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 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.
Lithuania joined both NATO and the EU in 2004.
Population: 2.8 million (2018).
Religions: Roman Catholic 77.2%, Russian Orthodox 4.1%, Old Believer 0.8%, Evangelical Lutheran 0.6%, Evangelical Reformist 0.2%, other (including Sunni Muslim, Jewish, Greek Catholic, and Karaite) 0.8%, none 6.1%, unspecified 10.1% (2011 est.).
Ethnic groups: Lithuanian 84.1%, Polish 6.6%, Russian 5.8%, Belarusian 1.2%, other 1.1%, unspecified 1.2% (2011 est.).
Languages: Lithuanian (official) 82%, Russian 8%, Polish 5.6%, other 0.9%, unspecified 3.5% (2011).
Country name: Republic of Lithuania (local: Lietuvos Respublika).
Government type: parliamentary democracy.
Independence: 11 March 1990 (independence declared from Soviet Union); 6 September 1991 (Soviet Union recognizes Lithuania's independence).
Administrative divisions: 10 counties (apskritys, singular - apskritis); Alytaus, Kauno, Klaipedos, Marijampoles, Panevezio, Siauliu, Taurages, Telsiu, Utenos, Vilniaus.
Terrain: lowland, many scattered small lakes. Fertile central plains are separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits.
Total area: 65,200 km˛.
Coastline: 99 km.
Highest point: Juozapines / Kalnas 292 m.
Climate: transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers.
Ports and harbors: Butinge, Kaunas, Klaipeda.
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Trakai Castle in southeastern Lithuania.