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The Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian - Lietuva, Polish - Litwa, German - Litauen, French - Lituanie, Spanish - Lituania, Estonian - Lituania, Finnish - Liettua) is a republic in Northeastern Europe. One of the three Baltic States along the Baltic Sea, it shares borders with fellow Baltic State Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland to the south and the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia to the southwest.

Capital city - Vilnius (from 1323 till 1919 and from 1940 till now). From 1919 till 1940 Kaunas was capital city of Lithuania.

Lietuvos Respublika
Flag of Lithuania Lithuania: Coat of Arms
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: None
Official language Lithuanian
Capital Vilnius
PresidentValdas Adamkus
Prime MinisterAlgirdas Brazauskas
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 128th
65,200 km²
 - Total (July 2003)
 - Density
Ranked 125th
 - Total (Year)
 - GDP/head
Ranked 85th
$30,080 million
 - Declared
 - Recognised
From Imperial Russia
16 February 1918
12 July 1920
Currency Litas
Time zone EET (UTC+2; UTC+3 in summer)
National anthem Tautiska Giesme
Calling Code370


Main article: History of Lithuania

First mentioned in 1009, Lithuania grew to be a significant nation in the Middle Ages. Lithuania became an independent Grand Duchy that eventually stretched across much of Eastern Europe. In the 16th century, it joined with Poland in a personal union under one monarch as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This union remained until the partitions of Poland in 1795 when Lithuania was itself annexed by Imperial Russia.

Under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, a smaller Lithuania established its independence in February 1918 as a part of German planned Mitteleuropa, in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, and then as a republic in November, after Germany'World_War_I" title ="World War I">World War I. The republic intended to consolidate territories where Lithuanians lived and turned down the idea to re-establish union with Poland. It subsequently was plagued by territorial disputes with Poland (over Central Lithuania and Suwalki) and Germany (over Klaipėda), and it became a dictatorship in 1926. It was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 during World War II.

Communist rule ended after the advent of glasnost and Lithuania proclaimed its renewed independence on 11 March 1990, the first Soviet republic to do so, though Soviet forces unsuccessfully tried to suppress this until September 1991.

On February 4, 1991 Iceland became the first country to recognise Lithuanian independence. Moldova did the same thing on May 31, 1991. These countries were followed by Russian Federation on July 29, 1991 (while the central government of the USSR didn'1991" title ="1991">1991) and Croatia on August 3, 1991.

Lithuania was admitted into the United Nations on September 17, 1991. Lithuania has since sought closer ties with the West and so became a member of NATO on 29 March 2004 and of the European Union on 1 May 2004.


Main article: Politics of Lithuania

The Lithuanian head of state is the president, elected directly for a five-year term, who also functions as commander in chief overseeing foreign and security policy. The president, on the approval of the parliament, also appoints the prime minister and on the latter'Cabinet_%28government%29" title ="Cabinet (government)">cabinet, as well as a number of other top civil servants and the judges for all courts, including the Constitutional Court (Konstitucinis Teismas).

The unicameral Lithuanian parliament, the Seimas, has 141 members that are elected for a four-year term. About half of the members of this legislative body are elected in single constituencies (71), and the other half (70) are elected in the nationwide vote by proportional representation. A party must receive at least 5% of the national vote to be represented in the Seimas.


Main article: Counties of Lithuania

Lithuania consists of 10 counties (apskritys, singular - apskritis), each named after their principal city. The counties are subdivided into 56 municipalities, both cities and districts (see: List of municipalities in Lithuania). This administrative division was created in 1994.

Map of Lithuania with cities


Main article: Geography of Lithuania

The largest and most populous of the Baltic states, Lithuania is a partly maritime country with about 100 km of sandy coastline, of which only 38 km face the open Baltic Sea. Lithuania'Klaip%C4%97da" title ="KlaipÄ—da">Klaipėda lies at the narrow mouth of Kuršių Marios (Curonian Lagoon), a shallow lagoon extending south to Kaliningrad. The main river Nemunas and some of its tributaries are used for internal shipping.

The Lithuanian landscape is glacially flat, except for morainic hills in the western uplands and eastern highlands no higher than 300 m, with the highest point being the Juozapinės at 292 m. The terrain is marked by numerous lakes (e.g. Lake Vištytis) and swamps, and a mixed forest zone covers 30% of the country. The climate lies between maritime and continental, with wet, moderate winters and summers. According to some geographers, Lithuania'Vilnius" title ="Vilnius">Vilnius, lies a few kilometres south of the geographical centre of Europe.

Lithuania consists of historical and cultural regions:

  • Aukštaitija (literally the Highlands).
  • Samogitia, (also known as Žemaitija, or literally the Lowlands).
  • Lithuania Minor (Mažoji Lietuva) also known as Prussian Lithuania (Prūsų Lietuva).
  • Dzūkija (Dzūkija or Dainava).
  • Sudovia (Sūduva or Suvalkija).


Main article: Economy of Lithuania

In 2003 Lithuania had the highest economic growth ratio among all European Union candidates, reaching 8,8% in third quarter. In the first quarter of 2004, GDP growth rate of 7.7% reflects impressive economic development in Lithuania. Before 1998 Lithuania, the Baltic state that has conducted the most trade with Russia, however the 1998 Russian financial crisis forced country to orient toward the West. Lithuania has gained membership of the World Trade Organization and joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. Accession to EU reduced previously high unemployment, to 7.0% in 2004. Lithuania has almost finished privatization of the large, state-owned utilities, with one of two power distribution networks and railways left. The litas, the national currency, has been pegged to the euro since 2 February 2002 at a rate of EUR 1.00 = LTL 3.4528 and country is expected to switch to euro one of the first among new accession countries in 2006.


Main article: Demographics of Lithuania

Over 80% of the Lithuanian population is ethnically Lithuanian and speaks the Lithuanian language, one of the two remaining living members of the Baltic language group, which is also the only official state language. Several sizable minorities exist, such as Russians (8%), Poles (7%) and Belarusians (1.5%), and each respective language is also spoken in Lithuania.

The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, but Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism (especially Calvinism) and Judaism also exist as minority religions.


Main article: Culture of Lithuania

Lithuanians Abroad

Miscellaneous topics

External links

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