The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking the East Slavic languages. The main population of the loose medieval Kievan Rus federation state, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian people. Researchers know little about the Eastern Slavs prior to 859 AD, when the first events recorded in the Primary Chronicle occurred; the Eastern Slavs of these early times lacked a written language. The few known facts come from archaeological digs, foreign travellers' accounts of the Rus' land, linguistic comparative analyses of Slavic languages. Few native Rus' documents dating before the 11th century have survived; the earliest major manuscript with information on Rus' history, the Primary Chronicle, dates from the late 11th and early 12th centuries. It lists twelve Slavic tribal unions which, by the 10th century, had settled in the territory of the Kievan Rus between the Western Bug, the Dniepr and the Black Sea: the Polans, Dregovichs, Vyatichs, Slovens, White Croats, Severians and Tivertsi.
There is no consensus among scholars as to the urheimat of the Slavs. In the first millennium AD, Slavic settlers are to have been in contact with other ethnic groups who moved across the East European Plain during the Migration Period. Between the first and ninth centuries, the Sarmatians, Alans, Avars and Magyars passed through the Pontic steppe in their westward migrations. Although some of them could have subjugated the region's Slavs, these foreign tribes left little trace in the Slavic lands; the Early Middle Ages saw Slavic expansion as an agriculturist and beekeeper, fisher and trapper people. By the 8th century, the Slavs were the dominant ethnic group on the East European Plain. By 600 AD, the Slavs had split linguistically into southern and eastern branches; the East Slavs practiced "slash-and-burn" agricultural methods which took advantage of the extensive forests in which they settled. This method of agriculture involved clearing tracts of forest with fire, cultivating it and moving on after a few years.
Slash and burn agriculture requires frequent movement, because soil cultivated in this manner only yields good harvests for a few years before exhausting itself, the reliance on slash and burn agriculture by the East Slavs explains their rapid spread through eastern Europe. The East Slavs flooded. One group of tribes settled along the Dnieper river in what is now Belarus to the North. Another group of East Slavs moved to the northeast, where they encountered the Varangians of the Rus' Khaganate and established an important regional centre of Novgorod; the same Slavic population settled the present-day Tver Oblast and the region of Beloozero. Having reached the lands of the Merya near Rostov, they linked up with the Dnieper group of Slavic migrants. In the eighth and ninth centuries, the south branches of East Slavic tribes had to pay tribute to the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking people who adopted Judaism in the late eighth or ninth century and lived in the southern Volga and Caucasus regions. In the same period, the Ilmen Slavs and Krivichs were dominated by the Varangians of the Rus' Khaganate, who controlled the trade route between the Baltic Sea and the Byzantine Empire.
The earliest tribal centres of the East Slavs included Novgorod, Polotsk and Kiev. Archaeology indicates that they appeared at the turn of the tenth century, soon after the Slavs and Finns of Novgorod had rebelled against the Norse and forced them to withdraw to Scandinavia; the reign of Oleg of Novgorod in the early tenth century witnessed the return of the Varangians to Novgorod and relocation of their capital to Kiev on the Dnieper. From this base, the mixed Varangian-Slavic population launched several expeditions against Constantinople. At first the ruling elite was Norse, but it was Slavicized by the mid-century. Sviatoslav I of Kiev was the first Rus ruler with a Slavonic name; the disintegration, or parcelling of the polity of Kievan Rus' in the 11th century resulted in considerable population shifts and a political and economic regrouping. The resultant effect of these forces coalescing was the marked emergence of new peoples. While these processes began long before the fall of Kiev, its fall expedited these gradual developments into a significant linguistic and ethnic differentiation among the Rus' people into Ukrainians and Russians.
All of this was emphasized by the subsequent polities these groups migrated into: southwestern and western Rus', where the Ruthenian and Ukrainian and Belarusian identities developed, was subject to Lithuanian and Polish influence. Modern East Slavic peoples and ethnic/subethnic groups include: Belarusians Litvins Russians Lipovans Polekhs Pomors Vyatichi Rusyns Boykos Hutsuls Lemkos Pannonian Rusyns UkrainiansTransitory groups Cossacks Goryuns Poleshuks All-Russian nation List of early East Slavic states List of medieval Slavic tribes South Slavs West Slavs Г.В.Вернадский Древняя Русь http://www.erlib.com/Георгий_Вернадский/Древняя_Русь/1.
