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A chronology of key events:
  • 1009 February 14: First known mention of Lithuania, in the annals of the monastery of Quedlinburg.
  • 1030 The city of Kaunas in Lithuania is founded.
  • 1251 Mindaugas of Lithuania is baptized, in prelude to his crowning as King of Lithuania in 1253.
  • 1252 The Lithuanian city of Klaipeda (''Memel'') is founded by the Teutonic Knights.
  • 1253 Mindaugas is crowned as King of Lithuania.
  • 1262 King Mindaugas of Lithuania renounces Christianity, returning to his pagan roots and reverting to Grand Duke of Lithuania.
  • 1263 Mindaugas, the only Christian king of Lithuania, is assassinated by his cousin Treniota.
  • 1279 Lithuanian forces led by Traidenis defeat the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Aizkraukle.
  • 1323 Lithuania: Vilnius becomes capital
  • 1330 Vilnius in Lithuania received its coat-of-arms. It was granted to the city in the seventh year of its existen
  • 1385 The Union of Krewo established the Jagiellonian dynasty in Poland and Lithuania through the marriage of Queen Jadwiga of Poland and Grand Prince Jagiello of Lithuania and saw the acceptance of Roman Catholicism by the Lithuanian elite.
  • 1569 Poland and Lithuania are united in the Union of Lublin. They form Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
  • 1587 Polish and Lithuanian nobles elect Sigismund III Vasa as their king
  • 1673 near Chocim (also spelled Khotinin the Ukraine, Lithuanian and Polish military units defeat the Turkish army. In this battle rockets of Kazimieras Simonavicius were successfully used.
  • 1863 The January Uprising broke out in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. The aim of the national movement was to regain Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth from occupation of Russia.
  • 1899 Lithuanian doctor, poet, and national hero Vincas Kudirka dies of tuberculosis at age 40.
  • 1918 February 16 1920 Bolshevist Russia recognizes independent Lithuania.
  • 1923 Lithuania seizes and annexes Memel
  • 1929 Coup ousts Augustinas Voldemaras in Lithuania; new president is Antanas Smetona
  • 1939 Germany takes Memel from Lithuania
  • 1940 The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fall under the occupation of the Soviet Union.
  • 1941 Mass deportations by Soviet Union authorities take place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
  • 1949 The extensive deportation campaign was conducted in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Soviet authorities deported more than 92,000 people from Baltics to remote areas of the Soviet Union.
  • 1989 Two million indigenous people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, then still occupied by the Soviet Union, join hands to demand freedom and independence, forming an uninterrupted 600 km human chain.
  • 1990 Two hundred thousand demonstrate in favor of Lithuanian independen
  • 1990 Lithuania declares independence from the Soviet Union.
  • 1990 The Soviet Union announces that Lithuania's declaration of independence is invalid.
  • 1991 Soviet troops assault the Vilnius TV tower in Lithuania and kill 14 unarmed civilians; many more are injured.
  • 1991 Voters in Lithuania support independen
  • 1993 Litas was introduced in Lithuania.
  • 2002 NATO Summit in Prague: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia are invited to join NATO.
  • 2004 The largest expansion of NATO to date takes place, allowing Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia into the organization.
  • 2004 The largest expansion to date of the European Union takes place, extending the Union by 10 member-states: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta and Cyprus.
  • 2004 June - Valdas Adamkus re-elected president.
  • 2004 November - Lithuania becomes first EU member state to ratify new EU constitution.
  • 2004 December - Reactor one at Ignalina nuclear power station shuts down in line with EU entry requirements. Under the same agreement, the second reactor is to close by 2009.
  • 2005 March - President Adamkus declines invitation to attend ceremony in Moscow in May marking end of World War II.
  • 2008 May - Parliament ratifies EU Lisbon Treaty.The EU Commission turns down Lithuania's application to join the euro zone on 1 January 2007, citing the country's inflation rate.
  • 2008 June - Parliament bans display of Soviet and Nazi symbols. The restrictions are the toughest of any former Soviet republic.
  • 2008 April - National statistics office publishes figures showing that Lithuania's GDP plunged 12.6% in the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same period last year.
  • 2009 May - EU budget commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite, standing as an independent, wins presidential election with more than 68% of the vote.
  • 2009 December - The second reactor at the Ignalina nuclear power station is shut down, in line with Lithuania's EU entry requirements.

