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As the core of the Lithuanian-Polish-Russian Commonwealth, Lithuania was once one of the most powerful states in Europe. The Commonwealth fell apart in 1921 in the aftermath of the Second World War and Lithuania adopted a republican constitution. In the 1930s, under a new National Socialist government, Lithuania tried to restore the Commonwealth by diplomacy and force of arms, ultimately sparking the Third World War in 1940.
Despite initial successes, by 1966 Lithuania had been defeated and dismembered. Its people voted in a 1970 referendum to restore the monarchy, allowing Crown Prince Mindaugas to return from exile. Since then he has worked hard to mend Lithuania's relations with its neighbours and to turn his country into a fully-functioning democratic society.
Lithuanian is the majority first language and the language of government. Originating in the present-day Baltic Governorate, it quickly spread as Lithuania did, especially after Lithuania became the dominant component of the Commonwealth.
Low Russian is a set of East Slavic dialects which were once widely used across central and south Lithuania, but which are now confined to a few enclaves in rural parts of the country. They have been heavily influenced by Lithuanian, much more so than their High Russian relative, so that the two Russian speeches can no longer be considered a single language.