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Lithuania (/ˌlɪθjuˈniə/ (listen) LITH-ew-AY-nee-ə; Lithuanian: Lietuva [lʲɪɛtʊˈvɐ]), officially the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublika), is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. It is one of the Baltic states and lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea to the southeast of Sweden and the east of Denmark, with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia to the southwest. Lithuania covers an area of 65,300 km2 (25,200 sq mi), with a population of 2.7 million. Its capital and largest city is Vilnius; other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanians belong to the ethno-linguistic group of the Balts and speak Lithuanian, one of only a few living Baltic languages.

For centuries the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, founding the Kingdom of Lithuania on 6 July 1253. In the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were all lands of the Grand Duchy. With the Union of Lublin of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state personal union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighbouring countries dismantled it in 1772–1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory. As World War I ended, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, founding the modern Republic of Lithuania. In World War II, Lithuania was occupied first by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. Towards the end of the war in 1944, when the Germans were retreating, Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. Lithuanian armed resistance to the Soviet occupation lasted until the early 1950s. On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania passed the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, becoming the first Soviet republic to proclaim its independence.

Lithuania is a developed country, with a high income advanced economy; ranking very high in the Human Development Index. It ranks favourably in terms of civil liberties, press freedom and internet freedom. However, Lithuania has experienced a gradual population decline since the 1990s, with social issues such as income inequality and high suicide rate remaining a problem. Lithuania is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, eurozone, the Nordic Investment Bank, Schengen Agreement, NATO and OECD. It participates in the Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) regional co-operation format. (Full article...)

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Comparison of planned and actual territorial changes in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (click on the image for higher resolution). Soviet sphere of influence and territorial acquisitions are in orange.

The Soviet Union issued an ultimatum to Lithuania before midnight of June 14, 1940. The Soviets, using a formal pretext, demanded that an unspecified number of Soviet soldiers be allowed to enter the Lithuanian territory and that a new pro-Soviet government (later known as the "People's Government") be formed. The ultimatum and subsequent incorporation of Lithuania into the Soviet Union stemmed from the division of Eastern Europe into the German and Soviet spheres of influence agreed in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939. Lithuania, along with Latvia and Estonia, fell into the Soviet sphere. According to the Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty of October 1939, Lithuania agreed to allow some 20,000 Soviets troops to be stationed at bases within Lithuania in exchange for receiving a portion of the Vilnius Region (previously Polish territory). Further Soviet actions to establish its dominance in its sphere of influence were delayed by the Winter War with Finland and resumed in spring 1940 when Germany was making rapid advances in western Europe. Despite the threat to the country's independence, Lithuanian authorities did little to plan for contingencies and were unprepared for the ultimatum.

With Soviet troops already stationed in the country in accordance with to the Mutual Assistance Treaty, it was impossible to mount effective military resistance. On the 15th of June, Lithuania unconditionally accepted the ultimatum and lost its independence. The Soviets sought to show the world that this was not a military occupation and annexation, but a socialist revolution initiated by the local population demanding to join the Soviet Union. In conformity with this, the Soviets followed semi-legal procedures: they took control of the governmental institutions, installed a puppet government, and carried out show elections to the People's Seimas. During its first session, the Seimas proclaimed the creation of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic and petitioned to be admitted into the Soviet Union. The petition was officially accepted by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union on 3 August 1940. At the same time, almost identical processes took place in Latvia and Estonia. Lithuania would not regain its independence until the proclamation of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania on 11 March 1990. (Full article...)
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Public holidays in Lithuania
DateEnglish nameLocal nameRemarks
January 1New Year's DayNaujieji metai 
February 16the Day of Restoration of the State of Lithuania (1918)Lietuvos valstybės atkūrimo diena 
March 11Day of Restoration of Independence of Lithuania (from the Soviet Union, 1990)Lietuvos nepriklausomybės atkūrimo diena 
The first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March and following MondayEasterVelykosCommemorates resurrection of Jesus
May 1International Workers' DayTarptautinė darbo diena  
First Sunday in MayMother's DayMotinos diena 
First Sunday in JuneFather's DayTėvo diena 
June 24St. John's Day [Christian name], Day of Dew [original pagan name]Joninės, RasosCelebrated according to mostly pagan traditions. (aka: Midsummer Day, Saint Jonas Day)
July 6Statehood DayValstybės (Lietuvos karaliaus Mindaugo karūnavimo) dienaCommemorates coronation of the first king, Mindaugas
August 15Assumption DayŽolinė (Švč. Mergelės Marijos ėmimo į dangų diena) 
November 1All Saints' DayVisų šventųjų diena (Vėlinės) 
December 24Christmas EveŠv. Kūčios 
December 25 and 26ChristmasŠv. KalėdosCommemorates birth of Jesus

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  1. Albala, K. (2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. Greenwood. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-313-37626-9. Retrieved August 2, 2019.


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