Pre-historyThe first settlers of Lithuaniaarrived in approximately 12,000 B. C.Between the 5th and 8thcenturies tribal groupingsformed in the westernterritories: Prussians,Yotvingians, Curronians,Zemgalians, Lithuanians andLatgallians.In 1009, the name of Lithuaniawas mentioned for the firsttime in the written account ofthe mission of St. Bruno.
Monarchy and toleranceIn the Middle Ages, Lithuania hadalready had its state: the Grand Duchyof Lithuania.Following the coronation of Mindaugas,Lithuania was recognized by andaccepted into the family of theWestern Europe as an equal memberof the political system.With the official adoption of Christianityin 1387, Lithuania chose to follow theWestern path of development: thefollowing period saw the spread of thewritten language, schools wereopened, Lithuanian students travelledto study to European CountriesLithuania was also a country of manynations and religions.
From the Baltic to the Black SeaWe won one moreimportant victory in theBattle of Žalgiris(Grünwald) in 1410 whenin alliance with theKingdom of Poland wedefeated the Order ofTeutonic Knights.After the battle, the GrandDuchy of Lithuaniareached the peak of itspower, with its territorystretching from theBaltic to the Black Sea.
First written Constitution in EuropeThe Lithuanian Statutes asthe legal framework testifyto the fact that Lithuaniabecame an integral part ofWestern Europe as early asof the 16th century. Thelegal thought reachedfurther heights at the endof the 18th century when aConstitution was adoptedon 3rd May 1791. It was thefirst constitution in Europe(preceding the FrenchConstitution), and thesecond in the world.
THE OLDEST UNIVERSITY IN EASTERNEUROPEVilnius University, foundedin 1579, was the first highereducation school not onlyin the Grand Duchy ofLithuania, but in the wholeEastern Europe.
Fall of the Polish-LithuanianCommonwealthFrom the XVIII century anattempt was made to carryout reforms in 1791, and onMay 3, a constitution wasestablished, but it wasalready too late and thethree divisions destroyed thestate. The first - in 1772. Thesecond - in 1793. The third -in 1795. The state wasdivided by the RussianEmpire, Kingdom of Prussia,the Austrian Empire.
Lithuania in the XIX centuryWe had rebelled againstRussia 2 times: first was in1830 and the second onewas in 1863.After failed attempts ofregaining ourindependence, we hadsuffered many restrictionsand repressions.After resisting thoserestrictions we were able toregain our independenceon February 16th, 1918.
1940 Soviet Ultimatum to LithuaniaThe Soviet Union issuedan Ultimatum toLithuania beforemidnight of June 14,1940. The Soviets,using a formalpretext, demandedto allow anunspecified numberof Soviet soldiers toenter the Lithuanianterritory and to forma new pro-SovietgovernmentLithuania, along withLatvia and Estonia,fell into the Russiansphere.
SOVIET OCCUPATION AND ANNEXATIONOF LITHUANIAOn 15 June 1945, the SovietUnion occupied Lithuaniaagain, and mass deportationsof the Lithuanian populationto remote areas of the SovietUnion started on 14 of June.Yet we have survived thesehardships: we enduredoccupations, first by theSoviets, then by the NaziGermany.Many Lithuanians joinedpartisan groups to fight forLithuanias independence.
SINGING REVOLUTIONOn 23 August 1989, we joinedour hands to form a humanchain stretching 650kilometres across Vilnius,Riga and Tallinn to markthe 50th anniversary ofMolotov-Ribbentrop Pact asa result of which Lithuanialost its independence. TheBaltic Way was a symbolicaction that separated theBaltic States from the SovietUnion and by which ourpeople expressed their willto be free.
We did not have to wait long. In 1990, theindependent State of Lithuania was re-established. However, our people’s will wasopposed by the Soviet Union authorities which,in 1991, sent to Vilnius their well trained andheavily armed paratrooper units.
But even under the threat ofviolence we responded tothe Soviet Unionsaggression peacefully –without arms, singingsongs with an endlessfaith in our victory. That iswhy these events arecommonly referred to asthe Singing Revolution.This was the third time inhistory that Lithuaniastarted an epoch ofindependent life.
EU AND NATO MEMBERSHIPFollowing its EU andNATO membership in2004, Lithuania againreunited with theEuropean family. Oncean EU member,Lithuania has becomean official donorcountry and has beengiving aid to Belarus,Ukraine, Moldova,South Caucasus,Afghanistan and Iraq