1440–1492 Casimir IV Jagiellon Casimir IV Jagiellon Son of Jogaila. Elected and crowned King of Poland in 1447 after the death of king Władysław III of Poland
1492–1506 Alexander I Alexander of Poland Son of Casimir IV. Elected and crowned King of Poland in 1501 after the death of king John I Albert
1506–1548 Sigismund I the Old Sigismund I of Poland Son of Casimir IV.
1548–1569 Sigismund II Augustus Sigismundus II Augustus of Poland Son of Sigismund I the Old. Factual ruler since 1529.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795)

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was established by Union of Lublin in 1569. The elected King of Poland was to be elected by Lithuanian noble families as a Grand Duke of Lithuania (until then Lithuanian dukedom was hereditary). The first ruler of the common country was Sigismund II Augustus. Following the partitions in 1772, 1793, and 1795, the commonwealth ceased to exist and Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire for 123 years. There are some gaps in the timeline as it took a while to elect a new king. The first Grand Duke elected after the Gediminyds line became extinct and after the Valois fled back to France was Stephen Báthory, who had made an effort to be recognized as Grand Duke of Lithuania by establishing Vilnius University.

Title: King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lenkijos karalius ir Lietuvos didysis kunigaikštis; Belarusian: karol Polščy, vialiki kniaź litoŭski; Polish: Król Polski, wielki książę litewski; Latin: Rex Poloniae et Magnus Dux Lituaniae).

Term Incumbent Image House Remarks
1569–1572 Sigismund II Augustus Sigismundus II Augustus of Poland Jagiellon Son of Sigismund I the Old.
1573–1575 Henry Valois Bacciarelli - Henri.jpeg Valois He abandoned the throne and fled to France where he was crowned as French King Henry III.
1575-1586/1596 Anna I Jagiellon

Kober Anna Jagiellon as a widow

Jagiellon Daughter of Sigismund I the Old.
1576–1586 Stephen Báthory Stefan Batory 11 Báthory Received title by jure uxoris since he was married to Anna Jagiellon;
1588–1632 Sigismund III Vasa Bacciarelli - Zygmunt III.jpeg Vasa Proponent of a personal union between The Republic and Sweden, King of Sweden between 1592 and 1599.
1632–1648 Ladislaus IV Vasa Wladislaus IV of Poland
1648–1668 John II Casimir Vasa Bacciarelli - Jan Kazimierz.jpeg Abdicated and became a monk, last of the Vasa dynasty in Poland-Lithuania.
1669–1673 Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki Bacciarelli - Michał.jpeg Lithuanian nobility
1674–1696 John III Sobieski John III Sobieski of Poland Polish szlachta
1697–1706 Augustus II the Strong Friedrich August der Starke von Polen Wettin also Elector of Saxony as Frederick Augustus I.
1706–1709 Stanisław Leszczyński Stanislaw Leszczynski1 Polish szlachta Great Northern War.
1709–1733 Augustus II the Strong Friedrich August der Starke von Polen Wettin also Elector of Saxony as Frederick Augustus I.
1733–1736 Stanisław Leszczyński Stanislaw Leszczynski1 Polish szlachta War of Polish Succession.
1733–1763 August III Wettin King Augustus III of Poland Wettin
1764–1795 Stanislaus August II Stanisław II August Poniatowski in coronation clothes Polish szlachta During his reign the merger of the Grand Duchy with the Kingdom of Poland was passed in 1791; abdicated following the Partitions of Poland; died in exile in Russia.

Kingdom of Lithuania (1918)

The Council of Lithuania declared independence on 16 February 1918 and invited Wilhelm of Urach to become king of Lithuania. The name of the state was the Kingdom of Lithuania. On 9 July 1918, the council declared that the Duke of Urach is to become King Mindaugas II of Lithuania. However, on 2 November, the council revoked this decision because of its unpopularity and declared that Lithuania is to be a democratic republic.

Term Incumbent Image House Remarks
11 July – 2 November 1918 Mindaugas II
(Wilhelm Karl)
WilhelofUrach House of Urach Government change to a democratic republic.

