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This article gives an analysis of the borrowing statistics of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for the early part of the Livonian War (1555–1569), until the Union of Lublin, and the social characteristics of the people and groups of people who became the most prominent lenders. The borrowing in question was conducted via pledge lordships. For the examined period, we have registered 160 pledge-lordship contracts with a stated pledge amount totalling 515,667 sexagenas of Lithuanian groats. Of these, 149 pledge-lordship contracts totalling 496,709 sexagenas were from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania proper. In comparison with the earlier period, between 1502 and 1522, revenue from pledges with a known face value increased ninefold. The total amount borrowed for this period was equal to approximately three times the yearly wartime treasury revenue. The most prolific lenders were members of the established elite. Altogether, members of eight noble houses provided 32.4% of the entire amount lent to the state using pledges. Compared to the earlier period in terms of lenders was the first appearance of burghers (Vilnius, Gdansk, Livonian) as lenders, as they were granted pledge-lordship contracts.

Open Access
In: Lithuanian Historical Studies

In 1942, when drafting a strategic cooperation treaty between the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, the foreign secretary Anthony Eden was responsible for preparing projects to solve the Balts’ problems, based on which the Baltic States could preserve limited sovereignty. This aspect has received little attention in historiography, seemingly because it is treated as an ephemeral, insignificant episode. It cannot be dismissed that the provision of a compromise with the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, which was in principle impossible, did apply. However, historical material suggests a different conclusion. This article was also inspired by Henry Kissinger’s opinion that it was the idealism of the US president Franklin D. Roosevelt that prevented Western states from reaching a compromise with Stalin.

This article reveals what went on ‘behind the scenes’ in big politics: how the Baltic States factor, in itself rather insignificant to the big states, allows for identifying the prime goal of those big states, to seek power and dominance.

Open Access
In: Lithuanian Historical Studies

In the second half of the 18th century, the problem of the indebtedness of the Jewish communities of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was identified as one that could not be solved without the intervention of the state, and the resolution of this issue involved accounting the debts incurred by Jewish communities and planning their repayment. The present research is based on primary sources: handwritten accounting documents of Jewish debts in the Treasury Commission of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The focus of the paper is on issues which, although identified in historiography, have not yet been analysed: the structure of the indebtedness of Jewish communities, a social portrait of their lenders, trends in the accounting and administration of the debts, and decisions regarding their speedier repayment. The case of the indebtedness of Vilnius’ Jewish community as an institution is analysed, and shows the extremely complicated situation of the chief-communities of the Lithuanian Vaad (in Hebrew Vaad medinat Lita). The biggest challenge in the research is difficulties separating debts incurred for the needs of the community and debts connected with the chief-community’s position in the Lithuanian Vaad, the main and supreme institution of Jewish self-government in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Open Access
In: Lithuanian Historical Studies

The Imperial Russian authorities closed the Benedictine convent church in Kražiai in 1893 and put down the Catholic community’s opposition with such brutality that the event came to be known as the Kražiai massacre. Soon after the events in Kražiai, a conflict broke out between Lithuanians and Poles over the division of the symbolic capital associated with the Kražiai massacre, as both sides argued over their respective merits in defending the church. On the eve of the First World War, the Kražiai massacre had become a place of memory for Lithuanians and Poles alike.

This article presents an analysis of how the 40th anniversary of the Kražiai massacre was commemorated in Lithuania and in Poland in 1933. I try to answer the following questions: what prompted the need to commemorate the anniversary of this event, what meanings accompanied the commemoration of the event in Lithuania and Poland, and did the political elites of these countries try to exploit the Kražiai massacre’s anniversary to reduce political tensions between Lithuania and Poland due to the absence of diplomatic relations between these countries at the time.

Open Access
In: Lithuanian Historical Studies
In: Lithuanian Historical Studies