Lithuania (usually spelled Litauen or Lithauen well into the 20th century; Lithuanian: Lietuva), officially the Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublika), is a country in northeastern Europe, between Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east , Poland and Russia (Kaliningrad) in the south, and the Baltic Sea in the west.
Of the three Baltic states, Lithuania is the largest and southernmost and the only predominantly Roman Catholic state. History has only been in sync with that of the other two Baltic countries for a relatively short time. Unlike Latvia and Estonia, Lithuania was once a powerful country; the Grand Duchy of Lithuania even reached as far as the Black Sea. The twentieth century was largely under Russian and Soviet rule, of which Lithuania was the first Baltic country to get rid of it on 11 March 1990. On May 1, 2004, the country joined the European Union. Nevertheless, Lithuania is still partly dependent on Russia, especially in the field of energy, although it is trying to change that by sourcing liquefied gas from Norway. Lithuania is a member of the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization, and is part of the Schengen area.
A geographical peculiarity of Lithuania is that the center of Europe lies within the Lithuanian borders.
Length of land borders: 1747 km (724 km with Belarus, 610 km with Latvia, 303 km with Russia (Russian exclave Kaliningrad) and 110 km with Poland).
Coastline: 99 km
Largest rivers: Memel, 475 km in the territory of Lithuania
Largest reservoir: Kauno Marios, 63.5 km²
Largest natural lake: Drūkšiai Lake, 44.79 km²
Highest point: Aukštojas in the Medininkai Highland, 294 meters
The official language is Lithuanian, although there are Polish, Russian and Belarusian minorities.
Currency: the euro
Some cities in Lithuania with number of inhabitants as of January 1, 2014 are:
Vilnius 529.000 inhabitants
Kaunas 304,000 inhabitants
Klaipėda 157,000 inhabitants
Šiauliai 106,000 inhabitants
Panevėžys 96,000 inhabitants
The Republic of Lithuania is a parliamentary democracy with President Gitanas Nausėda since 12 July 2019 and Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė since 25 November 2020. The Parliament (Seimas) has one chamber with 141 members with a term of office of four years. Of the Seimas seats, 71 are distributed among the seven constituencies. The remaining 70 are distributed in proportion to national proportions.
Lithuania is divided into ten districts, which are named after their capital.
Lithuania announced the reintroduction of conscription in February 2015 due to the looming situation with Russia. In any case, this will apply for the next five years and each conscript will have to serve for nine months. Approximately 3000 young people between the ages of 19 and 26 will be called up in each batch. Lithuania abolished conscription in 2008 and joined NATO in 2004. The Lithuanian army has about 15,000 men, but has no tanks or combat aircraft. Lithuania is going to increase defense spending and wants to buy at least 10 pieces of mechanized artillery and 130 new armored vehicles.
Between the 2001 and 2011 census, the population decreased from 3.48 million to 3.04 million inhabitants. This was caused by emigration to Western Europe, according to the Lithuanian Bureau of Statistics. In addition, Lithuania has been experiencing negative natural population growth since 1994. In 2019, for example, only 27,729 children were born (birth rate: 9.9‰), while 38,378 people died (death rate: 13.7‰). A woman in Lithuania has an average of 1.6 children during her fertility period, a similar number to most other European countries.