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Republic of Lithuania
Lietuvos Respublika
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"Tautos jėga vienybėje"[citation needed]
"The strength of the nation lies in unity"
AnthemTautiška giesmė
Location of  Lithuania  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (light green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (light green)  —  [Legend]

Capital
(and largest city)
Vilnius
54°41′N 25°19′E / 54.683°N 25.317°E / 54.683; 25.317
Official language(s) Lithuanian
Ethnic groups  84.7 % Lithuanians
6.1 % Poles
4.9 % Russians
  5.0 % others[1]
Demonym Lithuanian
Government Semi-presidential republic
 -  President Dalia Grybauskaitė
 -  Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius
 -  Seimas Speaker Irena Degutienė
Independence from Russia (1918) 
 -  First mention of Lithuania 14 February 1009 
 -  Coronation of Mindaugas 6 July 1253 
 -  Personal union with Poland 2 February 1386 
 -  Creation of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569 
 -  Partitions of the Commonwealth 1795 
 -  Independence declared 16 February 1918 
 -  1st Soviet occupation 15 June 1940 
 -  German Nazi occupation June 1941 
 -  2nd Soviet occupation 1944 
EU accession 1 May 2004
Area
 -  Total 65,200 km2 (123rd)
25,173 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.35%
Population
 -  2009 estimate 3,341,966[2] (130th)
 -  Density 53.5/km2 (120th)
141.2/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $68.811 billion[3] (80th)
 -  Per capita $18,977[3] (47th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $63,729 billion[3] (70th)
 -  Per capita $14,086[3] (49th)
Gini (2003) 36 (medium
HDI (2008) 0.870 (high) (46th)
Currency Lithuanian litas (Lt) (LTL)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Date formats yyyy-mm-dd (CE)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .lt1
Calling code 370
1 Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

Lithuania (en-us-Lithuania.ogg /ˌlɪθjuːˈeɪniə/ ; Lithuanian: Lietuva), officially the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublika) is a country in Northern Europe,[4] the southernmost of the three Baltic states. Situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, it shares borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland, and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to the southwest. Its population is 3.32 million. Its capital and the largest city is Vilnius.

During the 14th century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe: present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. With the Lublin Union of 1569, Poland and Lithuania formed a new state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory.

In the aftermath of World War I, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, declaring the re-establishment of a sovereign state. Starting in 1940, Lithuania was occupied first by the Soviet Union then Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end in 1944 and the Nazis retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence.

Prior to the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, Lithuania had one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. Lithuania is a member of NATO, the Council of Europe, and the European Union. Lithuania became a full member of the Schengen Agreement on 21 December 2007.[5] In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture and Lithuania celebrated the millennium of its name.

Contents

History

The first people settled in the territory of Lithuania after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC. Over a millennium the Proto-Indo-Europeans, who arrived in the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, mixed with local population and formed various Baltic tribes. The first written mention of Lithuania is found in a medieval German manuscript, the Quedlinburg Chronicle, on 14 February 1009. Initially inhabited by fragmented Baltic tribes, in 1230s the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, who was crowned as King of Lithuania on 6 July 1253.[6] After his assassination in 1263, pagan Lithuania was a target of Christian crusades of the Teutonic Knights and Livonian Order. Despite devastating century-long struggle with the Orders, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania expanded rapidly overtaking former Slavic principalities of Kievan Rus'. By the end of the 14th century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe and included present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia.[7] The geopolitical situation between the west and the east determined multi-cultural and multi-confessional character the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Lithuanian ruling elite practiced religious tolerance and borrowed Slavic state traditions, such as using Chancery Slavonic language for official documents.

Vytautas the Great. Lithuania reached the height of its power under his reign. (17th century painting)

In 1385, the Grand Duke Jogaila accepted Poland's offer to become its king. He converted Lithuania into Christianity and established a personal union between Poland and Lithuania. After two civil wars Vytautas the Great became the Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1392. During his reign Lithuania reached the peak of its territorial expansion, centralization of the state was begun, and Lithuanian nobility became increasingly prominent in state politics. Thanks to close cooperation, the armies of Poland and Lithuania achieved a great victory over the Teutonic Knights in 1410 at the Battle of Grunwald, one of the largest battles of medieval Europe.[8][9][10]

After the deaths of Jogaila and Vytautas, Lithuanian nobility attempted to break the union between Poland and Lithuania, independently selecting Grand Dukes from the Jagiellon dynasty. However, Lithuania was forced to seek a closer alliance with Poland when, at the end of the 15th century, the growing power of the Grand Duchy of Moscow threatened Lithuania's Russian principalities and sparked the Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars and the Livonian War. The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was created in 1569. As a member of the Commonwealth, Lithuania retained its institutions, including a separate army, currency, and statutory laws.[11] However, eventually Polonization affected all aspects of Lithuanian life: politics, language, culture, even national identity. From the mid-16th to the mid-17th centuries culture, arts, and education flourished, fueled by the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. From 1573, Kings of Poland and Grand Dukes of Lithuania were elected by the nobility, who were granted ever increasing Golden Liberties. These liberties, especially liberum veto, led to anarchy and the eventual dissolution of the state.