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Eastern Orthodox Church the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with 200–260 million members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia; the church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Near East. Eastern Orthodox theology is based on the Nicene Creed; the church teaches that it is the One, Holy and Apostolic church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles. It maintains, its patriarchates, reminiscent of the pentarchy, autocephalous and autonomous churches reflect a variety of hierarchical organisation.
Of its innumerable sacred mysteries, it recognises seven major sacraments, of which the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in synaxis. The church teaches that through consecration invoked by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; the Virgin Mary is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the God-bearer, honoured in devotions. The Eastern Orthodox Church shared communion with the Roman Catholic Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, triggered by disputes over doctrine the authority of the Pope. Before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, the Oriental Orthodox churches shared in this communion, separating over differences in Christology; the majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Southeast and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and other communities in the Caucasus region, communities in Siberia reaching the Russian Far East. There are smaller communities in the former Byzantine regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East where it is decreasing due to persecution.
There are many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora and missionary activity. In keeping with the church's teaching on universality and with the Nicene Creed, Orthodox authorities such as Saint Raphael of Brooklyn have insisted that the full name of the church has always included the term "Catholic", as in "Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church"; the official name of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the "Orthodox Catholic Church". It is the name by which the church refers to itself in its liturgical or canonical texts, in official publications, in official contexts or administrative documents. Orthodox teachers refer to the church as Catholic; this name and longer variants containing "Catholic" are recognised and referenced in other books and publications by secular or non-Orthodox writers. The common name of the church, "Eastern Orthodox Church", is a shortened practicality that helps to avoid confusions in casual use. From ancient times through the first millennium, Greek was the most prevalent shared language in the demographic regions where the Byzantine Empire flourished, Greek, being the language in which the New Testament was written, was the primary liturgical language of the church.
For this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as "Greek" before the Great Schism of 1054. After 1054, "Greek Orthodox" or "Greek Catholic" marked a church as being in communion with Constantinople, much as "Catholic" did for communion with Rome; this identification with Greek, became confusing with time. Missionaries brought Orthodoxy to many regions without ethnic Greeks, where the Greek language was not spoken. In addition, struggles between Rome and Constantinople to control parts of Southeastern Europe resulted in the conversion of some churches to Rome, which also used "Greek Catholic" to indicate their continued use of the Byzantine rites. Today, many of those same churches remain, while a large number of Orthodox are not of Greek national origin, do not use Greek as the language of worship. "Eastern" indicates the geographical element in the Church's origin and development, while "Orthodox" indicates the faith, as well as communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
There are additional Christian churches in the east that are in communion with neither Rome nor Constantinople, who tend to be distinguished by the category named "Oriental Orthodox". While the church continues to call itself "Catholic", for reasons of universality, the common title of "Eastern Orthodox Church" avoids casual confusion with the Roman Catholic Church; the first known use of the phrase "the catholic Church" occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another. The letter states: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be as where Jesus may be, there is the universal Church." Thus from the beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy and Apostolic Church". The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same early Church. A number of other Christian churches make a similar claim: the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox.
In the Eastern Orthodox v
Ruthenia is an exonym used in Medieval Latin as one of several designations for East Slavic regions, most as a designation for the lands of Rus'. During the early modern period, the term acquired several specific meanings; the word Ruthenia originated as a Latin rendering of the region and people known as the Rus'. During the Middle Ages, the term was applied to lands inhabited by Eastern Slavs. Russia itself was called White Ruthenia until the end of the 17th century, it is mentioned in the 1520 Latin treatise Mores, leges et ritus omnium gentium, per Ioannem Boëmum, Teutonicum ex multis clarissimis rerum scriptoribus collecti by Johann Boemus. In the chapter De Rusia sive Ruthenia, et recentibus Rusianorum moribus, Boemus tells of a country extending from the Baltic Sea to the Caspian Sea and from the Don River to the northern ocean, it is a source of beeswax, its forests harbor many animals with valuable fur, the capital city Moscow, named after the Moskva River, is 14 miles in circumference.
