Saturday, March 22, 2014

This Week In Vexillology #73

Our journey southward continues, but first it's time for a pop quiz:  What was the largest country in Europe during the 14th Century?   If you said the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, then you'd be absolutely correct!  And it's a good thing too, because this week in vexillology, we've got, you guessed it:  Lithuania!

Of all the Baltic States, Lithuania is somewhat unusual in the fact that for a very long time it was a proud, independent and very large country.  If you, like me had one of those 'say whaaaaa?' reactions, then get a load of this:

Yes, that's right-it even had a joint Commonwealth with Poland for awhile, but a series of devastating wars in the 18th Century cost the country about 40% of it's population and by the start of the 19th Century, the Commonwealth had ceased to exist, partitioned by its neighbors.  However, like the Baltic States, Lithuania did enjoy a brief period of independence between the two World Wars before being reoccupied by the Soviets and breaking away again- they were the first country to declare independence from the former Soviet Union.

(Random tangent/factoid:  Marko Raimius, the defecting Soviet sub Captain from The Hunt for Red October hailed from Lithuania, I believe.  Not quite sure why I remember that, but I do.)

Their flag was adopted for national and civil usage on March 20th, 1989.  The yellow in the flag represents wheat and freedom from wants.  The green symbolizes forests and renewed hope and the red symbolizes patriotism and courage.

So give yourselves a ping, one ping only please and give it up for the great nation of Lithuania!  And remember, until next time, keep your flags flying- FREAK or otherwise!

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