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18 mai 2011 3 18 /05 /mai /2011 11:55

Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, 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.Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

Across theBaltic Sea to the west lie Sweden and Denmark. Its population is 3.2 million. Its capital and 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 theGrand Duchy of Lithuania. Dell Latitude D830 Battery

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 Empireannexing most of Lithuania's territory.Toshiba Satellite M65 battery

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 and then by Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end in 1944 and the Nazis retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania.Toshiba NB100 Battery

On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence.

Prior to the global financial crisis of 2007–2010, Lithuania had one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. Lithuania is a member ofNATO, the Council of Europe, and the European Union. Toshiba Satellite P10 Battery

Lithuania became a full member of the Schengen Agreement on 21 December 2007. In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture and Lithuania celebrated the millennium of its name.

History

The first people settled in the territory of Lithuania after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC. Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

Over a millennium, the Proto-Indo-Europeans, who arrived in the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, mixed with the local population and formed various Baltic tribes. The first written mention of Lithuania is found in a medieval German manuscript, the Annals of Quedlinburg, in an entry dated 9 March 1009.Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

Initially inhabited by fragmented Baltic tribes, in the 1230s the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, who was crowned as King of Lithuania on 6 July 1253. After his assassination in 1263, pagan Lithuania was a target of the Christian crusades of the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order. Hp pavilion dv6000 battery

Despite the devastating century-long struggle with the Orders, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania expanded rapidly overtaking former Slavic principalities ofKievan 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 andRussia.Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31S battery

The geopolitical situation between the west and the east determined the multi-cultural and multi-confessional character of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Lithuanian ruling elite practiced religious tolerance and borrowed Slavic state traditions, such as using the Chancery Slavonic language for official documents.Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31S battery

In 1385, the Grand Duke Jogaila accepted Poland's offer to become its king. He converted Lithuania to 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.HP NX8200 battery

During his reign Lithuania reached the peak of its territorial expansion, centralization of the state was begun, and the 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. HP NX7400 battery

After the deaths of Jogaila and Vytautas, the 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 Moscowthreatened Lithuania's Russian principalities and sparked the Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars and the Livonian War.HP NW8440 battery

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.However, eventually Polonization affected all aspects of Lithuanian life: politics, language, culture, even national identity. HP NW8200 battery

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. HP NC6400 battery

These liberties, especially the liberum veto, led to anarchy and the eventual dissolution of the state.

During the Northern Wars (1655–1661), the Lithuanian territory and economy were devastated by the Swedish army. Before it could fully recover, Lithuania was again ravaged during the Great Northern War (1700–1721). HP NC6200 battery

The war, plague, and famine resulted in the loss of approximately 40% of the country's inhabitants. Foreign powers, especially Russia, became dominant players in the domestic politics of the Commonwealth. Numerous factions among the nobility used the Golden Liberties to prevent any reforms. HP NC6100 battery

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, HP NC6000 battery

including a ban on the Lithuanian press and the closing of cultural and educational institutions, and Lithuania became part of a new administrative region called Northwestern Krai. After the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), when German diplomats assigned what were seen as Russian spoils of war to Turkey, the relationship between Russia and the German Empire became complicated.HP NC4400 battery

The Russian Empire resumed the construction of fortresses at its western borders for defence against a potential invasion from Germany in the West. On 7 July 1879 the Russian Emperor Alexander II approved of a proposal from the Russian military leadership to build the largest "first-class" defensive structure in the entire state – the 65 km2 (25 sq mi) Kaunas Fortress.HP 6710B battery

Between 1868 and 1914, approximately 635,000 people, almost 20% of the population, left Lithuania. Large numbers of Lithuanians went to the United States in 1867–1868 after a famine in Lithuania. Nevertheless, a Lithuanian National Revival laid the foundations of the modern Lithuanian nation and independent Lithuania.HP 6530B battery

20th century

During World War I, the Council of Lithuania (Lietuvos Taryba) 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.HP 6510B battery

The Vilnius Region, and Vilnius, the historical capital of Lithuania, (and so designated in the Constitution of Lithuania) were seized by the Polish army during ?eligowski's Mutiny in October 1920 and annexed two years later by Poland. For 19 years Kaunas became the Temporary capital of Lithuania. HP Pavilion DV6-1020ED Battery

The Polish occupation of Vilnius was greatly resented by Lithuania, and there were no diplomatic relations between the two states for most of the period between the two world wars.

Acquired during the Klaip?da Revolt of 1923, the Klaip?da Region was ceded back to Germany after a German ultimatum in March 1939. Dell Latitude E6400 battery

Domestic affairs were controlled by the authoritarian President, Antanas Smetona and his party, the Lithuanian National Union, who came to power after the coup d'état of 1926.

The Soviet Union returned Vilnius to Lithuania after the Soviet invasion of Eastern Poland in September 1939.Apple A1281 battery

Lithuania was, however, to cease its existence as an independent state less than nine months later. In June 1940, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed Lithuania in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. A year later Russia was attacked by Nazi Germany leading to the Nazi occupation of Lithuania. Apple A1280 battery

The Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators murdered around 190,000 Lithuanian Jews (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.Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

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. It is estimated that Lithuania lost 780,000 people during World War II.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

The advent of perestroika and glasnost in the late 1980s allowed the establishment of S?j?dis, an anti-communist independence movement. After a landslide victory in elections to the Supreme Soviet, members of S?j?dis proclaimed Lithuania's renewed independence on 11 March 1990, becoming the first Soviet republic to do so. Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery

The Soviet Union attempted to suppress this secession by imposing an economic blockade. Soviet troops attacked the Vilnius TV Towerand killed 14 Lithuanian civilians on the night of 13 January 1991.