During the Northern Wars (1655–1661), the Lithuanian territory and economy and was devastated by the Swedish army. Before it could fully recover, Lithuania was again ravaged during the Great Northern War (1700–1721). The war, plague, and famine resulted in the loss of approximately 40% of the country's inhabitants.[12] Foreign powers, especially Russia, became dominant players in domestic politics of the Commonwealth. Numerous nobility fraction used the Golden Liberties to prevent any reforms. Eventually, the Commonwealth was partitioned in 1772, 1792, and 1795 by the Russian Empire, Prussia, and Habsburg Austria. The largest area of Lithuanian territory became part of Russia. After unsuccessful uprisings in 1831 and 1863, the Tsarist authorities implemented a number of Russification policies, including the ban on Lithuanian press and the closing of cultural or educational institutions. Between 1868 and 1914, approximately 635,000 people, almost 20% of the population, left Lithuania.[13] Large numbers of Lithuanians first came to the United States in 1867-1868 after a famine in Lithuania.[14] Nevertheless, the Lithuanian National Revival laid the foundations of the modern Lithuanian nation and independent Lithuania.

The original 20 members of the Council of Lithuania after signing the Act of Independence of Lithuania, 16 February 1918

During World War I, the Council of Lithuania declared the independence of Lithuania on 16 February 1918, and the re-establishment of the Lithuanian State. Lithuania's foreign policy was dominated by territorial disputes with Poland and Germany. The Vilnius Region, and Vilnius, the historical capital of Lithuania, and so designated in the Constitution of Lithuania, was seized by the Polish army during Żeligowski's Mutiny in October 1920 and annexed two years later by Poland. Acquired during the Klaipėda Revolt of 1923, the Klaipėda Region was ceded back to Germany after a German ultimatum in March 1939. Domestic affairs were controlled by authoritarian President Antanas Smetona and his Lithuanian National Union, who came to power after the coup d'état of 1926.

Map showing changes in the territory of Lithuania from the 13th century to the present day.

In June 1940, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed Lithuania in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.[15][16] A year later Russia was attacked by Nazi Germany leading to Nazi occupation of Lithuania. The Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators murdered around 190,000 Lithuanian Jews[17] (91% of the pre-war Jewish community) during the Holocaust. After the retreat of the German armed forces, the Soviets re-established the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1944. From 1944 to 1952 approximately 100,000 Lithuanian partisans fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet system. An estimated 30,000 partisans and their supporters were killed and many more were arrested and deported to Siberian GULAGs. Population losses of Lithuania during World War II are estimated at 780,000.[18]

The advent of perestroika and glasnost in the late 1980s allowed establishment of Sąjūdis, an anti-communist independence movement. After a landslide victory in elections to the Supreme Soviet, members of Sąjūdis proclaimed Lithuania's renewed independence on 11 March 1990 becoming the first Soviet republic to do so. The Soviet Union imposed economic blockade attempting to suppress this secession. The Soviet troops attacked the Vilnius TV Tower and killed 13 Lithuanian civilians on the night of 13 January 1991.[19] On 4 February 1991, Iceland became the first country to recognize Lithuanian independence. After the Soviet August Coup, independent Lithuania received wide recognition and joined the United Nations on 17 September 1991. The last Soviet troops left Lithuania on 31 August 1993 – even earlier than they departed from East Germany. Lithuania, seeking closer ties with the West, applied for NATO membership in 1994. After a difficult transition from planned economy to the free market, Lithuania became a full member of NATO and the European Union in spring 2004.

Geography and climate

Physical features

Physical map of Lithuania

Lithuania is situated in Northern Europe. It has around 99 kilometres (61.5 mi) of sandy coastline, of which only about 38 kilometres (24 mi) face the open Baltic Sea and which is the shortest among the Baltic Sea countries; the rest of the coast is sheltered by the Curonian sand peninsula. Lithuania's major warm-water port, Klaipėda, lies at the narrow mouth of the Curonian Lagoon (Lithuanian: Kuršių marios), a shallow lagoon extending south to Kaliningrad. The main river, the Neman River, and some of its tributaries carry international shipping vessels.

