Southern Lands

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Southern Lands (Pietų žemės) was a term used in the interwar period about Lithuanian colonies in the south (Africa and Antarctica).

It came into use when the territory of Maasai in Eastern Africa, overtaken by the Lithuanians in 1931, was renamed in 1934 from Lithuanian name Masaja to Southern Lands. This renaming was done to signify the fact that, unlike dependencies of other nations, the African dependency of Lithuania was in fact officially part of Lithuania proper, rather than a colony; therefore the name was changed, so that it would not mention another nationality (Maasais). Unofficially, the territory was known among its inhabittants as Pakštija, after the creator of the idea of colonisation Kazys Pakštas; later, when it declared independence in 1940, the name of the independent country also became Pakštija.

In 1937, when the colony in Antarctica started to be built (New Lithuania), it was also part of "Southern Lands" officially; however, for unofficial purposes, usually the name "Southern Lands" refers to the African dependency, while the Antarctic one is called New Lithuania, by its official name.

Thus Southern Lands was an umbrella term for all Lithuanian dependencies in the south; although in reality there were just two of them, in the plans there were more, as there were projects to expand the African colony northwards to the then relatively weak Ethiopia, westwards to Buganda, and other still uncolonised native states.

Administratively, Southern Lands consisted of two apskritys: Naujojo Vilniaus apskritis (in Africa) and Smetoniškio apskritis (in New Lithuania, Antarctica). Due to the lack of democracy in Lithuania at the time however, both were ruled by people appointed by central government.

This page was created by Abdul-aziz.
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