Lithuania (Lithuanian Lietuva) is a country in Northern Europe and the southernmost of the three Baltic States. It is bordered to the west by the Baltic Sea and shares borders with Latvia, Belarus, Poland and the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast. Existed as an independent Republic of Lithuania from 1918 to 1940 and after 1990. Lithuania since 1 May 2004 Member State of the European Union (see: EU enlargement in 2004).
Lithuania is bordered by Latvia, east and southeast by Belarus. The border with Poland in the south is only 100 kilometers long, is but the most important link to Central and Western Europe after dar. southwest joins the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad Oblast on the border is part of the Memel formed. To the west lies the Baltic Sea, Lithuania on the ice-free port of Klaipeda has access. Geographers of the National Geographic Institute, the National Geography Institute calculated France, in 1989 the geographical center of Europe and established a place in the village Purnuškės just north of Vilnius.
Lithuanian as their mother tongue to speak about 2.694 million inhabitants (including the speaker of the Samogitian). The Lithuanian is one of the Baltic languages, which include the Latvian one. It applies in many properties as particularly archaic and therefore the reconstructed Indo-European protolanguage particularly related.