The Lithuanian landscape has been smoothed by glaciers. The highest areas are the moraines in the western uplands and eastern highlands, with the maximum elevation being Aukštojas Hill at 294 metres (965 ft). The terrain features numerous lakes, Lake Vištytis for example, and wetlands; a mixed forest zone covers nearly 33% of the country. The climate lies between maritime and continental, with wet, moderate winters and summers. According to one geographical computation method, Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, lies only a few kilometres south of the geographical centre of Europe.

Phytogeographically, Lithuania is shared between the Central European and Eastern European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the territory of Lithuania can be subdivided into two ecoregions: the Central European mixed forests and Sarmatic mixed forests.

Pūčkoriai outcrop near Vilnius

Climate

Lithuania's climate, which ranges between maritime and continental, is relatively mild. Average temperatures on the coast are -2.5 °C in January and 16 °C in July. In Vilnius the average temperatures are -6 °C in January and 16 °C in July. Simply speaking, 20 °C is frequent on summer days and 14 °C at night although temperatures can reach 30 or 35 °C. Some winters can be very cold. -20 °C occurs almost every winter. Winter extremes are -34 °C in coastal areas and -43 °C in the east of Lithuania. The average annual precipitation is 800 millimeters on the coast, 900 mm in the Samogitia highlands and 600 millimeters in the eastern part of the country. Snow occurs every year, it can snow from October to April. In some years sleet can fall in September or May. The growing season lasts 202 days in the western part of the country and 169 days in the eastern part. Severe storms are rare in the eastern part of Lithuania but common in the coastal areas.

The longest measured temperature records from the Baltic area cover about 250 years. The data show that there were warm periods during the latter half of the 18th century, and that the 19th century was a relatively cool period. An early 20th century warming culminated in the 1930s, followed by a smaller cooling that lasted until the 1960s. A warming trend has persisted since then.[20]

Lithuania experienced a drought in 2002, causing forest and peat bog fires.[21] The country suffered along with the rest of Northwestern Europe during a heat wave in the summer of 2006.

Reported extreme temperatures in Lithuania by month are following:[22]

Extreme temperatures in Lithuania (°C)
Month
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Highest Temperatures
+12.6
+16.5
+21.8
+28.8
+34
+35
+37.5
+36
+32
+26
+18
+15.6
Lowest Temperatures
-40.5
-42.9
-37.5
-23.0
-6.8
-2.8
+0.9
-2.9
-6.3
-19.5
-23
-34

Administration and politics

Constitutional system

Dalia Grybauskaitė has been the President of Lithuania since 12 July, 2009.

Since Lithuania declared independence on 11 March 1990, it has maintained strong democratic traditions. In the first general elections after the independence on 25 October 1992, 56.75% of the total number of voters supported the new constitution.[23] There were intense debates concerning the constitution, especially the role of the president. A separate referendum was held on 23 May 1992 to gauge public opinion on the matter and 41% of all the eligible voters supported the restoration of the President of Lithuania.[23] Eventually a semi-presidential system was agreed upon.[24]

The Lithuanian head of state is the President, elected directly for a five-year term, serving a maximum of two consecutive terms. The post of president is largely ceremonial; main policy functions however include foreign affairs and national security policy. The president is also the military commander-in-chief. The President, with the approval of the parliamentary body, the Seimas, also appoints the Prime Minister and, on the latter's nomination, the rest of the cabinet, as well as a number of other top civil servants and the judges for all courts. The judges of the Constitutional Court (Konstitucinis Teismas), who serve nine-year terms, are appointed by the President (three judges), the Chairman of the Seimas (three judges) and the Chairman of the Supreme Court (three judges). The unicameral Lithuanian parliament, the Seimas, has 141 members who are elected to four-year terms. 71 of the members of this legislative body are elected in single constituencies, and the other 70 are elected in a nationwide vote by proportional representation. A party must receive at least 5% of the national vote to be represented in the Seimas.

Administrative division


The current administrative division was established in 1994 and modified in 2000 to meet the requirements of the European Union. Lithuania has a three-tier administrative division: the country is divided into 10 counties (Lithuanian: singular – apskritis, plural – apskritys) that are further subdivided into 60 municipalities (Lithuanian: singular – savivaldybė, plural – savivaldybės) which consist of over 500 elderships (Lithuanian: singular – seniūnija, plural – seniūnijos).