Danish diplomat Jacob Ulfeldt, who traveled to Russia in 1578 to meet with Tsar Ivan IV, titled his posthumously published memoir Hodoeporicon Ruthenicum. In European manuscripts dating from the 11th century, Ruthenia was used to describe Rus', the wider area occupied by the ancient Rus'; this term was used to refer to the Slavs of the island of Rügen or other Baltic Slavs, whom in the 12th century were portrayed by chroniclers as fierce pirate pagans though Kievan Rus' had long since converted to Christianity: Eupraxia, the daughter of Rutenorum regis Vsevolod, had married Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV in 1089. After the devastating Mongolian occupation of the main part of Ruthenia, western Ruthenian principalities were incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Polish Kingdom into the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. A small part of Rus', was subordinated to the Kingdom of Hungary in the 11th century. By the 15th century the Moscow principality had established its sovereignty over a large portion of ancient Ruthenian territory, including Novgorod and Pskov, began to fight with Lithuania over the remaining Ruthenian lands.
In 1547, the Moscow principality adopted the title of The Great Principat of Moscow and Tsardom of the Whole Rus and claimed sovereignty over "all the Rus'" — acts not recognized by its neighbour Poland. The Muscovy population was Eastern Orthodox and preferred to use the Greek transliteration Rossia rather than the Latin "Ruthenia." In the 14th century the southern territories of ancient Rus', including the principalities of Galicia–Volhynia and Kiev, became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which in 1384 united with Catholic Poland to form the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Due to their usage of the Latin script rather than the Cyrillic script, they were denoted by the Latin Ruthenia. Other spellings were used in Latin and other languages during this period. Contemporaneously, the Ruthenian Voivodeship was established in the territory of Galicia-Volhynia and existed until the 18th century; these southern territories have corresponding names in Polish: Ruś Halicko-Wołyńska or Księstwo halicko-wołyńskie — Galicia–Volhynia or Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia Ruś Halicka — Galicia Ruś Biała — White Ruthenia, White Russia or Belarus Ruś Czarna — Black Ruthenia, part of modern Belarus Ruś Czerwona — Red Ruthenia, western Ukraine and southeast Poland Ruś Podkarpacka — Carpathian RutheniaThe Russian Tsardom was called Velikoye Kn'yazhestvo Moskovskoye, the Grand Duchy of Moscow, until 1547, although Ivan III was been named "Great Tsar of All Russia."
The use of the term Rus/Russia in the lands of ancient Rus' survived longer as a name used by Ukrainians for Ukraine. When the Austrian monarchy made vassal state Galicia–Lodomeria a province in 1772, Habsburg officials realized that the local East Slavic people were distinct from both Poles and Russians and still called themselves Rus; this was true until the empire fell in 1918. In the 1880s through the first decade of the 20th century, the popularity of the ethnonym Ukrainian spread, the term Ukraine became a substitute for Malaya Rus' among the Ukrainian population of the empire. In the course of time, the term Rus′ became restricted to western parts of present-day Ukraine, an area where Ukrainian nationalism, ardently supported by Austro-Hungarian authorities, competed with Galician Russophilia. By the early 20th century, the term Ukraine had replaced Malorussia in those lands, by the mid-1920s in the Ukrainian diaspora in North America as well. Rusyn has been an official self-identification of the Rus' population in Poland.
Until 1939, for many Ruthenians and Poles, the word Ukrainiec meant a person involved in or friendly to a nationalist movement. The Russians, the most numerous cultural descendants of the ancient Rus', retain the name for their ethnicity, while the name of their state, Rus', was replaced by its Greek transliteration Rossia; the Russian population dominates the former territory of Muscovy, Vladimir Rus', the Grand Principality of Smolensk, the Novgorod Republic, the Pskov Republic. After 1918, the name Ruthenia became narrowed to the area south of the Carpathi
History of the Jews in Poland
The history of the Jews in Poland dates back over 1,000 years. For centuries, Poland was home to the most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was a principal center of Jewish culture, thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy; this ended with the Partitions of Poland which began in 1772, in particular, with the discrimination and persecution of Jews in the Russian Empire. During World War II there was a nearly complete genocidal destruction of the Polish Jewish community by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, during the 1939–1945 German occupation of Poland and the ensuing Holocaust. Since the fall of communism in Poland, there has been a Jewish revival, featuring an annual Jewish Culture Festival, new study programs at Polish secondary schools and universities, the work of synagogues such as the Nożyk Synagogue, Warsaw's Museum of the History of Polish Jews. From the founding of the Kingdom of Poland in 1025 through to the early years of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth created in 1569, Poland was the most tolerant country in Europe.