State of Lithuania (1918–1920)

State of Lithuania was ruled by the Presidium of the State Council of Lithuania, its chairman was de facto Head of State. Institution of Presidium of the State Council of Lithuania was changed into President's on 4 April, 1919. Chairman of the Presidium Antanas Smetona was elected as First President of the State of Lithuania by the State Council of Lithuania.

No Term President Image Remarks
2 November 1918 – 4 April 1919 Antanas Smetona Antanas Smetona 2 President of the Presidium of the Council of Lithuania.
1 4 April 1919 – 19 June 1920 Antanas Smetona Antanas Smetona 2 Elected as the President of Lithuania by the Council of Lithuania.

Republic of Lithuania (1920–1940)

The institution of President (Lithuanian: Prezidentas) was created on 4 April 1919.

No Term President Image Remarks
2 19 June 1920 – 7 June 1926 Aleksandras Stulginskis Aleksandras Stulginskis (1885-1969) Acting President (as Constituent Assembly). Re-elected by the Seimas on 21 December 1922 and in June 1923.
3 7 June – 18 December 1926 Kazys Grinius Kazys Grinius Elected by parliament, but overthrown by a military coup d'état.
18–19 December 1926 Jonas Staugaitis Jonas Staugaitis Formally, for one day, as the head of Seimas (renounced the office after the coup d'état).
19 December 1926 Aleksandras Stulginskis Aleksandras Stulginskis (1885-1969) Formally, as the new head of Seimas, only for several hours.
19 December 1926 – 15 June 1940 Antanas Smetona Antanas Smetona 2 Second term, elected president after a military coup d'état; after the Soviet ultimatum of 1940 he fled to Germany and then to the USA.
15–17 June 1940 Antanas Merkys Antanas Merkys The Prime Minister, de facto acting president after Smetona's defection. Not recognised by Lithuanian diplomats abroad; he assumed the role of president illegally, as Smetona neither resigned nor died.
17 June – August, 1940 Justas Paleckis Justas Paleckis 1961b Chosen unconstitutionally by leaders of the Lithuanian communists under pressure from the Soviet Union, not recognized internationally or by the Lithuanian diplomatic service.[2]
4 16 February 1949 – 26 November 1954 Jonas Žemaitis HPIM0823 Officially named as the fourth (acting) President of Lithuania in March 2009.

Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic (1940–1941 and 1944–1990)

The Soviet Union occupied Lithuania and established Lithuanian SSR in July 1940. As Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Lithuania was occupied by the Germans. For a few days before the German occupation, Lithuania was ruled by pro-German rebel government of Juozas Ambrazevičius. Under the Germans, the General District of Lithuania was governed by the administration of general Petras Kubiliūnas. As Nazi Germany retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied the country and reestablished the Lithuanian SSR in 1944.

Title: First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos komunistų partijos Centro komiteto pirmasis sekretorius; Russian: Первый секретарь Центрального Комитета Коммунистической партии Литвы).

No Term First Secretary Remarks
1 21 July 1940 – 24 June 1941
13 July 1944 – 22 January 1974
Antanas Sniečkus
2 18 February 1974 – 14 November 1987 Petras Griškevičius
3 1 December 1987 – 19 October 1988 Ringaudas Bronislovas Songaila First leader of the party to be deposed of his power (Sniečkus and Griškevičius held office until their death)
4 19 October 1988 – 11 March 1990 Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas Lost power as independence was declared

The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet acted as a collective head of state from 25 August 1940 to 11 March 1990.

Term Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet Remarks
25 August 1940 – 14 April 1967 Justas Paleckis In Russian SFSR exile 1941–1944
14 April 1967 – 24 December 1975 Motiejus Šumauskas
24 December 1975 – 18 November 1985 Antanas Barkauskas
18 November 1985 – 7 December 1987 Ringaudas Songaila
7 December 1987 – 15 January 1990 Vytautas Astrauskas
15 January 1990 – 11 March 1990 Algirdas Brazauskas

Republic of Lithuania (1990–present)

The leader of the Supreme Council was the official head of state from the declaration of independence on 11 March 1990 until the new Constitution came into effect in 1992 establishing the office of President and the institution of Seimas. The state and its leadership were not recognized internationally until September 1991.

Title from 1990 to 1992: Chairman of the Supreme Council (Parliament) (Lithuanian: Aukščiausiosios Tarybos pirmininkas). Title from 1992 onwards: President (Lithuanian: Prezidentas).

