The Era of Book Smugglers in Lithuania in the Second Half of the 19th Century and Its Contribution to the Creation of the Modern Lithuanian Nation

Pages 33–39
DOI 10.2478/amnpsc-2018-0005
Keywords book smugglers – Lithuania – Motiejus Valančius – national revival – modern nation
Type of Article Peer-reviewed
Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum | 2018/63/3-4

The defeat of the Polish-Lithuanian uprising in 1863–1864 was followed by a new repressive policy. Its primary objectives were to suppress any ideas of the Polish-Lithuanian state and to establish the Russian system at any cost. The Russian government tried to remove Lithuanian and Polish languages from public life, limit the influence of the Catholic Church, spread Orthodoxy, support the Russian education system and prohibit the printing of Lithuanian publications. The Catholic Church, headed by the bishop of Samogitia, Motiejus Valančius, joined the quiet opposition to the Russian Empire. Valančius organised the printing of Lithuanian books in Prussia – he established a secret organisation that smuggled books to Lithuania and distributed them there. Thanks to him, the foundations of the new Lithuanian national movement were laid. It supported the creation of national literature, the establishment of secret Lithuanian schools and the strengthening of the position of the Lithuanian language in the Church. The Lithuanian national revival opposed not only Russification efforts but also Polonisation in both ethnic and political sense. The era of book smugglers in Lithuania between 1865 and 1904 played a crucial role in the process of the formation of the modern Lithuanian nation. This is the main reason why the national movement of the Lithuanians also became a subject of political discussions in the 

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