On 4 February 1991, Iceland became the first country to recognize Lithuanian independence. Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

After the Soviet August Coup, independent Lithuania received wide official 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, which had not seen repression in recent times on the same level as the 1991 Vilnius massacre. HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

Lithuania, seeking closer ties with the West, applied for NATO membership in 1994. After a difficult transition from a planned economy to a free market one, Lithuania became a full member of NATO and the European Union in spring 2004.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

Geography

Lithuania is situated in Northern Europe, lying between latitudes 53° and 57° N, and mostly between longitudes 21° and 27° E (part of the Curonian Spitlies west of 21°). 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; HP DV9700 battery

the rest of the coast is sheltered by the Curonian sand peninsula. Lithuania's major warm-water port,Klaip?da, lies at the narrow mouth of the Curonian Lagoon (Lithuanian: Kurši? marios), a shallow lagoon extending south to Kaliningrad. The main river, the Nemunas River, and some of its tributaries carry international shipping.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

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.HP Pavilion DV8 battery

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.Compaq CQ50 battery

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.HP Pavilion DV7 battery

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. Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

During the summer, 20 °C is common during the day while 14 °C is common at night; in the past, temperatures have reached as high as 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.Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

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. Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

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. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

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.Asus M52N Battery

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

Politics

Since Lithuania declared independence on 11 March 1990, it has maintained strong democratic traditions.Dell Latitude E6400 ATG Battery

In the first general elections after the independence on 25 October 1992, 56.75% of the total number of voters supported the new constitution.There were intense debates concerning the constitution, especially the role of the president. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21L Battery

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. Eventually a semi-presidential system was agreed upon.

The Lithuanian head of state is the President, elected directly for a five-year term, serving a maximum of two consecutive terms.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21M Battery

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.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21Z Battery

The current Lithuanian head of state, Dalia Grybauskait? was elected in on May 17 2009 becoming the nations first female President in the country's history. This marked a dramatic shift in Eastern European politics after its European neighbour, Latvia elected their first female political leader late on in the previous decade. SONY VAIO VGN-FW33GW Battery

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.Dell XPS M1210 Battery

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 divisions

The current administrative division was established in 1994 and modified in 2000 to meet the requirements of the European Union.Dell KM958 battery

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 – savivaldyb?, plural – savivaldyb?s) which consist of over 500 elderships (Lithuanian: singular –seni?nija, plural – seni?nijos).Dell Studio 1555 battery

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.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

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 or five major cities with population over 100,000.

Municipalities are the most important administrative unit. Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery

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. Sony VGP-BPS13A/B battery

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.

Elderships, numbering over 500, are the smallest units and they do not play a role in national politics. Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

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.Sony VGP-BPL9 battery

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.

Foreign relations

Lithuania became a member of the United Nations on 18 September 1991, and is a signatory to a number of its organizations and other international agreements.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

It is also a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, NATO and its adjunct North Atlantic Coordinating Council, theCouncil of Europe, and the European Union. Lithuania gained membership in the World Trade Organization on 31 May 2001. It also seeks membership in the OECD and other Western organizations.Sony VGP-BPL15 battery

Lithuania maintains foreign diplomatic missions in 94 countries on six continents and consular posts in two countries that are not represented by an embassy. Lithuania's liberal "zero-option" citizenship law has substantially erased tensions with its neighbors.HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

Lithuania's suspension of two strongly ethnic Polish district councils on charges of blocking reform or disloyalty during the August 1991 coup had cooled relations with Poland, but bilateral cooperation markedly increased with the holding of elections in those districts and the signing of a bilateral Friendship Treaty in 1994. HP Pavilion dv8000 battery

Although a similar bilateral friendship agreement was signed with Belarus in 1995, Lithuania has joined the United States and other European nations in urging the Government of Belarus to adopt democratic and economic reforms.

Lithuania has established diplomatic relations with 149 countries.HP PAVILION DV6000 Battery

Military

The Lithuanian Armed Forces consist of ~15,000 active personnel (~2,400 of them – civilian) and are supported by 100,000 reserve forces. Conscription was ended in September 2008.

Lithuania's defence system is based on the concept of "total and unconditional defence" mandated by Lithuania's national Security Strategy. HP PAVILION DV8000 Battery

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.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ Battery

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.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Economy

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.HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

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%. HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Less than 2% of the population live beneath the poverty line. 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, HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

and Lithuania is expecting to switch to the euro on 1 January 2014.

Structurally, there is gradual but consistent shift towards a knowledge-based economy with special emphasis onbiotechnology (industrial and diagnostic) – major biotechnology producers in the Baltic countries are concentrated in Lithuania – as well as laser equipment. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ18 Battery

Also mechatronics and information technology (IT) are seen as prospective knowledge-based economy directions in Lithuania. In 2009 appeared "Barclays" bank IT centre in Lithuania. In 2010 IBM company with the Lithuanian government decided to set up a research center in here. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ21E Battery

Also Lithuanians opened the first solar cell plant in Lithuania. In 2010 "Western Union" here decided to establish money transfer centre. Lithuanian government strategy is as follows: Lithuanian economy is the production of high added value products and services.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

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 Eurostatdata, Lithuanian PPS GDP per capita stood at 61 per cent of the EU average in 2008. Lower wages have been a factor that in 2004 fueled emigration to wealthier EU countries,SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

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. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

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

  • The Port of Klaip?da is the only port in Lithuania.SONY VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery
  • Vilnius International Airport is the largest airport. It served 2 million passengers in 2008. Other airports include: Kaunas International Airport and Palanga International Airport.
  • Lithuania has an extensive network of motorways. The best known motorways are A1, connecting Vilnius with Klaipeda via Kaunas, as well as A2, connecting Vilnius and Panev?žys. SONY VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery
  • One of the most used is the European route E67 highway running from Warsaw to Tallinn, via Kaunas and Riga.
  • Lithuania received its first railway connection in the middle of the XIX century, when the Warsaw – Saint Petersburg Railway was constructed. SONY VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery
  • It included a stretch from Daugavpils via Vilnius and Kaunas to Virbalis. The first and only still operating in the Baltic states Kaunas Railway Tunnel was completed in 1860. Lithuanian Railways' main network consists of 1749 km of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 5?6 in) broad gauge railway of which 122 km are electrified. Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery
  • They also operate 22 km of standard gauge lines. The Trans-European standard gauge Rail Baltica railway, linking Helsinki – Tallinn – Riga – Kaunas – Warsaw and continuing on to Berlin is under construction now and by the end of 2013 will reach Kaunas.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery
  • Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant was 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.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery
    • Unit #2 was closed down on 31 December 2009. Proposals have been made to construct another nuclear power plant in Lithuania. Sony VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery
  • Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant is the only in the Baltic states power plant to be used for regulation of the power system’s operation with generating capacity of 900 MW. Other primary sources of Lithuania's electrical power are Elektr?nai Power Plant and Kaunas Hydroelectric Power Plant.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/T Battery
  • According to Speedtest.net website, as of 1 December 2010 Lithuania ranks second in the world by the internet upload speed and download speed, schools and corporations ignored. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ180E Battery

Demographics

Since the Neolithic period the native inhabitants of the Lithuanian territory have not been replaced by any other ethnic group, so there is a high probability that the inhabitants of present day Lithuania have preserved the genetic composition of their forebears relatively undisturbed by the major demographic movements,SONY VAIO VGN-FZ220E Battery

although without being actually isolated from them. The Lithuanian population appears to be relatively homogeneous, without apparent genetic differences among ethnic subgroups.

