Country Briefs: One of the three Baltic states that has Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland to the south and Russia to the southwest; rich in culture and panoramic beauty, also known as the smack dab center of Europe; Lithuania is definitely a place to be.
Spread in an area of 65,200 square kilometers and with a population of around 3 million people Lithuania stands 122nd in the world on the basis of its area and 125th by way of its population.
The capital city of Lithuania, also its largest city is Vilnius. Like Lithuania itself with its incredible, breathtaking sight of the Hill of Crosses, Vilnius too is a famous holiday destination for besides other lures it boasts a Baroque Old Town that is the largest in the Eastern Europe and acclaimed as the "New Prague".
Apart from abundant natural beauty, Lithuania has also a rich history to its name. On looking back over the years it is revealed that this country came into prominence in the Middle Ages.
On 6th July 1253 Mindaugas was crowned the king of Lithuania. This marked the birth and recognition of Lithuania. Mindaugas united several local tribal "duchies".
Around 1252 Mindaguas faced opposition from Baltic people due to his and his wife's baptization. In 1260 Mindaguas was killed. In 1316, Lithuania revived when Gediminas came to power.
Gediminas was the Grand Duke of Lithuania and the founder of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
During the Gedimund dynasty, Lithuania progressed greatly and was incorporated into the lands of modern Belarus and Ukraine. By 15th century the grand duchy of Lithuania had spread across Eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
Lithuania entered into a personal union (sharing the same head of the state) with Poland in 1386 after the Grand Duke of Jogalia was crowned the King of Poland. Both the countries were governed by the same Jagiellon dynasty. In 1569 Poland and Lithuania merged into one state called the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
In 1791 the Polish Constitution of May was signed. This Constitution was designed to redress the defects of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and it abolished all the subdivisions that sprang from the Kingdom of Poland.
But the partition of Poland that took place in 18th century soon ended the existence of the sovereign Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Lithuania was then put under the Russian Empire.
In 1918 several Lithuanian territories re-established their independence while the areas occupied by the non-Lithuanians remained under the Soviet Union. Soon the newly developed nation got involved in dispute with Poland over Vilnius and Suvalkai region.
Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The annexation took place in accordance with the Hitler-Stalin Pact that was signed in Moscow on 23rd august 1939.
Lithuania proclaimed its independence in 1990 after the communist rule ended due to the 1985 glasnost policy of Mikhail Gorbachev. On 4th February 1991 Lithuania Iceland recognized Lithuania's independence and Sweden opened its embassy here.
In 1991 Lithuania became a member of the United Nations. It also joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. In 1994 Lithuania created history by being the first Baltic state to apply for NATO membership and becoming its member in 2004.
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
- ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
- FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
- NUTS: Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics.
- Population: 2001-04-06 census.