No Portrait Name
Elected Took office →→→ Left office Affiliation/Notes
Vytautas Landsbergis 2004
Vytautas Landsbergis
(born 1932)
11 March 1990 25 November 1992 As Chairman of the Supreme Council.
Algirdas Brazauskas 1998
Algirdas Brazauskas (acting)
25 November 1992 25 February 1993 First post-Soviet President.
Algirdas Brazauskas
1993 25 February 1993 25 February 1998
Valdas Adamkus 16072008
Valdas Adamkus
(born 1926)
1997–98 26 February 1998 26 February 2003
Paksas March 2003 (cropped)
Rolandas Paksas
(born 1956)
2002–03 26 February 2003 6 April 2004 Impeached and removed from office.
Artūras Paulauskas
Artūras Paulauskas (acting)
(born 1953)
6 April 2004 12 July 2004 As leader of Seimas, temporarily performed the duties of the President until the next election.
Valdas Adamkus 16072008
Valdas Adamkus
(born 1926)
2004 12 July 2004 12 July 2009
Dalia Grybauskaite 2014 by Augustas Didzgalvis
Dalia Grybauskaitė
(born 1956)
12 July 2009 Incumbent
(Term ends on 12 July 2019)
First female President of Lithuania. Became the first President to be re-elected.

Latest election

Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Dalia Grybauskaitė Independent 612,485 45.92 700,647 57.87
Zigmantas Balčytis Social Democratic Party of Lithuania 181,659 13.62 485,968 40.14
Artūras Paulauskas Labour Party 160,139 12.01
Naglis Puteikis Independent 124,333 9.32
Valdemar Tomaševski Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania 109,659 8.22
Artūras Zuokas YES 69,677 5.22
Bronis Ropė Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union 55,263 4.14
Invalid/blank votes 20,445 1.53 24,126 1.99
Total 1,332,061 100 1,210,741 100
Registered voters/turnout 2,553,335 52.17 2,559,330 47.31
Source: VRK, VRK

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Lietuvos okupacija (1940 m. birželio 15 d.)". Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  • History, Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania. Retrieved 26 August 2006.
  • (in Lithuanian) Vytautas Spečiūnas (ed.), Lietuvos valdovai (XIII-XVIII a.) (Rulers of Lithuania (13–18th centuries)), Mokslo ir enicklopedijų leidybos institutas, Vilnius 2004. ISBN 5-420-01535-8

External links


The Aesti (also Aestii, Astui or Aests) were an ancient people first described by the Roman historian Tacitus in his treatise Germania (circa 98 AD). According to Tacitus, the territory of Aesti was located somewhere east of the Suiones (Swedes) and west of the Sitones (possibly the ancient "Kvens"), on the Suebian (Baltic) Sea. This and other evidence suggests that they lived in or near the present-day Russian enclave of Kaliningrad Oblast (previously East Prussia).

Despite the phonological similarity between Aestii and the modern ethnonyms of Estonia, especially in popular etymologies, the two geographical areas are not contiguous and there are few, if any, direct historical links between them.

Antanas Merkys

Antanas Merkys (pronunciation ; 1 February 1887 – 5 March 1955) was the last Prime Minister of independent Lithuania, serving from November 1939 to June 1940. When the Soviet Union presented an ultimatum to Lithuania demanding that it accept a Soviet garrison, President Antanas Smetona fled the country leaving Merkys as acting president. Merkys ostensibly cooperated with the Soviets, and illegally took over the presidency in his own right. After three days, Merkys handed power to Justas Paleckis, who formed the People's Government of Lithuania. When Merkys attempted to flee the country, he was captured and deported to the interior of Russia, where he died in 1955.

Centennial of the Restored State of Lithuania

The Centennial of the Restored State of Lithuania marks the 100th anniversary of the Act of Independence of Lithuania which was signed on 16 February 1918.

Coup of the Volunteers

The Coup of the Volunteers (Lithuanian: Pakaunės savanorių maištas) was a stand-off that occurred in 1993 in Lithuania near Kaunas between the group SKAT (Savanoriškoji krašto apsaugos tarnyba - "Voluntary National Defense Service"), which had been formed during the period when Lithuania was winning back its independence from Russia, and some forces loyal to the newly elected Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania (LDDP).

