Lithuania Minor

The ethnographical region of Lithuania Minor is located in the western Lithuania.  Actually, the Lithuania Minor was bigger than it is today  - the Kaliningrad region which now belongs to Russian Federation was a very meaningful part of Lithuania from the 16th century to 1918. The nowadays Kaliningrad was the place where the rudiment of Lithuanian grammar and literature appeared. Even the first Lithuanian group of regional studies was established there. In the Lithuania Minor Lithuanian books were printed during the ban of Lithuanian press. This region was the source of inspiration of reestablished independence of the country. Nowadays the Lithuania Minor includes the most beautiful nature heritage in Lithuania. It is a Curonian Spit which is included into UNESCO world heritage list. Beautiful nature and archaic wooden folk architecture unite into one beautiful ensemble. The largest city of Lithuania Minor is Klaipėda. The city belonged to Prussia, to Germany and only 1923 Lithuania got it back. The cultural variety remained till nowadays there, thus the whole region of Lithuania Minor spreads the otherness.

The region is the most western recess of Lithuania nowadays. As it was already mentioned, the region is a part of historical Prussian Lithuania which was never directly governable by Lithuanian government until Lithuania got back the Klaipėda region in 1923.  Thus the original dialect of Lithuania Minor is still used only by couple hundreds people. The region is the smallest and more strained than naturally formed one like the rest of Lithuanian regions. But it is not the reason to think it is not important or interesting, just the opposite, it is a significant historical relict in Lithuanian culture and education. The Lithuania Minor was the region where Lithuanian language was the main language, not like in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In addition to this, the first Lithuanian books and papers were printed there. However, inhabitants of the Lithuania Minor considered Prussia and later Germany as their state. This conception formed the bilingualism as a norm of daily life. But as soon as German government banned Lithuanian language, Lithuanians of Lithuania Minor started organizing movements and fighting for their rights to speak and learn their national language.   As a result, we see nowadays that  Lithuania Minor is a part of Republic of Lithuania where the nation speaks its preserved unique and beautiful Lithuanian language.