The counties are ruled by county governors (Lithuanian: apskrities viršininkas) appointed by the central government. They ensure that the municipalities adhere to the laws of Lithuania and the constitution. County government oversees local governments and their implementation of the national laws, programs and policies.[25] As the counties have limited functions, there are numerous proposals to reduce their number and organize the new counties around the ethnographic regions of Lithuania[26] or five major cities with population over 100,000.[27]

Municipalities are the most important administrative unit. Some municipalities are historically called "district municipalities", and thus are often shortened to "district"; others are called "city municipalities", sometimes shortened to "city". Each municipality has its own elected government. In the past, the election of municipality councils occurred once every three years, but it now takes place every four years. The council elects the mayor and appoints elders to govern the elderships. There is currently a proposal for direct election of mayors and elders, however that would require an amendment to the constitution.[28]

Elderships, numbering over 500, are the smallest units and they do not play a role in national politics. They provide necessary public services close to their homes; for example, in rural areas the elderships register births and deaths. They are most active in the social sector: they identify needy individuals or families and distribute welfare or organise other forms of relief.[29] While the elderships have a potential of becoming a source of local initiative to tackle rural problems, complaints are made that elderships have no real power and receive too little attention.[30]

Military of Lithuania

The Lithuanian Armed Forces consist of ~15,000 active personnel (~2,400 of them - civilian)[31] and are supported by 100,000 reserve forces. Conscription has been ended in September 2008.[32]

Lithuania's defence system is based on the concept of "total and unconditional defence" mandated by Lithuania's national Security Strategy. The goal of Lithuania's defence policy is to prepare their society for general defence and to integrate Lithuania into Western security and defence structures. The defence ministry is responsible for combat forces, search and rescue, and intelligence operations.[33]

The 5,400 border guards fall under the Interior Ministry's supervision and are responsible for border protection, passport and customs duties, and share responsibility with the navy for smuggling / drug trafficking interdiction. A special security department handles VIP protection and communications security.

Economy

Vilnius Financial Centre

In 2003, before joining the European Union, Lithuania had the highest economic growth rate amongst all candidate and member countries, reaching 8.8% in the third quarter. In 2004 – 7.4%; 2005 – 7.8%; 2006 – 7.8%; 2007 – 8.9%, 2008 Q1 — 7.0% growth in GDP reflects the impressive economic development.[34] Most of the trade Lithuania conducts is within the European Union.

By UN classification, Lithuania is a country with high average income. The country boasts a well developed modern infrastructure of railways, airports and four-lane highways. As of October 2008, the unemployment rate is 4.7%. According to officially published figures, EU membership fueled a booming economy, increased outsourcing into the country, and boosted the tourism sector. The litas, the national currency, has been pegged to the euro since 2 February 2002 at the rate of EUR 1.00 = LTL 3.4528,[35] and Lithuania is expecting to switch to the euro on 1 January 2013. There is gradual but consistent shift towards a knowledge-based economy with special emphasis on biotechnology (industrial and diagnostic) – major biotechnology producers in the Baltic countries are concentrated in Lithuania – as well as laser equipment. Also mechatronics and information technology (IT) are seen as prospective knowledge-based economy directions in Lithuania.

The 5, 2, and 1 litas coins

Lithuania has a flat tax rate rather than a progressive scheme. Lithuanian income levels are lower than in the older EU Member States. According to Eurostat data, Lithuanian PPS GDP per capita stood at 61 per cent of the EU average in 2008.[36] Lower wages have been a factor that in 2004 fueled emigration to wealthier EU countries, something that has been made legally possible as a result of accession to the European Union. In 2007, personal income tax was reduced to 24% and a reduction to 21% was made in January 2009.

Corporate tax rate in Lithuania is 15% and 5% for small businesses. The government offers special incentives for investments into the high-technology sectors and high value-added products.

Lithuania has the highest rating of Baltic states in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s quality of life index.

Infrastructure

Port of Klaipėda
  • Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant is a Soviet-era nuclear station.
    • Unit #1 was closed in December 2004, as a condition of Lithuania's entry into the European Union; the plant is similar to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in its lack of a robust containment structure. The remaining unit, as of 2006, supplied about 70% of Lithuania's electrical demand.[37]
    • Unit #2 was closed down on December 31, 2009. Proposals have been made to construct another nuclear power plant in Lithuania.[38]

According to the study carried out by Speedtest.net, Lithuania has the fastest internet upload speed in the world and is sixth by download speed.[39][40]

Education

The great yard of Vilnius University, one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe. About 70% of Lithuanian high school graduates continue their studies in universities and colleges.

According to Invest in Lithuania, Lithuania has twice as many people with higher education than the EU-15 average and the proportion is the highest in the Baltic. Also, 90% of Lithuanians speak at least one foreign language and half of the population speaks two foreign languages, mostly Russian and English.[41]

Vilnius University is one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe and the largest university in Lithuania. Kaunas University of Technology is the largest technical university in the Baltic States and the second largest university in Lithuania. Other universities include Kaunas University of Medicine, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vilnius Pedagogical University, Vytautas Magnus University, Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, The General Jonas Zemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, Klaipėda University, Lithuanian Veterinary Academy, Lithuanian University of Agroculture, Siauliai University and Vilnius Academy of Arts.

