Yonas Basanavichus

Yonas Basanavichus

Lithuanian doctor, folklorist, public figure
Date of Birth: 23.11.1851
Country: Lithuania

  1. Biography of Jonas Basanavičius
  2. Education and Career
  3. Contribution to Lithuanian National Revival

Biography of Jonas Basanavičius

Jonas Basanavičius (also known as Ivan Basanovich) was a Lithuanian historian, folklorist, public figure, and the patriarch of the Lithuanian national revival. He was born on November 28, 1851 in Ožkabaliai, which is now located in the Vilkaviškis district, Lithuania.

Education and Career

Basanavičius studied at a gymnasium in Marijampolė from 1866 to 1873. He then attended the history and philology faculty, followed by the medical faculty at the University of Moscow. From 1879 to 1882, he served as a physician and hospital director in Lom Palanka, Bulgaria. He furthered his studies in Prague and Vienna from 1882 to 1884.

Basanavičius played a significant role in the establishment of the first Lithuanian socio-literary newspaper called "Aušra" ("Dawn"), where he served as an editor and active contributor. He worked in hospitals in Varna and other Bulgarian cities from 1884 to 1905, and was involved in the activities of the Bulgarian Democratic Party. In 1905, he settled in Vilnius.

Contribution to Lithuanian National Revival

At Basanavičius's initiative, the Lithuanian Congress was convened in Vilnius (known as the Great Vilnius Seimas) on November 21-22, 1905. He presided over the meetings of the congress. He also established the Lithuanian Scientific Society in 1907 and remained its chairman until his death. Basanavičius was the editor of the society's publication, "Lietuvių tauta" ("Lithuanian Nation").

Due to Basanavičius's significance in the history of the Lithuanian national revival, his memory was commemorated during the Soviet era at his grave on the anniversary of his death and memorial days. This served as a symbolic way to remember the forbidden date, February 16. Streets in Lithuania and Bulgaria have been named after Basanavičius in his honor. He is also depicted on a 50 litas banknote.

Basanavičius was an active writer and published numerous works and articles on Lithuanian history, archaeology, ethnography, cultural history, linguistics, and Lithuanian folklore. He edited materials on the biographies of Lithuanian writers, their memoirs, and their epistolary legacy. He also compiled collections of Lithuanian folklore.

He collaborated with various Lithuanian periodicals, such as "Vilniaus žinios," "Viltis," and others, as well as Bulgarian newspapers and the Lithuanian newspaper in Polish called "Litwa." He also contributed to Russian and German scientific publications. Basanavičius used pseudonyms and cryptonyms such as A. B., Bassianis, Birsztonas, J. Sapalius, and others.

Jonas Basanavičius passed away in Vilnius and was buried at the Rasos Cemetery.