Portal:Lithuania

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Lithuania (/ˌlɪθjuˈniə/ (listen); Lithuanian: Lietuva [lʲɪɛtʊˈvɐ]), officially the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublika), is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. It is one of three Baltic states and lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Lithuania shares land borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Russia to the southwest. It has a maritime border with Sweden to the west on the Baltic Sea. Lithuania covers an area of 65,300 km2 (25,200 sq mi), with a population of 2.8 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 millennia the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, becoming king and 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, most of Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were all lands of the Grand Duchy. The Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were in a de facto personal union from 1386 with the marriage of the Polish queen Hedwig and Lithuania's Grand Duke Jogaila, who was crowned King jure uxoris Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland. The Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania was established by the Union of Lublin in July 1569. 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, the 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, internet freedom, democratic governance, and peacefulness. 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 and is a permanent observer of the Nordic Council. (Full article...)

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Soviet prisoners of war in a Lithuanian camp. As of December 1, 1919, the Lithuanians held 1,773 Soviet prisoners.

The Lithuanian–Soviet War or Lithuanian–Bolshevik War (Lithuanian: karas su bolševikais) was fought between newly independent Lithuania and the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic in the aftermath of World War I. It was part of the larger Soviet westward offensive of 1918–1919. The offensive followed the retreat of German troops and sought to establish Soviet republics in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and link up with the German Revolution. By the end of December 1918 Soviet forces reached Lithuanian borders. Largely unopposed, they occupied one town after another and by the end of January 1919 controlled about two thirds of the Lithuanian territory. In February, the Soviet advance was stopped by Lithuanian and German volunteers, who prevented the Soviets from capturing Kaunas, the temporary capital of Lithuania. From April 1919, the Lithuanian war went parallel with the Polish–Soviet War. Poland had territorial claims over Lithuania, especially the Vilnius Region; these tensions spilt over into the Polish–Lithuanian War.

British-Polish historian Norman Davies summarized the situation: "the German army was supporting the Lithuanian nationalists, the Soviets were supporting the Lithuanian communists and the Polish Army was fighting them all." In mid-May, the Lithuanian army, now commanded by General Silvestras Žukauskas, began an offensive against the Soviets in Northeastern Lithuania. By mid-June, the Lithuanians reached the Latvian border and cornered the Soviets among lakes and hills near Zarasai, where the Soviets held out until the end of August 1919. The Soviets and Lithuanians, separated by the Daugava River, maintained their fronts until the Battle of Daugavpils in January 1920. As early as September 1919, the Soviets offered to negotiate a peace treaty, but talks began only in May 1920. The Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty was signed on July 12, 1920. Soviet Russia fully recognized independent Lithuania. (Full article...)
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Military of Lithuania
Public holidays in Lithuania
Date English name Local name Remarks
1 January New Year's Day Naujieji metai  
16 February the Day of Restoration of the State of Lithuania (1918) Lietuvos valstybės atkūrimo diena  
11 March Day 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 Monday Easter Velykos Commemorates resurrection of Jesus
1 May International Workers' Day Tarptautinė darbo diena  
First Sunday in May Mother's Day Motinos diena  
First Sunday in June Father's Day Tėvo diena  
24 June St. John's Day [Christian name], Day of Dew [original pagan name] Joninės, Rasos Celebrated according to mostly pagan traditions. (aka: Midsummer Day, Saint Jonas Day)
6 July Statehood Day Valstybės (Lietuvos karaliaus Mindaugo karūnavimo) diena Commemorates coronation of the first king, Mindaugas
15 August Assumption Day Žolinė (Švč. Mergelės Marijos ėmimo į dangų diena)  
1 November All Saints' Day Visų šventųjų diena (Vėlinės)  
24 December Christmas Eve Šv. Kūčios  
25 and 26 December Christmas Šv. Kalėdos Commemorates birth of Jesus

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