Jurgis Bielinis (March 16, 1846 in Purviškiai, near Biržai – January 18, 1918 in Katinai, near Panevėžys) was one of the main organizers of illegal book-smuggling (knygnešiai) at the time of the Lithuanian press ban. He was also a publicist and contributor to Lithuanian newspapers Aušra and Varpas. Bielinis used pseudonyms Bieliakas, Jakulis, and is informally referred to as King of Knygnešiai. It is estimated, that during 31 years when he was active, Bielinis and his organizations illegally brought about half of all Lithuanian books from the East Prussia (Lithuania Minor) into the Lithuanian mainland during the entire press ban (1864–1904). Bielinis graduated from a primary school in Riga in 1872. Since 1873 Bielinis was involved in the book-smuggling activities and cooperated with Motiejus Valančius. Since 1890 he was actively sought by the authorities of the Russian Empire. Bielinis could not come home and had to hide. He escaped at least five times after being captured by gendarmes, despite a large monetary reward promised for his capture. This encouraged him to organize the book distribution even better.
|Date of birth|
|March 16th, 1846|