A. The Rulers of Medieval Lithuania

Mindaugas 1238-1263

Treniota 1263-1264

Vaišalgas (Vaišelga) 1264-1267

Shvarno 1267-1269

Traidenis 1269-1281

Daumantas 1281-1285

Butigeidis 1285-1291

Butvydas (Pucuwer) 1291-1295

Vytenis 1295-1316

Gediminas 1316-1341

Jaunutis 1341-1345

Algirdas 1345-1377

Jogaila (Władysław Jagiełło) 1377-1381, 1382-1392

Kęstutis 1381-1382

Vytautas 1392-1430

Švitrigaila 1430-1432

Žygimantas Kęstutaitis 1432-1440

Casimir 1440-1492

Alexander 1492-1506

B. The Kings of Poland and the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in the Modern Times

Sigismund (Žygimantas) the Old 1506-1548

Sigismund (Žygimantas) August 1544-1572

Henry Valois 1573-1574

Stephen Bathory 1576-1586

Sigismund Vasa 1588-1632

Władysław Vasa 1632-1648

John Casimir Vasa 1648-1668

Michael Korybut (Kaributas) Wiśniowiecki 1669-1673

John Sobieski 1674-1696

August II 1697-1706, 1709-1733

Stanisław Leszcziński 1706-1709

August III 1733-1763

Stanisław August Poniatowski 1764-1795

The Birth of Lithuania

“In the year 1009, St Bruno, also known as Boniface, archbishop and monk, during his eleventh year after having become a monk, was killed by pagans at the border of Rus’ and Lithuania on the 9th of March with 18 of his brethren, all of whom went to heaven.” – Quedlinburg Annals, St Servatius Monastery, Germany

The first reference to the name of Lithuania in written sources comes to us in the story related to the tragic end of St. Bruno’s mission in1009 as described in the annals of Quedlinburg, Germany (Annales Quedlinburgenses). The text written in the 11th century failed to survive and its copy made in the middle of the 16th century is kept in Dresden, Germany.

St. Brunon, alias Bonifacius, archbishop and monk was killed by the pagans together with 18 of his brethren on the Russian –Lithuanian border on the eleventh year of his conversion and on the 9th of March ascended into the heaven.


On 30 December 1997, the Directorate for the Commemoration of the Millennium of Lithuania (CML Directorate) under the auspices of the Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania was formed by the decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania No.1490 to draw up, coordinate and implement the programme for the commemoration of the millennium of Lithuania. Proceeding from the proposals made by the educational, scientific and cultural institutions as well as the broader public, the CML Directorate and its Coordinating Board charted a Programme for the Millennium of Lithuania (Programme), which was approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania by its Resolution No. 971 of 18 July 2003. The Programme is implemented by the CML Directorate, Ministry of Culture, counties and municipalities of Lithuania, scientific and cultural institutions as well as other organizations.

The Programme aims at:

• consolidation and livening up of the historical and civic self-awareness of the Lithuanian society;
• making the cultural heritage more topical;
• rendering assistance in the implementation of projects, which are vitally important for the nation;
• adequate introduction of Lithuania and its culture to the world.

The Programme is based on the principles of openness, statehood, purposefulness and universality. It encourages state, municipal and public institutions and organizations as well as all citizens of Lithuania to develop and implement projects devoted to the given anniversary.

Programme for the Millennium of Lithuania consists of three parts:

• research and publishing projects;
• cultural heritage and architecture projects;
• national and international culture, art and social projects.

The majority of those projects are being successfully implemented.

CML Directorate Implements Research and Publishing Projects.

Implementing the goals of the Programme, the CML Directorate staged contests for the preparation and release of publications devoted to history and culture. In the period of 1998-2007, the CML Directorate co-financed around 300 editions – to this end, LTL 4 million were allocated. 235 books bearing the millennium mark have already been published. They are delivered free of charge to the libraries and representative offices of Lithuania abroad. Publications, which are issued by using the funds of the Programme for the Millennium of Lithuania, introduce the society to the valuable editions devoted to history, culture and literary sources, the most recent works on the science of history as well as publications, which reveal and attractively promote the culture of the country. Books published within the framework of the Programme were exhibited in Lithuanian and world book fairs and expositions.

Prof. Alfredas Bumblauskas, President Valdas Adamkus and prof. Edvardas Gudavičius to welcome the book The History of Ancient Lithuania, 1009-1795. Photo by Džoja Barysaitė.

Projects Devoted to Cultural Heritage and Architecture

In the process of preparing for the 750th anniversary of the coronation of King Mindaugas, a monument to King Mindaugas was erected in the capital in 2003.

In 2009, the National Art Gallery of the Lithuanian Art Museum will be opened in Vilnius. At present, the building, which will house it, is under reconstruction. The mission of the gallery is to accumulate and exhibit modern and contemporary art of Lithuania, investigate its ties with the world culture, broaden the horizon of the viewers and develop the culture of perception of visual art.

