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Lithuania Minor

Mazoji Lietuva

Last modified: 2024-05-01 by zachary harden
Keywords: lithuania | lithuania minor | russia | kaliningrad |
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image by António Martins, 19 February 2016

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The Flag

image by Tomislav Todorovic, 27 March 2024

Since 1660 Lithuania Minor has its own flag, which is made up of three equal horizontal bands: green on the top, white in the middle, and red in the bottom. Since 1829 this tricolor was used by student's fellowship Lituania, Koenigsberg University. Since 1885 society Birute used the tricolor with name of society in the middle. The flag was hoisted and after the accession to power of the Nazis in 1933. In 1988 the flag of Lithuania Minor was hoisted for the first time in Kaliningrad Region.
Anon., 24 July 2003

I'd like to note that Civil Flag or Landesfarben reported for Memel District 1920-1939 and the flag of Lithuania Minor are the same flag.
Anon., 24 November 2003

As we have agreed to repaint the image of Lithuanian national flag, as well as the images of all derived flags, let's discuss the flag of Lithuania MInor as well: Here are the photos of the flag which are currently available online: As can be seen, the green and red colors of the flag vary somewhat, sometimes looking lighter and sometimes even darker than those of the Lithuanian flag, but are generally the same. Also, the ratio may sometimes be 1:2, as currently presented at the FOTW-ws, but is generally 3:5, the same as that of the Lithuanian flag. In general, the flag seems to be produced so as to match the flag of Lithuania as much as possible. This seems to speak in favour of the assumption that the LIthuanian flag originally employed lighter color shades, just like it employed a more oblong shape, and both changes seem to have been followed by the flag of LIthuania Minor.
Tomislav Todorovic, 27 March 2024

Coat of Arms

image by Anon., 24 July 2003

The shield is divided into two fields, per pale. The dexter field is divided into two fields, per fess: the upper field is colored and the bottom field is silver. The sinister colored field is charged with a silver, dexter facing pranced horse. The black and white picture of the coat of arms of Lithuania Minor was taken from newspaper "Mazoji Lietuva" (Lithaunia Minor).
Anon., 24 July 2003

About Lithuania Minor

Historical region (area 17000-18000 formed from lands of Baltic tribes on the lower reaches of Prieglius (Pregel, present Pregolia) river and Nemunas river in 16th century: Nadruva (Nadrowia, Nadrauen), Pilsotas, Skalva (Scalowia, Schalauen), Semba (Sambia, Samland, Sambien), North Barta (Bartha, Barten), North Notanga (Nattangia, Natangen). The region of Lithuania Minor was a dependence of the Teutonic Order, the Duchy of Prussia (Herzogtum Preussen, 1525-1701) and the Kingdom of Prussia (Koenigreich Preussen, 1701-1918). During German colonization a territory of Prussia was divided into Lithuanian Department (Lietuvos departamentas, Litauisches Departement, which included the Province of Lithuania (Lietuvos provincija, Provinz Litauen) and Masuria (Mozurija, Masuren, Polish Mazury), center Gumbine (Gumbinnen, present Gusev, area 17000 and Eastern Prussian Department (Ostpreussisches Departement, center Karaliaucius (Koenigsberg, present Kaliningrad, area 20000 Eastern Prussian Department included a part of Lithuania Minor - Labguva (Labiau, present Polesk) district (apskritis, Hauptamt). Under administrative reform in 1815-1818 departments was renamed into Gumbine district (Regierungsbezirk Gumbinnen) and Koenigsberg district (Regierungsbezirk Koenigsberg). Since 1618 this region was called: Provinz Litthauen, Littauischen Aembtern, Littauische Kreis, Litauen, Preussisch-Litauen, Klein Litthauen, and Klein Litauen. Since 1732 Province of Lithuania and Labguva (Labegowe, Labiau, present Polesk) Region was called Klein Litau, Klein Litauen, Preussisch Litthauen, Little Lithuania, Lithuanie Prussienne, and Lithvania. The core of Lithuanian lands was Province of Lithuania (approximate area 10000 km2), which included four districts (apskritis, Hauptamt): Klaipeda (Memel), Tilze (Tilsit, present Sovetsk), Ragaine (Ragnit, present Neman), and Isrutis (Insterburg, present Chernyakhovsk). Lithuanians was in the majority in that Province. Today a Northern part of Lithuania Minor (called Klaipedos krastas - Klaipeda Region) is included into the Republic of Lithuania and Southern part is included into Kaliningrad (former Koenigsberg) Region, Russian Federation.
Inhabitants: Lietuvininkai - Lithuanian ethnic group, which was formed from Baltic tribes in 15th - 16th centuries: Skalvians and Nadruvians (called Western Lithuanians), Western Zemaitians (Samogitians), assimilated Old-Prussians (Sembians, Northern Bartians, Northern Notangians, and Galindians), Jotvingians (Jadwinger, Sudauen), Southern Curonians, and others. Despite oppressive conditions they preserved their language, customs, and worldview and created a distinctive culture which exerted a great influence on the neighboring culture of Lithuania Major. The first Lithuanian book, the Catechism of M. Mazvydas, was published here in 1547; the Bible was translated into Lithuanian by Bretkunas in 1579  1590; the first Lithuanian grammar was written by D. Klein in 1653. During the 17th century Lithuanian life, customs, and beliefs were described by E. Wagner, M. Pretorius, K. Hartknoch, and T. Lepner. K. Donelaitis created the poem "Metai" ("The Year") in the 18th century. It was the first classic of Lithuanian literature. However, after the great plague of 1709-1711 the German colonization of Lithuania Minor began. About 23,000 colonists, mostly German farmers, moved into Lithuanian territory in 1710-1736. The rights and freedoms of Lithuanians were gradually restricted; their culture was driven out of public life. In 1872-1876 the use of the Lithuanian language was prohibited in schools and in all state institutions. The policy of Germanizing this territory achieved its goal: in 1736 Lithuanians still made up about 80 percent of the total population in the districts of Klaipeda, Tilze, Ragaine, Isrutis, and Labguva; in 1837 they were only about 33 percent; and in 1900 - about 20 percent. In the 20th century, the open persecution of the Lietuvininkai and the destruction of their culture began in 1933 with the accession to power of the Nazis, and the final, fatal blow was delivered by World War II and the postwar Soviet occupation. Almost all of the Lietuvininkai were then scattered over Europe and the expanses of Siberia; their territory was settled by new colonists from the Soviet Union. Their lands were devastated; even the place names were changed into Slavic ones. Lietuvininkai begin to return from all over the world to their land, and their culture begin to revive only after the Soviet Union disintegrated.
1. Cultural trails Of Lithuania Minor in Kaliningrad Region (Mazosios Lietuvos kulturos pedsakai Kaliningrado srityje) by V. Silas, H. Sambora. - Vilnius, 1990
2. Lithuania Minor in 17th century (Mazoji Lietuva XVII amziuje) by A. Matulevicius - Vilnius, 1989.
3. Encyclopedia of Soviet Lithuania, General editorial office of encyclopedia of the Lithuanian SSR, Vilnius.
Anon., 24 July 2003