Historians have described the label paradisus iudaeorum. The country became a shelter for persecuted and expelled European Jewish communities and the home to the world's largest Jewish community of the time. According to some sources, about three-quarters of the world's Jews lived in Poland by the middle of the 16th century. With the weakening of the Commonwealth and growing religious strife, Poland's traditional tolerance began to wane from the 17th century onward. After the Partitions of Poland in 1795 and the destruction of Poland as a sovereign state, Polish Jews were subject to the laws of the partitioning powers, the antisemitic Russian Empire, as well as Austria-Hungary and Kingdom of Prussia. Still, as Poland regained independence in the aftermath of World War I, it was the center of the European Jewish world with one of the world's largest Jewish communities of over 3 million. Antisemitism was a growing problem throughout Europe in those years, from both the political establishment and the general population.
At the start of World War II, Poland was partitioned between the Soviet Union. One-fifth of the Polish population perished during World War II. Although the Holocaust occurred in German-occupied Poland, there was little collaboration with the Nazis by its citizens. Collaboration by individual Poles has been described as smaller than in other occupied countries. Statistics of the Israeli War Crimes Commission indicate that less than 0.1% of Poles collaborated with the Nazis. Examples of Polish attitudes to German atrocities varied from risking death in order to save Jewish lives, passive refusal to inform on them, to indifference, in extreme cases, participation in pogroms such as the Jedwabne pogrom. Grouped by nationality, Poles represent the largest number of people who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. In the post-war period, many of the 200,000 Jewish survivors registered at Central Committee of Polish Jews or CKŻP left the Polish People’s Republic for the nascent State of Israel and North or South America.
Their departure was hastened by the destruction of Jewish institutions, post-war violence and the hostility of the Communist Party to both religion and private enterprise, but because in 1946–1947 Poland was the only Eastern Bloc country to allow free Jewish aliyah to Israel, without visas or exit permits. Most of the remaining Jews left Poland in late 1968 as the result of the Soviet-sponsored "anti-Zionist" campaign. After the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, the situation of Polish Jews became normalized and those who were Polish citizens before World War II were allowed to renew Polish citizenship. Religious institutions were revived through the activities of Jewish foundations from the United States; the contemporary Polish Jewish community is estimated to have between 20,000 members. The number of people with Jewish heritage of any sort may be several times larger; the first Jews arrived in the territory of modern Poland in the 10th century. Travelling along trade routes leading east to Kiev and Bukhara, Jewish merchants, known as Radhanites, crossed Silesia.
One of them, a diplomat and merchant from the Moorish town of Tortosa in Spanish Al-Andalus, known by his Arabic name, Ibrahim ibn Yaqub, was the first chronicler to mention the Polish state ruled by Prince Mieszko I. In the summer of 965 or 966 Jacob made a trade and diplomatic journey from his native Toledo in Muslim Spain to the Holy Roman Empire and to Slavic countries; the first actual mention of Jews in Polish chronicles occurs in the 11th century. It appears that Jews were living in Gniezno, at that time the capital of the Polish kingdom of the Piast dynasty. Among the first Jews to arrive in Poland were those banished from Prague; the first permanent Jewish community is mentioned in 1085 by a Jewish scholar Jehuda ha-Kohen in the city of Przemyśl. As elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe, the principal activity of Jews in medieval Poland was commerce and trade, including export and import of goods such as cloth, furs, wax, metal objects, slaves; the first extensive Jewish emigration from Western Europe to Poland occurred at the time of the First Crusade in 1098.