Reconstruction of the Royal Palace of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in Vilnius is one of the most outstanding projects of the Programme for the Millennium of Lithuania. The Royal Palace is to be the symbol of the long-lived tradition of Lithuanian statehood and national pride, an important historical centre of the international relations, culture, art, law, finances and state administration of Lithuania of the 13th- 17th centuries. The reconstruction is being perceived as the reinstatement of the symbol of the sovereignty of the state and the nation, as the restitution of the historical truth, which is highly important for the development of the national and civic self-awareness as well as historical memory. The reconstructed Royal Palace shall be opened to the public on 6 July 2009, the Lithuanian Statehood Day (the coronation of King Mindaugas). The reconstructed Royal Palace of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania shall become a poly-functional historical centre of culture and shall organize a broad scope of activities in the fields of the representation of the state, museology, education and other aspects of culture and tourist information. It is planned that the Royal palace will become an independent and an up-to-date national institution to nurture and promote culture and its mode of activities will be in line with the traditional methods as well as those, which are tested in the world practice by institutions accommodated in historical residences and at the same time it will make use of all high-tech possibilities.

Kernavė cultural reservation (in Kernavė, Širvintos district) is a unique object of UNESCO world heritage. The complex project of the research, regeneration and introduction to the public of the values present in it will allow to bring into being the dormant possibilities of the Kernave cultural reservation to become an object representing the pre-history of Lithuania and the early period of the formation of the state.

The Vytautas Magnus Military Museum (Kaunas) is under reconstruction. It endeavours to become the most up-to date museum relating the tales of the struggle of the Lithuanian state and the Lithuanian nation for freedom and independence and introducing the history of Lithuania and other countries as well as the soldiership.

The M.K.Čiurlionis National Museum of Art (Kaunas) is the oldest and largest museum in Lithuania. After its reconstruction, scheduled in the Programme for the Millennium of Lithuania, the museum will display a major part of the legacy of the great and highly talented Lithuanian artist M.K.Čiurlionis (1875-1911) and new vistas to acquaint visitors with the evolution of Lithuanian fine arts.

In 2009, the complex of Open Air Museum of Lithuania (in Rumšiškės, Kaišiadorys district) will be completed. Preserved in the museum is the historical and cultural heritage of everyday life from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th centuries. The museum spotlights the peculiarities and oneness of the national identity of Lithuanians, teaches the society succession of traditions and invites the visitors to have a rest.

The Millennium Programme also provides for the commemoration of the Battle of Saule (1236) by a memorial complex in Joniškis district.

Since 2006, the CML Directorate has staged contests for educative projects related to cultural heritage. Projects promoting the nurturing and knowledge of cultural heritage have been further developed.

National and International Projects Related to Culture, Art and Social Sphere Designed for the Year 2009

In 2003, the CML Directorate initiated and financed the composition of a piece of music devoted to the State of Lithuania’s 750th anniversary, and this gave birth to the opera-ballet Fire and Faith by Bronius Kutavičius.

The International exhibitions Žalgiris Battle, Classicism of Vilnius, Christianity in Lithuanian Art and the most valuable collection of the sacral fine arts Treasury of Vilnius Cathedral were organized in the Lithuanian Art Museum. The CML Directorate supported the exhibition of the painting Fowl in Kwedlinburg by the painter Filomena Linčiūtė-Vaitiekūnienė. When in 2009 Lithuania will be celebrating the millenium of its name, three international exhibitions – Art of the Balts (coordinated by Vilnius Art Academy), Jogailian Europe (coordinated by Lithuanian Art Museum) and Lithuania in Ancient Documents (coordinated by the Department of Archives of Lithuania) will be organized in the Royal Palace.

The CML Directorate uses the funds of the Programme for the Millennium of Lithuania to co-finance scientific conferences devoted to the problems of Lithuanian history and culture.

On the occasion of the commemoration of the millennium of the name of Lithuania, a feature film on history should be produced.

The millennium of the name of Lithuania urged the capital of the State of Lithuania, Vilnius, to seek the status of the 2009 European Cultural Capital. It was officially granted on 14 November 2005 by the Resolution of the European Council No.2005/815/EU. The Programme funds are used to finance those projects, which will attract the guests and our countrymen by the events of modern culture and will make the cultural life of Vilnius close to each citizen of Europe.

