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|Republic of Lithuania Lietuvos Respublika|
|Flag - Coat of arms|
|Motto: "Tautos jėga vienybėje" ] |
"The strength of the nation lies in unity"
|Anthem: Tautiška giesmė
||Location of Lithuania ( dark green )
(and largest city) - Vilnius
54°41′N 25°19′E / 54.683°N 25.317°E / 54.683; 25.317
|Official language(s) : Lithuanian
||Ethnic groups - 84.0 % Lithuanians|
6.1 % Poles
4.9 % Russians
5.0 % others 1
|Demonym : Lithuanian
||Government : Semi-presidential republic
||President - Dalia Grybauskaitė
||Prime Minister - Andrius Kubilius
||Seimas Speaker - Irena Degutienė
||Independence : from Russia and Germany (1918
||First mention of Lithuania - 14 February 1009
||Coronation of Mindaugas - 6 July 1253
||Personal union with Poland - 2 February 1386
||Creation of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth - 1569
||Partitions of the Commonwealth - 1795
||Independence declared - 16 February 1918
||1st Soviet occupation - 15 June 1940
||2nd Soviet occupation - 1944
||Independence restored - 11 March 1990
||EUaccession - 1 May 2004
||Total - 65,200 km 2 (123rd)|
25,173 sq mi
|Water (%) - 1.35%
||2009 estimate - 3,341,966 2 (130th
||Density - 53.5/km 2 (120th)|
|GDP (PPP) - 2009 estimate
||Total - $55.162 billion 3
||Per capita - $16,542 3
||GDP (nominal) - 2009 estimate
||Total - $37.254 billion 3
||Per capita - $11,172 3
||Gini (2003) - 36 ( medium
||HDI (2008) -
UP 0.870 (
high ) (46th
||Currency : Lithuanian litas (Lt) (||Time zone : EET (UTC+2
||Summer (DST) - EEST (UTC+3
||Date formats : yyyy-mm-dd (CE
||Drives on the : right
||Internet TLD : .lt 1
||Calling code : 370
||1 - Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.
||Lithuania (/ˌlɪθjuːˈeɪniə/, U.S. usually /ˌlɪθuːˈeɪniə/(help·info) ; Lithuanian: Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublika ) is a country in Northern Europe, 4 the southernmost of the three Baltic states. Situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, it shares borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland, and the Russianexclave of Kaliningrad to the southwest. Across the Baltic Sea to the west lies Sweden and Denmark. Its population is 3.32 million. Its capital and largest city is Vilnius.
During the 14th century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe: present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. With the Lublin Union of 1569, Poland and Lithuania formed a new state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory.
In the aftermath of World War I, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, declaring the re-establishment of a sovereign state. Starting in 1940, Lithuania was occupied first by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end in 1944 and the Nazis retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence.
Prior to the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, Lithuania had one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. Lithuania is a member of NATO, the Council of Europe, and the European Union. Lithuania became a full member of the Schengen Agreement on 21 December 2007. In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture and Lithuania celebrated the millennium of its name.
||1 - History
||1.1 - 20th century
||2 - Geography and climate
||2.1 - Physical features
||2.2 - Climate
||3 - Administration and politics
||3.1 - Constitutional system
||3.2 - Administrative division
||4 - Military of Lithuania
||5 - Economy
||6 - Infrastructure
||7 - Education
||8 - Demographics
||8.1 - Genetics
||8.2 - Ethnic composition
||8.3 - Largest cities
||8.4 - Health
||8.5 - Age structure
||8.6 - Religion
||9 - Culture
||9.1 - Art and museums
||9.2 - Literature
||9.3 - Music
||9.4 - Sports
||10 - International rankings
||11 - See also
||12 - References
||12.1 - Notes
||References: History of Lithuania
||The first people settled in the territory of Lithuania after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC. Over a millennium, the Proto-Indo-Europeans, who arrived in the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, mixed with the local population and formed various Baltic tribes. The first written mention of Lithuania is found in a medieval German manuscript, the Quedlinburg Chronicle, on 14 February 1009.
Initially inhabited by fragmented Baltic tribes, in the 1230s the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, who was crowned as King of Lithuania on 6 July 1253. 6 After his assassination in 1263, pagan Lithuania was a target of the Christian crusades of the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order. Despite the devastating century-long struggle with the Orders, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania expanded rapidly overtaking former Slavic principalities of Kievan Rus'.
