Map of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
History

Cartography of a private domain: the 1645 map of the Duchy of Biržai

European cartography experienced a considerable rise in the 16th and the first half of the 17th century when maps became a practical necessity. Their importance rose in Lithuania too as people required more precise pictures of different localities due to intensifying economic ties with Europe, military conflicts and local land and administrative reforms. This is how the view of southern Lithuania emerged in 1559 according to the description of forests by Grigalius Valavičius. […]

Rye
History

Food in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

In the 13th and 14th centuries, both pagans and Christians suffered from starvation because the lack of food was a common. Low economic productivity and the shortage of alternative crops to compensate poor harvests caused dire calamities to people’s lives, as did adverse weather conditions, plant and animal diseases, epidemics, and wars. Lack of everything, especially food, and repeated famines led to a form of social welfare. Those who could afford or had access to enough food and clothing would store everything safely in warehouses, barns or sheds. The abundance of food, which usually indicates prosperity, might, and wealth, accompanied by social responsibility, has been meticulously described in many sources while speaking of feasts, both pagan and Christian, which a generous and hospitable host was expected to arrange. […]

Fire
History

Pilėnai and Margiris

Pilėnai is a place that looms over the landscape of Lithuanian history. It is a place shrouded in legend and a castle that became the symbol of Lithuania‘s life and death struggle for freedom. When listening to the voices of the writers and historians having contributed most to turning Pilėnai into a symbol, we know that Pilėnai duke Margiris and his men fought fearlessly against the numerous forces of the Teutonic Knights. It was only when the situation appeared bleak that they decided to destroy all of the wealth taken to the castle, then kill their wives, children and finally themselves. Choosing death instead of slavery, the defenders of Pilėnai showed a special love for freedom. These tragic but noble events occurred on February 25th, 1336 and was declared as a typical example of Lithuanian valour. […]

Battle of Saulė by A. Kriuka
History

The mythology of the Battle of Saulė

The raid of the Christian army against Lithuania in 1236 was dictated by the political circumstances that occurred after the Curonians’ surrender to Livonia in 1229-1230. It was then that Germans readied themselves to invite the pagans living south of Dauguva into the “sweet yoke of Christ’s faith.” It was at this point that the Christian German immigrant community of Riga and the interests of the Pope’s curia intersected. […]

No Picture
History

Pagan superstitions and spells in the GDL

Baltic Paganism, surviving in Europe up until the very late Medieval times, gave rise not only to hostility among the Christians, but also to a certain curiosity. As the Franciscan Bartholomew the Englishman described in his encyclopaedic treatise written in the mid-18th century, Baltic Paganism was regarded by Christians as a ritus mirabilis. […]

No Picture
History

Sorcery and witchcraft in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Even though there was no Inquisition in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, witch processes and trials were known to be held as a continuous practice. Witch trials were judged by secular courts such as the gentry court (the castle and the land) and the town court (that of the reeve and the magistrate). This process in GDL was undertaken on a significantly smaller scale than in the countries of West Europe. […]

No Picture
History

Burning the dead in XIV century Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Up until the official Christening of Lithuania in 1387, the custom of burning the dead prevailed in the Baltic territory. Cremation was not prevalent merely in the lands accommodated by the Samogitiams and Semigallians. By that time, the Baltic tribes had been living surrounded by the Christian states for more than a century. As a result, urban polyethnic communities of a new type were being established, the views on afterlife of which were to a large extent influenced by the Christian neighbours. […]

Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas
History

Seimas acknowledged Adolfas Ramanauskas Vanagas, partisan commander, as Head of State of Lithuania

On the occasion of the Centenary of the Restoration of the State of Lithuania and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, the Seimas acknowledged Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, First Deputy Chairman of the Presidium of the Council of the Movement of the Struggle for Freedom of Lithuania (LLKS), as the Head of the Lithuanian State, which was fighting the occupation. […]

State funeral of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas
Foreign affairs

Diplomats from 30 countries paid final respects to Lithuania’s partisan commander

Diplomats from 30 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Israel, honored the memory of anti-Soviet partisan commander Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas during his state funeral on Saturday. […]

USSR troops
Foreign affairs

Research finds Lithuania was Soviet Union’s donor in 1st decade of occupation – media

Lithuania was a donor of the Soviet Union rather than its dependent in the first post-war decade of occupation, LRT Television has reported, citing research commissioned by the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania. […]