Lithuania is famous for being the first republic to gain independence from the former Soviet Union, on March 13, 1990. The country is located in Eastern Europe on the Baltic Sea. It is also known for its national parks and historical capital of Vilnius.
The Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in 1940 during World War II. A year later, the Germans overtook the country, and Lithuania was ruled by the Nazis until 1944. In 1944, the Soviet Union established communist rule, which would last until Lithuania's independence in 1990. Lithuania joined the United Nations in 1991 and the European Union in 2004.
There are five national parks located in Lithuania. Four were established in 1991 after the country gained independence. They are Trakai National Park, Zemaitija National Park, Dzukija National Park and Kursiu Nerija National Park. Aukstaitija National Park was established in 1974. Together, the parks comprise 2.3 percent of Lithuania's land.
Lithuania is located on the Baltic Coast and borders the countries of Belarus, Poland and Latvia and the Kaliningrad Oblast region of Russia. The majority of residents identify themselves as ethnic Lithuanians, with smaller Polish, Russian and Belarusian communities in the country. Approximately 79 percent of the country is Roman Catholic. The population is approximately 3,505,738, as of 2015.