Global True Lithuania Encyclopedia of Lithuanian heritage worldwide

Asia and Africa

Note: For the Asian parts of former Soviet Union see Europe (East) section.

In the 19th century, Africa and Asia were both scrambled by European empires, their coastal cities settled by white metropolitan colonists. However Lithuania not only lacked colonies, it was partitioned itself among Russia and Germany in this era and settled by these powers. Therefore there was little Lithuanian emigration to these "exotic" locations save for a few missionaries.

South Africa was unique among these colonies for its strong white community (20% of the population in 1900). It attracted people from Lithuania - but minorities rather than ethnic Lithuanians. Many Lithuanian Jews emigrated there, now making up some 70% of local 70 000-strong Jewish community. Germans moved in as well and one city in Free State province is still named Memel (Memel was the German name of Klaipėda, Lithuania).

Throughout the 20th century, many Lithuania's Jews emigrated to Palestine where the state of Israel was established in 1948. Some famous politicians are of Litvak descent whereas one of the most famous Orthodox rabbi schools is called Ponevezh after Panevėžys, Lithuania (the city it was once located in).

After 1990 the Asia and Africa became reachable for Lithuanians to travel, study and migrate. Interest in the cultures of India and Japan grew. Japan became the first country in these two continents to have a Lithuanian community formally established. Most of its cultural events take place in Japan where Lithuania operates an embassy. Embassies also exist in China, Egypt, and Israel.

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