The word “Samogitie” is a Latinization of the names used with the Moyen-âge: Samaiten, Samaitae, Zamaytae, Samogitia, Samattae, Samethi , according to the Latin or German sources, as well as other alternatives: Schmudien (German) Żmudź (Polish), Žmudź (Belorusse Жмудзь, ), Schamaiten' (another German version), which would derive from the Lituanien, Žemaitija', for Žemės žemaitēs which means: “Grounds in against-low”, in opposition to the Žemės aukštaitēs : “highlands” or mountains ( Aukštaitija ).
The State was located in the Western part of current the Lithuania. Its Western border bordered the Prussia and the Baltique, in north the Courlande, the south the river Niémen. The Eastern border of Samogitie was not also clear. During the the Middle Ages and until in 1795, Samogitie was clearly defined like a State, later it was associated with a diocese. Nowadays, Samogitie is mainly associated with a ethnographic area with Lithuania and does not constitute an administrative division.
GeographyThe geographical location of the Duchy corresponds today to that several “counties” ( Apskritis ) of Lithuania: a small portion of the apskritis of Kaunas, the Western part of that of Šiauliai, the apskritis of Taurage, that of Telšiai and the northern part of the apskritys of Klaipėda and Marijampolė
The major part of Samogitie is placed on the Western Highlands. The plains which gave him its name find at the border between Samogitie and Eastern Lithuania, along the river Neva.
HistoryBefore the formation of the Lithuanian State, Samogitie was controlled by the local nobility. A chronicle mentions two dukes of Samogitie in 1219 like signatories of the treaty with the Volhynie. After the formation of the Grand-Duché of Lithuania at the 13th century, Samogitie became a territory Vassal, even if sometimes the influence of the Large-Duke of Lithuania were very limited. During the reign of the first Lithuanian king, Mindaugas, Samogitiens continued an independent foreign politics and continued to fight against the Chevaliers carry-swords even after King Mindaugas had signed a peace treaty with them.
During 200 years, Samogitie played a crucial role by stopping the expansion of the teutonic State and several times its armies demolished the Knights carry-swords: with the Battle of Šiauliai (1236), that of Skuodas (1259) and that of Durbe (1260).
In this atmosphere of wild combat against the teutonic Knights, the Lithuanian leaders Jogaila and Vytautas yielded several times to them Samogitie in 1382, 1398 and 1404. However, the Order was not able to be made really main of the countries and Samogitiens revolted in 1401 and 1409. After the demolished of Grunwald in 1410 and the wars which followed, the teutonic Ordre yielded in 1422 Samogitie to the Grand-Duché of Lithuania.
Samogitiens were the last in Europe to embrace the Christianisme, in 1413.
Because of these wars prolonged against the teutonic Order, it had been created in Samogitie a social structure and policy which differed from the remainder of the Lithuania. There was a greater proportion of free farmers and the properties were smaller than in Eastern Lithuania.
After the annexation of the Lithuania by the Russian Empire, Samogitie was included in the Guberniya (county) of Kaunas. At the beginning of the 19th century, Samogitie was the center of Lithuanian rebirth, where the importance of Lithuanian language was stressed and where one opposed the attempts of polonisation and Russianization.
Leaders of SamogitieTitrate: Large Prince ( Kunigaikštis or Didysis Kunigaikštis in Lithuanian)
- Gimbutas 11th century
- Kiernus 11th century
- Kukovytas 11th century
- Montvilas? - 1070
- Vykintas 11th century - 12th century
- Trabus 1??? - 1268 (1267)
- Romanas 1268 (1267) - 1270
- Narimantas 1270 - 12??
- '' Samogitia ''
- '' Zmudz - Samogitia ''
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