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Country information - Lithuania
Country name - conventional long form : Republic of Lithuania
Country name - conventional short form : Lithuania
Country name - local long form : Lietuvos Respublika
Country name - local short form : Lietuva
Country name - former : Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type : parliamentary democracy
Capital - name : Vilnius
Capital - time difference : UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
National holiday : Independence Day, 16 February (1918); note - 16 February 1918 was the date Lithuania declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 11 March 1990 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union
Population : 3,565,205 (July 2008 est.)
Nationality - noun : Lithuanian(s)
Nationality - adjective : Lithuanian
Languages : Lithuanian (official) 82%, Russian 8%, Polish 5.6%, other and unspecified 4.4% (2001 census)
Currency (code) : litas (LTL)
Currency code : LTL
Major infectious diseases - degree of risk : intermediate

Lithuania is located Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Russia. The climate is transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers. The terrain is lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil.


This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
Background : Lithuanian lands were united under MINDAUGAS in 1236; over the next century, through alliances and conquest, Lithuania extended its territory to include most of present-day Belarus and Ukraine. By the end of the 14th century Lithuania was the largest state in Europe. An alliance with Poland in 1386 led the two countries into a union through the person of a common ruler. In 1569, Lithuania and Poland formally united into a single dual state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This entity survived until 1795, when its remnants were partitioned by surrounding countries. Lithuania regained its independence following World War I but was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence, but Moscow did not recognize this proclamation until September of 1991 (following the abortive coup in Moscow). The last Russian troops withdrew in 1993. Lithuania subsequently restructured its economy for integration into Western European institutions; it joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.

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