Full country name: Republic of Lithuania
National Land Area: 65,200 sq km
Population: Circa 3.70 million
President: Valdas Adamkus
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $30.8 billion
GDP per capita is $8,400 US
4.5% Economic Growth
Russia, Germany, Belarus, Latvia, Ukraine, Poland, Denmark, Italy, Finland are the major trading partners
Is currently a member of the EU
Lithuania is a land with a very long and very rich history. Differing wildly from most of the rest of Europe in some areas, like language, it was quite unique in European history, being the last pagan nation of any real size in Europe. Establishing a massive power base throughout the Middle Ages, it unified with Poland in the 16th century to create the most powerful nation in Eastern Europe.
Though the unified Poland was destined to fall to its immensely powerful neighbors in the late 18th century, Lithuania would not exist again until the modern ages. Reduced to a backwater region time and time again, the Lithuanian people have shown a surprising strength in overcoming adversity and in creating for themselves a new future and a new national identity from the ashes of the Soviet Union.
Modern Lithuania’s borders very little resemble those of its political height, or even those that could be considered Lithuanian by the inhabitant’s heritage. Growing fast during the Middle ages, the nation cut its own lifetime short by unifying with Poland and eventually becoming the less dominant half. And though the unified nation would be called the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth Republic for a while, it eventually would be just Poland and the name Lithuania would completely disappear from the map.
The current borders are effectively the ancient homeland of the Lithuanians, the place from where they first spread. Established after World War I, the country quickly placed itself under the Soviet Union's sway in World War II and again ceased to exist, except in the form of a Soviet republic. It was only with the fall of the USSR that we have the ancient land of Lithuania again alive within the world.
At present Lithuania occupies 65,300 square km, with land boundaries stretching 747 km and a coastline of 99 km. From east to west one can travel 373 km and from north to south one can travel 276 km. Nearly ¾ of the territory of Lithuania consists of plains and lowlands with some hilly terrain in the northeast and west. Lakes cover some 4% of Lithuania’s area, with forests covering another 27.6% of its area. Lithuania also has 722 distinct rivers, the largest of which is the Nemunas, which flows from Belarus into Lithuania and is nearly 475 km long within the Lithuanian borders.
The average temperature in the area is 17.2 degrees Celsius in July and 4.6 degrees Celsius in January.
Lithuania's neighboring nations are Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east, Poland and the Russian Federation to the south. Among the number of national parks in Lithuania, the largest is the Aukestaitija National Park, established in 1974 and located in the northeastern area of the country.
In 1996, Lithuania’s population of 3,709,000 was made up of 81.3% Lithuanians, 8.4% Russians, 7.0% Polish, 1.5% Byelorussians, 1.0% Ukrainians, .1% Jewish and .7% of other nationalities. Lithuania has a rather large non-urban population for a developed nation, with 33% of the population living in rural areas.
Five cities have populations over 100,000 people; Vilnius with 575,000, Kaunus with 415,300, Klaipeida with 202,800, Siauliai with 147,200 and Panevezys with 123,100. With the declining birthrate in Europe during the last few decades, the population of Lithuania has been no exception to the changes in population statistics. 21.9% of its population is under 14, 61% is between 15 and 59 and 17.12% is over 60 years of age. Lithuania is also very much non-densely populated, with only 56.9 people per square km.
Lithuania's Lithuanian population makes up about 75% of the world’s Lithuanian population. Among it are four main ethnic groups, the Aukstaiciai in the northeast, the Zemaiciai in the west, the Dzukai in the southeast and the Suvalkejciai in the south.
The people of Lithuania are in large part a reserved peoples and tillers of the land. Though they lived near the sea, they never became traders or sailors, preferring to make their lives from the earth. The four major ethnic groups in Lithuania have maintained their distinct cultures over time and are still recognizable to this day. The fact that the Lithuanians were the last “Pagan” people in Europe has led to a different outlook and a different feel in Lithuania to this day, most noticeably a more emotional element in religious customs.
Understanding some of the culture in Lithuania is massively important in viewing the country today. The fact is that Lithuania has, while becoming a European nation in full retained a very large part of its uniqueness and its rich difference from those around it (with the exception of Latvia and partially Estonia who are still somewhat like Lithuania). Without this strong understanding of their own culture it is most likely that Lithuania never would have been able to be reborn in modern times, especially after so long either subjugated or willingly part of a greater nation.
