(Lithuanian: Lietuva), officially the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublika) is a country in Northern Europe, the largest 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, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 3 million as of 2012, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. 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.
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 and then by Nazi Germany. As
World War II neared its end in 1944 and the Germans retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, the year before the break-up of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence.
Prior to the global financial crisis of 2007–2010 and now in its aftermath, Lithuania has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. Lithuania is a member of
NATO, the Council of
Europe, and the European Union. Lithuania is also a full member of the Schengen
Agreement. The United Nations Human Development Index lists Lithuania as a "Very High
Human Development" country. Lithuania will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2013.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces is the name for the unified armed forces of Lithuanian Land Force, Lithuanian Air Force, Lithuanian Naval Force, Lithuanian Special Operations Force and other units: Logistics Command, Training and Doctrine Command, Headquarters Battalion, Military Police. Directly subordinated to the Chief of Defence are the Special Operations Forces and Military Police. The Reserve Forces are under command of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces consist of some 15,000 active personnel, which may be supported by reserve forces. The compulsory conscription service has ended in 2008 and Lithuania has moved on to rely solely on the professional armed forces. The Lithuanian Armed Forces currently have deployed personnel on international missions in Afghanistan (over 200), Kosovo and
In March 2004, Lithuania became a full member of the NATO. Since then, fighter jets of NATO members are deployed in Zokniai
airport and provide safety for the Baltic airspace – an inseparable part of NATO airspace.
Since the summer of 2005 Lithuania has been part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF), leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the town of Chaghcharan in the province of Ghor. The PRT includes personnel from Denmark, Iceland and USA. There are also special operation forces units in Afghanistan. They are placed in Kandahar province. Since joining international operations in 1994 Lithuania has lost two soldiers. 1st Lt. Normundas Valteris fell in Bosnia, as his patrol vehicle drove over a
mine. Sgt. Arūnas Jarmalavičius was fatally wounded during an attack on the camp of his Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan.
The Lithuanian National Defence Policy aims to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land, territorial waters, airspace and its constitutional order. At the moment the main strategic goals is to be able to defend the country's interests and maintain the armed forces which would be ready to contribute, cooperate and participate with the other armed forces of NATO and
European Union member states, and also increase their further capability to participate in NATO missions.
The defence ministry is responsible for combat forces, search and rescue, and intelligence operations. The 5,000 border guards fall under the Interior Ministry's supervision and are responsible for border protection, passport and customs duties, and share responsibility with the navy for smuggling and drug trafficking interdiction. A special security department handles VIP protection and communications security.
The Lithuanian Navy is the naval arm of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Though formally established on 1 August 1935 its roots stretch back as far as naval engagements on the Baltic Sea in the Medieval period. Lithuanian naval units saw some service with Soviet naval forces during World War II, and the navy has been re-established in its own right and continues to expand since Lithuania's independence in 1990.
Although the origin of the Lithuanian Navy dates back to the period between World War I and II, the history of the involvement in naval battles existed earlier. The Baltic tribe of Aistians that settled down in the Baltic Sea shore built ships and used them for trade as well as for military purposes. Furthermore, according to annals, in the 13th century other Baltic tribes, the Coronians and Samogitians, tried to destroy the castle of Riga coming by ships. It is also known about the Lithuanians’ victory in the ship battle in Nemunas River at the time when Duke Vytenis ruled the Duchy of Lithuania. The most known and important naval victory was achieved by great hetman Jan Karol Chodkiewicz on 24 March 1609 near Salismünde (now Salacgrīva in Latvia) where he defeated Swedish fleet burning two enemy ships and losing none and hence breaking the blockade of Riga city. But generally the loss of territories near the Baltic Sea had a negative impact on Lithuanian's maritime
After World War I, the Government of Lithuania attempted to establish a maritime defense force. However, due to various political and economical reasons, the maritime defense force was only partially implemented. In 1923, Lithuania regained the control of Klaipėda harbor and gradual development of the maritime defense force started. The purchase of a minesweeper in 1927 was one of the first significant steps to implement Lithuanian Government aims. The ship was commissioned as the training ship Prezidentas Smetona (President Smetona). Captain Antanas Kaskelis was assigned as ship's commanding officer. Several small boats carried out patrol duties in Klaipėda harbor. Naval officers were educated abroad. On 1 August 1935, the commander in chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, General Stasys Rastikis, officially established the Lithuanian Navy as a branch of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
The impact of World War II
Before the beginning of World War II on 22 March 1939 the region of Klaipėda was occupied by Germany. Once the war started Lithuanian naval ships were forced to leave Klaipėda for Liepāja harbor in Latvia. During the Soviet occupation, the Lithuanian Navy was attached to the Soviet Union's Baltic maritime defense force. The Prezidentas Smetona was renamed Korall and participated in the sea battles against the German Navy. On 11 January 1945, the ship triggered a mine and sank in the Gulf of Finland.
Development after the declaration of independence
After the declaration of independence on 11 March 1990, Lithuania had to re-establish its sovereignty as well as organize the state's defense system. From that time the units of the Lithuanian armed forces were formed. On 4 July 1992, the Lithuanian Navy was re-established. Juozapas Algis Leisis was appointed as commander of the Coast Guard Squadron.
In the fall of 1992, the Lithuanian Navy procured two Grisha class corvettes, Zemaitis (F11) and Aukstaitis (F12). After the crew training period in June 1992 both frigates participated in the international exercise US Baltops 93. This was the beginning of the international cooperation of the Lithuanian Navy with other
Another milestone in Lithuanian naval history was the establishment of the Sea Coastal Surveillance Company in 1993 which later was transformed into the Sea Coastal Surveillance Service. On 1 April 2004, Lithuania became an official member of the NATO alliance. Currently the Lithuanian naval forces are undergoing rapid modernization.
Function - Main tasks of the Lithuanian Naval Force are:
* Control, protect and defend territorial sea and exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Lithuania;
* Underwater, surface surveillance and control of territorial waters;
* Mine-clearing operations;
* Antiterrorism activities at sea;
*Protection and control of shipping and sea line of communications;
* SAR search and rescue operations
capital Vilnius - Youtube
center of Europe - Youtube
Rock Desert, Nevada
Utah - History
- West Pier
York - Au
- Central America
- S. America
- Sri Lanka
Isle of Wight
Beach - Florida USA
of Wight - The
England - Sandgate
Eye - Madame
- The City
- Tower Bridge
Empire - Central America
Sands - Carmarthen
Moresby - PNG
Said - Egypt
Lake City - Utah
Lanka - Links
- Polynesia - Links
- Lesser Antilles
- United Arab Emirates
Kingdom - Gov
- South America
heartwarming adventure: Pirate
whalers V Conservationists,
release as an e-book in 2013/14 with hopes for a film in