Even though I live here in London, my heart will always belong to Lithuania, it is a big part of who I am and what I do. Today I feel extremely proud and happy as it is a special day in my country. February 16th marks the 100 year anniversary of the restoration of independence for Lithuania.
It was one century ago today, 1918, with the signing of the Act of Independence, that the modern democratic state of Lithuania was born. However the history of Lithuania is a bit more complicated than that, so I found a brief history of starting from 13th century and up to Soviet Union collapse. If you have a minute and are interested – have a read.
If it looks like too much of a read for Friday night, have a look to the photos I took of Lithuanian Winter Wonderland when I was back home last month!
Lithuania’s statehood stretches back to the 13th Century when the first King, Mindaugas, was crowned in 1253.
Later, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a major European powerhouse until the federation was wiped off the map in 1795 by imperial Russia, Prussia and Austria.
Until World War I, Lithuania was a province of the Russian empire, which sought to crush nationalism and even banned the Lithuanian alphabet.
The Lithuanian council declared independence on February 16, 1918, when the country was still under German occupation. Brief wars with Bolsheviks and Poles followed before Lithuania won international recognition in the following years.
Modern Lithuania was an independent nation between the two World Wars. Then the Soviet Union invaded in 1940, Nazi Germany invaded in 1941, and the Soviets returned in 1944.
Democracy campaigners launched an independence drive in the 1980s that eventually made it the first Soviet republic to declare independence in March 1990.
Lithuania finally won recognition from Moscow after the failed coup by hardliners in the Soviet capital in August 1991.