|Place of origin:||Northern Lithuania and the surrounding areas, the Prusi province of Veneda|
|Places inhabitted:||Lithuania (~40% of the population), Free Lithuania (majority), Veneda (~3%), Maasai (~1%), Tejas, Skuodia, Belarus, Latvia, Chinese East Africa|
|Formed at:||13th-19th centuries|
|Religion:||Primarilly Baltic paganism, to a lesser extent various forms of the Christianity|
Lithuanians are a nation that originated in the northern part of the modern day Lithuania and the surrounding areas of neighboring states. In the modern era Lithuanians however are not necessarily living in these areas nor they necessarilly consider those lands to be their homeland. Several groups of people, living sometimes thousands of kilometers from each other, consider themselves to be Lithuanians. According to the surveys, most Lithuanians consider either the Lithuanian language of the Lithuanian faith (Baltic paganism) to be the most important feature of the Lithuanian nation. Indeed, the history of the Lithuanians is indivisible from neither the history of their language nor the history of their faith.
The Lithuanian nations is usually divided into certain subdivisions based on their tradtions, dialect and location. The Samogitians, Zanavyks, Dzūkians, Southern Lithuanians and Aukštaitians live mostly in the Lithuania itself. The Lietuvininks live in the Lithuania Minor (now the Prusi province of Veneda) and are primarilly Lutherans rather than Pagans. The so-called Easterners, actually eastern Aukštaitians and Dzūkians who live in Belarus and formerly lived in the Russian Empire are also sometimes considered to be a separate group. The Tejan Lithuanians (from Tejas), Antarctic Lithuanians (from Free Lithuania), African Lithuanians (from Maasai, Chinese East Africa and other African states) are the main subdivisions of the Lithuanian nation that formed in the 20th century. Some considers the Sudovians, Latvians and even Prussians to be either subdivisions of the Lithuanian nation or, together with the Lithuanians, subdivisions of a greater Baltic nation (see Panbaltism).
Various Baltic tribes consolidated into a single Lithuanian nation during the early era of the Kingdom of Lithuania. Various dialects of the Lithuanian language did exist however. At this time the Lithuanian nation was primarilly defined by its faith (Baltic paganism) as the other nations of the Kingdom of Lithuania were either Catholic (Veneds), Orthodox (Ruthenians, Belarusians), Muslim (Tatars), Karaite or Jewish.
The first Lithuanian books were published in the middle of the second millenium AD in the area known as Lithuania Minor that was a part of Prussia. More people, including non-Lithuanians, were interested in the language there than in the Kingdom of Lithuania because at the time the Kingdom had joined Veneda to form the Republic of Both Nations and the venedised nobility of that new country viewed the Lithuanian language to be a language of peasants and poor people.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the interest towards the Lithuanian language increased in the Republic of Both Nations as well, but the differences between the venedised nobility and the Lithuanian peasants only deepened. Only in Samogitia the nobility was more keen at preserving the Lithuanian language. The national revival was also greatly supported by the Baltic pagan priests because at the time Lithuania was rapidly christianising and they understood that there is a strong correlation between the venedisation and christianisation. Lithuania became hardly divided between the Catholics (and some pagans) who spoke Venedic because they believed this language to be superior and the rest of the population, mostly poor pagan peasants, who supported the national revival.
The situation had led to the Samogitian War after which the rights of the Lithuanian language were recognised by the Republic's authorities. In the later 19th century the Lithuanians tried (albeit less successfully) to spread the national revival further, to the areas of Lithuania that were occupied by Russia during the partitions of the Republic of Both Nations that happened in the late 18th century, to the rapidly germanising Lithuania Minor, to the southern parts of the Kingdom of Lithuania that were inhabitted by non-Lithuanian speaking population.
The First Great War turned a new page in the history of the Lithuanian nation. Lithuania became an independent country that was ruled by nationalists since the year 1926. There was a language purification campaign that produced the Reformed Lithuanian language and high emmigration (due to the post-war crisis) that started the main Lithuanian communites in the foreign countries and led to the colonial campaign of Kazys Pakštas. This project have started the large Lithuanian communities in Tejas, Eastern Africa and gave the foundations to the modern country of Free Lithuania in Antarctica.
Many Lithuanians have died or were expelled due to the Second Great War. After this war the union with Veneda was reestablished as the Republic of the Two Crowns and as well many of the language reforms were cancelled. The interests of the European Lithuanians and the Lithuanians in Africa, Antarctica and America drifted further away from each other, but they still consider themselves to be undivisible parts of the Lithuanian nation.
This page was created by Abdul-aziz.