Lithuania and Latvia are celebrating the Balts Unity Day
Today, Lithuania and Latvia are celebrating the Balts Unity Day. Currently, there are only two Balts nations in the world — Lithuanians and Latvians. Lithuanians, Latvians, Germans and various Slavs had assimilated the rest of the Balt nations and tribes from the East and West by the 19th century.The main Balts tribes, as we know them, formed in the 5th-6th century, when invaders assimilated the first dwellers in the region from the South. The generic name of “Balts” as a scientific term was introduced in mid-19th century by George Neselman and has been in general use ever since. The name originates from the geographical location of the tribes’ habitat by the Baltic Sea.
On the occasion of the Balts Unity Day, the presidents of Lithuania and Latvia urged their fellow citizens to remember their roots, to preserve identity and to rally up for a closer neighborhood. In their address on 20 September, presidents Valdas Adamkus and Valdis Zatlers stressed that this day is more than just a symbolic date. The Lithuanians and the Latvians are the only two surviving Balt tribes in the world that are today united both by their unique language and responsibility for the future of the Baltic Sea region and Europe.
The Pesidents declared ‘This day is more than symbolic. The two remaining Baltic nations in the world – Lithuanians and Latvians – today are united not only by their unique language and culture, but also by their feeling of responsibility for the future of the Baltic Sea region and Europe. The Freedom March that we started twenty years ago has led us to the ultimate goal of Lithuanian and Latvian independence. Our resolve and self-sacrifice have enabled our two countries to emerge as an integral part of a secure and unified Europe. Baltic cooperation is just as important for other nations aspiring to come closer to Europe.’
September 22 was pronounced the Balts Unity Day by the Lithuanian and Latvian parliaments several years ago.