20 September 1890|
Čiudiškiai, Russian Empire
|Died||26 May 1940
|Monuments||A bas-relief in Guayaramerín|
|Occupation||ELTA director, founder of Lithuanian Riflemen's Union|
|Known for||travels, journalistic work|
|Notable work||At the company of 40 nations|
|Awards||National Press Prize|
Matas Šalčius (September 20, 1890 – May 26, 1940) was a Lithuanian traveler, journalist, writer, political figure.
Šalčius was born in Čiudiškiai village in modern Prienai district, central Lithuania (at that time Russian Empire). He attended Marijampolė Gymnasium. While studying he began writing articles for newspapers launching his career in journalism. Šalčius later worked as a teacher in Šilutė district. He was a prominent critic of tsarist Russia so soon he had flee from political persecution. Then Šalčius began his first travel through China, Japan to the United States where he continued his work as a journalist.
After Lithuania gained independence in 1918, Šalčius returned to Lithuania and worked as a journalist (he was the director of ELTA news agency). He helped to establish the Lithuanian Riflemen's Union. Šalčius traveled across the Europe, attempted to launch the tourism industry in Lithuania. In 1929, Šalčius together with other famous Lithuanian traveler Antanas Poška began a great journey through the Balkans, Greece, Egypt, Near East to India. After this travel he published six-volume series Svečiuose pas 40 tautų (At the company of 40 nations), which was awarded the National Press Prize.
In 1936, Šalčius traveled to the South America. At first he unsuccessfully attempted to unite Lithuanian diaspora communities in the South America. Šalčius planned to journey through all the Americas to Alaska, but he became sick with malaria and encephalitis and died in town of Guayaramerín, Bolivia. In 2005, an expedition organized by Lithuanian travelers and journalists reached Guayaramerín and marked the approximate location of Šalčius burial by a bas-relief.