Culture itself, not just Lithuanian culture, was in a way frowned upon during the Soviet period in Lithuania. Not only was it unofficially against party lines, but it retained a group uniqueness separate from the state and, most importantly, separate from the “brotherhood of man”. Through art, literature and, most importantly, song and folklore, the Lithuanian culture would survive under the Soviet Union, though the culture would not flower again until 1988 when the Soviet government had begun to crumble and the Lithuanians had begun to exert some personal control over their land.
Among some of the mainstays of Lithuanian culture and tradition are the folk stories that have been saved from ruin during the occupations. Both written folklore and tribal art has been hidden away and protected by the intellectual establishments of Lithuania. Today those examples of the Lithuanian past and heritage can be found at the Institute of Lithuanian Language and Folklore, where a massive collection of written history, songs, and tales are held alongside various other artifacts of the rich history of Lithuania. Among those things held here are more than 600,000 songs, the most extensive part of the collection, including many examples of the highly unique form of singing known as the sutartine.
Modern Lithuania seems to hold the same regard for singing as its ancient counterpart did. Choir groups exist throughout the nation and are vastly popular. Among some of the most notable are the Salutaris, Juana Muzika, Brevis and the Kaunus State Choir, among many others. The national song festival takes place in Vilnius every five years. First begun in 1924, when nearly a hundred choral groups and thousands of singers, as well as some dancers, gathered in Kaunus, it has remained alive for the past 80 years and now with Lithuanian independence is a massive celebration. The festival itself lasts three days and currently attracts singers in the tens of thousands, musicians and dancers.
Historically Christianity is said to have arrived in Lithuania when Jogaila converted to Christianity and united the Polish and Lithuanian thrones. Throughout much of the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania religious tolerance would prevail. Not only was the Jewish religion and population actively accepted, but there was a sizeable Moslem population as well. Calvinism and Protestantism arrived in the 16th century, but never spread very well within the population. At current the majority of Calvinists live in the southwest area of the country while the Protestant population is mostly focused in the north. The Lithuanian religious organizations weathered both Russian occupations fairly well, though both times the Calvinists were the hardest hit of them all.
The Lithuanian Language
The language of Lithuania is Lithuanian. It is quite possibly the oldest, most archaic language still used in Europe today. The Lithuanian language is of especial interest to linguists and historians because of the fact that the language is thought to be the most closely related to the Indo-European languages of Europe’s original settlers. The only language closely related to Lithuanian is that of the Latvians and though the Prussian language was of a close similarity, it was erased by that group’s assimilation into the Germanic peoples.
Beginning in the 16th century AD, the Lithuanian language began a slow development into a written language. The written form was developed based on the Latin alphabet, but due to the extreme difference between the Lithuanian language and most every other European language of the time, it was a massive and time consuming enterprise. The written language was only finally completed shortly after the beginning of the 20th century.
Early Lithuanian History
The time of the first migration of the Lithuanian peoples into the eastern Baltic region that would become their home is in doubt. The times commonly believed vary widely from 2500 BC to the first century AD. The first mention of the Lithuanian people comes via the Quedlinburg Chronicles in 1009 AD. Here was the first time that the Christian leaders of east Europe had turned their eyes towards the pagan kingdoms in the northeast.
The first attempted conquests were by the Polish and Prussian kings of the area. Though little to nothing would be achieved against the Lithuanians, by these groups, their actions did succeed in forging the first bonds among the Lithuanian tribes in the area. Over the next few centuries, the tribes of the area maintained their independence with little effort, the Christian kingdoms’ forays being of little or no effect.
The first true test for the Lithuanian people would come in the 13th century, when a German religious military order by the name of the Teutonic Knights where invited into the area. Poland tired of not being able to push the Lithuanians back, invited these warrior monks under the guise of the (a true reason or not) of converting the Lithuanians to Christianity. Though the Teutonic Knights would have great success in the northern lands of Latvia, they would have a far harder time against the Lithuanians.
Though the Lithuanians were proving a tougher foes than the Latvians had been, the Teutonic Knights were steadily pushing eastward. The pressure would cause the unification of Lithuania under one Duke Mindaugas, who would embrace the political aspects of Christianity and be crowned King by the Pope in 1253. Thus did Mindaugas become the first and only king of Lithuania, as well as establishing the nation of Lithuania. Finally in 1260 AD, the Lithuanians would hand the Teutonic Knights their first defeat in the ongoing wars. Ironically, this defeat was also against Mindaugas who, after converting, had sided with the Teutonic Knights against a now restless pagan Lithuanian population.
