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Jonas Basanavicius. Photo from the archives of the Lithuanian National Museum

Jonas Basanavicius (November 23, 1851, Ozkabaliai - February 16, 1927, Vilnius). Ideologist of Lithuanian national movement, the founder (in 1883) and editor of the first prohibited newspaper of national revival Ausra (The Dawn). One of the initiators and the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 1905 Congress of Lithuanians, the Great 'Seimas' of Vilnius. Jonas Basanavicius initiated the foundation of Lithuanian Science
Society in 1907 and was proclaimed its Chairman. He edited the continuing publication of the Society Lietuviu tauta (The Lithuanian Nation). In 1917-1918 he took part in the activities of Lithuanian Council, was the Chairman at the Council's meeting during which the Act of February 16th, declaring the independence of Lithuania, was signed. He made research
studies on Lithuanian history and culture, and collected data on folklore. He wrote about 40 works on history, archaeology, cultural history, ethnography, folklore studies, linguistics and medicine.

Jonas Basanavicius was the most significant figure of the national Renaissance of Lithuania at the end of 19th century and had acquired the name of the patriarch of the nation.  Although he never created any work of fiction, his patriotic activities and his collections of folklore as well as research had left a deep impact on the poetry and other writings of that time.
Basanavicius was born in Ozkabaliai village, Vilkaviskis district.  In 1866-1873 he studied in Marijampole gymnasium, in 1873 he entered Moscow University, the Faculty of History and Philology.  In 1874 he was transferred to the Faculty of Medicine.  At the same time he had studied Lithuanian history and archeology, collected Lithuanian folklore, was concerned about the ceasing od the Lithuanian press prohibition, and published popular books. In 1879 he was awarded the diploma of a medical doctor and worked for some time in Ozkabaliai, Vilkaviskis, and Aleksotas.  In 1878 he accepted an appointment as a doctor and the head of a hospital in Bulgaria, Lom Palanka city.  He took care of Lithuanian affairs, and searched for opportunities to publish a Lithuanian newspaper abroad. In 1883 a newspaper Ausra ("The Dawn") appeared which was edited and published by him.  In 1882 Dr. Basanavicius left Bulgaria for Prague and Vienna where he worked and studied medicine. 
In 1884 he returned to Bulgaria and worked in the town Elena, in 1885 he moved to Lom Palanka. From 1892 he was appointed the head doctor of the Therapeutical department of Varna hospital. In 1899-1903 he represented the Democratic party of Bulgaria in Varna City Council and Varna Democratic party in the Congresses in 1903 (Sofia), and 1905 (Adrianopol and Konstantinopol).  
In 1905 he returned to Lithuania and settled down in Vilnius. Basanavicius was an initiator of the Lithuanian Seimas (Parliament) in Vilnius, a creator of a national Lithuanian democratic party, searched for opportunities to start publishing a newspaper for Lithuania abroad. During the years of German occupation he took part in common Lithuanian activities, collected material for the history of occupation.  In 1917 he was elected a member of Lithuanian Council in Lithuanian Conference.  On February 16, 1918, he signed the Declaration of Independence.  
Basanavicius died on November 16, 1927, and was buried at Rasos cemetery, Vilnius.