Demographics

Ethnic composition

The population of Lithuania stands at 3,349,900, 84.0% of whom are ethnic Lithuanians who speak Lithuanian which is the official language of the country. Several sizable minorities exist, such as Poles (6.1%), Russians (4.9%), and Belorussians (1.1%).[42]

Poles are the largest minority, concentrated in southeast Lithuania (the Vilnius region). Russians are the second largest minority, concentrated mostly in two cities. They constitute sizeable minorities in Vilnius (14%) and Klaipėda (28%), and a majority in the town of Visaginas (52%).[43] About 3,000 Roma live in Lithuania, mostly in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Panevėžys; their organizations are supported by the National Minority and Emigration Department.[44]

According to the Lithuanian population census of 2001, about 84% of the country's population speak Lithuanian as their native language, 8.2% are the native speakers of Russian, 5.8% – of Polish. More than 60% are fluent in Russian, while only about 16% say they can speak English. According to the Eurobarometer survey conducted in 2005, 80% of Lithuanians can speak Russian and 32% can speak English. Most Lithuanian schools teach English as a first foreign language, but students may also study German, or, in some schools, French or Russian. Schools where Russian and Polish are the primary languages of education exist in the areas populated by these minorities.

Largest cities

List of cities in Lithuania

Vilnius
Vilnius
Kaunas
Kaunas
Klaipeda
Klaipeda
Šiauliai
Šiauliai
Panevėžys
Panevėžys

Rank City Population

Alytus
Alytus
Marijampolė
Marijampolė
Mažeikiai
Mažeikiai
Jonava
Jonava
Utena
Utena

1 Grand Coat of arms of Vilnius.png Vilnius 546,733
2 Kaunas city COA.png Kaunas 352,279
3 Coat of arms of Klaipeda (Lithuania).png Klaipėda 183,433
4 Siauliai city COA.gif Šiauliai 126,215
5 Panevezys city COA.gif Panevėžys 112,619
6 Alytus city COA.gif Alytus 67,505
7 Marijampole COA.gif Marijampolė 46,692
8 Mazeikiai COA.gif Mažeikiai 40,505
9 Coat of arms of Jonava (Lithuania).svg Jonava 34,238
10 Utena COA.gif Utena 32,476
11 Kedainiai COA.gif Kėdainiai 30,835
12 Telsiai COA.gif Telšiai 29,883
13 Visaginas coat of arms.png Visaginas 28,160
14 Taurage COA.gif Tauragė 27,696
15 Ukmerge COA.gif Ukmergė 27,323
16 Plunge COA.gif Plungė 23,161
17 Kretinga COA.gif Kretinga 21,445
18 Silute COA.gif Šilutė 20,839
19 Radviliskis COA.gif Radviliškis 19,404
20 Coat of arms of Palanga (Lithuania).svg Palanga 17,574
Source, 2009

Health

Kaunas University Hospital – the largest medical institution in Lithuania

As of 2009 Lithuanian life expectancy at birth was 66 years for males and 78 for females – the largest gender difference and the lowest male life expectancy in the European Union. As of 2008 The infant mortality rate was 5.9 per 1,000 births.[45] The annual population growth rate increased by 0.3% in 2007. Less than 2% of the population live beneath the poverty line, and the adult literacy rate is 99.6%.[46] At 30.4 people per 100,000,[47] Lithuania has seen a dramatic rise in suicides in the post-soviet years, and now records the second highest suicide rate in the world.[48] Lithuania also has the highest homicide rate in the EU.[49]

Age structure

According to 2009 estimates, the age structure of the population was as follows: 0–14 years, 14.2% (male 258,423/female 245,115); 15–64 years: 69.6% (male 1,214,743/female 1,261,413); 65 years and over: 16.2% (male 198,714/female 376,771).[50] The median age was 39.3 years (male: 36.8, female: 41.9).[51]

Religion

Wooden church in Palūšė. Lithuania has strong Roman Catholic traditions.

In 2005, 79% of Lithuanians belonged to the Roman Catholic Church.[52] The Church has been the majority denomination since the Christianisation of Lithuania in the end of fourteenth century and beginning of fifteenth century. Some priests actively led the resistance against the Communist regime (symbolised by the Hill of Crosses).

In the first half of 20th century, the Lutheran Protestant church had around 200,000 members, 9% of total population, although Lutheranism has declined since 1945. Small Protestant communities are dispersed throughout the northern and western parts of the country. Believers and clergy suffered greatly during the Soviet occupation, with many killed, tortured or deported to Siberia. Various Protestant churches have established missions in Lithuania since 1990.[53] 4.9% are Eastern Orthodox (mainly among the Russian minority), 1.9% are Protestant and 9.5% have no religion.

