True Lithuania

Ethnic relations in Lithuania (introduction)

History of Lithuania is often presented in very different lights depending on whoever writes it. There are numerous "positions" on various issues, quite often correlating with the ethnicity, religion and/or nationality of the author.

The reason for this is that for different groups of Lithuania's people each period tend to bring extremely different prospects. At the same time some groups prevailed, others were persecuted or even murdered en masse (and vice-versa). Naturally (often perhaps subconsciously), a person from a particular group, even if he is a historian, tends to put more emphasis on his or her own group, consider their losses to be more tragic, their own mistakes to be less grave, and their own victories to be more glorious.

This article aims to present all the standpoints on the history of Lithuania and the reasons why they exist by explaining the ethnic relations in Lithuania in every period of its turbulent history. The article is grouped by periods, and then by pairs of ethnicities.

First, however, we present a rough scheme of Lithuanian history which shows what was the situation for each group during each historical period, ranging from 1 (which means genocide) to 9 (which means domination beyond the borders of modern-day Lithuania). This diagram is capable of explaining differing opinions on various eras.

Of course, this diagram is a simplification: the reality was more complex, with each group subdivided into many sub-groups which also often faced different issues.

Diagram of the position of the ethnicities in Lithuania in different years. 1 - genocide, 2 - heavy persecution, 3 - medium persecution, 4 - low status (but little ethnic persecution), 5 - mediocre status, 6 - high status (but no cultural domination), 7 - threatened domination in Lithuania, 8 - undisputed domination in Lithuania, 9 - domination beyond the area of modern-day Lithuania. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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