Under Bolesław III, the Jews, encouraged by the tolerant regime of this ruler, settled throughout Poland, including over
The Vilnius Conference or Vilnius National Conference met between September 18, 1917 and September 22, 1917, began the process of establishing a Lithuanian state based on ethnic identity and language that would be independent of the Russian Empire and the German Empire. It elected a twenty-member Council of Lithuania, entrusted with the mission of declaring and re-establishing an independent Lithuania; the Conference, hoping to express the will of the Lithuanian people, gave legal authority to the Council and its decisions. While the Conference laid the basic guiding principles of Lithuanian independence, it deferred any matters of political structure of the future Lithuania to the Constituent Assembly, which would be elected in a democratic manner. Lithuania existed as an independent state from the beginning of the 13th century until 1569, when it entered into a union with Poland, forming the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; the Commonwealth ceased to exist after the Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the late 18th century.
Most of the Lithuanian territory was incorporated into the Russian Empire. A Lithuanian independence movement arose during the 19th century, based on concepts of national self-determination that were formalized in Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points speech in January 1918. During the course of World War I, the German Army invaded Russia and soon entered the territory which comprised Lithuania. In 1915, the Germans organized a military administration known as Ober Ost. At first the Germans exploited Lithuania for the benefit of their war effort; as the war progressed, it became evident that the two front war that Germany was engaged in would necessitate a compromise peace with the Russian Empire. This necessitated a re-thinking of strategies concerning the occupied territories in the east. An pursued goal of annexation gave way to a more guarded policy after Germany perceived that a public relations backlash might occur: the Central Powers realized that the Allies could use such territorial expansion in their propaganda.
Lengthy debates between German military leaders and the civilian administration resulted in a resolution, passed by the Reichstag on July 19, 1917, called the Resolution of Peace. It declared that the military administration governing occupied territories would grant some semblance of autonomy to their populations; the plan was to form a network of formally independent states that would in fact be dependent on Germany, the so-called Mitteleuropa. A Vertrauensrat was authorized in May 1917; the military administration approached a number of prominent members of the Lithuanian community, including Bishop Pranciškus Karevičius, Antanas Smetona, Jonas Basanavičius, all of whom refused to participate in their rubber stamp advisory council. The Lithuanian Relief Committee, an organization that helped war victims and mobilized political activists entered into negotiations between the Lithuanians and the occupational authorities; the Committee demanded that the Germans agree to permit a national convention, elected directly by the people.
After lengthy negotiations, the parties reached an agreement that a conference could convene that would represent the Lithuanian's aspirations. The Organizing Committee of the Conference met in Vilnius between August 1 and August 4, 1917. At the start of the meeting, the military authorities presented an ultimatum that any future conferences would need to declare loyalty to Germany and agree to an annexation. Since no elections had been held the representatives had to be invited by the Organizing Committee, which included Mykolas Biržiška, Petras Klimas, Antanas Smetona, Jonas Stankevičius, Jurgis Šaulys; the Committee strove to choose representatives from a wide political and social spectrum. In total 264 representatives were selected, five to eight from each county. 214 of them attended the conference that convened on September 18, 1917, remained in session until September 22. The meetings of the Conference were held behind closed doors and no German representatives participated. A number of speeches were delivered during the early sessions of the council that denounced the German occupation, mentioning forced labor, heavy requisitions, rampant deforestation.
The Conference, concentrated on three main questions: The future of Lithuania and its national minorities. In regards to the future of Lithuania, the Conference announced that an independent state, based on democratic principles, needed to be declared. In response to various schemes to re-create the old Grand Duchy of Lithuania or Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the new state was to be created only in the lands, that were assumed to be ethnically Lithuanian. Lacking real powers to represent the nation, it did not specify the foundations of the state or relationships with other countries; these were to be decided by the Constituent Assembly, elected by popular vote. These three principles were echoed by the Council of Lithuania when it declared the Act of Independence of Lithuania; the national minorities were promised freedom for their cultural needs. In years national minorities were granted the same rights as Lithuanians and in some cases extra repres
Traffic signs or road signs are signs erected at the side of or above roads to give instructions or provide information to road users. The earliest signs were simple wooden or stone milestones. Signs with directional arms were introduced, for example, the fingerposts in the United Kingdom and their wooden counterparts in Saxony. With traffic volumes increasing since the 1930s, many countries have adopted pictorial signs or otherwise simplified and standardized their signs to overcome language barriers, enhance traffic safety; such pictorial signs use symbols in place of words and are based on international protocols. Such signs were first developed in Europe, have been adopted by most countries to varying degrees. Various international conventions have helped to achieve a degree of uniformity in Traffic Signing in various countries. Traffic signs can be grouped into several types. For example, Annexe 1 of the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals, which on 30 June 2004 had 52 signatory countries, defines eight categories of signs: A.