The first noticeable presence of Islam in Lithuania began in the 14th century. From this time it was primarily associated with the Lipka Tatars (also known as Lithuanian Tatars), many of whom settled in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth while continuing their traditions and religious beliefs.

According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005,[54] 12% said that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force" , 36% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 49% of Lithuanian citizens responded that "they believe there is a God".

Culture

Culturally Lithuania (and some of neighboring territory) is divided into the following regions:

Art and museums

The Picture Gallery in Vilnius' Chodkevičiai Palace

The Lithuanian Art Museum was founded in 1933 and is the largest museum of art conservation and display in Lithuania.[55] Among other important museums is the Palanga Amber Museum, where amber pieces comprise a major part of the collection.

Perhaps the most renowned figure in Lithuania's art community was the composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875–1911), an internationally renowned musician. The 2420 Čiurlionis asteroid, identified in 1975, honors his achievements. The M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum is located in Kaunas.

A future museum, Vilnius Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, will present exhibitions of new media art, parts of the New York City anthology film archive, and Fluxus art. The museum is scheduled to open in 2011.[56]

Literature

First printed Lithuanian book by Martynas Mažvydas

A wealth of Lithuanian literature was written in Latin, the main scholarly language in the Middle Ages. One of the first instances of such, was the edicts of Lithuanian King Mindaugas. Letters of Gediminas is another important monument of Lithuanian Latin writings.

Lithuanian literary works in the Lithuanian language were first published in the 16th century. In 1547 Martynas Mažvydas compiled and published the first printed Lithuanian book The Simple Words of Catechism, which marks the beginning of printed Lithuanian literature. He was followed by Mikalojus Daukša in Lithuania Propria with his Katechizmas. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Lithuanian literature was primarily religious. Development of the old Lithuanian literature (14th–18th centuries) ends with Kristijonas Donelaitis, one of the most prominent authors of the Age of Enlightenment. Donelaitis poem "The Seasons" is a national epos and is a cornerstone of Lithuanian fiction literature.[57]

Lithuanian literature of the first half of the 19th century with its mix of Classicism, Sentimentalism, and Romanticism features is represented by Antanas Strazdas, Dionizas Poška, Silvestras Valiūnas, Maironis, Simonas Stanevičius, Simonas Daukantas, and Antanas Baranauskas.[57] During Tsarist annexation of Lithuania, Lithuanian press ban was implemented, which lead to a formation of the Knygnešiai (Book smugglers) movement.

20th century Lithuanian literature is represented by Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas, Antanas Vienuolis, Bernardas Brazdžionis, Vytautas Mačernis and others.

Music

A Lithuanian folklore band Kūlgrinda performing in Vilnius

Lithuanian musical tradition traces its history to pagan times, connected with neolithic corded ware culture. Lithuanian folk music is archaic, evolved for ritual purposes.

Sports

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the country. The country has both professional and developmental leagues, and its national basketball team has had success in international play, ranked sixth in FIBA standings. It has produced several NBA players past and present. Šarūnas Marčiulionis, Arvydas Sabonis, and Žydrūnas Ilgauskas played on both the Lithuanian national team and the NBA and are among the more well known.

Another popular individual is professional ice hockey player Darius Kasparaitis, who had both a stellar NHL and Olympic career.

Other notable Lithuanian athletes are Ignatas Konovalovas in professional cycling, and Marius Zaromskis of mixed martial arts.

International rankings

Rankings
Name Year Place Out of # Reference
CIA World FactbookGDP per capita (PPP) 2009 74th 228 [2]
CIA World Factbooklife expectancy 2009 87th 224 [3]
International Living MagazineQuality-of-life index 2010 22nd 194 Quality-of-life index
NationMaster – Index of Civil and Political Liberties 16th 132 [4]
New Economics FoundationHappy Planet Index 2009 86th 143 [5]
Reporters Without BordersPress Freedom Index 2009 10th 175 [6]
Save the Children – Mother's Index Rank 2007 20th 141 [7]
Save the Children – Women's Index Rank 2007 14th 141 [8]
Save the Children – Children's Index Rank 2007 29th 141 [9]
The Economist Intelligence UnitE-readiness 2008 38th 70 [10]
The Economist Intelligence UnitGlobal Peace Index 2009 43rd 144 [11]
The Economist Intelligence UnitIndex of Democracy 2008 42nd 167 [12]
The Economist Intelligence UnitQuality-of-life index 2005 63rd 111 [13]
The Fund for PeaceFailed States Index 2009 145th 177 [14]
Transparency InternationalCorruption Perceptions Index 2009 52nd 180 [15]
United NationsHuman Development Index 2009 46th 192 [16]
United States Patent and Trademark Office's list of patents by country 2008 70th 172 [17]
Yale University / Columbia UniversityEnvironmental Performance Index 2010 37th 163 [18]
Wall Street Journal / The Heritage FoundationIndex of Economic Freedom 2010 29th 179 [19]
World BankEase of Doing Business Index 2008–2009 26th 183 [20]
World Bank – International Logistics Performance Index (LPI) 2010 45th 155 [21]
World Economic ForumNetworked Readiness Index 2008-2009 35th 134 [22]
World Economic Forum – Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2009 49th 133 [23]
World Economic ForumThe Enabling Trade Index 2009 49th 121 [24]
World Economic ForumThe Global Competitiveness Index 2009-2010 53th 133 [25]
World Economic ForumGlobal Gender Gap Report 2009 30th 134 [26]

