Aukštaitija

Aukštaitija (Lithuanian pronunciation: [ɐukʃˈtɐǐːtʲɪjɐ], Upper lands) is the name of one of five ethnographic regions of Lithuania.[1][2] The name comes from lands being in upper basin of Nemunas River or being relative to Lowlands up to Šiauliai.

Aukštaitija
Aukštaitija
Flag of Aukštaitija
Coat of arms of Aukštaitija
Motto(s): 
Patriam tuam mundum existima
Map indicating the location of Aukštaitija within Lithuania
Location of Aukštaitija within Lithuania
CountryLithuania
CapitalPanevėžys
Population
 • Languages
Lithuanian (Aukštaitian dialect)

GeographyEdit

 
View from Ladakalnis hill, Aukštaitija National Park

Aukštaitija is in the northeast part of Lithuania and also encompasses a small part of Latvia and Belarus. The largest city and, though not in any strict political sense, the considered capital of the region is Panevėžys, which has over 100,000 inhabitants. The largest cities (by population; those over 20,000 inhabitants) are:

The region has many lakes, mainly in the eastern side.

HistoryEdit

"We do not know on whose merits or guilt such a decision was made, or with what we have offended Your Lordship so much that Your Lordship has deservedly been directed against us, creating hardship for us everywhere. First of all, you made and announced a decision about the land of Samogitia, which is our inheritance and our homeland from the legal succession of the ancestors and elders. We still own it, it is and has always been the same Lithuanian land, because there is one language and the same inhabitants. But since the land of Samogitia is located lower than the land of Lithuania, it is called as Samogitia, because in Lithuanian it is called lower land [ Žemaitija ]. And the Samogitians call Lithuania as Aukštaitija, that is, from the Samogitian point of view, a higher land. Also, the people of Samogitia have long called themselves as Lithuanians and never as Samogitians, and because of such identity (sic) we do not write about Samogitia in our letter, because everything is one: one country and the same inhabitants."

Vytautas the Great, excerpt from his 11 March 1420 Latin letter sent to Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, in which he described the core of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, composed from Žemaitija (lowlands) and Aukštaitija (highlands).[3][4] Term Aukštaitija is known since the 13th century.[5]

Historically Aukštaitija had been correspondent to the Duchy of Lithuania up to the 13th century. Its initial capital most likely was Kernavė. In the treaty of Gediminas of 1322, Aukštaitija is named terra Eustoythen ('land of Aukštaitians(=highlanders)').[6] Some German sources also titled Grand Duke Gediminas, after whom the Gediminids dynasty is named after, as Rex de Owsteiten (English: King of Aukštaitija).[7] Aukštaitija was mentioned as Austechia in Chronicon terrae Prussiae written around 1326.[6] Politically, since the end of the 13th century, it comprised the Duchy of Vilnius/Lithuania and Duchy of Trakai, and perhaps was employed to refer to them both taken together. Since the 15th century, corresponding Trakai Voivodeship and Vilnius Voivodeship made up Aukštaitija, as a political and ethnically based unit, also known as Lithuania Propria.

DemographicsEdit

Local people mainly speak the Aukštaitian dialect of Lithuanian. Under the new classification of dialects Lithuanian is divided into just two dialects, Aukštaitian and Samogitian with all previous dialects being classified as subdialects. The Sudovian and Dzukian dialects are also considered subdialects of Aukštaitian now, therefore the specific subdialect spoken in Aukštaitija is known as East Aukštaitian.

The region has Russian and Belarusian minorities in the east, sub-dialects there use more loan words from those languages. However the usage of dialects, as in Lithuania in general, is decreasing.

SymbolsEdit

 
Aukštaitian Coat of Arms
 
Flag of Aukštaitija

The proposed designs by Rolandas Rimkūnas of the Aukštaitian flag and coat of arms were approved on 5 July 2006.[8]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Highlands (Aukštaitija)". Lithuania.travel. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Regions of Lithuania: What to See | True Lithuania". TrueLithuania.com. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  3. ^ Vytautas the Great; Valkūnas, Leonas (translation from Latin). Vytauto laiškai [ Letters of Vytautas the Great ] (PDF) (in Lithuanian). Vilnius University, Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore. p. 6. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Lietuvos etnografiniai regionai – ar pažįstate juos visus?". DELFI (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Aukštaitija". Ekgt.lt (in Lithuanian). Etninės kultūros globos taryba (Council for the Protection of Ethnic Culture). Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b Zinkevičius, Zigmas. "Etnonimas aukštaičiai amžių bėgyje". Lituanistika.lt. Žiemgalos leidykla. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  7. ^ Rowell, Stephen Christopher (1994). Lithuania Ascending: A Pagan Empire Within East-Central Europe, 1295-1345. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-107-65876-9. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Aukštaitija - Herbas ir vėliava". www.ekgt.lt (in Lithuanian). Archived from the original on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2019.