By the end of the 14th century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe and included present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia. 7 The geopolitical situation between the west and the east determined the multi-cultural and multi-confessional character of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Lithuanian ruling elite practiced religious tolerance and borrowed Slavic state traditions, such as using the Chancery Slavonic language for official documents.
|Vytautas the Great. Lithuania reached the height of its power under his reign. (17th century painting
||In 1385, the Grand Duke Jogaila accepted Poland's offer to become its king. He converted Lithuania to Christianity and established a personal union between Poland and Lithuania. After two civil wars Vytautas the Great became the Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1392. During his reign Lithuania reached the peak of its territorial expansion, centralization of the state was begun, and the Lithuanian nobility became increasingly prominent in state politics. Thanks to close cooperation, the armies of Poland and Lithuania achieved a great victory over the Teutonic Knights in 1410 at the Battle of Grunwald, one of the largest battles of medieval Europe. 8 9 10
After the deaths of Jogaila and Vytautas, the Lithuanian nobility attempted to break the union between Poland and Lithuania, independently selecting Grand Dukes from the Jagiellon dynasty. However, Lithuania was forced to seek a closer alliance with Poland when, at the end of the 15th century, the growing power of the Grand Duchy of Moscow threatened Lithuania's Russian principalities and sparked the Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars and the Livonian War.
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was created in 1569. As a member of the Commonwealth, Lithuania retained its institutions, including a separate army, currency, and statutory laws. 11 However, eventually Polonization affected all aspects of Lithuanian life: politics, language, culture, even national identity. From the mid-16th to the mid-17th centuries culture, arts, and education flourished, fueled by the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. From 1573, Kings of Poland and Grand Dukes of Lithuania were elected by the nobility, who were granted ever increasing Golden Liberties. These liberties, especially the liberum veto , led to anarchy and the eventual dissolution of the state.
During the Northern Wars (1655–1661), the Lithuanian territory and economy were devastated by the Swedish army. Before it could fully recover, Lithuania was again ravaged during the Great Northern War (1700–1721). The war, plague, and famine resulted in the loss of approximately 40% of the country's inhabitants. 12 Foreign powers, especially Russia, became dominant players in the domestic politics of the Commonwealth. Numerous factions among the nobility used the Golden Liberties to prevent any reforms. Eventually, the Commonwealth was partitioned in 1772, 1792, and 1795 by the Russian Empire, Prussia, and Habsburg Austria.
The largest area of Lithuanian territory became part of Russia. After unsuccessful uprisings in 1831 and 1863, the Tsarist authorities implemented a number of Russification policies, including a ban on the Lithuanian press and the closing of cultural and educational institutions, and Lithuania became part of a new administrative region called Northwest Territory (per Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1953 Ed., "Lithuania"). Between 1868 and 1914, approximately 635,000 people, almost 20% of the population, left Lithuania. 13 Large numbers of Lithuanians went to the United States first in 1867-1868 after a famine in Lithuania. 14 Nevertheless, a Lithuanian National Revival laid the foundations of the modern Lithuanian nation and independent Lithuania.
|The original 20 members of the Council of Lithuania after signing the Act of Independence of Lithuania, 16 February 1918.
||During World War I, the Council of Lithuania declared the independence of Lithuania on 16 February 1918, and the re-establishment of the Lithuanian State. Lithuania's foreign policy was dominated by territorial disputes with Poland and Germany. The Vilnius Region, and Vilnius, the historical capital of Lithuania, (and so designated in the Constitution of Lithuania,) were seized by the Polish army during Żeligowski's Mutiny in October 1920 and annexed two years later by Poland. Acquired during the Klaipėda Revolt of 1923, the Klaipėda Region was ceded back to Germany after a German ultimatum in March 1939. Domestic affairs were controlled by the authoritarian President, Antanas Smetona and his party, the Lithuanian National Union, who came to power after the coup d'état of 1926.
||Map showing changes in the territory of Lithuania from the 13th century to the present day.
||In June 1940, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed Lithuania in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. 15 16 A year later Russia was attacked by Nazi Germany leading to the Nazi occupation of Lithuania. The Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators murdered around 190,000 Lithuanian Jews 17 (91% of the pre-war Jewish community) during the Holocaust.
After the retreat of the German armed forces, the Soviets re-established the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1944. From 1944 to 1952 approximately 100,000 Lithuanian partisans fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet system. An estimated 30,000 partisans and their supporters were killed and many more were arrested and deported to SiberianGULAGs. It is estimated that Lithuania lost 780,000 people during World War II. 18
The advent of perestroika and glasnost in the late 1980s allowed the establishment of Sąjūdis, an anti-communist independence movement. After a landslide victory in elections to the Supreme Soviet, members of Sąjūdis proclaimed Lithuania's renewed independence on 11 March 1990, becoming the first Soviet republic to do so. The Soviet Union attempted to suppress this secession by imposing an economic blockade. Soviet troops attacked the Vilnius TV Tower and killed 13 Lithuanian civilians on the night of 13 January 1991. 19
On 4 February 1991, Iceland became the first country to recognize Lithuanian independence. After the Soviet August Coup, independent Lithuania received wide official recognition and joined the United Nations on 17 September 1991. The last Soviet troops left Lithuania on 31 August 1993 – even earlier than they departed from East Germany. Lithuania, seeking closer ties with the West, applied for NATO membership in 1994. After a difficult transition from a planned economy to a free market one, Lithuania became a full member of NATO and the European Union in spring 2004.