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ "Population by ethnicity 2009 year". http://db1.stat.gov.lt. Statistics Lithuania. http://db1.stat.gov.lt/statbank/selectvarval/saveselections.asp?MainTable=M3010215&PLanguage=1&TableStyle=&Buttons=&PXSId=3236&IQY=&TC=&ST=ST&rvar0=&rvar1=&rvar2=&rvar3=&rvar4=&rvar5=&rvar6=&rvar7=&rvar8=&rvar9=&rvar10=&rvar11=&rvar12=&rvar13=&rvar14=. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  2. ^ [1] — Statistics Lithuania
  3. ^ a b c d "Lithuania". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=946&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=66&pr.y=2. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ "Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings". United Nations Statistics Division. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm#europe. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  5. ^ (Lithuanian) "Lietuva įsiliejo į Šengeno erdvę". Vidaus reikalų ministerija. http://www.vrm.lt/index.php?id=131&backPID=4&tt_news=1458&. Retrieved 2007-12-22. 
  6. ^ (Lithuanian) Tomas Baranauskas. Lietuvos karalystei – 750. 2001.
  7. ^ Paul Magocsi. History of the Ukraine. University of Toronto Press, 1996. p.128
  8. ^ Lane, Thomas (2001). Lithuania: Stepping Westward. Routledge. pp. ix, xxi. ISBN 0415267315. http://books.google.lt/books?id=fecMC0LXU-sC&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=cj3Ul9q4yP&sig=5b5X4aIyGJzl_6O4CyKSgxQ6nOA&hl=en&ei=2tSSSfHwMIyu-gb9xa2VCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPR21,M1. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  9. ^ The New Encyclopaedia Britannica: .v. 17, 1998 p.545
  10. ^ R. Fawn Ideology and National Identity in Post-communist Foreign Policies. p. 186]
  11. ^ Stone, Daniel. The Polish-Lithuanian state: 1386–1795. University of Washington Press, 2001. p. 63
  12. ^ "The Roads to Independence". Lithuania in the World.
  13. ^ "Lithuanian Americans". Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. http://www.webcitation.org/5kx7L1NnV. 
  14. ^  "Lithuanians in the United States". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Lithuanians_in_the_United_States. 
  15. ^ I. Žiemele. Baltic Yearbook of International Law, 2001. 2002, Vol.1 p.10
  16. ^ K. Dawisha, B. Parrott. The Consolidation of Democracy in East-Central Europe. 1997 p. 293.
  17. ^ Lithuania: Back to the Future. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  18. ^ US Department of State Bureau of Public Affairs, August 2006
  19. ^ BBC Story
  20. ^ Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin - The BACC Project - 22-23 May 2006, Göteborg, Sweden
  21. ^ Effects of 2002 drought in Lithuania
  22. ^ www.meteo.lt: Records of Lithuanian climate
  23. ^ a b (Lithuanian) Nuo 1991 m. iki šiol paskelbtų referendumų rezultatai, Microsoft Word Document, Seimas. Retrieved 4 June 2006.
  24. ^ Lina Kulikauskienė, Lietuvos Respublikos Konstitucija (Constitution of Lithuania), Native History, CD, 2002. ISBN 9986-9216-7-8
  25. ^ (Lithuanian) Lietuvos Respublikos apskrities valdymo įstatymas (Republic of Lithuania Law on County Governing), Seimas law database, 15 December 1994, Law no. I-707. Retrieved 3 June 2006.
  26. ^ (Lithuanian) Dr. Žilvytis Bernardas Šaknys Lietuvos Respublikos administracinio teritorinio suskirstymo perspektyvos: etnografiniai kultūriniai regionai, The Council for the Protection of Ethnic Culture, Seimas, 12 December 2002. Retrieved 4 June 2006.
  27. ^ (Lithuanian) Dr. Antanas Tyla, Pastabos dėl Apskričių valdymo reformos koncepcijos, The Council for the Protection of Ethnic Culture, Seimas, 16 May 2001. Retrieved 4 June 2006.
  28. ^ (Lithuanian) Justinas Vanagas, Seimo prioritetai šią sesiją – tiesioginiai mero rinkimai, gyventojų nuosavybė ir euras, Delfi.lt, 5 September 2005. Retrieved 3 June 2006.
  29. ^ (Lithuanian) Lietuvos Respublikos vietos savivaldos įstatymo pakeitimo įstatymas, Seimas law database, 12 October 2000, Law no. VIII-2018. Retrieved 3 June 2006.
  30. ^ (Lithuanian) Indrė Makaraitytė, Europos Sąjungos pinigai kaimo neišgelbės, Atgimimas, Delfi.lt, 16 December 2004. Retrieved 4 June 2006.
  31. ^ Personnel size in 1998-2009 Ministry of National Defence
