History

For many centuries, the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania, and the first unified Lithuanian state, the Kingdom of Lithuania, was created on 6 July 1253.

At a time, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe as present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy. With the Lublin Union of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772–95, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory

As World War I neared its end, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, declaring the establishment of a sovereign State of Lithuania. 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 Germans withdrew, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence, resulting in the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania.
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