Lithuanians in the Chicago area

Lithuanians In The Chicago Area

Lithuanians in the Chicago area

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Lithuanians in Chicago and the nearby metropolitan area are a prominent group within the "Windy City" whose presence goes back over a hundred years. Today Chicago possesses the largest Lithuanian community outside Lithuania, who have dubbed the city as Little Lithuania, and many Lithuanian-Americans refer to it as the second capital of Lithuania. Lithuanian-Americans from Chicago have had a significant impact on politics in both the United States and Lithuania.


Lithuanians have been documented as arriving in the US since 1918, when Lithuania re-established its independence from Imperial Russia. This is compounded by the fact that, prior to Lithuanian independence, most if not all official documents were written in Russian, Polish or German. Thousands of Lithuanians have since moved to Chicago, providing a good source of labor for the growing city. The Lithuanian community in Chicago was most famously immortalized by Upton Sinclair in his 1906 novel about the treatment of workers in the Chicago stock yards, The Jungle, whose story revolves around telling the life of a Lithuanian immigrant named Jurgis Rudkus.


The first and most prominent Lithuanian enclave in Chicago was...
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