CHRONOLOGY

11th Century AD

Lithuania first mentioned in chronicles.

1200

The Pope summoned a crusade to convert the Baltic pagans to Christianity. The Teutonic Order of Knights was the Church's main instrument.

1236-63

Reign of Mindaugas, who unified the Lithuanian tribes in defence against the Teutonic Order.

1316-41

Reign of Grand Duke Gediminas; vigorous defence against the Teutonic Order combined with territorial expansion into Russian lands.

1323

Beginnings of the construction of Vilnius by Gediminas.

1385

Marriage of Grand Duke Jogaila to Queen Jadwiga of Poland: beginnings of Lithuania's conversion to Christianity as a result.

1392-1430

Reign of Grand Duke Vytautas: under him Lithuania achieved its greatest power and widest territorial extent, from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

1410

The Lithuanians and Poles inflict crushing defeat on the Teutonic Order at Zalgiris (Grunwald, Tannenberg).

1569

Treaty of Lublin between Poland and Lithuania establishes the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the face of the growing challenge of Moscow.

1697

Polish made the official language of the Commonwealth.

1714-80

Life of Kristijonas Donelaitis, one of the most celebrated Lithuanian poets.

1795

Third Partition of Poland, leading to the incorporation of Lithuania in the Russian Empire.

1830

Revolt against Russian rule begins the process of intense Russification.

1832

University of Vilna (Vilnius) closed down.

1861

Emancipation of Lithuanian peasantry.

1863

Second major revolt against Russia.

1863-1904

Intense opposition by Lithuanians to the policy of Russification: book smuggling from Lithuania Minor (in East Prussia) into Lithuania to circumvent the ban on books in the Latin script.

December 1905

Meeting of Lithuanian Assembly in Vilnius accompanying the revolution in Russia.

1911

Death of M.K. Ciurlionis, Lithuania's greatest painter and a distinguished composer.

1914

First World War begins.

1915

Occupation of Lithuania by the German Army.

1918

On 16 February Lithuania declared its independence, despite German obstruction, after Russia withdrew from the war.

1920

The Soviet-Lithuanian Peace Treaty signed.

October 1920

The Vilnius region seized by Polish General Zeligowski.

1920-25

Major land reforms initiated.

1922

Foundation of a university in Kaunas, which became the Vytautas Magnus University in 1930.

LITHUANIA: STEPPING WESTWARD

-ix-

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