Would you believe that a small village in Northern Europe became an independent republic, it even had a flag!

It was as the result of Europe’s chaos after World War I.  The village was situated in what today we call Lithuania, which at the time was struggling to establish itself as an operational state, while at the same time defending its independence from not just Germany, but also Soviet Russia and Poland.

In November 1918 the parish committee decided to take matters into their own hands. They established a self-governing parish committee, called the Republic of Perloja.  They then chose a veteran of the Russian Imperial Army, Jonas Cesnulevicius, to chair their Republic, calling him, the Commissar.

To be an independent Republic, they needed to create their own court system, police force and even a prison. As was logical, they then had their own currency, which they called “Perloja litas”.  To survive they needed an army, so they created one of 300 men, which even saw action on various occasions.

The Republic survived the Lithuanian–Soviet War in 1919; then after the Polish–Lithuanian War for Vilnius Region, Perloja was put in the neutral zone established by the League of Nations. Unfortunately, they only continued as a republic until 1923.

However, this is when we come to the intriguing bit. This wasn’t the first Republic of Perloja. That one was established in 1253, it also had a flag showing a Bull with a cross on its head.  This republic grew quite large, but unfortunately in 1710, during the Great Northern War, a plague wiped out almost all the inhabitants.

Isn’t history fascinating?