The Gediminaiciai Dynasty
The beginning of the Gediminaiciai Dynasty is marked by the ascent of Grand Duke Gediminas (Gedimin). Prince Gediminas would hold back their perennial enemies on one front and manage to take the Byelorussian lands to the east, take some small parts of the Ukraine to the south east and establish the city of Vilnius. His son Algirdas added lands stretching from the Ukraine to the Black Sea. The third in the line would have the greatest impact though. Known to history as Wladyslaw II Jogaila, he would achieve this name after converting to Christianity and marrying Jadwiga, of the Polish line. He would officially become Wladyslaw II when he was crowned king of a united Poland and Lithuania in 1386.
This unification would not last long though. Within two years, in 1390, Wladyslaw’s cousin, Witold, revolted against the new kingdom. After some few struggles Witold was recognized as the vice regent of Lithuania and in 1401 became leader of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which was now only nominally under control of the Gediminaiciai Dynasty. Together though the two did defeat the Teutonic Knights in 1410 at the Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg), and while the knights lasted much longer after that, it would be the end of their dominance in the area. Witold himself continued to excel even after the decisive battle and annexed many areas of present day Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
By 1447, under King Casimir IV, the son of Jogaila, Lithuania and Poland were considered permanently allied. With the accession of Alexander I in 1501 the countries were unified under one ruler. Finally in 1569 the two countries agreed to a common legislature and a common, elected king, and became the Commonwealth Republic under the agreement, the Union of Lublin. The King of Poland now officially also held the title Grand Duke of Lithuania, putting the two separate titles within one entity, permanently.
The new commonwealth, though holding a single king and a joint legislature, called the Seimas, would in other ways retain the two independent halves. The currency, treasury, laws and the army of Lithuania retained an independent form from that of Poland. The new idea of an elected king was the first such occurrence of that institution in Europe, and in 1573 Henry Valois would become the first to rise to the throne through this new institution. By the 16th century, the security of the realm led to a great leap in the cultural development of Lithuania. It was during this time that widespread literature began to appear in the area and also that the Three Statutes of Lithuania were codified. These statues were vast rulings on state law would have a long lasting impact, the third still being used well into the 19th century.
The middle of the seventeenth century would see a vastly different mood and situation in Lithuania. A surging Russia was beginning to push westward and the far less vibrant Poland-Lithuania was unable to stop them as it once could have. The nation was embroiled in wars with Russia from 1654 to 1667 which would greatly reduce its strength. In 1655 Russian forces actually occupied Vilnius (the first time this had happened). The occupation of the city would result in the short lived Treaty of Kedainiai, with Sweden, and a small scale attempt by Lithuania to separate itself from the dying Poland.
But Lithuania remained a part of Poland till the bitter end. In the 18th century Poland would completely absorb the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, ending even those areas in which it had retained control from the onset of the Commonwealth and Lithuania effectively dissapeared from the map. Ny this time though, and even for a long period before, the Lithuanian nation would not have found it possible to exist separately from Poland. Though Poland was weak, Lithuania was weak with it. As well, much of the disputed land of Poland's greatest foe, Russia, lay in what would be called the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Following Russian successes against, the then great power, Sweden, Russia would band together with Germany and Austria for the Partitions of Poland. In 1772, 1793 and 1795 Lithuania and Poland were divided again and again, fed into the maws of their massively powerful rivals. By 1795 Lithuania was gone, not to appear again for 123 years.
Lithuania: Under the Czars
In the beginning of Russian occupation Lithuania held an honored status. Not only was Vilnius the third largest Russian city, but it was cultivated into a city of learning and of wealth. In 1803 the university in Vilnius was given the name of the Imperial University. The Lithuanians’ status was to suffer an abrupt change with the arrival of Napoleon. Still smarting from their humiliating absorption into Russia, the Lithuanians treated Napoleon and his army as liberators. With Napoleon’s retreat from Russia; only disaster could follow.
Czar Nicholas I was determined to keep such an event from happening again. His policy was to increase the speed of the “russification” of the Lithuanian lands and to weaken its ability to revolt against the Czar or cause other problems. As a result, the area was turned into effectively a backwards Russian hinterland. Revolts by the Lithuanians in 1831 and 1863 would only cause more problems. The University in Vilnius, as well as other colleges in Lithuania, was closed down and the Christian religion was actively denied and replaced, by decree of the state, with the Orthodox Church. Lithuanians as well were denied the rights the purchase land, and erect crosses or churches. As well Lithuania was isolated from the Western European kingdoms and the nobles and peasants alike of the land were among the first in Russia to experience the tradition of deportation to Siberia. 1864 brought the banning of the Lithuanian language and its Latin based alphabet, which were replaced with the Grazdanka (Lithuanian in Cyrillic).