|Geography and climate
||References: Geography of Lithuania
||Topographic map of Lithuania.
||Lithuania is situated in Northern Europe. It has around 99 kilometres (61.5 mi) of sandy coastline, of which only about 38 kilometres (24 mi) face the open Baltic Sea and which is the shortest among the Baltic Sea countries; the rest of the coast is sheltered by the Curonian sand peninsula. Lithuania's major warm-water port, Klaipėda, lies at the narrow mouth of the Curonian Lagoon (Lithuanian: Kuršių marios ), a shallow lagoon extending south to Kaliningrad. The main river, the Neman River, and some of its tributaries carry international shipping.
The Lithuanian landscape has been smoothed by glaciers. The highest areas are the moraines in the western uplands and eastern highlands, with the maximum elevation being Aukštojas Hill at 294 metres (965 ft). The terrain features numerous lakes, Lake Vištytis for example, and wetlands; a mixed forest zone covers nearly 33% of the country. The climate lies between maritime and continental, with wet, moderate winters and summers. According to one geographical computation method, Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, lies only a few kilometres south of the geographical centre of Europe.
Phytogeographically, Lithuania is shared between the Central European and Eastern European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the territory of Lithuania can be subdivided into two ecoregions: the Central European mixed forests and Sarmatic mixed forests.
|Sand dunes of Neringa
||References: Climate of Lithuania
||Pūčkoriai outcrop near Vilnius.
||Lithuania's climate, which ranges between maritime and continental, is relatively mild. Average temperatures on the coast are -2.5 °C in January and 16 °C in July. In Vilnius the average temperatures are -6 °C in January and 16 °C in July. Simply speaking, 20 °C is frequent on summer days and 14 °C at night although temperatures can reach 30 or 35 °C. Some winters can be very cold. -20 °C occurs almost every winter. Winter extremes are -34 °C in coastal areas and -43 °C in the east of Lithuania.
The average annual precipitation is 800 millimeters on the coast, 900 mm in the Samogitia highlands and 600 millimeters in the eastern part of the country. Snow occurs every year, it can snow from October to April. In some years sleet can fall in September or May. The growing season lasts 202 days in the western part of the country and 169 days in the eastern part. Severe storms are rare in the eastern part of Lithuania but common in the coastal areas.
The longest measured temperature records from the Baltic area cover about 250 years. The data show that there were warm periods during the latter half of the 18th century, and that the 19th century was a relatively cool period. An early 20th century warming culminated in the 1930s, followed by a smaller cooling that lasted until the 1960s. A warming trend has persisted since then. 20
Reported extreme temperatures in Lithuania by month are following: 22
Extreme temperatures in Lithuania (°C)
||Administration and politics
||Referencess: Politics of Lithuania and Elections in Lithuania
||Dalia Grybauskaitė has been the President of Lithuania since 12 July 2009.
||Since Lithuania declared independence on 11 March 1990, it has maintained strong democratic traditions. In the first general elections after the independence on 25 October 1992, 56.75% of the total number of voters supported the new constitution. 23 There were intense debates concerning the constitution, especially the role of the president. A separate referendum was held on 23 May 1992 to gauge public opinion on the matter and 41% of all the eligible voters supported the restoration of the President of Lithuania. 23 Eventually a semi-presidential system was agreed upon. 24
The Lithuanian head of state is the President, elected directly for a five-year term, serving a maximum of two consecutive terms. The post of president is largely ceremonial; main policy functions however include foreign affairs and national security policy. The president is also the military commander-in-chief. The President, with the approval of the parliamentary body, the Seimas, also appoints the Prime Minister and, on the latter's nomination, the rest of the cabinet, as well as a number of other top civil servants and the judges for all courts.
The judges of the Constitutional Court ( Konstitucinis Teismas ), who serve nine-year terms, are appointed by the President (three judges), the Chairman of the Seimas (three judges) and the Chairman of the Supreme Court (three judges). The unicameral Lithuanian parliament, the Seimas, has 141 members who are elected to four-year terms. 71 of the members of this legislative body are elected in single constituencies, and the other 70 are elected in a nationwide vote by proportional representation. A party must receive at least 5% of the national vote to be represented in the Seimas.
||Referencess: Counties of Lithuania, Municipalities of Lithuania, and Elderships of Lithuania