Danger warning signs B. Priority signs C. Prohibitory or restrictive signs D. Mandatory signs E. Special regulation signs F. Information, facilities, or service signs G. Direction, position, or indication signs H. Additional panelsIn the United States, Ireland and New Zealand signs are categorized as follows: Regulatory signs Warning signs Guide signs Street name signs Route marker signs Expressway signs Freeway signs Welcome signs Informational signs Recreation and cultural interest signs Emergency management signs Temporary traffic control signs School signs Railroad and light rail signs Bicycle signsIn the United States, the categories and graphic standards for traffic signs and pavement markings are defined in the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices as the standard. A rather informal distinction among the directional signs is the one between advance directional signs, interchange directional signs, reassurance signs. Advance directional signs appear at a certain distance from the interchange, giving information for each direction.
A number of countries do not give information for the road ahead, only for the directions left and right. Advance directional signs enable drivers to take precautions for the exit, they do not appear on lesser roads, but are posted on expressways and motorways, as drivers would be missing exits without them. While each nation has its own system, the first approach sign for a motorway exit is placed at least 1,000 metres from the actual interchange. After that sign, one or two additional advance directional signs follow before the actual interchange itself; the earliest road signs were milestones, giving direction. In the Middle Ages, multidirectional signs at intersections became common, giving directions to cities and towns. In 1686, the first known Traffic Regulation Act in Europe is established by King Peter II of Portugal; this act foresees the placement of priority signs in the narrowest streets of Lisbon, stating which traffic should back up to give way. One of these signs still exists in the neighborhood of Alfama.
The first modern road signs erected on a wide scale were designed for riders of high or "ordinary" bicycles in the late 1870s and early 1880s. These machines were fast and their nature made them difficult to control, moreover their riders travelled considerable distances and preferred to tour on unfamiliar roads. For such riders, cycling organizations began to erect signs that warned of potential hazards ahead, rather than giving distance or directions to places, thereby contributing the sign type that defines "modern" traffic signs; the development of automobiles encouraged more complex signage systems using more than just text-based notices. One of the first modern-day road sign systems was devised by the Italian Touring Club in 1895. By 1900, a Congress of the International League of Touring Organizations in Paris was considering proposals for standardization of road signage. In 1903 the British government introduced four "national" signs based on shape, but the basic patterns of most traffic signs were set at the 1908 International Road Congress in Paris.
In 1909, nine European governments agreed on the use of four pictorial symbols, indicating "bump", "curve", "intersection", "grade-level railroad crossing". The intensive work on international road signs that took place between 1926 and 1949 led to the development of the European road sign system. Both Britain and the United States developed their own road signage systems, both of which were adopted or modified by many other nations in their respective spheres of influence; the UK adopted a version of the European road signs in 1964 and, over past decades, North American signage began using some symbols and graphics mixed in with English. Over the years, change was gradual. Pre-industrial signs were stone or wood, but with the development of Darby's method of smelting iron using coke, painted cast iron became favoured in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Cast iron continued to be used until the mid-20th century, but it was displaced by aluminium or other materials and processes, such as vitreous enamelled and/or pressed malleable iron, or steel.
Since 1945 most signs have been made from sheet aluminium with adhesive plastic coatings. Befo
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state that lasted from the 13th century to 1795, when the territory was partitioned among the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Austria. The state was founded by one of the polytheistic Baltic tribes from Aukštaitija; the Grand Duchy expanded to include large portions of the former Kievan Rus' and other Slavic lands, including what is now Belarus and parts of Ukraine and Russia. At its greatest extent, in the 15th century, it was the largest state in Europe, it was a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state, with great diversity in languages and cultural heritage. Consolidation of the Lithuanian lands began in the late 12th century. Mindaugas, the first ruler of the Grand Duchy, was crowned as Catholic King of Lithuania in 1253; the pagan state was targeted in the religious crusade by the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order. The multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state emerged only at the late reign of Gediminas and continued to expand under his son Algirdas.
