Author: Bassanawicziu Jonas, 1851 - 1927
Title: AUSZRA, laikrasztis iszleidziamas Lietuvos milētoju.
Title in English: THE DAWN, a Paper Printed by Those Who Love Lithuania
No 2: 1886, Tilžė (Tilsit).
Aušra or Auszra was the first national Lithuanian newspaper. The first issue was published in 1883, in Ragnit, East Prussia, Germany (newspaper credited it as Lithuanian: Ragainė) East Prussia's ethnolinguistic part - Lithuania Minor. Later it was published monthly in Tilsit (present-day Sovetsk). Aušra marked the beginnings of the Lithuanian national rebirth that eventually resulted in an independent Lithuanian State (1918–1940). This period, between 1883 and 1904, when the Lithuanian press ban was enforced by Tsarist authorities, has been referred to as the Aušros gadynė (the Dawn Period). Due to financial difficulties the printing was discontinued in 1886.
After the Russian authorities denied permission to publish a Lithuanian newspaper in Vilnius, Jonas Šliūpas proposed to publish it in East Prussia, Germany. However, he was perceived as too radical, and Jurgis Mikšas, the printer, invited Jonas Basanavičius to become its first editor.
The newspaper was published outside Lithuania proper because of the Lithuanian press ban that had been enforced by the authorities of the Russian Empire since the Uprising in 1863. It was prohibited to publish anything in the Lithuanian language using the Latin alphabet; the government wished to force the people to use Grazhdanka, a Cyrillic alphabet. Printing in the Latin alphabet was organized abroad, mostly in Lithuania Minor; knygnešiai (literally: book smugglers) would carry the printed materials across the German-Russian border. This was one of the ways Aušra would reach its readers. The other way was in sealed envelopes.
More than 70 people contributed to Aušra. The writers, or Aušrininkai, came from families of well-to-do peasants that started to appear after serfdom was abolished in 1863. Most of the authors received education in the Russian universities and were fluent in Polish. Because of frequent changes in editorial staff, the newspaper did not have a clear and well-defined agenda. Basanavičius did not envision Aušra as a political publication; in the first issue he declared that the newspaper would deal only with cultural matters. However, Aušra soon took on a nationalistic agenda. Aušra helped to crystallize many ideas about the Lithuanian nation and the definition of a Lithuanian.
Source: Aušra. – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.