Vilnius University, the first higher school in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was founded in 1579. With the polonization assuming a larger scale, the first buds of the Lithuanian national culture appeared, despite unfavourable political conditions.
In the second half of the 16th century the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was drawn into the Livonian war. Lithuania was too weak to fight alone. It was forced into a reluctant alliance with Poland. Besides, the Lithuanian nobility wanted to enjoy the same rights as their counterparts in Poland. In 1569 the polish and Lithuanian nobility met in Lublin, Poland, and concluded there a pact which united the two states into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita). The new commonwealth had a king, a Senate, a common currency and conducted the same foreign policy. The Lublin Union was ruinous for Lithuanias independence and provided legal prerequisites for the further decline of Lithuanian statehood.
However even after this Union pact the independence state organisation of Lithuania was not totally destroyed. Lithuania preserved the indivisibility of her territory structure, army and law (the Lithuanian Statute). It took two hundred years more to have Lithuanias independence completely liquidated.
At the end of the 16th century the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth plunged into war with Sweden , at the beginning of the 17th century it was at war with Russia, later on, in 1655-1667, it fought for the Ukrainian lands.
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Cultural Association Editorial Board, 1998.
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Page updated 2003.05.15.