Although it concluded peacefully, the stand-off led Lithuania to the brink of civil war just after its first democratic elections, which would have played into Russia's political and military goals in the region.


The Kursenieki are also known as Curonians.

The Curonians or Kurs (Curonian: Korsi; German: Kuren; Latvian: kurši; Russian: курши; Old East Slavic: кърсь; Lithuanian: kuršiai; Estonian: kuralased; Polish: Kurowie) were a Baltic tribe living on the shores of the Baltic Sea in what are now the western parts of Latvia and Lithuania from the 5th to the 16th centuries, when they merged with other Baltic tribes. They gave their name to the region of Courland (Kurzeme), and they spoke the Old Curonian language. Curonian lands were conquered by the Livonian Order in 1266 and they eventually merged with other Baltic tribes participating in the ethnogenesis of Lithuanians and Latvians. Direct descendants of the Curonians include the Kursenieki of the Curonian Spit and the so-called Curonian Kings of Courland.

Grand Prince of Kiev

Grand Prince of Kiev (sometimes Grand Duke of Kiev) was the title of the Kievan prince and the ruler of Kievan Rus' from the 10th to 13th centuries. In the 13th century, Kiev became an appanage principality first of the Grand Prince of Volodymyr and the Golden Horde governors, and later was taken over by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

According to some Ukrainian historians (i.e., Kanyhin, Tkachuk), Ptolemy's mention of Metropolis, a Sarmatian town on the Dnieper River, shows the ancient existence of Kiev. The name Dnieper is derived from Sarmatian (Iranian) Dānu apara "the river far away."

History of Lithuania

The history of Lithuania dates back to settlements founded many thousands of years ago, but the first written record of the name for the country dates back to 1009 AD. Lithuanians, one of the Baltic peoples, later conquered neighboring lands and established the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 13th century (and also a short-lived Kingdom of Lithuania). The Grand Duchy was a successful and lasting warrior state. It remained fiercely independent and was one of the last areas of Europe to adopt Christianity (beginning in the 14th century). A formidable power, it became the largest state in Europe in the 15th century through the conquest of large groups of East Slavs who resided in Ruthenia. In 1385, the Grand Duchy formed a dynastic union with Poland through the Union of Krewo. Later, the Union of Lublin (1569) created the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that lasted until 1795, when the last of the Partitions of Poland erased both Lithuania and Poland from the political map. Afterward, the Lithuanians lived under the rule of the Russian Empire until the 20th century.

On February 16, 1918, Lithuania was re-established as a democratic state. It remained independent until the outset of World War II, when it was occupied by the Soviet Union under the terms of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Following a brief occupation by Nazi Germany after the Nazis waged war on the Soviet Union, Lithuania was again absorbed into the Soviet Union for nearly 50 years. In 1990–1991, Lithuania restored its sovereignty with the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania. Lithuania joined the NATO alliance in 2004 and the European Union as part of its enlargement in 2004.

History of Lithuania (1219–95)

The history of Lithuania between 1219 and 1295 concerns the establishment and early history of the first Lithuanian state, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The beginning of the 13th century marks the end of the prehistory of Lithuania. From this point on the history of Lithuania is recorded in chronicles, treaties, and other written documents. In 1219, 21 Lithuanian dukes signed a peace treaty with Galicia–Volhynia. This event is widely accepted as the first proof that the Baltic tribes were uniting and consolidating. Despite continuous warfare with two Christian orders, the Livonian Order and the Teutonic Knights, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was established and gained some control over the lands of Black Ruthenia, Polatsk, Minsk, and other territories east of modern-day Lithuania that had become weak and vulnerable after the collapse of Kievan Rus'.

