Lithuania is a European nation that regained its independence in 1991, after
more than 50 years of forced annexation to the Soviet Union.
It had been independent from 1918 to 1940, when the Soviet Union occupied it and
made it one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union.
A Short Background
Independent between the two World Wars, Lithuania was annexed by the USSR in
1940. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to
declare its independence, but this proclamation was not generally recognized
until September of 1991 (following the abortive coup in Moscow).
The last Russian troops withdrew in 1993. Lithuania subsequently has
restructured its economy for eventual integration into Western European
Lithuania is located at the western end of the East European Plain, on the
shores of the Baltic Sea. It borders Latvia to the north (576-km border),
Belarus to the East and South (660 km), and to the Southwest Poland (103 km) and
the Russian Federation (Kaliningrad district - 273-km). Lithuania is the biggest
of the three Baltic States.
The geographical centre of Europe (54°51' north and 25°19' east) lies in
Lithuania, 20 kilometres north of Vilnius.
Lithuania consists predominantly of gently rolling plains (55% of the total
land area) and extensive forests (30.3% of the country). Lithuania is more
forested than Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Latvia and
Belarus. The average height above sea level is 99 meters, with the highest point
being Juozapine Hill (293.6) in Southeast Lithuania. There are 758 rivers and
streams longer than ten kilometres. The longest river is the Nemunas at 937 km
in length (475 km through Lithuania). The country boasts more than 2800 lakes
covering 1.5% of the country's area.
||Eastern Europe, bordering the
between Latvia and Russia
||56 00 N, 24 00 E
||3.496.000 (83% ethnic Lithuanians; 6.7% of
Polish origin; 6.3% of Russian
origin). Approximately 1 million Lithuanians live overseas
(as a result of history).
(official), Polish, Russian
(primarily), Lutheran, Russian Orthodox,
Christian Baptist, Muslim, Jewish
||1 EURO to Lithuanian Litas:
3,453 (April 2004)