A 2004 analysis of MtDNA in a Lithuanian population revealed that Lithuanians are close to (Indo-European) and Uralic-speaking populations of Northern Europe. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ340E Battery

Y-chromosome SNP haplogroupanalysis showed Lithuanians to be closest to Latvians, Estonians, and Finns.

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). The median age was 39.3 years (male: 36.8, female: 41.9). SONY VAIO VGN-FZ460E Battery

Ethnic groups

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 asPoles (6.1%), Russians (4.9%), and Belarusians (1.1%).SONY VAIO VGN-FZ480E Battery

Ethnic composition of the Lithuanian population (2010 data by the Statistical Department)

  • Lithuanians – 83,1 % (2,765,600)
  • Poles – 6.0 % (201,500)
  • Russians – 4.8 % (161,700)
  • Belarusians – 1.1 % (35,900)SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31E Battery
  • Ukrainians – 0.6 % (19,700)
  • Germans – 0.1 % (3,200)
  • Jews – 0.1 % (3,200.)
  • Tatars – 0.1 % (2,800)
  • Latvians – 0.1 % (2,300)SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31B Battery
  • Roma – 0.1 % (2,400)
  • Other ethnic group – 0.2 % (8,200)
  • Unspecified - 3,7 % (122,500)

Poles are the largest minority, concentrated in southeast Lithuania (the Vilnius region). SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31J Battery

Russians are the second largest minority, concentrated mostly in two cities. They constitute sizeable minorities in Vilnius (14%) and Klaip?da (28%), and a majority in the town of Visaginas (52%). About 3,000 Roma live in Lithuania, mostly in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Panev?žys; their organizations are supported by the National Minority and Emigration Department. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31M Battery

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.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31Z Battery

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.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ38M Battery

Schools where Russian and Polish are the primary languages of education exist in the areas populated by these minorities.

Health

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.SONY VGP-BPS8 Battery

The annual population growth rate increased by 0.3% in 2007. At 30.4 people per 100,000, Lithuania has seen a dramatic rise in suicides in the post-soviet years, and now records the third highest suicide rate in the world, down from the first in 1995, when it had the highest suicide rate of 45.6 per 100,000 of population in recorded world history.SONY VGP-BPS13/S Battery

Lithuania also has the highesthomicide rate in the EU.

Religion

In 2005, 79% of Lithuanians belonged to the Roman Catholic Church. The Church has been the majority denomination since the Christianisation of Lithuania in the end of 14th century and beginning of 15th century. SONY VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

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 the total population, although Lutheranism has declined since 1945. SONY VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

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.SONY VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

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 the Grand Duchy of Lithuania while continuing their traditions and religious beliefs.SONY VGP-BPS13AS Battery

  • Roman Catholic – 79.0% (2 752,5 thousand)
  • Orthodox – 4.1% (141,8 thousand.)
  • Old Believers – 0.8% (27,1 thousand.)
  • Evangelical Lutherans – 0.6% (19,6 thousand.)
  • Reformed Church – 0.2% (7,1 thousand.)
  • Jehovah's Witnesses – 0.1% (3,5 thousand.)Dell Inspiron 1320n Battery
  • Muslim Sunni – 0.1% (2,9 thousand.)
  • Charismatics – 0.06% (2,2 thousand.)
  • Pentecostalism – 0.04% (1,3 thousand.)
  • Judaism – 0.04% (1,3 thousand.)SONY VGP-BPS13AS Battery
  • Old Baltic religion – 0.04% (1,3 thousand.)
  • Other religions – 0.3% (11 thousand.)

According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005, 49% of Lithuanian citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", 36% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force", and 12% said that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".Dell Inspiron 1320n Battery

Education

The first documented school in Lithuania was established in 1387 at Vilnius Cathedral. The school network was influenced by the Christianization of Lithuania. Dell Studio 1450 Battery

Several types of schools were present in medieval Lithuania – cathedral schools, where pupils were prepared forpriesthood; parish schools, offering elementary education; and home schools dedicated to educating the children of the Lithuanian nobility.Dell Studio 1457 Battery

Before Vilnius Universitywas established in 1579, Lithuanians seeking higher education attended universities in foreign cities, including Cracow, Prague, and Leipzig, among others. During the Interbellum a national university – Vytautas Magnus University was founded in Kaunas.Dell Latitude D610 Battery

The Lithuanian Ministry of Science and Education proposes national educational policies and goals. These are sent to the Seimas for ratification. Laws govern long-term educational strategy along with general laws on standards for higher education, vocational training, law and science, adult education, and special education.Dell Studio 1457 Battery

County administrators, municipal administrators, and school founders (including non-governmental organizations, religious organizations, and individuals) are responsible for implementing these policies. By constitutional mandate, ten years of formal enrollment in an educational institution is mandatory, ending at age 16.Toshiba Satellite M60 battery

26 percent of the 1999 state budget was allocated to education expenses. Primary and secondary schools receive funding from the state via their municipal or county administrations. The Constitution of Lithuania guarantees tuition-free attendance at public institutions of higher education for students deemed 'good';Dell Latitude D830 Battery

the number of such students has varied over the past decade, with 68 percent exempted from tuition fees in 2002.

