5 litas Jonas Basanavicius

Jonas Basanavičius (23 November 1851, Ožkabaliai – 16 February 1927, Vilnius) was an activist and proponent of Lithuania's National Revival and founder of the first Lithuanian language newspaper Aušra. He was one of the initiators and the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 1905 Congress of Lithuanians, the Great Seimas of Vilnius. He was also the founder and chairman of the Lithuanian Scientific Society (1907).
As a member of the Council of Lithuania, he was a signer of the Act of Independence of Lithuania on February 16, 1918. Basanavičius is often given the unique informal honorific title of the "Patriarch of the Nation" (Lithuanian: tautos patriarchas) for his contributions and help in re-establishing the Lithuanian state.
After graduating from the gymnasium in Marijampolė, in 1873, he continued his studies at Moscow University, majoring in history and philology. While studying there he later transferred to the Academy of Medicine. After receiving his diploma in 1879, he worked in Ožkabaliai, Vilkaviškis and Aleksotas, and in 1880 moved to Bulgaria working as a physician and as the head of a hospital in Lom Palanka city.
In 1882, Dr. Basanavičius left Bulgaria for Prague and Vienna, where he worked as a physician and continued advanced studies in medicine. It was in Prague, after meeting Czech national movement activists, that he decided to publish a newspaper, and called it "Auszra" which means dawn in Lithuanian. He claimed it was a dawn seen by him in Prague, that inspired him to give his newspaper this name.
Returning to Bulgaria in 1884, he practiced as a physician in Elena, Lom Palanka, after returning to the town he survived an assassination attempt, but still continued editing of the influential newspaper Aušra. In 1891 Basanavičius acquired Bulgarian citizenship. In Varna, he participated in local political activities, representing the Democratic party of Bulgaria in the Varna City Council and the Varna Democratic Party in the Congresses of 1903 in Sofia and of 1905 in Adrianopol and Istanbul.
Litas commemorative coin of Basanavičius' 150th anniversaryIn 1905, upon hearing that the Lithuanian press ban was lifted Basanavičius returned to Lithuania, and continued to play an important role in the Lithuanian national revival. He was the main force behind Great Seimas of Vilnius, that culminated with the Act of Independence of Lithuania in 1918.
Dr. Basanavičius explored Lithuanian history, culture, folklore, and linguistics, writing more than forty works in these fields.
He died in Vilnius on February 16, 1927, Lithuanian Independence Day, and was buried in Rasos Cemetery.

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