Brief Facts About Lithuania

Lithuania was originally inhabited by Baltic tribes but they were united in 1236 by Mindaugas, the first King of Lithuania. The kingdom of Lithuania grew over the next hundred years and, by the end of the 14th century, was the largest country in Europe. In 1385, Lithuania united with Poland and under King Vytautas the kingdom reached the height of its size and power. The kingdom of Lithuania and Poland lasted until 1795, when it was broken up and divided amongst surrounding countries. After World War I, Lithuania once again became an independent country, however, it was absorbed by the Soviet Union at the start of World War II. Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, Lithuania declared its independence. It became a member of the European Union in 2004

Type of Government: parliamentary democracy

Languages Spoken: Lithuanian (official) 82%, Russian 8%, Polish 5.6%, other and unspecified 4.4% (2001 census)

Independence: 11 March 1990 (independence declared from Soviet Union); 6 September 1991 (Soviet Union recognizes Lithuania’s independence)

National Holiday: Independence Day, 16 February (1918); note – 16 February 1918 is the date Lithuania declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 11 March 1990 is the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union

Nationality: Lithuanian(s)

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