Historically, the fortune of Empires has rested on the outcome of war. The Ottoman Empire crumpled after World War I, as did many of the western European empires following World War II. In other examples, wars have united states as demonstrated by the unification of Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal under the state of South Africa following the Boer War.
At the end of World War I in 1918, the state of Central Lithuania was formed that embraced regions of todays Lithuania, Belarus and Poland. Russian Bolshevik troops occupied the capital of Central Lithuania, Vilnius, in 1919 where they established a communist government. The Polish army took Vilnius later that same year and in a Treaty with Russia in 1920, established Central Lithuania as an independent sovereign state. The Polish Army again seized control of Vilnius later in 1920 and established a puppet republic (also referred to a the Republic of Central Lithiania) a few weeks before its first issue of postage stamps in October 1920.
In 1922, the state of Central Lithuania was absorbed into Poland following a nationwide vote (plebiscite) and no more postage stamps were issued. In the two years of stamp issues, Central Lithuania issued a total of 47 postage stamps and one set of Postage Due stamps in six denominations.
For the philatelist, the Central Lithuania postage stamps represent a concise collection and have a relatively low catalogue value, with the exception of the 1920 issue. This issue employed the 1919 issue for Lithuania itself overprinted with ‘Środkowa Lit Poczta’ (Central Lithuania Post) and the set can secure slightly higher catalogue values.
In 1939, Russia returned Central Lithuania to Lithuania itself, severing ties with Poland. However, this had little long term significance as at the end of World War II, the whole region including Poland, Belarus, Latvia and Estonia came under the communist influence of the Soviet Union.
To view postal issues of the Lithuania, please visit the M&S Philately HipStamp store.