The World Bank designates the literacy rate of Lithuanian persons aged 15 years and older as 100%.Dell Latitude D620 Battery

As of 2008, 30.4% of the population aged 25 to 64 had completed tertiary education; 60.1% had completed upper secondary and post-secondary (non-tertiary) education. 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. Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Battery

Also, 90% of Lithuanians speak at least one foreign language and half of the population speaks two foreign languages, mostly Russian and English.

As with other Baltic nations, in particular Latvia, the large volume of higher education graduates within the country, coupled with the high rate of spoken second languages is contributing to an education brain drain.Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

Many Lithuanians are choosing to emigrate seeking higher earning employment and studies throughout Europe. Since their inception in to the European Union in 2004, Lithuania's population has fallen by approximately 180,000 people.

As of 2008, there were 15 public universities in Lithuania, 6 private institutions, 16 public colleges, and 11 private colleges. Sony VGN-FW11M Battery

Vilnius University is one of theoldest 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,Sony VGN-FW139E/H battery

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, Klaip?Dell Latitude E5400 Battery

da University, Lithuanian Veterinary Academy, Lithuanian University of Agriculture, Siauliai University and Vilnius Academy of Arts.

Culture

Culturally Lithuania (and some of neighboring territory) is divided into the following regions:Dell Latitude E4200 Battery

  • Aukštaitija – literally, the "Highlands"
  • Samogitia (Lithuanian: Žemaitija, Samogitian: Žemait?j?) – literally, the "Lowlands"
  • Dz?kija (Lithuanian: Dz?kija or Dainava)
  • Suvalkija (Lithuanian: Suvalkija or S?duva) Dell Inspiron 300M Battery
  • Lithuania Minor also known as "Prussian Lithuania" – (Lithuanian: Mažoji Lietuva or Pr?s? Lietuva). The region was part of Prussia from the Middle Ages until 1945. Most of it today is part of Russia(Kaliningrad Oblast).

Art and museums

The Lithuanian Art Museum was founded in 1933 and is the largest museum of art conservation and display in Lithuania.Dell Studio 1737 battery

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 ?iurlionis (1875–1911), an internationally renowned musician. Dell Inspiron E1505 battery

The 2420 ?iurlionis asteroid, identified in 1975, honors his achievements. The M. K. ?iurlionis National Art Museum, as well as the only in Lithuania military Vytautas the Great War Museum are located in Kaunas.

Literature

A wealth of Lithuanian literature was written in Latin, the main scholarly language in the Middle Ages. Dell RM791 battery

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.Acer Aspire One battery 10400mAh

In 1547 Martynas Mažvydascompiled 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. SONY VGN -FZ210CE Battery

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.Toshiba Satellite L305 Battery

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 Vali?nas, Maironis, Simonas Stanevi?ius, Simonas Daukantas, and Antanas Baranauskas.Toshiba Satellite T4900 Battery

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 Ma?ernis and others.Toshiba PA3399U-2BRS battery

Music

Lithuanian musical tradition tr

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

Sports

Basketball is the most popular sport in the country. The country has both professional and developmental leagues, and its national basketball team has had success in international play, ranked fifth in FIBA standings. It has produced several NBA players past and present. Sony VGP-BPS9 battery

Arvydas Sabonis, Šar?nas Mar?iulionis, Linas Kleiza,Šar?nas Jasikevi?ius, and Žydr?nas Ilgauskas have played on the national team, as well as in the NBA and in European basketball. Lithuania will be hostingEuroBasket 2011, for the second time in its history.Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

Other popular athletes include professional ice hockey players Darius Kasparaitis (defenseman) and Dainius Zubrus (attacking right wing). Both have had stellar NHLcareers.

The most famous Lithuanian sportsman abroad is Žydr?nas Savickas. He is one of the world's foremost strongmen, having won a number of major strongman competitions. Sony VGP-BPS22 battery

He is currently nominated as the Strongest Man in the World.

Other notable Lithuanian athletes are Ignatas Konovalovas in professional cycling, and Marius Zaromskis of mixed martial arts. Virgilijus Alekna, one of world topdiscus throwers. Sony VGP-BPL8 battery

He holds an Olympic record and has won two consecutive Olympic gold medals. Ri?ardas Berankis is the top ranked Lithuanian tennis player.

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. Sony VGP-BPS14 battery

It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic Baltic tribes from Aukštaitija.  The duchy later expanded to include large portions of the former Kievan Rus' and other Slavic lands, covering the territory of present-day Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and parts of Estonia, Moldova, Poland and Russia. Sony VGP-BPS21 battery

At its greatest extent in the 15th century, it was the largest state in Europe. It was a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state with great diversity in languages, religion, and cultural heritage.

Consolidation of the Lithuanian lands began in the late 12th century. Toshiba Satellite A200 Battery

Mindaugas, the first ruler of Grand Duchy, was crowned as Catholic King of Lithuania in 1253. The pagan state was targeted in the religious crusade by the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order. The multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state emerged only at the late reign of Gediminas and continued to expand under his son Algirdas.Toshiba Satellite M300 Battery

Algirdas's successorJogaila signed the Union of Kreva in 1386, bringing two major changes in the history of Grand Duchy of Lithuania: conversion into Catholicismand establishment of a dynastic union between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.Toshiba Satellite 1200 Battery

The reign of Vytautas the Great marked both the greatest territorial expansion of the Grand Duchy and defeat of the Teutonic Knights in theBattle of Grunwald in 1410. It also marked the rise of the Lithuanian nobility. After Vytautas's death, Lithuania's relationship with the Kingdom of Poland greatly deteriorated.SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

Lithuanian noblemen, including the Radziwi??s, attempted to break the personal union with Poland.However, the unsuccessful Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars with the Grand Duchy of Moscow forced the union to remain intact. Eventually, the Union of Lublinof 1569 created a new state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

In this federation, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania maintained its political distinctiveness and had a separate government, laws, army, and treasury. The Commonwealth failed to prevent territorial losses to expanding Russia. After a series of devastating wars, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was partitioned among the Russian Empire, Prussia andAustria in 1795.SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

Names

According to the Statutes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania the complete name of the state is Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Russia andSamogitia.

