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Central Lithuania (Vilnius Republic)

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
Keywords: lithuania | vilnius | central lituania | vilnius republic | eagle | vytis |
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See also:


Central Lithuania - (in English)
Litwa Środkowa - (in Polish)
Vidurinė Lietuva - (in Lithuanian)
Сярэдняя Літва - (in Belarusian)
ליטא המרכזית - (in Hebrew)

Area: 13 490
Population: 490 000

Formally independent state entity with the capital in Wilno (Vilnius) proclaimed on October 12, 1920 by the Poles as a means of reclaiming from Lithuania the territories given to them by the Soviets in exchange for their benevolent neutrality in the Polish-Soviet conflict. The state ceased to exist on April 18, 1922 after the vote by its Parliament (Sejm) to be incorporated into Poland. Creation of the State of Central Lithuania (formally it was a "Republic" but that name was seldom used) was never accepted by Lithuania and, subsequently, the reason for not maintaining of diplomatic relations with Poland. It casts a certain shadow on Polish-Lithuanian relations up to this day. In September 1939, as a result of German-Soviet partition of Poland, the Soviets gave Vilnius again to Lithuania, only to annex it, with the whole of Lithuania, to Soviet Union in 1940. On regaining of Lithuania's independence, Poland, which was the most ardent supporter of that drive, renounced all claims to Vilnius and former territory of Central Lithuania.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 26 February 2009

The Flags



I read several articles about the flag of Central Lithuania or Vilnius Republic. According Vexilla Nostra 164 two flags were in use: The one is red with the Polish eagle and the Lithuanian horseman. The other is the same but the eagle and the horseman within shield. I draw the shield according the stylized style of the old Kingdom of Polonia which, as I read, was the model for the arms. However, the border of the shield is not exactly as show in Vexilla Nostra.
Jaume Olle', 2 June 1997



I have a photocopy of the text written by Wim Schuurman. It says the state flag adopted 12 October 1920 was red with an (uncrowned) eagle and the Pogón . The version with the arms is a variant. Note that on these arms the eagle is crowned (correct on image) and the border is white (not correct on image). Central Lithuania (or "Srodkowa Litwa") was merged into Poland on 28 march 1922 and became part of Lithuania again on 10 October 1939. The article is about Lithuania itself and shows also the state flag used in between the two World Wars. It was red with on the obverse side a white Vytis and on the reverse side in white the towers of the Gedimino Palace. The presidential flag was the same but square.
Mark Sensen, 3 June 1997

I found now another information from Karl Farchinger archives: In 1927 the German consul in Vilnius say that the flag of Central Lithuania is the same of the Poland except that a coat of arms was added near the hoist of the white stripe. The coat is quartered (1-4 Poland; 2-3 Lithuania) with an inescutcheon of the arms of Vilnius showing St. Christopher. I think that the two flag were in fact used, and the red flag was the official one.
Jaume Olle', 22 September 1997

Coat of Arms

image by Chris Kretowicz, 2 June 2001

Alternate coat of arms of Central Lithuania, used unofficially. I don't the know exact date, but there was also a second coat of arms shortly before the vote asking Poland for annexation (1920?).
Chris Kretowicz, 02 June 2001 amended on 26 February 2009

The official and legal arms and flag of Central Lithuania were established by the decree of the Supreme Commander (Gen. Lucjan Żeligowski ) issued on October 12, 1920 and published in the Official Gazette of the Provisional Government Commission #1 on November 17, 1920. The arms are described there as follows:
"On the red shield, divided vertically, on the right side a white eagle crowned, and on the left side the Lithuanian horseman (Vytis - Pogoń Litewska) There was also an alternate coat of arms in use: on the quarterly divided shield, on the fields 1 and 4 a white eagle, on the fields 2 and 3 a Vytis. In the center, on the small, heart shield, an image of Saint Christopher - Arms of Wilno (Vilnius). This version (minus Wilno coat of arms) recalls the ancient arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth."
Chrystian Kretowicz, 26 February 2009