Lithuania in the News
13th May, 2007
|Lithuania Commemorates the First Written Constitution in Europe|
President Adamkus addressing Lithuanian Parliament during the joint
sitting of Lithuanian and Polish Parliaments, connected via a
TV telebridge. Photo courtesy President of Lithuanian website
The original of the May 3 Constitution. Picture courtesy Wikipedia
Australians would be interested to note that the Lithuanian-born Thaddeus Kosciuszko (Kosciuðka in Lithuanian), after whom Australia’s highest mountain Mt. Kosciusko is named, was an active participant in the events of these times and in
Thaddeus Kosciuszko, after whom
Australia’s highest mountain is named.
Picture courtesy Wikipedia
Even though the political situation had been deteriorating for over a century, the culture in Lithuania in those turbulent times was vibrant and very progressive. In 1773, just after the first partition in 1772, leading intellectuals in Lithuania and Poland came together in the Education Commission, which reformed the complete education system of schools and universities in Lithuania and Poland and formed what today would be called a Ministry of Education, again the first in Europe! Vilnius University, which had been the main educational institution in North Eastern Europe for two centuries, now formally became Schola Princeps Magni Ducatus Lithuaniae (in Latin). Thaddeus Kosciuszko himself was an alumnus of Vilnius University.
Among the achievements of those days could be listed the University’s astronomical observatory founded in 1753, the fourth oldest in Europe, and the University’s famed Botanical Gardens founded in 1781, with its collection of plants among the most extensive and richest in central Europe. The Gardens also have a connection with Australia, through Georg Adam Forster, who had travelled with James Cook on one of his voyages of discovery. Forster became a professor at Vilnius University and from 1784 continued the work of the Botanical Gardens. The Botanical Gardens a little later were relocated to what today is the popular and beautiful Sereikiðkës Park at the bottom of Gediminas Hill.
Further information: Click On: Wikipedia on the May 3 Constitution and Wikipedia on Thaddeus Kosciuszko
Vilnius University: www.vu.lt/en/ & http://www.vu.lt/site_files/InfS/Leidiniai/VU_reprezentacinis_EN.pdf
www.omni.lt 03/05/07 www.lzinios.lt 04/05/07