Alleged and real facts about the origin of the Lithuanian name – why did Lithuania turn the European goddess into a man?
On October 1, 1922, the monetary unit litas was put into circulation in Lithuania for the first time. Before that, the Constituent Seimas adopted the Monetary Unit Law, which established that the name of the national currency of the Republic of Lithuania will be the litas, and its hundredth part will be the cent.
According to the historian and numismatist Eduardo Remeco, many articles have been written about the origin of the name of litas, but there have been no detailed studies on this topic, which is why it is possible to accept published unconfirmed facts.
The only thing well known is that the name Lithuanian is derived from the first three letters of the foreign name of Lithuania “Lit” and the ending -as (English Lithuania, Latin Lituania, French Lituanie, German Litauen, Polish Litwa, Russian Litwa).
Who came up with the idea for the name?
According to E. Remecas, in the book “Money of Independent Lithuania” published in 1953, it is written that the original name of the monetary unit of Independent Lithuania was established by the Seimas, and the opinion of the governor of Ūkio bankas, Jonas Vailokaitis, was determined on this issue.
Vaclovs Vaidotas, a former member of the Founding Seimas, wrote in his memoirs published in 1955 that when he was in the Economic Commission of the Seimas and was considering the name of the currency, he did not like any of the suggestions, and he came up with “litas”.