The title of "Grand Duchy" was consistently applied to Lithuania from the 14th century onward.SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

Establishment of the state

The first written reference to Lithuania is found in the Quedlinburg Chronicle, which dates from 1009. In the 12th century, Slavic chronicles refer to Lithuania as one of the areas attacked by the Rus'. At first pagan Lithuanians paid tribute to Polotsk, but soon grew in strength and organized their own small-scale raids. SONY VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

At some point between 1180 and 1183 the situation began to change, and the Lithuanians started to organize sustainable military raids on the Slavic provinces, raiding the Principality of Polotsk as well as Pskov, and even threatening Novgorod. The sudden spark of military raids marked consolidation of the Lithuanian lands in Aukštaitija.SONY VGP-BPS21/S Battery

The Livonian Order and Teutonic Knights, crusading military orders, were established in Riga in 1202 and in Prussia in 1226. The Christian orders posed a significant threat to pagan Baltic tribes and further galvanized the formation of the state. The peace treaty with Galicia–Volhynia of 1219 provides evidence of cooperation between Lithuanians and Samogitians. SONY VGP-BPS21B Battery

This treaty lists 21 Lithuanian dukes, including five senior Lithuanian dukes fromAukštaitija (Živinbudas, Daujotas, Vilikaila, Dausprungas and Mindaugas) and several dukes from Samogitia. Although they had battled in the past, the Lithuanians and the Samogitians now faced a common enemy.SONY VGP-BPS21A Battery

Likely Živinbudas had most authority and at least several dukes were from the same families. The formal acknowledgment of common interests and the establishment of a hierarchy among the signatories of the treaty foreshadowed the emergence of the state.SONY VGP-BPS21 Battery

Kingdom of Lithuania

Mindaugas, duke of southern Lithuania,  was among the five senior dukes, mentioned in the treaty with Galicia–Volhynia. According to the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle, by mid-1230s Mindaugas acquired supreme power in the whole of Lithuania.Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

In 1236, the Samogitians, led by Vykintas, defeated the Livonian Order in the Battle of Saule. The Order was forced to become a branch of theTeutonic Knights in Prussia. That meant that Samogitia, a strip of land that separated Livonia from Prussia, became the main target of both orders. Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

The battle provided a break in the wars with the Knights and Lithuania exploited this situation, arranging attacks towards the Ruthenian provinces and annexing Navahrudak and Hrodna.

In 1248 a civil war broke out between Mindaugas and his nephews Tautvilas and Edivydas. The powerful coalition against Mindaugas included Vykintas, the Livonian Order, Daniel of Galicia, and Vasilko of Volhynia. Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

Mindaugas, taking advantage of internal conflicts, allied with the Livonian Order. He promised to convert to Christianity and gift some lands in western Lithuania in exchange for military assistance against his nephews and the royal crown. In 1251 Mindaugas was baptized andPope Innocent IV issued a papal bull, proclaiming the creation of the Kingdom of Lithuania. Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

After the civil war ended, Mindaugas was crowned as King of Lithuania on July 6, 1253, starting a decade of relative peace. Mindaugas tried to expand his influence in Polatsk, a major center of commerce in theDaugava River basin, and Pinsk. The Teutonic Knights used this period to strengthen its position in parts of Samogitia and Livonia,SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

but lost the Battle of Skuodas in 1259 and the Battle of Durbe in 1260. These losses encouraged conquered Semigallians and Prussians to rebel against the Knights.

Encouraged by Treniota, Mindaugas broke the peace with the Order, possibly relapsed into his old beliefs, and allied with Alexander Nevsky of Novgorod. He hoped to unite all Baltic tribes under the Lithuanian leadership. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31E Battery

As military campaigns were not successful, the relationships between Mindaugas and Treniota deteriorated. Treniota together with Daumantas assassinated Mindaugas and his two sons, Ruklys and Rupeikis, in 1263. The state lapsed into years of internal fights.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31B Battery

Rise of the Gediminids

From 1263 to 1269, Lithuania had three Grand Dukes – Treniota, Vaišvilkas, and Svarn. However, the state did not disintegrate and Traidenis came to power in 1269. He strengthened Lithuanian control in Black Ruthenia and fought with the Livonian Order, winning the Battle of Karuse in 1270 and the Battle of Aizkraukle in 1279. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31M Battery

There is considerable uncertainty about the identities of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania between Traidenis' death in 1282 and Vytenis' assumption of power in 1295. During this time the Orders finalized their conquests. In 1274 the Great Prussian Rebellion ended, and the Teutonic Knights proceeded to conquer other Baltic tribes: SONY VAIO VGN-FW31Z Battery

the Nadruvians and Skalvians in 1274–1277, and the Yotvingians in 1283; the Livonian Order completed its conquest of Semigalia, the last Baltic ally of Lithuania, in 1291. The Orders could now turn their full attention to Lithuania. The "buffer zone" composed of other Baltic tribes had disappeared, and Grand Duchy of Lithuania was left to battle the Orders on its own.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

Gediminids dynasty has ruled Grand Duchy of Lithuania for several centuries, and Vytenis was the first ruler from the dynasty. His reign saw constant warfare with the Order, the Kingdom of Poland, and Ruthenia. Vytenis was involved in succession disputes in Poland, supporting Boleslaus II of Masovia, who was married to a Lithuanian duchess Gaudemunda.Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

In Ruthenia, Vytenis managed to recapture lands lost after the assassination of Mindaugas and capture the principalities of Pinsk and Tura?. In the struggle against the Order, Vytenis allied with citizens of Riga. Securing positions in Riga strengthened trade routes and provided a base for further military campaigns towards. Dell Inspiron Mini 12 battery

Around 1307, Polotsk, an important trading center, was annexed by military force. Vytenis also began the construction of defensive castle network along the Neman River. Gradually this network developed into the main defensive line against the Teutonic Order.Dell Inspiron 1720 battery

Territorial expansion

The expansion reached its heights under Gediminas, who created a strong central government and established an empire, which later spread from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. In 1320, most of the principalities of Western Rus' were either vassaled or annexed by Lithuania.Dell Inspiron 1564 battery

