List of Lithuanian rulers: Wikis


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The following is a list of rulers over Lithuania — grand dukes, kings, and presidents — the heads of authority over historical Lithuanian territory. The timeline includes Lithuania as a sovereign entity or legitimately part of a greater sovereign entity as well as Lithuania under control or occupation of an outside authority (i.e., Lithuanian SSR). The incumbents and office-holders are listed by names most commonly used in English language. Where appropriate, the alternations in Lithuanian, Ruthenian (later Belarusian) and Polish are included.

The state of Lithuania formed in 1230s, when threatened by the Livonian Order in the north and the Teutonic Knights in the west, Baltic tribes united under Mindaugas leadership. He became the only crowned king of Lithuania. His state became know as Grand Duchy of Lithuania. After Grand Duke Jogaila became also king of Poland in 1386, the two states became closer connected and since 1440 both were ruled by a common ruler. In 1569 Union of Lublin was signed and a new entity—the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth—emerged. The commonwealth was partitioned in 1795 and Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire till February 16, 1918. The Council of Lithuania was able to establish the sovereignty only in 1919, after Germany lost the World War I. The first republic of Lithuania existed till 1940 when it was occupied by the Soviet Union. During the Soviet-German War, Lithuania was occupied by Nazi Germany. In 1944, as Germany was losing the war, Russia re-occupied Lithuania and established the Lithuanian SSR. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence. The restored Republic of Lithuania is a democratic republic, a member of both the European Union and NATO.


The Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1236–1569)

Title: Grand Duke (Lithuanian: didysis kunigaikštis; Belarusian: vialiki kniaź; Polish: wielki książę) except for Mindaugas, who became king of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos karalius).

Early Grand Dukes (1236–1291)

Dates are approximate because of scant written sources.

Term Grand Duke Remarks
1236–1263 Mindaugas Initially Grand Duke, since 1253 King of Lithuania. After he was killed by his nephew Treniota, a war between nobles for power erupted.
1263–1264 Treniota
1264–1267 Vaišvilkas Son of Mindaugas, voluntarily gave up the throne for the benefit of his brother-in-law Shvarn
1267–1269 Shvarn
1269–1282 Traidenis
1282–1285 Daumantas of Lithuania
1285–1291 Butigeidis Founder of the Gediminid dynasty

Gediminids (1291–1440)

Some dates are approximate.

Term Grand Duke Remarks
1291–1295 Butvydas Brother of Butigeidis, father of Vytenis and Gediminas
1295–1316 Vytenis Son of Butvydas
1316–1341 Gediminas Son of Butvydas. After his death the domain was divided between his 7 sons.
1341–1345 Jaunutis Son of Gediminas. Overlord and Grand Duke, deposed by his brothers Algirdas and Kęstutis.
1345–1377 Algirdas Son of Gediminas. His co-ruler was Kęstutis, who was active in the west. Algirdas was mostly active in the east.
1377–1381 Jogaila Son of Algirdas. Crowned the King of Poland in 1386 and established the personal union of Lithuania and Poland. Founder of the House of Jogailaičiai.
1381–1382 Kęstutis Son of Gediminas, co-ruler with Algirdas. Kęstutis ruled the western Lithuania (with capital in Trakai). Deposed Jogaila in 1381 and took control of the whole of Lithuania, only to be captured and killed by him the next year.
1382–1392 Jogaila Also King of Poland 1386–1434. His governor in Lithuania was Skirgaila (1387–1392).
1392–1430 Vytautas the Great Son of Kęstutis. Joined his father in the fight against Jogaila, then changed sides and became Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1392. Was to be crowned King of Lithuania in 1429, but the crown was stopped by the Poles. Died before the second crown arrived.
1430–1432 Švitrigaila Son of Algirdas, brother of Jogaila. Deposed by followers of Žygimantas, son of Kęstutis.
1432–1440 Sigismund Kęstutaitis Son of Kęstutis, brother of Vytautas. Killed by Švitrigaila supporters.

