The land of Joniskis belongs to the historic land of Ziemgala which became part of Lithuania as an independent political structure as far back as the 13th century. In the New Age, the land of Joniskis, thanks to its location, agriculture and crafts, developed from a neglected frontier territory into an economically and culturally important centre of Northern Lithuania. The character of local people is marked among Lithuanians for its temperance, modesty and sedentary lifestyle: though fights with the Livonian Order once hardened their heart, the unique flatland landscape softened their temper.
In the 17th century, Joniskis was the biggest town in the Siauliai district, surpassing in size even the district centre. In the 19th century, the town was famous for its agricultural production, fibre flax, tobacco and fairs. Distinct features of the district: its terrain, population and nature.
The district of Joniskis covers 1,152.2 square kilometres of land in the northern part of Lithuania. The northern part of the district borders Latvia for 78 kilometres.
In spite of the fact that the district of Joniskis is a borderland, its population is extremely homogenous: 97.2 % are of Lithuanian nationality, and the rest are of Russian, Latvian and other nationalities. 71.5 % of them are Catholics, 0.5 % belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, 0.4% to the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The district consists of 10 elderships. It is an agricultural region with fertile lands which are ranked highly in the Republic. Water resources cover an area of 2,348.7 hectares. There is one big lake covering 6.2 hectares and 28 smaller ponds. Several rivers flow across the territory of the district – the Musa, the Sidabra, the Audruve, the Vilkija, and the Svete and quite a few streams.
Population of year 2014(2014-10-06 data):
Joniškis district – 26 609
City population – 9548
Žagarė – 1690
Villages – 15 371