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WHO ARE SAMOGITIANS?
 
Speaking about the four ethnic regions of Lithuania – Aukstaitija, Dzukija, Suvalkija and Samogitia – we can say that only in the latter has the process of the formation of an independent nation relative to Lithuania, the Samogitian “subnation”, begun.Samogitia
A subnation is an ethnic group that has failed to grow into an independent nation but retained some features distinguishing it from the parent nation. Any ethnic group which does not have all the characteristics of a nation can also be called a subnation.
The Samogitians have never had their own state. (...) The conflict which arose in Lithuania in the middle of the 13th century and during which most influential Samogitian dukes fought against Mindaugas, the ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, gave rise to the formation of the features characteristic of the people of this region.
The geopolitical position of Samogitia was even more important. From the end of the 13th century Samogitia, facing the threat from the neighboring German Orders, and abandoned to its fate by the Lithuanian state which failed to give it adequate help, slowly began to isolate itself.
Although Samogitia was situated between two great powers, neither Lithuania nor the German Order was able to control it. The Samogitians seized the opportunity, took power into their own hands (from the end of the 13th century until the Christianisation of Samogitia and its final incorporation into the Lithuanian state in 1413) and became a political force which even future grand dukes of Lithuania had to take into consideration. (...)
Samogitia, even after the final unification with Lithuania, retained its own social and economic structure until 1918. Lithuanian rulers, despite their efforts, were not able to eradicate its particular features. (...)
In Samogitia, as well as in Lithuania, loyalty towards the grand duke’s family and the existence of cults of some dukes, especially that of Vytautas, can be seen. There are reasons to believe that the differences between Samogitians and Lithuanians were caused by their archaic way of life, which was in turn brought about by historical circumstances.
(From LITHUANIA IN THE WORLD, No 2, 1998)

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