The first ruler to hold the title of Grand Duke was Mindaugas. Traditionally he is considered the founder of the state, the one who united the Baltic tribes and established the Duchy. Some scholars, however, challenge this perception, arguing that an organized state existed before Mindaugas, possibly as early as 1183. After quelling an internal war with his nephews, Mindaugas was baptized in 1251, and was crowned as King of Lithuania in 1253. In 1261, he broke the peace with the Livonian Order, perhaps even renouncing Christianity. His assassination in 1263 by Treniota ended the early Christian kingdom in Lithuania. For another 120 years Lithuania would remain a pagan empire, fighting against the Teutonic and Livonian Orders during the Northern Crusades during their attempts to Christianize the land.After Mindaugas' death, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania entered times of relative instability, as reflected by the fact that seven Grand Dukes held the title over the course of the next 32 years. Little is known about this period, but the Gediminid dynasty was founded in about 1280. Despite the instability, the Grand Duchy did not disintegrate. Vytenis assumed power in 1295, and during the next 20 years laid solid foundations for the Duchy to expand and grow under the leadership of Gediminas and his son Algirdas. While the Grand Duchy was established between 1219 and 1295, the years after 1295 marked its expansion.

Index of Lithuania-related articles

The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to Lithuania.

Kazys Grinius

Kazys Grinius ([kɐˈzʲiːs ˈɡʲrʲɪnʲʊs] (listen), 17 December 1866 – 4 June 1950) was the third President of Lithuania, and held that office from 7 June 1926 to 17 December 1926.Grinius was born in Selema, near Marijampolė, in the Augustów Governorate of Congress Poland, a part of the Russian Empire (present-day Lithuania). He studied medicine at the University of Moscow and became a physician. As a young man, he became involved in Lithuanian political activities, and was persecuted by the Tsarist authorities. In 1896, he was one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania (LSDP).

That same year he married Joana Pavalkytė. For some time they lived in Virbalis. In 1899, their son Kazys was born, and in 1902, their daughter Gražina was born. During World War I they lived in Kislovodsk. In 1918, during a Red Army attack his wife and daughter were killed. They were buried in Kislovodsk cemetery.

When Lithuania regained its independence in 1918, Grinius became a member of the National Assembly as a member of the Peasant Populist Party. He served as Prime Minister from 1920 until 1922, and signed a treaty with the Soviet Union. He was elected President by the Third Seimas, but served for only six months, as he was deposed in a coup led by Antanas Smetona, under the pretext that there was an imminent communist plot to take over Lithuania. (Smetona took the Presidency after two others held the office for less than a day each.)

When Nazi Germany invaded Lithuania in 1941, Grinius refused to collaborate with the Germans because of his opposition to the occupation of Lithuania by any foreign power. He fled to the West, when the Soviet army reoccupied Lithuania in 1944, and emigrated to the United States in 1947.He died in Chicago, Illinois in 1950. After Lithuania regained its independence in 1990, his remains were returned and buried there.

Lithuania proper

Lithuania proper (Latin: Lithuania propria, literally: "Genuine Lithuania"; Lithuanian: Didžioji Lietuva; Yiddish: ליטע‎, Lite) refers to a region which existed within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and where the Lithuanian language was spoken. The primary meaning is identical to the Duchy of Lithuania, a land around which the Grand Duchy of Lithuania evolved. The territory can be traced by Catholic Christian parishes established in pagan Baltic lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania subsequent to the Christianization of Lithuania in 1387. They were quite distinguishable, since Ruthenian parts of the Duchy have been already baptised in an orthodox manner. The term in Latin was widely used during the Middle Ages and can be found in numerous historical maps until World War I.Lithuania proper sometimes is also called Lithuania Major, particularly in contrast with Lithuania Minor.


Mindaugas (German: Myndowen, Latin: Mindowe, Old East Slavic: Мендог, Belarusian: Міндоўг, c. 1203 – autumn 1263) was the first known Grand Duke of Lithuania and the only Christian King of Lithuania. Little is known of his origins, early life, or rise to power; he is mentioned in a 1219 treaty as an elder duke, and in 1236 as the leader of all the Lithuanians. The contemporary and modern sources discussing his ascent mention strategic marriages along with banishment or murder of his rivals. He extended his domain into regions southeast of Lithuania proper during the 1230s and 1240s. In 1250 or 1251, during the course of internal power struggles, he was baptised as a Roman Catholic; this action enabled him to establish an alliance with the Livonian Order, a long-standing antagonist of the Lithuanians. During the summer of 1253 he was crowned King of Lithuania, ruling between 300,000 and 400,000 subjects.While his ten-year reign was marked by various state-building accomplishments, Mindaugas's conflicts with relatives and other dukes continued, and Samogitia (western Lithuania) strongly resisted the alliance's rule. His gains in the southeast were challenged by the Tatars. He broke peace with the Livonian Order in 1261, possibly renouncing Christianity, and was assassinated in 1263 by his nephew Treniota and another rival, Duke Daumantas. His three immediate successors were assassinated as well. The disorder was not resolved until Traidenis gained the title of Grand Duke c. 1270.