Jagiellons (1440–1572)

The act of personal union with Poland was signed as early as 1385, however, continuous line of common rulers of the two countries started only with Casimir IV (even then Polish and Lithuanians twice selected different rulers following earlier common monarch's death, but the Lithuanian one always eventually assumed Polish throne). The monarchs retained separate titles for both parts of the state, and their numbering was kept separately. The Jagiellon dynasty was a direct continuation of the Gediminids.

Term Incumbent Remarks
1440–1492 Casimir IV Jagiellon Son of Jogaila. Elected and crowned King of Poland in 1447 after the death of king Wladyslaw Warnenczyk
1492–1506 Alexander I Son of Casimir IV. Elected and crowned King of Poland in 1501 after the death of king Jan I Olbracht
1506–1548 Sigismund II Son of Casimir IV.
1548–1572 Sigismund III Son of Sigismund I the Old. Factual ruler since 1529.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795)

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was established by Union of Lublin in 1569. The elected King of Poland was automatically made the Grand Duke of Lithuania (until then Lithuanian dukedom was hereditary). The first ruler of the common country was Sigismund II Augustus. Following the partitions in 1772, 1793, and 1795, the commonwealth ceased to exist and Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire for 123 years. There are some gaps in the timeline as it took a while to elect a new king.

Title: King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lenkijos karalius ir Lietuvos didysis kunigaikštis; Belarusian: karol Polščy, vialiki kniaź litoŭski; Polish: Król Polski, wielki książę litewski).

Term Incumbent House Remarks
1573–1575 Henry III of France He abandoned the throne and fled to France where he was crowned as Henry III
1576–1586 Stephen Bathory
1588–1632 Sigismund III Vasa Vasa Proponent of a personal union between The Republic and Sweden, King of Sweden between 1592 and 1599
1632–1648 Ladislaus IV Vasa
1648–1668 John II Casimir Vasa Abdicated and became a monk, last of the Vasa dynasty in Poland-Lithuania
1669–1673 Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki Lithuanian nobility
1674–1696 John III Sobieski Polish szlachta
1697–1706 Augustus II the Strong Wettin also Elector of Saxony as Frederick Augustus I
1706–1709 Stanisław Leszczyński Polish szlachta War of Polish Succession
1709–1733 Augustus II the Strong Wettin also Elector of Saxony as Frederick Augustus I
1733–1736 Stanisław Leszczyński Polish szlachta War of Polish Succession
1733–1763 August III Wettin Wettin
1764–1795 Stanisław August Poniatowski Polish szlachta During his reign the merger of the Grand Duchy with the Kingdom of Poland was passed in 1791; abdicated following the Partitions of Poland; died in exile in Russia

Kingdom of Lithuania (1918)

The Council of Lithuania declared independence on February 16, 1918 when Lithuania was occupied by the Reichswehr. The name of the state was the Kingdom of Lithuania. On July 9, 1918, the council declared that the Duke of Urach is to become King Mindaugas II of Lithuania. However, on November 2, the council revoked this decision and declared that Lithuania is to be a democratic republic.

Republic of Lithuania (1918–1940)

The institution of President (Lithuanian: Prezidentas) was created on April 4, 1919.

Term President Remarks
April 4, 1919 – June 19, 1920 Antanas Smetona Elected by the Council of Lithuania
June 19, 1920 – June 7, 1926 Aleksandras Stulginskis Acting President (as Constituent Assembly). Re-elected by the Seimas on December 21, 1922 and in June 1923.
June 7 - December 18, 1926 Kazys Grinius Elected by parliament, but overthrown by a military coup d'état
December 18 – December 19, 1926 Jonas Staugaitis Formally, for one day, as the head of Seimas (renounced the office after the coup d'état)
December 19, 1926 Aleksandras Stulginskis Formally, as the new head of Seimas, only for several hours
December 19, 1926 – June 15, 1940 Antanas Smetona Second term, elected president after a military coup d'état; after the Soviet ultimatum of 1940 he fled to Germany and then to the USA
June 15 – June 17, 1940 Antanas Merkys The Prime Minister, de facto acting president after Smetona's defection. Not recognised by Lithuanian diplomats abroad; he assumed the role of president illegally, as Smetona neither resigned nor died.
June 17 – August 3, 1940 Justas Paleckis Chosen unconstitutionally by leaders of the Lithuanian communists under pressure from the Soviet Union, not recognized internationally or by the Lithuanian diplomatic service
January 16, 1949 – November 26, 1954 Jonas Žemaitis Announced in March 19, 2009 by Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania as "Leader of Lithuania, factually pursued Republic President functions".