All publications and events as well as projects within the framework of the Programme for the Millennium of Lithuania, which are furthered by the CML Directorate, are marked by the symbol of the millennium of Lithuania (author - Ilona Kukenytė)

Following its EU and NATO membership in 2004, Lithuania again reunited with the European family. Once an EU member, Lithuania has become an official donor country and has been giving aid to Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, South Caucasus, Afghanistan and Iraq; it has also been fulfilling multilateral obligations within the EU framework.

Lithuania’s steadfast strife for freedom and a peaceful anticommunist movement undermined and brought about the final collapse of the communist empire. The Gorbachiov’s perestroika launched in 1985 had an enormous impact on the developments in Lithuania. The summer of 1988 saw emerging national revival movement (called “singing revolution”) across the Baltic states. The Reform Movement of Lithuania (Sąjūdis) established on 3 June 1988 convened massive gatherings which turned the history of Lithuania. To demonstrate the scale of anti-communist movement, the Reform Movement of Lithuania in cooperation with the Estonian and Latvian counterparts arranged a grand-scale protest campaign called Baltic Roadon 23 August 1989 marking the 50th anniversary of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The Supreme Council elections held on 24 February 1990 brought a landslide victory for the Reform Movement of Lithuania. The Supreme Council (later renamed Reconstituent Seimas) proclaimed the re-establishment of Lithuania’s independence on 11 March 1990. This was the third time in history that Lithuania started an epoch of autonomous life.

Having taken advantage of favourable international developments, and driven by its foreign policy aims directed against Lithuanian statehood, the USSR occupied Lithuania in 1940.
In 1918, the Council of Lithuania (an interim authority) had enough stamina and determination to sign the Act of independence of Lithuania “re-establishing an independent state based on democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital city, severing all previous links with other states.” Having withstood the fight for independence against Bolsheviks and Polish invaders, Lithuania sealed its parliamentary democracy in the Constituent Assembly (Steigiamasis Seimas) in 1920. The historical tragic flight by Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas, who were among the first in the world to fly a propeller plane over the Atlantic) in 1933, became a national symbol of patriotism.

The principles of the civic society, cultural values and farming foundations rooted in during this period helped Lithuania to survive the Soviet occupation and subsequently served as ideological basis for the restoration of the independence.

In the Middle Ages, Lithuania, unlike other Baltic countries (Latvia and Estonia), had already had its state: the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Magnus Ducatus Lithuaniae). It is generally accepted that the state of Lithuania found its way into the world maps, following the coronation of Mindaugas, ruler of the consolidated Lithuania, on 6 July 1253. The Papal Bull granted the State with the highest title of the monarchy, which meant that Lithuania was recognized by and accepted into the family of the Western Europe as an equal member of the political system.

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania stretched from the Baltic to the Black seas, covering nearly all the territory of current Lithuania and entire Belarus as of the mid-14th century, and a better part of the Ukraine as of the second-half of the 14th century, thus emerging as an important political power in Eastern and Central Europe.The success of the expansion of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was essentially based on ethnic and religious tolerance towards those who were traditionally considered potential enemies.
First written Constitution

The Lithuanian Statutes having served as the legal framework testify to the fact that it was as early as the 16th century that Lithuania became an integral part of the Western Europe. The legal thought reached further heights at the end of the 18th century when a Constitution was adopted on 3 May 1791. It was the first constitution in Europe (preceding the French Constitution), and the second in the world after the US Constitution adopted in 1787. The Commonwealth Constitution was directly inspired by the Declaration des droits de I'homnte et du citoyen, adopted in 1789.
The first settlers of Lithuania arrived in aproximatelly 10, 000 B.C. (Paleolithic period), when the climate warmed up and glaciers started receding from the territory of Lithuania to Scandinavia. This period marks the beginning of Lithuania’s history which counts twelve thousand years now. Peaceful life on the eastern Baltic coast came to an end about 2, 500 B.C., when newcomers from the south began to migrate to the territories inhabited by hunters and fishermen. It took several centuries for the Baltic tribes to emerge in approximately 2, 000 B.C. It was some time between the fifth and the sixth centuries that the major Baltic tribes recognizable today took shape: Curronians, Sellonians, Samogitians (lowlanders), Lithuanians, Aukštaičiai (highlanders) and Semigalians.

Half-day tour to Trakai

Trakai (4 hours tour) is one of the oldest Grand Duchy of Lithuania residence and capitals. Trakai is the second capital of Lithuania.

Tour to Kernave

Kernave village (4 hours tour) located on the banks of the river Neris (35 km from Vilnius) has been known as the capital of Lithuania before Trakai and Vilnius. 

Country life museum in Rumsiskes

Country life Open Air Museum of Lithuania (6 hours tour) is a unique and one of the largest (195 ha) open-air ethnographic museums in Europe.

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