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.


Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 56 00 N, 24 00 E
Population: 3,525,761 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 13.8% (male 250,146/female 236,984)

15-64 years:  69.7% (male 1,211,707/female 1,254,195)

65 years and over: 16.5% (male 201,358/female 381,157) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Lithuania

conventional short form: Lithuania

local long form: LietuvosRespublika

local short form: Lietuva

former: Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic

Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Vilnius

geographic coordinates: 54 41 N, 25 19 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Telephones – main lines in use: 733,700 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 4.891 million (2009)
Airports: 81 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 26

over 3,047 m: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 7

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 13 (2012)

Military branches: Lithuanian Armed Forces (Lietuvos Ginkluotosios Pajegos): Ground Forces (Sausumos Pajegos), Naval Forces (Karines Juru Pajegos), Air Forces (Karines Oro Pajegos), National Defence Volunteer Forces (Krasto Apsaugos Savanoriu Pajegos) (2011)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for volunteers; 12-month conscript service obligation suspended in 2008, all enlisted conscripts ending service by July 2009 (2009)


Lithuania, the Baltic state that has conducted the most trade with Russia, has grown rapidly since rebounding from the 1998 Russian financial crisis. Unemployment fell to 3.2% in 2007 while wages continued to grow at double digit rates, contributing to rising inflation. Exports and imports also grew strongly, and the current account deficit rose to nearly 15% of GDP in 2007. Trade has been increasingly oriented toward the West. Lithuania has gained membership in the World Trade Organization and joined the EU in May 2004. Privatization of the large, state-owned utilities is nearly complete. Foreign government and business support have helped in the transition from the old command economy to a market economy.

Transnational Issues:

Lithuania and Russia committed to demarcating their boundary in 2006 in accordance with the land and maritime treaty ratified by Russia in May 2003 and by Lithuania in 1999; Lithuania operates a simplified transit regime for Russian nationals traveling from the Kaliningrad coastal exclave into Russia, while still conforming, as a EU member state having an external border with a non-EU member, to strict Schengen border rules; the Latvian parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over potential hydrocarbons; as of January 2007, ground demarcation of the boundary with Belarus was complete and mapped with final ratification documents in preparation