Although his reputation was unsettled during the following centuries and his descendants were not notable, he gained standing during the 19th and 20th centuries. Mindaugas was the only King of Lithuania; while most of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes from Jogaila onward also reigned as Kings of Poland, the titles remained separate. Now generally considered the founder of the Lithuanian state, he is also now credited with stopping the advance of the Tatars towards the Baltic Sea, establishing international recognition of Lithuania, and turning it towards Western civilization. In the 1990s the historian Edvardas Gudavičius published research supporting an exact coronation date – 6 July 1253. This day is now an official national holiday in Lithuania, Statehood Day.

Narva culture

Narva culture or eastern Baltic (c. 5300 to 1750 BC) was a European Neolithic archaeological culture found in present-day Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad Oblast (former East Prussia), and adjacent portions of Poland, Belarus and Russia. A successor of the Mesolithic Kunda culture, Narva culture continued up to the start of the Bronze Age. The technology was that of hunter-gatherers. The culture was named after the Narva River in Estonia.

Neman culture

Archaeologists use the name Neman culture to refer to two archaeological cultures (7th to 3rd millennium BC) which existed in the Mesolithic and continued into the middle Neolithic. It was located in the upper basin of the Neman River (present-day northern Poland, southern Lithuania, western Belarus and Kaliningrad Oblast). In the north, the Neman culture bordered the Kunda culture during the Mesolithic and the Narva culture during the Neolithic.


The Selonians (Latvian: Sēļi; Lithuanian: Sėliai) were a tribe of Baltic peoples. They lived until the 15th century in Selonia, located in southeastern Latvia and northeastern Lithuania. They eventually merged with neighbouring tribes, contributing to the ethnogenesis of modern Latvians and Lithuanians. They spoke the Eastern Baltic Selonian language.

Little is known about the Selonians. There is little archaeological evidence and in historic sources the region is often described as a "scarcely populated land". In written sources they are mentioned only few times.

Archeological data can trace the Selonians back to the beginning of 1st millennium AD when they lived on both sides of the Daugava River. But since the 6th. and 7th centuries their settlements can be traced only on the left bank of the river.

Selonian culture had a very strong Latgalian influence. Selonian and Latgalian burial traditions show little difference. Some scholars speculate that during the late Iron Age the Selonians were already partly assimilated by the Latgalians.The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia mentions the Selonians at the beginning of the 13th century, when they were conquered and christened. The author of the chronicle describes the Selonians as Lithuanian allies.

Their lands were subjects of the principalities of Jersika and Koknese, which were vassals of the principality of Polotsk. The Southern lands however were ruled by Lithuanian lords.

In 1207, the German Brothers of Sword together with their Livonian and Latgalian allies besieged the main Selonian centre at Sēlpils hillfort. Reason for the attack were German claims that Sēlpils hillfort was used as main Lithuanian support base for their attacks in Livonia. After a long siege the Selonians agreed to baptism and German rule and the stone Sēlpils Castle (German: Selburg) was built in place of the hillfort. The Selonians were last mentioned in written sources in the 15th century.


Semigallians (Latvian Zemgaļi; Lithuanian: Žiemgaliai, also Zemgalians, Semigalls, Semigalians) were the Baltic tribe that lived in the southcentral part of contemporary Latvia and northern Lithuania. They are noted for their long resistance (1219–1290) against the German crusaders and Teutonic Knights during the Northern Crusades.

Semigallians had close linguistic and cultural ties with Samogitians.

Timeline of Vilnius

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Vilnius, Lithuania.

Leaders of Lithuania since 1919
Presidents (1919–1940)
LKP First Secretaries2
Presidents (since 1990)
Years in Lithuania (1918–present)
Heads of state and government of Europe
of state
Heads of

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