In 1321 Gediminas captured Kievsending Stanislav, the last Rurikid to ever rule Kiev, into exile. Gediminas also re-established the permanent capital of Grand Duchy of Lithuania inVilnius , which was presumably moved from Trakai in 1323. Some researches, including 16th century Maciej Stryjkowski claim thatNavahrudak was the capital of the 13th century state.Dell Inspiron 1464 battery

Lithuania was in an ideal position to inherit the western and the southern parts of Kievan Rus'. While almost every other state around it had been plundered or defeated by the Mongols, their hordes stopped at the modern borders of Belarus and most of the territory of Grand Duchy of Lithuania was left untouched. Dell XPS 1340 battery

The expansion of Lithuania was also accelerated because of the weak control the Mongols had over the areas they had conquered. Rus' principalities were never incorporated directly into the Golden Horde. Instead, they were always vassal states with a fair degree of independence. Dell INSPIRON 9100 battery

The rise of Lithuania occurred at the ideal time when they could expand while meeting very little resistance in the territories populated by East Slavs and only limited opposition from the Mongols.

But Grand Duchy of Lithuania was not built only on military aggression, as its existence always  depended on diplomacy just as much as on arms.Dell Inspiron N4010 battery

Most, while not all, cities it annexed were never defeated in battle but agreed to be vassals of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Since most of them were already vassals of the Golden Horde or of the Grand Prince of Moscow, such a decision was not one of giving up independence but rather of exchanging one master for another. Dell N3010 battery

This can be seen in the case of Novgorod, which was often brought into the Lithuanian sphere of influence and became an occasional dependency of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Rather, Lithuanian control was the result of internal frictions within the city, which attempted to escape submission to Moscovia. HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA battery

This method of building the state was, however, unstable. The change of internal politics within a city could pull it out of Lithuania's control, as happened on a number of occasions with Novgorod and other East-Slavic cities.

Union with Poland

Lithuania was Christianized in 1387. Christianization was led by Jogaila, who personally translated Christian prayers into the Lithuanian language.HP Pavilion DM4 battery

The state reached a peak under Vytautas the Great, who reigned from 1392 to 1430. Vytautas was one of the most famous rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He was the Grand Duke from 1401–1430, also the Prince of Hrodna (1370–1382) and the Prince of Lutsk(1387–1389). HP Pavilion DM3 battery

Vytautas was the son of K?stutis, cousin of Jogaila, who became King of Poland in 1386, and grandfather of Vasili II of Moscow. In 1410, Vytautas himself commanded the forces of the Grand Duchy in the Battle of Grunwald. The battle ended in a decisive Polish-Lithuanian victory against theTeutonic Order.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

Vytautas backed economic development of his state and introduced many reforms. Under his rule, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania slowly became more centralized, as the governors loyal to Vytautas replaced local princes with dynastic ties to the throne. The governors were rich landowners who formed the basis for the nobility of Grand Duchy of Lithuania.HP DV9700 battery

During Vytautas' rule, the Radziwi?? and Goštautasfamilies started to gain influence.

The speedy expansion of Moscovia's influence soon put it into a position to rival Grand Duchy of Lithuania, however, and after the annexation of Novgorod in 1478, Moscovia was unquestionably  the preeminent state in Northeastern Europe. HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

Between 1492 and 1508, Ivan III, after winning the key Battle of Vedrosha, regained such ancient lands of Rus as Chernigov and Bryansk.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The loss of land to Moscow and the continued pressure threatened the survival of the state of Lithuania, HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 battery

so it was forced to ally more closely with Poland, uniting with its western neighbor as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Commonwealth of Two Nations) in the Union of Lublin of 1569. According to the Union many of the territories formerly controlled by the largely Ruthenized Grand Duchy of Lithuania were transferred to the Crown of the Polish Kingdom,HP Pavilion ZD8227 battery

while the gradual process of Polonization slowly drew Lithuania itself under Polish domination. The Grand Duchy retained many rights in the federation(including a separate government, treasury and army) until the May Constitution of Poland was passed in 1791.HP Compaq Business Notebook TC4400 battery

Partitions and the Napoleonic period

Following the Partitions of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, most of the lands of the former Grand Duchy were directly annexed by the Russian Empire rather than attached to the Kingdom of Poland, a rump state in personal union with Russia. HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL battery

However, in 1812, soon before the French invasion of Russia, the lands of the former Grand Duchy revolted against the Russians. Soon after his arrival to Vilnius, Napoleon proclaimed the creation of a Commissary Provisional Government of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which in turn renewed the Polish-Lithuanian Union.Compaq Presario 300 battery

However, the union was never formalized as only half a year later Napoleon's Grande Armée was pushed out of Russia and forced to retreat further westwards. In December 1812, Vilnius was recaptured by Russian forces, bringing all plans of recreation of the Grand Duchy to an end. HP Compaq Business Notebook 6735S battery

Demographics

In 1260 the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the land of Lithuania, and ethnic Lithuanians formed majority (67.5%) of its 0.4 million population. HP Pavilion DV2820EA battery

With the acquisition of new Ruthenian territories, in 1340 this portion decreased to 30% By the time of the largest expansion towards Rus' lands, which came at the end of the 13th and during the 14th century, the territory of the GDL was 800 to 930 thousand km2, just 10% to 14% of which was ethnically Lithuanian.HP Pavilion DV6373EA battery

An estimate of the population in the territory of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania together gives a population at 7.5 million for 1493, breaking them down by ethnicity at 3.75 million Ruthenians(ethnic Ukrainians, Belarusians), 3.25 million Poles and 0.5 million Lithuanians.HP Compaq 572190-001 battery

With the Union of Lublin, 1569, Lithuanian Grand Duchy lost large part of lands to the Polish Crown.

See also: Demographics of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

In the mid and late 17th century, due to Russian and Swedish invasions, there was much devastation and population loss on throughout the GDL, including ethnic Lithuanian population in Vilnius surroundings.Compaq Presario CQ50-105EL battery

Besides devastation, Ruthenian population declined proportionally after the territorial losses to Russian Empire. By 1770 there were about 4.84 million inhabitants in the territory of 320 thousand km2, the biggest part of whom were inhabitants of Ruthenia and about 1.39 million or 29% – of ethnic Lithuania.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

During the following decades, the population decreased in a result ofpartitions.