Algirdas's successor Jogaila signed the Union of Krewo in 1386, bringing two major changes in the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: conversion to Catholicism and establishment of a dynastic union between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. The reign of Vytautas the Great marked both the greatest territorial expansion of the Grand Duchy and the defeat of the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, it marked the rise of the Lithuanian nobility. After Vytautas's death, Lithuania's relationship with the Kingdom of Poland deteriorated. Lithuanian noblemen, including the Radvila family, attempted to break the personal union with Poland. However, unsuccessful wars with the Grand Duchy of Moscow forced the union to remain intact; the Union of Lublin of 1569 created a new state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the federation, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania maintained its political distinctiveness and had separate government, laws and treasury; the federation was terminated by the passing of the Constitution of 3 May 1791, when there was supposed to be now a single country, the Commonwealth of Poland, under one monarch and one parliament.
Shortly afterward, the unitary character of the state was confirmed by adopting the Reciprocal Guarantee of Two Nations. However, the newly-reformed Commonwealth was invaded by Russia in 1792 and partitioned between the neighbours, with a truncated state remaining only nominally independent. After the Kościuszko Uprising, the territory was partitioned among the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Austria in 1795; the Statutes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania have the complete name of the state as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Samogitia. The title of "grand duchy" was applied to Lithuania from the 14th century onward. In other languages, the grand duchy is referred to as: Belarusian: Вялікае Княства Літоўскае German: Großfürstentum Litauen Estonian: Leedu Suurvürstiriik Latin: Magnus Ducatus Lituaniae Latvian: Lieitija or Lietuvas Lielkņaziste Lithuanian: Lietuvos Didžioji Kunigaikštystė Old literary Lithuanian: Didi Kunigystė Lietuvos Polish: Wielkie Księstwo Litewskie Russian: Великое княжество Литовское Ruthenian: Великое князство Литовское Ukrainian: Велике князiвство Литовське The first written reference to Lithuania is found in the Quedlinburg Chronicle, which dates from 1009.
In the 12th century, Slavic chronicles refer to Lithuania as one of the areas attacked by the Rus'. Pagan Lithuanians paid tribute to Polotsk, but they soon grew in strength and organized their own small-scale raids. At some point between 1180 and 1183 the situation began to change, the Lithuanians started to organize sustainable military raids on the Slavic provinces, raiding the Principality of Polotsk as well as Pskov, threatening Novgorod; the sudden spark of military raids marked consolidation of the Lithuanian lands in Aukštaitija. The Livonian Order and Teutonic Knights, crusading military orders, were established in Riga in 1202 and in Prussia in 1226; the Christian orders posed a significant threat to pagan Baltic tribes and further galvanized the formation of the state. The peace treaty with Galicia–Volhynia of 1219 provides evidence of cooperation between Lithuanians and Samogitians; this treaty lists 21 Lithuanian dukes, including five senior Lithuanian dukes from Aukštaitija and several dukes from Žemaitija.
Although they had battled in the past, the Lithuanians and the Žemaičiai now faced a common enemy. Živinbudas had the most authority and at least several dukes were from the same families. The formal acknowledgment of common interests and the establishment of a hierarchy among the signatories of the treaty foreshadowed the emergence of the state. Mindaugas, the duke of southern Lithuania, was among the five senior dukes mentioned in the treaty with Galicia–Volhynia; the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle, reports that by the mid-1230s, Mindaugas had acquired supreme power in the whole of Lithuania. In 1236, the Samogitians, led by Vykintas, defeated the Livonian Order in the Battle of Saule; the Order was forced to become a branch of the Teutonic Knights in Prussia, making Samogitia, a strip of land that separated Livonia from Prussia, the main target of both orders. The battle provided a break in the wars with the Knights, Lithuania exploited this situation, arranging attacks towards the Ruthenian provinces and annexing Navahrudak and Hrodna.
Belarusian historians consider that Mindаugas was invited to rule Navahrudak and that the union was peaceful. In 1248 a civil war broke out be