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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 [Russia] n [exclave] of [Kaliningrad] to the southwest. Its population is 3.32 million. Its [capital] and the 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 the [Grand Duchy of Lithuania] . 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 Empire] annexing most of Lithuania's territory.

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] then [Nazi Germany] . As [World War II] neared its end in 1944 and the Nazis retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first [Soviet republic] to [declare independence] .

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