The first of the former SSRs to break decisively with Moscow, Lithuania adopted its old tricolour as its official state flag in March 1989. Like the other Baltic states, and indeed, the other captive nations of the former USSR, the flag had been used during Lithuania's previous period of independence from Russia - from 1918 to 1940.
In the flag, yellow stands for grain, green for forests,
and red for the blood shed in defense of the nation.
The History of Lithuania - The Period of Formation of the Lithuanian State
* The name of Lithuania was first mentioned in the Latin chronicle "Annales Quedlinburgenses" (Annals of Quedlinburg). 1201
* Crusaders began their expansion to the Baltic area. 1230
* Crusaders began conquests of Lithuanian tribes in the West of Lithuania. 1266
* Lithuanians gained victory over the Knights of the Sword (at Siauliai). 1236-1263
* Mindaugas' rule. Mindaugas did a lot for Lithuania. He managed to join many small duchies into one large and strong state, introduced Lithuania to the European countries. 1240
* Mindaugas ruled all Lithuanian territorial units. 1251-1253
* Mindaugas was christianized and crowned the King of Lithuania. 1260-1274
* Prussians and other Western Lithuanian tribes rose in rebellion against the Teutonic Order. The rebellion was led by Herkus Mantas. Dominance of Lithuania. Advance of Grand Dukes. 1316-1341
* Gediminas' rule. Gediminas laid the foundations for his dynasty and Lithuania's might. 1387
* Aukstaitija (the Highlands of Lithuania) was christianized. Vilnius was granted the right of Magdeburg. 1392-1430
* Vytautas the Great ruled Lithuania. 1410
* The Battle of Tannenberg (Zalgiris, or Grunwald) was won. The might of the Teutonic Order was routed. 1522
* The first publishing house was founded in Vilnius. 1529
* The 1st Statute of Lithuania was adopted. 1547
* The first Lithuanian book "Catechism" by Mazvydas was published in Karaliaucius. Protestantism was spreading in Lithuania. 1569
* After signing the Liublin Union Lithuania and Poland formed the Commonwealth. 1579
* Vilnius University (Academy) was established. Counter-reformation started. 1596
* The Church Union (catholics with orthodox believers) took place in Lithuanian Brasta. 1656-1660
* The war with Sweden.
Some scholars believe that Lithuanians inhabited the Baltic area as early as 2500 BC; others believe they migrated to the Baltic area about the beginning of the 1st century AD. The first reference to them by name was in AD 1009 in a medieval Prussian manuscript, the Quedlinburg Chronicle.
The Medieval Jogailan Empire
With the rise of the medieval lords in adjacent Prussia and Russia, Lithuania was constantly subject to invasion and attempted conquest. As a result, a loose federation of Lithuanian tribes was formed in the early Middle Ages.
In the 13th century AD, when the Teutonic Knights, a German militaristic religious order, were establishing their power, the Lithuanians resisted; in about 1260 they defeated the order. About a century later a dynasty of grand dukes called the Jogailans established, through conquest, a Lithuanian empire reaching from the Baltic to the Black seas.
The Lithuanian Prince Gediminas occupied Belarus and western Ukraine; his son, Grand Duke Algirdas, added the territory between Ukraine and the Black Sea. Jogaila, the son of Algirdas, succeeded his father in 1377. In 1386 he married Jadwiga, queen of Poland, and, after accepting Christianity, was crowned Wladyslaw II Jogaila, king of Poland. Jogaila's cousin, Witold, revolted against him in 1390, and two years later Jogaila recognized him as vice regent. Witold made the grand duchy into a prestigious state, and in 1401 Jogaila created him a duke; together, the reconciled cousins decisively defeated the Teutonic Knights in 1410.
In 1447, under Casimir IV, the son of Jogaila, Lithuania and Poland were permanently allied. From 1501, with the accession of Casimir's son, Alexander I, the countries had one ruler, and in 1569 they agreed to have a common legislature and an elective king. The political union was induced by the threat of Russian conquest, but provided little protection. As a result of the partitions of Poland in 1772, 1793, and 1795, Lithuania became a part of Russia, except for a small section awarded to Prussia. Lithuanians became a completely subject people, but they staged large-scale nationalist insurrections in 1812, 1831, 1863, and 1905.