Title: The Republic of Lithuania

Population: 2,711,566

Population Change: -1.35

National Average Age: 45

Urban Percentage: 71

Christian Population: 2,827,000

Christian Percentage: 86

Introduction: 'Lithuania is a country and the southernmost of Europe’s Baltic states a former Soviet bloc nation bordering Poland Latvia and Belarus. Its capital Vilnius near Belarus'' border is known for its medieval Old Town. It also has Gothic Renaissance and baroque architecture and 18th-century cathedral built on a pagan temple site. Hilltop Gediminas'' Tower a symbol of the city and the nation offers sweeping views.'

Overview: Lithuanian lands were united under MINDAUGAS in 1236; over the next century through alliances and conquest Lithuania extended its territory to include most of present-day Belarus and Ukraine. By the end of the 14th century Lithuania was the largest state in Europe. An alliance with Poland in 1386 led the two countries into a union through the person of a common ruler. In 1569 Lithuania and Poland formally united into a single dual state the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This entity survived until 1795 when its remnants were partitioned by surrounding countries. Lithuania regained its independence following World War I but was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. 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; it joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004. In January 2014 Lithuania assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2014-15 term.