Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Initially Ragainė was a settlement of the Baltic tribe of Skalvians . It was a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since its creation in 13th century, however on April 23, 1289 it was conquered by the Teutonic Order, which built a gothic castle there. The castle was called Landeshutte, but the name did not become popular and the name Ragnit after the local river, a tributary of Neman, continued to be used.
Although the settlement had an important castle guarding the Teutonic Prussia from the north, it was living in the shadow of the nearby city of Tilsit (currently Sovetsk). On April 10, 1525, together with the rest of Prussia, the area became a Polish fief. However, after The Deluge it was transferred back to the Kingdom of Prussia. It was not until April 6, 1722, when the town was granted the city rights by king Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia. In 1871, together with the rest of East Prussia, it became part of the newly-created state of Germany. On November 1, 1892, a railroad line linking the town with Tilsit was opened. It was built to develop the wood industry in the area, but the development did not actually start and the area's economy remained dominated by food production.
During World War II, on January 19, 1945, the town was captured by the Soviet 3rd Belarussian Front. After the war, most of the local inhabitants were expelled to Germany and the town was renamed to Neman and became a part of the Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian FSR . After the dissolution of the Soviet Union the town became a part of Russia.
Despite being a part of German-speaking countries, for centuries the town remained an important centre of Lithuanian culture . In 19th century, after the January Uprising when the Lithuanian language was banned from the office in all of Russian ruled Lithuania, books in that language were printed in Ragnit and then smuggled to Russia.
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