The end of the 19th century would bring a rebirth of Lithuanian culture known as the spring of nations. With the help of the knygnesiai, or book-bearers, education was brought back into Lithuania. Books printed in Prussia, and in the Lithuanian written language, were illegally transported into Lithuanian lands and disseminated among the people. A period of self-education would arise from these books and the Lithuanian people regained their stolen knowledge remarkably quickly. In 1883 one Dr. Jonas Boscanavicius would organize the first Lithuanian periodical, which was also disseminated illegally.
The situation started to brighten in the beginning of the 20th century. In 1904 the Lithuanian authorities managed to persuade the Russian authorities to lift the ban on publishing of Lithuanian publications and to allow the establishment or re-establishment of institutes of higher education. In 1905 the Grand Assembly of Vilnius or Didvsis Vilniaus Seimas, codified their independent rights and sent representatives to the new Russian Duma, in which to defend those rights.
World War I and II and a Short Independence
The Lithuanian areas of Russia would be occupied by Germany from 1914 to 1918, during World War I. On the 23rd of March, 1918 the Kaiser of Germany recognized the independence of Lithuania. Lithuania’s independence was not a guarantee until the capitulation of Germany occurred in November, 1918 though. Sweden would be the first nation to accept the independence of Lithuania on December 12, 1918 and most of the rest of the world would follow suit between 1920 and 1922. Lithuania was admitted to the League of Nations in 1921 and technically had achieved a rank on par with the rest of the world’s free people. But from 1918 onward to 1923 the country was forced to fight for its independence against the Bolsheviks, the Polish and even remnants of German and Czarist armies. Vilnius was occupied by Poland, who would hold it for the next 20 years and Kaunus was to become the provisional capitol.
Politically the country had its first assembly, the Seimas, in session in May 1920, and by August 1922 had proclaimed itself a democratic republic. During those two years the Seimas would introduce a currency, the Litas, develop laws that helped the economy and fostered land reforms and generally lead the Lithuanian people into a new age. New laws and other actions would reduce nobles and the rich merchant's estates and return some land to the peasants. As well, in 1923 Lithuania regained control of its ancient seaport Klaipeida and finally had access to the outside world. This was to be a short lived stability though as conservative and liberal factions could not agree in the long run.
Though there had been great leaps made in Lithuania, politically the country was still a tinderbox. By December 17 1926, a coup d’etat was engineered by one Antanas Smetona, with the help of the army brass, the Nationalist Party and the Christian Democratic Party. The liberals and leftists were expelled from the Seimas and Smetona was then elected president, with Augustinas Voldemaras as his premier. His reign would last until the end of Lithuanian independence.
The rise of the Nazi party in Germany, as well as the disagreements with Germany over the Lithuanian possession of Memel (long a Prussian possession, but lost after World War I) forced the Lithuanians into closer relations with the Soviet Union. The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, signed August 23rd, 1939, between Germany and Russia had put Lithuania in the German sphere of influence, but following Lithuania’s refusal to join the German invasion of Poland, they were moved to the Russia sphere in a second pact signed September 27th, 1939.
With the fall of Poland, Vilnius was reclaimed and repatriated to Lithuania. The city now became the site of Russian military bases and the event ushered in the first age of Soviet control, which formally began June 15, 1940. Shortly thereafter a new pro-Soviet government was installed into power in Lithuania. Dissidents to the new single party system where rounded up and jailed, while the party actively campaigned for Lithuania’s inclusion into the Soviet Union. On July 14 and 15, 1940 a parliamentary election was held in which Lithuania decided to join the Soviet Union. On August 3rd, the request was accepted in Russia and Lithuania had ceased to exist again.
The German invasion of Russia, on June 22, 1941, caused massive anti-Soviet rebellions across Lithuania. Unable to cope with both the Germans and the rebellions, the Soviet soldiers withdrew from the area and the German armies easily seized the area. With the pillaging of the areas resources and people by the Germans a massive resistance movement would be created. More than 200,000 Lithuanians would be killed in the fighting and Nazi crackdowns that the situation created.