Lithuanian SSR (1940–1941 and 1944–1990)

The Soviet Union occupied Lithuania and established Lithuanian SSR in July 1940. As Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Lithuania was occupied by the Germans. Few days before the German occupation, Lithuania was ruled by pro-German rebel government of J. Ambrazevicius. Under Germans, the General District of Lithuania was governed by the administration of general P. Kubiliunas. As Nazi Germany retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied the country and reestablished Lithuanian SSR in 1944.

Title: First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos komunistų partijos Centro komiteto pirmasis sekretorius; Russian: Первый секретарь Центрального Комитета Коммунистической партии Литвы).

Term First Secretary Remarks
July 21, 1940 – June 24, 1941
July 13, 1944 – January 22, 1974
Antanas Sniečkus
February 18, 1974 – November 14, 1987 Petras Griškevičius
December 1, 1987 – October 19, 1988 Ringaudas Bronislovas Songaila First leader of the party to be deposed of his power (Sniečkus and Griškevičius held office until their death)
October 19, 1988 – March 11, 1990 Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas Lost power as independence was declared

The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet acted as a collective head of state from August 25, 1940 to March 11, 1990.

Term Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet Remarks
August 25, 1940 – April 14, 1967 Justas Paleckis In Russian SFSR exile 1941–1944
April 14, 1967 – December 24, 1975 Motejus Sumauskas
December 24, 1975 – November 18, 1985 Antanas Barkauskas
November 18, 1985 – December 7, 1987 Ringaudas Bronislavas Songaila
December 7, 1987 – January 15, 1990 Vytautas Astrauskas
January 15, 1990 – March 11, 1990 Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas

Republic of Lithuania (from 1990)

The leader of the Supreme Council was the official head of state from the declaration of independence on March 11, 1990 until the new Constitution came into effect in 1992 establishing the office of President and the institution of Seimas. The state and its leadership were not recognized internationally until September 1991.

Title from 1990 to 1992: Chairman of the Supreme Council (Parliament) (Lithuanian: Aukščiausiosios Tarybos pirmininkas).

Title from 1992 onwards: President (Lithuanian: Prezidentas).

Term Officeholder Remarks
March 11, 1990 – November 25, 1992 Vytautas Landsbergis As Chairman of the Supreme Council.
November 25, 1992 – February 25, 1998 Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas First post-Soviet President. Acting President (as Speaker of Seimas) until February 25, 1993, when he won the first Presidential elections. Did not run for a second term.
February 26, 1998 – February 25, 2003 Valdas Adamkus Was not re-elected for a second term.
February 26, 2003 – April 6, 2004 Rolandas Paksas Impeached and removed from office.
April 6, 2004 – July 12, 2004 Artūras Paulauskas As leader of Seimas, temporarily performed the duties of the President until the next election.
July 12, 2004 – July 12, 2009 Valdas Adamkus
July 12, 2009 – present Dalia Grybauskaitė

See also


  • History, Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania. Accessed August 26, 2006.
  • (Lithuanian) Vytautas Spečiūnas (ed.), Lietuvos valdovai (XIII-XVIII a.) (Rulers of Lithuania (13–18th centuries)), Mokslo ir enicklopedijų leidybos institutas, Vilnius 2004. ISBN 5-420-01535-8

External links

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