Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

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Jonas Basanavičius

(1851-1927)


Jonas Basanavicius

Pseudonyms: Jonas iš Oszkabalių, Birsztonas, Basionis, J.Bassanius, Basanavitius, Basanaviczius, J.Basanavicze, J.Basanovič, Dr. J. Bs, J.Sapalius, etc.

    Jonas Basanavičius was a most significant figure of the national renaissance of Lithuanians at the end of 19th century and had acquired the name of the patriarch of the nation. J.Basanavičius had not created any work of fiction, however his patriotic activities and his collections of folklore as well as research had left a deep impact on the poetry and other writings of that time.
    J.Basanavičius was born in the Ožkabaliai village, Vilkaviškis county. In 1866-1873 he had studied in Marijampolė gymnasium, in 1873 he had entered Moscow University, the Faculty of History and Philology. In 1874 he was transferred to the Faculty of Medicine. At the same time he had studied Lithuanian history and archeology, collected Lithuanian folklore, was concerned about breaking of the Lithuania press ban, published popular books. In 1879 he was awarded the diploma of a medical doctor and worked for some time in Ožkabaliai, Vilkaviškis, and Aleksotas. In 1808 he received an appointment as a doctor and head of a hospital in Bulgaria, Lom Palanka city. He took care of Lithuanian affairs, searched for opportunities to publish a Lithuanian newspaper abroad. In 1883 a newspaper "Aušra" had appeared which was edited and published by J. Basanavičius. In 1882 J.Basanavičius had left Bulgaria for Prague and Vienna where he worked and studied medicine.
    In 1884 he had returned to Bulgaria and worked in the town Elena, in 1885 he moved to Lom Palanka. From 1892 he was appointed the head doctor of the Therapeutical department of Varna hospital. In 1899-1903 he represented the Democratic party of Bulgaria in Varna City Council and Varna Democratic party in the Congresses in 1903 (Sofia), and 1905 (Adrianopol and Kontantinopol). In 1905 he returned to Lithuania and settled down in Vilnius. J.Basanavičius was an initiator of a Lithuanian Seimas in Vilnius, a creator of a national Lithuanian democratic party, searched for opportunities to start publishing a newspaper for Lithuania abroad. During the years of German occupation he took part in common Lithuanian activities, collected material for the history of occupation. In 1917 J.Basanavičius was elected a member of Lithuanian Council in Lithuanian Conference. On February 16, 1918, J.Basanavičius had signed the Declaration of Independence.
    He died on November 16, 1927 in Vilnius and was buried in Rasai cemetery.