Lithuania Under the Soviets
By 1944, the Soviet army had retaken Lithuania and the area was re-established as a Soviet Republic. In accordance with the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements the entirety of Lithuania was now considered a Russia land. Even before the Soviets had retaken control of the country, a large part of the population, including much of the educated Lithuanians, fled the country. Already Lithuania was being stripped of its heritage, culture and population, and the Soviets hadn’t even started to have their way yet. What would follow would be almost ten years of partisan fighting and massive loses to Lithuania.
Over the next ten years and even while still fighting the Germans, the Soviet government deported around 130,000 to 350,000 Lithuanians to Siberia for holding anti-communist beliefs or for resisting Soviet rule. Churches were formally shut down in 1949 and the priests of the country were in most cases deported, as well it was made illegal to posses any religious icons. Further deportations and increased immigration into Vilnius, of Russians and Polish, would settle the people of the area into relative calm. By 1956, the area was recognized as a Soviet Republic by the world, expect for the United States. All said the land that was Lithuania had lost a massive amount of everything in a very short time. Not only was the economy shattered, or the education system, gone. Not only where religious beliefs made illegal, but all told Lithuania had been stripped of more than 30% of its population. Again Lithuania was reduced to a backwoods hinterland by the Russian government.
The Soviet occupation would work on developing the nation over the next fifty years. They focused on the collectivization of farms, nationalizing industry and generally developing the infrastructure of Lithuania. Unfortunately for the Lithuanians, the new economy was hugely dependent upon the rest of the Soviet Union for raw materials, consisting mostly of refineries and assembly operations. The whole economy was geared towards production and took no regard for Lithuanian needs or resources. One great boon for Lithuania was established in the early 1980s, when one of the largest nuclear power stations in Europe was established near Ignalina and went into operation
With the massive changes to and instability of the USSR in the 1980s, Lithuanian nationalism resurged. The beginning of perestroika, in spring 1985, by Mikhail Gorbachev would further weaken the bonds of the Soviet Union. Some of the Lithuanian intelligentsia would take advantage of the situation to establish the Sajudis, a democratic movement for reform, on June 3rd, 1985. The movement for Lithuanian independence began to gather steam when some members of Sajudis were elected in the Congress of People’s Deputies, the highest legislative level of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the new movements in Lithuania linked up with those in Estonia and Latvia to establish common guidelines for independence.
Independence was first declared in March 1990, but the area was forcibly, via economic, political and military force, retained by the USSR. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in August of 1991, the area was given its independence. Along with the other two Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia, Lithuanian was formally recognized by the Soviet Union on September 6. All three of the nations would be included in the United Nations later in the same month.
Communist sentiments would achieve a rebirth in Lithuania shortly after its independence. Though the Sajudis coalition, or the Lithuanian Movement for Reconstruction, won the first parliamentary elections in February 1990, it would decline in power rapidly; due primarily to infighting and to a depressed economy caused by the severing of trade ties with former USSR republics. In February 1992 the Democratic Labor Party or DLP (the former Communist party) won a majority of the seats in the Seimas. Algirdas Brazauskas was elected president with 60% of the vote. Its own popularity would decline though as the economic problems remained unsolved.
The last half of 1992 through 1994 though would be better years for Lithuania. On August 31, 1992 the last Russian troops left Lithuania, making it the first Baltic state to be completely free of Russian military presence. In February 1994 Lithuania joined the Partnership for Peace program, which was a NATO initiative to invite new, primarily former Eastern Bloc, nations into NATO. In December of that year, Lithuanian military forces took part in joint training exercises in Poland, becoming the first, former Soviet republic to take part in NATO exercises.
Lithuania would continue to advance in the mid 1990s. With the passing of a controversial law in January 1995, the Seimas made Lithuanian the official language. The law was controversial mostly because of the large amount of people of Russian and Polish descent who lived in Lithuania. Lithuania would sign a mutual friendship treaty with Belarus in February and a free trade agreement with Ukraine in the same month. In May the nation became an associate member of the European Union.
On the Lithuanian political front though things were not near as stable. The DLP made a poor showing in the local elections held in March as opposition parties gained power in many city and district councils. In June President Brazauskas would accuse the opposition of replacing government officials without due process. December 1995 would bring a major banking scandal to the forefront. The Innovation Bank and the Litimpeks Bank were both shut down by the government after the discovery of widespread embezzlement. The Prime Minister, Adolfas Slezevicius, was ousted by Parliament in February 1996, after it was discovered he had withdrawn his personal savings form Innovation Bank two days before it was closed. President Brazauskas would fill the position with Mindaugas Stankevicius in a temporary capacity until the June elections.
