List of rulers of Lithuania

President of the Republic of Lithuania
Lietuvos Respublikos Prezidentė

Dalia Grybauskaitė

since 12 July 2009
Style His/Her Excellency
Residence Presidential Palace
Appointer Direct election
Term length Five years
renewable once, consecutively
Inaugural holder Antanas Smetona
4 April 1919
Formation Constitution of Lithuania
Salary 312,000 Lt[1]
Website Lietuvos Respublikos Prezidentė
Coat of arms of Lithuania
This article is part of a series on the
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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 Soviet Socialist Republic). 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 known 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 16 February 1918. The Council of Lithuania was able to establish the sovereignty only in 1919, after Germany lost 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 Soviet Socialist Republic. 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.

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).

House of Mindaugas (1236–1268)

Dates are approximate because of scant written sources.

Term Grand Duke Image Remarks
c. 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.
1263–1265 Treniota
1265–1268 Vaišvilkas Son of Mindaugas, voluntarily gave up the throne for the benefit of his brother-in-law Shvarn

Monomakhovichi (1268-1269)

Term Grand Duke Image Remarks
1268–1269 Švarnas

House of Mindaugas (1269-1285)

Term Grand Duke Image Remarks
1270–1282 Traidenis
1282–1285 Daumantas

House of Gediminas (1285–1440)

Some dates are approximate.

Term Grand Duke Image Remarks
1285–1291 Butigeidis Founder of the Gediminid dynasty
1291–1295 ButvydasBrother 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 western Lithuania (with its capital in Trakai). He 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. He joined his father in the fight against Jogaila, then changed sides and became Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1392. He was to be crowned King of Lithuania in 1429, but the crown was stopped by the Poles. He 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.

House of Jagiellon (1440–1569)

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 the 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 Image Remarks
1440–1492Casimir 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 I the Old Son of Casimir IV.
1548–1569 Sigismund II Augustus 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 to be elected by Lithuanian noble families as a 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. The first Grand Duke elected after the Gediminyds line became extinct and after the Valois fled back to France was Stephen Báthory, who had made an effort to be recognized as Grand Duke of Lithuania by establishing Vilnius University.

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; Latin: Rex Poloniae et Magnus Dux Lituaniae).

Term Incumbent Image House Remarks
1569–1572 Sigismund II Augustus Jagiellon Son of Sigismund I the Old.
1573–1575 Henry Valois Valois He abandoned the throne and fled to France where he was crowned as French King Henry III.
1576–1586 Stephen Bathory Báthory Received title by jure uxoris since he was married to Anna Jagiellon;
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 Stanislaus Leszczyński Polish szlachta Great Northern War.
1709–1733 Augustus II the Strong Wettin also Elector of Saxony as Frederick Augustus I.
1733–1736Stanislaus Leszczyński Polish szlachtaWar of Polish Succession.
1733–1763August III Wettin Wettin
1764–1795Stanislaus August II Polish szlachtaDuring 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 16 February 1918 when Lithuania was occupied by the Reichswehr. The name of the state was the Kingdom of Lithuania. On 9 July 1918, the council declared that the Duke of Urach is to become King Mindaugas II of Lithuania. However, on 2 November, the council revoked this decision and declared that Lithuania is to be a democratic republic.

Term Incumbent Image House Remarks
11 July – 2 November 1918 Mindaugas II
(Wilhelm Karl)
House of Urach Government change to a democratic republic.

Republic of Lithuania (1918–1940)

Main article: Lithuania

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

No Term President Image Remarks
1 4 April 1919 – 19 June 1920 Antanas Smetona Elected by the Council of Lithuania.
2 19 June 1920 – 7 June 1926 Aleksandras Stulginskis Acting President (as Constituent Assembly). Re-elected by the Seimas on 21 December 1922 and in June 1923.
3 7 June – 18 December 1926 Kazys Grinius Elected by parliament, but overthrown by a military coup d'état.
18–19 December 1926 Jonas Staugaitis Formally, for one day, as the head of Seimas (renounced the office after the coup d'état).
19 December 1926 Aleksandras Stulginskis Formally, as the new head of Seimas, only for several hours.
19 December 1926 – 15 June 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.
15–17 June 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.
17 June – August, 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.
4 16 February 1949 – 26 November 1954 Jonas Žemaitis Officially named as the fourth (acting) President of Lithuania in March 2009.

Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic (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. For a few days before the German occupation, Lithuania was ruled by pro-German rebel government of Juozas Ambrazevičius. Under the Germans, the General District of Lithuania was governed by the administration of general Petras Kubiliūnas. As Nazi Germany retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied the country and reestablished the 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).

No Term First Secretary Remarks
1 21 July 1940 – 24 June 1941
13 July 1944 – 22 January 1974
Antanas Sniečkus
2 18 February 1974 – 14 November 1987 Petras Griškevičius
3 1 December 1987 – 19 October 1988 Ringaudas Bronislovas Songaila First leader of the party to be deposed of his power (Sniečkus and Griškevičius held office until their death)
4 19 October 1988 – 11 March 1990 Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas Lost power as independence was declared

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

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

Republic of Lithuania (1990–present)

The leader of the Supreme Council was the official head of state from the declaration of independence on 11 March 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).

No Portrait Name
Elected Took office Left office Affiliation/Notes
Vytautas Landsbergis
(1932– )
11 March 1990 25 November 1992 As Chairman of the Supreme Council.
Algirdas Brazauskas (acting)
25 November 1992 25 February 1993 First post-Soviet President.
Algirdas Brazauskas
1993 25 February 1993 25 February 1998
Valdas Adamkus
(1926– )
1997–98 26 February 1998 26 February 2003
Rolandas Paksas
(1956– )
2002–03 26 February 2003 6 April 2004 Impeached and removed from office.
Artūras Paulauskas (acting)
(1953– )
6 April 2004 12 July 2004 As leader of Seimas, temporarily performed the duties of the President until the next election.
Valdas Adamkus
(1926– )
2004 12 July 2004 12 July 2009
Dalia Grybauskaitė
(1956– )
12 July 2009 Incumbent First female President of Lithuania. Became the first President to be reelected in times of Modern Lithuania.

Latest election

Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Dalia GrybauskaitėIndependent612,48545.92700,64757.87
Zigmantas BalčytisSocial Democratic Party of Lithuania181,65913.62485,96840.14
Artūras PaulauskasLabour Party160,13912.01
Naglis PuteikisIndependent124,3339.32
Valdemar TomaševskiElectoral Action of Poles in Lithuania109,6598.22
Artūras ZuokasYES69,6775.22
Bronis RopėLithuanian Peasant and Greens Union55,2634.14
Invalid/blank votes20,4451.5324,1261.99
Registered voters/turnout2,553,33552.172,559,33047.31
Source: VRK, VRK

See also


External links

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