Languages

In the 13th century, the center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was inhabited by a majority which spoke Lithuanian, but it was not a written language till 16th century.Compaq Presario CQ71 battery

At the other parts of the duchy, especially in the economically better developed Belarus , the majority of population, including Ruthenian nobles and normal people used both spoken and written Ruthenian languages.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Nobles who migrated from one place to another would adapt to a new locality and adopt the local religion and culture and those Lithuanian noble families which moved to Slavic areas, took up the local culture quickly over subsequent generations. Compaq Presario CQ70 battery

Ruthenians were native to the center and south-eastern part of the GDL and since they were the major population in a wider area than a half of a whole after the Union of Lublin and in larger portions of a whole before the union, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a Slavic country in this sense.HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

The Ruthenian language was used to write laws alongside Latin and German. From the time of Vytautas, there are fewer remaining documents written in Ruthenian than there are in Latin and German, but later Ruthenian became the main language of documentation and writings. HP TouchSmart TX2-1150EG battery

In 16th century at the time of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth GDL lands became increasingly polonized over time and started to use the Polish language instead of Ruthenian language and was officially changed by Polish as the chancellery language of the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth in 1697. HP 520 battery

The voivodeships with the predominant ethnic Lithuanian population were Vilnius, Trakai and Samogitian voivodeships. In the southern part of Trakai voivodeship, and south-eastern part of Vilnius voivodeship there were many Belarusians too, in some of the south-eastern volosts they were the major linguistic group. Asus ADP-36EH C Adapter

In addition to Lithuanians and Ruthenians, other important ethnic groups on throughout the GDL were Jews and Tatars. Vilnius city population and its surroundings were multi-ethnic, among languages spoken here, there were Lithuanian, Polish, Belarusian, Yiddish, Germanalso Tatar, Karaim etc. Dell PA-10 Adapter

Official languages

The languages used the official documents and most of the paperwork of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were Ruthenian (East Slavonic; Old Belarusian or Old Ukrainian),and to a lesser extent (mostly in diplomatic communication) Latin, German and Polish.Delta ADP-90FB Adapter

Casimir's Code of 1468 and all three editions of Statutes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1529, 1566, and 1588) were written in Old Belarusian language. Statutes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were later translated into Latin and Polish. Ruthenian was used to correspond with Eastern countries; Latin and German were used in foreign affairs with Western countries.http://www.battery-pack.co.uk/

Polish was increasingly used as the Polish influence spread after the Union of Lublin. In 1697, Polish replaced Ruthenian as the chancellery language, but documents in Ruthenian were still written till the second half of the 18th century. Although usage of the Lithuanian language in ruling the state after Vytautas and Jogaila is disputed ,Delta ADP-90FB Adapter

it is believed  Grand Duke Alexander I could understand and speak Lithuanian, and the last Grand Duke Zygmunt August maintained both Polish- and Lithuanian-speaking courts. Since the times of Vytautas, and likely before that, Lithuanian was not a language of administration used by the authorities. Dell PA-10 Adapter

From the beginning of the 16th century, especially after an armed rebellion of Michael Glinski in 1508, there were attempts to change Ruthenian language to Latin. But Ruthenian language appeared to be ingrained, its educational structures were strong not only in Rus' part but also in ethnic Lithuania. Dell PA-12 Adapter

In a context of Polish language coming to GDL, Court Chancellor of the GDL Lew Sapieha, noted in a preface of the Third Statute of Lithuania (1588) that this code was written in the own, Ruthenian language.

Mikalojus Daukša in the preface, written in Polish, of his Postilla (1599) noted that many people, especially szlachta, preferred Polish to Lithuanian, and nevertheless most of them still knew Polish badly.Asus ADP-36EH C Adapter

Such atmosphere appeared in a context of political reforms of 1564–1566, by which political law structures of Polish type were created: local parliaments of szlachta members for election of candidates to the General sejm, local land courts, Tribunal, the appellate court.Dell Inspiron 6400 Adapter

The Polish language was tended to adopt as their own by the population of GDL following the royal court.

Lithuanian language situation

Lithuanian, Ruthenian and Polish languages were used as state languages of the GDL. Dell Inspiron 1520 Adapter

Vilnius, Trakai and Samogitian were the core voivodeships of the state , as evidenced by the privileged position of their governors in state authorities, such as the Council of Lords. Peasants in ethnic Lithuanian territories spoke exclusively Lithuanian, except transitional border regions, but the Statutes of Lithuania and other laws and documentation were written in Ruthenian.Dell Inspiron 1525 Charger

Following the royal court, there was tendency to replace Lithuanian with Polish in the ethnic Lithuanian areas, whereas Ruthenian was stronger in ethnic Belarusian and Ukrainian territories. There is Sigismund von Herberstein's note left, that there were in an ocean of Russian language in this part of Europe two non Russian regions: Lithuania and Samogitia. HP Pavilion DV6000 Adapter

Following the expansion of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the mid 14th century the adjective "Lithuanian", besides denoting an ethnic Lithuanian, from early times denoted any inhabitant of GDL, irrespective of ethnicity: a Ruthenian, a Jew, a Lithuanian . Dell Latitude D820 Charger

In the 18th century "Litvin"  meant Polish, Belarusian and Lithuanian speakers. Since an adjective Lithuanian was applied after a name of a state, the understanding of it varied depending on place. For example, in eastern Ukraine, around Poltava, "Litvin" was a person living in the other side of Desna River, Belarusian speaker. HP Pavilion DV9000 AC Adapter

At one point of the history of Grand Duchy of Lithuania, higher strata of Lithuanian society from ethnic Lithuania mostly spoke Polish, and from Belarus – Old Belarusian. Samogitia was exclusive through state in its economical situation – it lain near ports and there were less people under corvee, instead of that, many simple people were money payers. Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

As a result, the stratification of the society was not as sharp as in other areas. Being more similar to a simple population the local szlachta spoke Lithuanian to a bigger extent than in the areas close to the capital Vilnius, which itself had become a center of intensive linguistic Polonization. Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery

