The House of Gediminas were the siblings, children, and grandchildren of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania (ca. 12751341). The Gediminid dynasty ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from ca. 1285 or 1316 to 1572, eventually extending its territories from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Gediminas' origins are unclear, but recent research suggests that Skalmantas, an otherwise unknown historical figure, was Gediminas' grandfather or father, and could be considered the dynasty's founder. Because none of his brothers or sisters had known heirs, Gediminas, who sired at least twelve children, had the advantage in establishing sovereignty over his siblings. Known for his diplomatic skills, Gediminas arranged his children's marriages to suit the goals of his foreign policy: his sons consolidated Lithuanian power within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, while his daughters established or strengthened alliances with the rulers of areas in modern-day Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. Gediminas' many grandchildren and their descendants engaged in power struggles that continued well into the 15th century. Gediminas' grandchildren converted Lithuania to Christianity and inaugurated the first personal union with Poland. The dynasty came to an end in 1572, when Sigismund II Augustus died without producing a male heir.

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Gediminas>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

474:

As the seven-year old Leo II was deemed too young to rule, his father Zeno was crowned as the co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno_%28emperor%29>

1825:

After no presidential candidate received a majority of electoral votes, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams President of the United States.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election%2C_1824>

1895:

William G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education director in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA, invented a game called Mintonette, which evolved into volleyball (pictured).
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/volleyball>

1920:

The Spitsbergen Treaty was signed, recognizing Norwegian sovereignty over the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, but all signatories were also given equal rights to engage in commercial activities on the islands.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spitsbergen_Treaty>

1943:

World War II: Allied forces declared Guadalcanal secure, ending the Guadalcanal Campaign as a significant strategic victory for Allied forces fighting Japan in the Pacific War.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guadalcanal_Campaign>

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Wiktionary's word of the day:

livery (n):
1. Any distinctive identifying uniform worn by a group, such as the uniform worn by chauffeurs and male servants.
2. The paint scheme of a vehicle or fleet of vehicles.
3. (law) The delivery of property from one owner to the next
<http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/livery>

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
 And show the world all the love in your heart
 The people gonna treat you better,
 You're gonna find, yes you will,
 That you're beautiful as you feel.   --Carole King
<http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Carole_King>