11th March

1819 Henry Tate born (so try a Tate&Lyle recipe or make a miniature Tate Gallery by hanging tiny print-outs of your child’s artwork or masterpieces along a shelf so the dolls can view it):

gallery

 

Jonny Appleseed Day – so watch the Disney legend about the man who brought apple trees to America; try counting and growing apple seeds, or apple star prints:

Moshoeshoe Day (chief of Lesotho, 1786-1870)

 

Lithuania Restoration of Independence Day (1990)

Lithuania is the geographic centre of Europe (based on its shape’s centre of gravity – nerd fact!).

Lithuania was first settled around 10,000 B.C. by Baltic tribes. Mindaugas united all the tribes for the first time, and was crowned King of Lithuania on 6 July 1253.

Pagan Lithuania became a target of the Christian crusades.

By the 15th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had expanded to include Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of Estonia, Moldova, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, and was the largest state in Europe. In 1385, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Jogaila, became king of Poland.

In 1410 Lithuania and Poland defeated the crusading (German/Prussian) Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grunwald, one of the biggest battles in medieval Europe. They then fought the Muscovite-Lithuanian Wars, in which the Grand Duchy of Moscow took a lot of its land back from Lithuania, and the Livonian War (for Livonia. Everyone wanted Livonia, for some reason.)

In 1569, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was created.

Sweden devastated Lithuania in the Northern Wars (1655-61) and then the Great Northern War (1700-21, Russia, Denmark-Norway, Saxony-Poland-Lithuania against Sweden. Sweden lost.) ruined them a bit too. These wars plus a plague and a famine, classic combo, killed off 40% of the population.

From 1772 the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was ‘partitioned’ by Russia, Prussia and Austria, actually eliminating Poland entirely for more than a century. Lithuania mainly became Russian.

After the Russo-Turkish war, Russia decided Germany was its enemy and began to build fortresses, including a huge one in Lithuania called the Kaunas Fortress.

On 16 February 1918 Lithuania declared itself independent, but its former friend Poland took a chunk of it, including its capital Vilnius! Germany also took Klaipeda, with Lithuania’s only access to the Baltic, Memel port.

Russia invaded Poland in 1939 and gave Vilnius back to Lithuania….but then it also annexed Lithuania. In WWII they were occupied by Nazis, who killed 190,000 Lithuanian Jews in the Holocaust. After WWII Germany had to give Klaipeda back.

As a Soviet state after WWII, a lot of Lithuanians were deported to Siberia to work. Lithuania was the first state to declare independence, on 11 March 1990. They became part of the EU in 2007.

Lithuania is actually really well developed, with Europe’s fastest internet speeds, 100% of houses connected to fibre optic broadband, and loads of railways, airports and four-lane motorways.

Activities: Because they’re on the Baltic, learn about amber.

The most famous Lithuanian composer is Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. Their national sport is basketball.

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