Krakes, town in central Lithuania, 16 km Northwest of Kedainiai. The population in 1959 was 1 047 (1 800 in 1938). It is the centre of a rural community belonging to the district of Kedainiai. The town has a hospital, secondary school, mill, sawmill, a large dairy. In independent Lithuania it was the township seat with the local administrative offices.
In the 14th century Krakes was one of the eleven villages of the Nevezis river region. At the time of Vytautas Magnum (1392-1430) it was a district seat, one of twelve in Samogitia. Vytautas gave it to the bishop of Samogitia, and it was administered by the Samogitian diocese until the middle of the 19th century. The first wooden church was founded in 1478 or 1529. Mikalojus Dauksa, one of the first writers in the Lithuanian language, was pastor of this parish in 1570-1572. The village began to grow at the end of the 18th century when it was given permission to hold weekly markets and three yearly fairs. In 1667 there were 350 inhabitants, in 1865 the number was 871, and in 1897 it reached 1 846.
The inhabitants of the town and vicinity took an active part in the uprising of 1863 and 1905 against the Russians; in the summer and fall of 1863 a large unit of insurgents was led by Rev. Antanas Mickevicius. After this insurrection the Russian government expropriated part of the possessions of the convent of St. Catherine , established in 1645. Even though the government did not close the convent, it forbade the acceptance of new novices. Under the Republic of Lithuania (1918-1940), it served as the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Catherine; the sisters operated an education institution for delinquent teen-age girls.
From the Encyclopedia Lituanica. III. Boston, 1972
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