Poet Vincas Kudirka, also a Lithuanian patriot, wrote a 50-word poem on his views of the Lithuanian nation while it was still part of Czarist Russia. Written in 1898, he also wrote the music after the poem was written shortly before his death the following year.
The song was first performed shortly before his death for a group of Lithuanians in St. Petersburg and was first performed in Lithuania itself in 1905 and was declared as the national anthem upon declaration of independence from Russia in 1918 and remained so until Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.
During the period of Soviet occupation, “Tautiška giesmė” was forbidden to be sung and a new anthem was written for the republic within the Soviet Union. As early as 1988, when democratic reforms were being implemented in the USSR, “Tautiška giesmė” was being suggested as a replacement anthem for the Lithuanian SSR. In 1990, Lithuania was the first Soviet Republic to declare independence from the USSR and “Tautiška giesmė” was again made the anthem of an independent Lithuania.