Lithuania is one of Europe’s youngest nations and home to Vilnius, Eastern Europe’s oldest town. Situated on the eastern side of the Baltic Sea, it borders Latvia on the north, Belarus on the east and Poland on the west.
Lithuania was originally founded back in the 13th Century when two military and religious orders, the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, began to invade the area. In order to protect themselves against the Knights, the Lithuanians had to form a unified state.
It was only until the 1990’s that Lithuania finally started to become a fully independent state from Russia. The process began with the parliament finally declaring independence from the Soviet Union in March 1990. Then in February 1991 a referendum was passed on independence, which was recognised by the Soviet the following September. The following year the last Russian troops left.
Lithuanians make up 80% of the population, with Russians, Belarusians and Polish making up most of the remaining 20%. Its strongest industries are shipbuilding, food processing and the manufacturing of machine tools and electrical goods.