And the territory of modern Lithuania was then called in another way: Samogitia or Zhmud. My ancestors called themselves Litvin, and their language – Lithuanian. Contemporary Belarus and Lithuania long time have been a unified country, our people share a common history. Even the Lithuanian capital Vilnius more than 600 years has been the Belarusian capital city of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Name of the city in those days was Vilna or Vilnia. Only in 1939 the Communists gave the city and the territory around to modern Lithuania. And if you ever read about ancient Lithuanian princes Mindovg, Vytautas, Gediminas, you must know: there are Belarusian princes too.
The name “Byelorussian” appeared only in the 19th century, when the land of my country went to the Russian Empire. Then Litvin was imposed on the new name of lands: Belorussia, and the people were called Belorussians. The name “Lithuania” departed to the northern part of the land. Now the modern state Lithuania located there.
And so people have become confused in terms of historical realities. This is understandable: Belarusians and Lithuanians are the neighboring peoples. We live together, Belarusians frequent Vilyunyus, go back to university, go shopping. Lithuanians are also frequent visitors to Belarus. For many centuries we have lived together in a single state whose name was the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.