A general election in November 1996 saw the replacement of the DLP with a conservative coalition between the Homeland Union and the Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party. The chairman of the Homeland Union, Gediminas Vagnorius was named prime minister. When President Brazauskas decided not to pursue re-election, an open election led to the narrow margin victory of Valdas Adamkus, a Lithuanian American ecologist. Adamkus, though nominally associated with the Lithuanian Center Party, had formally ran as an independent with the platform of restructuring and rebuilding Lithuania’s economy on a western model. Though his government focused on economic reform and expansion, an economic downturn in Russia in 1998 led to increased recession in Lithuania by 1999.
But things were getting difficult again, as the president actively criticized Prime Minister Vagnorius and the government for their lack of a stand against corruption in business. Indeed, the President would call for Vagnorius’ resignation and in May replaced him with the mayor of Vilnius, Rolandas Paksas. Paksas himself would resign in October of the same year when he was linked with a corrupt privatization sell-off of a Lithuanian petroleum refinery. The next successor as Prime Minister, Andrius Kubilius actually managed to reduce the nation’s deficit and the economy began to make a modest recovery by 2000.
In October 2000, the legislative elections saw the Homeland Union coalition ousted from the government. The new Liberal Union (LU), the New Union (the Social Liberals) and a few other small parties would form a new coalition to run the government. Their nominal leader was the former Prime Minister Paksas and he would become Prime Minister for a second term. The coalition collapsed in 2001 though and Paksas was forced to resign. His replacement was the former president, Brasauskas, who now headed two joint parties under the name Lithuanian Social Democratic Party.
Though President Adamkus who; was chief architect in getting Lithuania into the European Union, headed the government that brought economic expansion and low unemployment and headed into the end of his term with unprecedented approval ratings, he was to lose the January 2003 election. Instead it was Paksas, with the backing of the new Liberal Democratic Party, who would win the election via an aggressive populist campaign platform.
Paksas would serve for little more than a year. In April 2004 he was impeached and voted out of office on grounds that he had; exchanged Lithuanian citizenship for financial rewards, leaked classified information, and meddled in privatization deals. The majority of these charges revolved around his partnership with one Yuri Borisov, a massively rich Russian businessman with rumored links to organized crime, who had helped finance Paksas’ election campaign. Though Paksas denied any wrongdoing he was replaced with interim president Arturas Paulauskas, who would serve the two months before the new election. The former president Adamkus would win the presidential election and was sworn into office on July 12, 2004, becoming the President of the Republic of Lithuania for a second term.
Leaders of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania:
Grand Dukes or kunigaikðtis:
- Mindaugas (1238-1263)
- Treniota (1263-1264)
- Vaiðvilkas (1264-1267)
- Svarnas (1267-1269)
- Traidenis (1269-1281)
- Daumantas (1281-1285)
- Butigeidis (1285-1291)
- Butvydas (1291-1295)
- Vytenis (1295-1316)
- Gediminas (1316-1341)
- Jaunutis (1341-1345)
- Algirdas (1345-1377)
- Jogaila (1377-1381, 1382-1392)
- Kæstutis (1381-1382)
- Vytautas the Great (1392-1430)
- Svitrigaila (1430-1432)
- Zygimantas Kæstutaitis (1432-1440)
- Kazimieras (1440-1492)
- Aleksandras (1492-1506)
Republic of Lithuania (1918 – 1940)
- Antanas Smetona (1918-1920)
- Aleksandras Stulginskis (1920-1926)
- Kazys Grinius (1926)
- Jonas Staugaitis (1926)
- Aleksandras Stulginskis (1926)
- Antanas Smetona (1926-1940)
- Antanas Merkys (1940)
- Justas Paleckis (1940)
First Secretaries of the Communist Party of Lithuanian SSR:
- Antanas Snieèkus (1940-1972)
- Petras Griðkevièius (1972-1987)
- Ringaudas Bronislavas Songaila (1987-1988)
- Algirdas Brazauskas (1988-1990)
Modern Republic of Lithuania
- Vytautas Landsbergis(1990-1992) (Actually was “Chairman of the Supreme Council”)
- Algirdas Brazauskas (1992-1998)
- Valdas Adamkus (1998-2003)
- Rolandas Paksas (February 26, 2003-April 6, 2004 (Removed from Office))
- Artûras Paulauskas (Interim President)
- Valdas Adamkus (elected on June 27, 2004)