The last sermons in Lithuanian in one of Vilnius churches were stopped to say in 1738. In schooling, Latin language was being changed to Polish and Lithuanian language repudiated. It was not let into Vilnius University in the late 18th century, parochial and powiat school learning for Lithuanian speaking children through Lithuania was organized in Polish by people having offices in Vilnius.Sony VGP-BPS12 Battery

In such circumstances "Samogitians" were known as szlachta, besides Polish using Lithuanian too, and the mass of "Lithuanians", that is any citizens on throughout the state, were understood as mostly Polish speaking szlachta living in Vilnius and its surrounding area and Polish-Belarusian speaking Belarusian szlachta.Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery

There were texts written in the local Lithuanian language of the Vilnius area, lying south-eastwards from Vilnius, then called Lithuanian language, today called a dialect of EasternAukštaitian, appearing at the end of the 17th century, the beginning of the 18th century, but it did not become used widerly as a written language and disappeared.Dell Inspiron 1525 Battery

The main written language, not including Polish, used by Lithuanians as their own one, became a language, which was then called Samogitian language, today – a dialect of western Aukštaitian, and was spoken in the area starting about Nev?žis River lowland westwards from Aukštaitija.Dell XPS M1530 Battery

Military

Despite Lithuania's mainly peaceful acquisition of much of its Ruthenian holdings it could call upon military strength if needed and it was the only power inEastern Europe that could effectively contend with the Golden Horde. When the Golden Horde did try to prevent Lithuanian expansion they were often rebuffed.Dell Inspiron 6000 Battery

In 1333 and 1339 Lithuanians defeated large Mongol forces attempting to regain Smolensk from the Lithuanian sphere of influence. By about 1355, the State of Moldavia had formed. The Golden Horde did little to re-vassalize the area. In 1387, Moldavia became a vassal of Poland and in a broader sense, Lithuania.Dell Inspiron 9400 Battery

By this time, Lithuania had conquered territory of the Golden Horde all the way to the Dnieper River. In a crusade against the Golden Horde in 1398, (in an alliance with Tokhtamysh), Lithuania invaded northern Crimea and won a decisive victory. Then in 1399, Lithuania (intent on placing Tokhtamish on the Golden Horde throne) moved against the Horde.Dell latitude D600 Battery

In the Battle of the Vorskla River however, Lithuania was crushed by the Horde and lost the steppe region.

Religion and culture

After the baptism in 1252 and coronation of King Mindaugas in 1253, Lithuania was recognized as a Christian state until 1260, when Mindaugas supported an uprising in Courland and (according to the German order) renounced Christianity.Dell Inspiron 8600 Battery

Up until 1387, Lithuanian nobles professed their own religion, which was polytheistic. Ethnic Lithuanians were very dedicated to their faith. The pagan beliefs needed to be deeply entrenched to survive strong pressure from missionaries and foreign powers.Dell Latitude D610 Battery

Until the seventeenth century there were relics of old faith, like feeding žaltys or bringing food to graves of ancestors.

The lands of modern-day Belarus and Ukraine, as well as local dukes (princes) in these regions, were firmly OrthodoxChristian (Greek Catholic after the Union of Brest), though. Dell Inspiron 1520 Battery

While pagan beliefs in Lithuania were strong enough to survive centuries of pressure from military orders and missionaries, they did eventually succumb. In 1387, Lithuania converted toCatholicism, while most of the Ruthenian lands stayed Orthodox. Dell XPS M1710 Battery

There was an effort to polarize Orthodoxes after the Union of Brest in 1596, by which Orthodox Greek Catholics acknowledged papal authority and Catholic catechism, but preserved Orthodox liturgy. Country also became one of the major centers of reformation.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

In the second half of the 17h century Calvinism spread in Lithuania, supported by the families of Radziwi??, Chodkiewicz,Sapieha, Dorohostajski and others. By 1580s the majority of the senators from Lithuania were Calvinist or even Arians (Jan Kiszka).Dell XPS M1210 Battery

In 1579, Stefan Batory, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, founded Vilnius University, one of the oldest universities in Eastern Europe. Due to the work of the Jesuits during the Counter-Reformation the university soon developed into one of the most important scientific and cultural centers of the region and the most notable scientific center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.Apple A1185 Battery

The work of the Jesuits as well as conversions from among the Lithuanian senatorial families turned the tide and by 1670s Calvinism lost its former importance though it still retained some influence among the ethnically Lithuanian peasants and some middle nobility, by then thoroughly Polonized.Apple Powerbook G4 Battery

Legacy

According to some historians  (especially in Russia), one of the most crucial effects of Lithuanian rule was ethnic divisions amongst the inhabitants of former Kievan Rus'. From this point of view, the creation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania played a major role in the division of Eastern Slavs. Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch Battery

After the Mongolian conquest of Rus', Mongols attempted to keep Eastern Slavs unified and succeeded in conquering most of Ruthenian lands.

Prussian tribes (of Baltic origin) were attacking Masovia, and that was the reason Duke Konrad of Masovia invited the Teutonic Knights to settle near the Prussian area of settlement.Asus EEE PC Battery

The fighting between Prussians and the Teutonic Knights gave the more distant Lithuanian tribes time to unite. Because of strong enemies in the south and north, the newly formed Lithuanian state concentrated most of its military and diplomatic efforts on expansion eastward.Compaq V6000 Battery

The rest of former Ruthenian lands (Belarusian principalities) joined the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the very beginning. Some other lands in Ukraine were vassalized by Lithuania later. The subjugation of Eastern Slavs by two powers created substantial differences that persist to this day. HP 6715B Battery

According to this claim, while under Kievan Ruthenia there were certainly substantial regional differences, it was the Lithuanian annexation of much of southern and western Ruthenia that led to the permanent division between Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Russians.HP 6910P Battery

Others argue, that the ethnic and linguistic divisions amongst inhabitants of Ruthenia were not initiated by division of this area between Mongols andLithuania, and are older than the creation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. They state that until the twentieth century, HP NX6325 Battery

ethnic and linguistic frontiers between Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Russians coincided with no political borders.

Notwithstanding the above, Lithuania was a Kingdom under Mindaugas I, who was conditionally crowned by authority of Pope Innocent . HP NC6400 Battery

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