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Lithuanian often makes use of diminutives to soften the connotation of words or make them more personal. The national symbol is Vytis, the white knight, sitting astride his horse and brandishing a sword; he symbolizes the nation's struggle to defend itself from intruders.
The national plant is rue, and the national bird is the stork.
Location: Eastern Europe, bordering Belarus 502 km, Latvia 453 km, Poland 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad) 227 km Capital: Vilnius Population: 3,505,738 (2014 est.) Ethnic Make-up: Lithuanian 80.6%, Russian 8.7%, Polish 7%, Belarusian 1.6%, other 2.1% Religions: Roman Catholic (primarily), Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical Christian Baptist, Muslim, Jewish Since 1991, the official language of Lithuania is the Baltic language of Lithuanian, a language closely related to Latvian.
More than 80% of the country's 3.8m population speaks Lithuanian as their first language.
There are more than eight thousand lakes, mostly in the uplands.
The capital, Vilnius, lies in the southwestern part of the country at the confluence of the Neris and Vilnia rivers.
Even when the national language was banned and reading or writing of books in the native tongue was forbidden, people were determined to spread their heritage and share their traditions.
The first Lithuanian state was established in 1230 after Duke Mindaugas united the tribes and lands in the area.
Among those demands were autonomy, equal rights for aliens within Russia, the construction of Lithuanian schools, freedom of worship, and the return of Suvalkija, which was controlled by the Poles.
Lithuanian is spoken by nearly everyone in the country except for a few Russians and Poles in Vilnius and in the extreme east and south.
It is a language with many words to describe a single idea.
The flag consists of horizontal stripes in yellow, green, and red; the colors symbolize nature (sun and trees) Emergence of the Nation.
The origin of the nation and the development of its culture were strongly influenced by foreign occupation of the country and are the result of the perceived need of the people to preserve something of their own.