  32. ^ "Compulsory basic military service discontinued". Ministry of National Defence. http://www.kam.lt/index.php/en/168627/. 
  33. ^ White Paper Lithuanian defence policy
  34. ^ Department of Statistics to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. National Accounts of Lithuania 2006, p. 20
  35. ^ Lietuvos Bankas
  36. ^ "GDP per capita in PPS". Eurostat. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/2-25062009-BP/EN/2-25062009-BP-EN.PDF. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  37. ^ "Electricity Market in the Baltic Countries". Lietuvos Energija. http://events.le.lt/uploads/File/20060126/Electricity%20markets%20in%20BalticStates_Jank.ppt. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  38. ^ "Lithuania shuts down Soviet-era NPP, but being a nuclear-free nation is still under question". http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2010/ignalina_shut_down. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  39. ^ "Lietuviškas internetas – sparčiausias pasaulyje" (in Lithuanian). 2009-04-08. http://www.vtv.lt/naujienos/interneto-naujienos/lietuviskas-internetas-sparciausias-pasaulyje-2.html. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  40. ^ "World Speedtest.net Results". http://www.speedtest.net/global.php. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  41. ^ Invest in Lithuania
  42. ^ Department of Statistics to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania."Population by ethnicity". http://db1.stat.gov.lt/statbank/selectvarval/saveselections.asp?MainTable=M3010215&PLanguage=1&TableStyle=&Buttons=&PXSId=3236&IQY=&TC=&ST=ST&rvar0=&rvar1=&rvar2=&rvar3=&rvar4=&rvar5=&rvar6=&rvar7=&rvar8=&rvar9=&rvar10=&rvar11=&rvar12=&rvar13=&rvar14=. 
  43. ^ "The inhabitants". Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20071219181605/http://www.visaginas.lt/town/inhabit?lang=en. 
  44. ^ Lithuanian Security and Foreign Policy.
  45. ^ Statistics Lithuania.
  46. ^ WHO statistical database.
  47. ^ "Lithuani" (PDF). Suicide prevention (SUPRE). World Health Organization. 2008. http://www.who.int/mental_health/media/lith.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  48. ^ See List of countries by suicide rate.
  49. ^ More people are killed in Lithuania than anywhere in the EU
  50. ^ "Europe : Lithuania". CIA World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/lh.html. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  51. ^ "Field Listing : Median age". CIA World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2177.html. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  52. ^ Department of Statistics to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. "Population by Religious Confession, census". Archived from the original on 2006-10-01. http://web.archive.org/web/20061001185140/http://www.std.lt/en/pages/view/?id=1734. . Updated in 2005.
  53. ^ United Methodists evangelize in Lithuania with ads, brochures
  54. ^ "Eurobarometer on Social Values, Science and technology 2005" (PDF). p. 11. http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_225_report_en.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  55. ^ History of the Lithuanian Art Museum. Lithuanian Art Museum. Retrieved on 10 October 2008.
  56. ^ "Zaha Hadid to Design Planned Museum in Lithuania". Bloomberg News. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aB1F5bbX10VM. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  57. ^ a b Institute of Lithuanian Scientific Society.Lithuanian Classic Literature. Retrieved on 2009-02-16

External links

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also Lietuvą

Contents

Latvian

Wikipedia-logo.png
Latvian Wikipedia has an article on:
Lietuva

Wikipedia lv

Proper noun

Lietuva

  1. Lithuania

Lithuanian

Wikipedia-logo.png
Lithuanian Wikipedia has an article on:
Lietuva

Wikipedia lt

Etymology

From lietus (rain).

Pronunciation

Phonetik.svg This entry needs pronunciation information. If you are familiar with IPA or SAMPA then please add some!

Proper noun

Lietuva f.

  1. Lithuania

Declension

See also


Northern Sami

Wikipedia-logo.png
Northern Sami Wikipedia has an article on:
Lietuva

Wikipedia se

Proper noun

Lietuva

  1. Lithuania

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