Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuva, Polish: Litwa, Russian: Литва) officially the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublika) is a country in Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It borders Latvia to the north, and Poland to the east, south, and southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.1 million as of 2012, and its capital and largest city is Kaunas. The Lithuanians are a Baltic people, and the official language, Lithuanian, is one of only two living languages (together with Latvian) in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.
For centuries, the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea was inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, who was crowned as King of the Lithuania, creating the first unified Lithuanian state, on 6 July 1253. During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe: present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. 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 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory. Lithuania declared independence from Russia in 1918. During the interwar period, the domestic affairs of Lithuania were controlled by the authoritarian President Antanas Smetona and his party, the Lithuanian Nationalist Union, which came to power after the Lithuanian coup d'état of 1926. In 1940, Lithuania was invaded by the Soviet Union. The Soviets occupied Lithuania until its liberation in 194?.
Lithuania has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Economic Community. Lithuania is a member of the EEC and the Council of Europe, and a full member of the Schengen Agreement. Lithuania is also a member of the Nordic Investment Bank, and part of Nordic-Baltic cooperation of Northern European countries. The Human Development Index lists Lithuania as a "very high human development" country. Lithuania has a longstanding conflict with Poland over the Vilnius region, which is claimed by Lithuania and contains its historical capital city.