The Memel Territory was once part of the German Empire. It is situated on the southernmost coast of the Baltic Sea at a narrow channel that links the sea to the Curonian lagoon and the Neman River. Today, Memel is now known as Klaipeda, Lithuania, and is the only most significant seaport in Lithuania.
Historically, the territory was among the most developing municipalities in the region, generating about 12% of Lithuania. The present-day Klaipeda has an economy that’s concentrated on industry, education and science, tourism and recreation, business, and administrative center, influenced by the Port of Klaipeda which is an essential center for transportation.
In 1252, the Teutonic Knights destroyed the fortress built by local settlers and constructed another fortress and named it Memelburg. Later, the town was called Memel and was occupied by Germans as part of the East Prussia province. On February 15, 1920, The Memel Territory was established and defined by the Treaty of Versailles as a self-governing protectorate of the French Administration on February 15, 1920. In 1922, a special commission was formed to assess the status of Memel. During that year, the Chamber of Commerce of the Memel Territory was authorized to issue emergency banknotes. Notgeld paper bills released at the time were presented in French and German and denominations of 50 pfennig, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 75, and 100 marks. These notes featured state emblem on the obverse while the reverse depicted townscapes.
On January 10, 1923, Lithuanians settled in the territory. Finally, Memel was officially turned over to Lithuania by France on February 16, 1923, provided that Lithuania would acknowledge the region’s sovereignty. Later, the autonomous region was renamed Klaidepa Region. The Memel mark and the German imperial monetary unit were then replaced by the Lithuanian lita currency on April 16, 1923.