The Republic of Lithuania is a Baltic state that lies in northeastern Europe on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. Of the three Baltic States, Lithuania is the largest and the southernmost part, sharing land borders with Latvia, Belarus, Poland, and Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia. From the 14th to the 16th-century, the nation ruled much of eastern Europe until it joined the Polish-Lithuanian confederation.
A developed, high-income nation with an advanced economy, Lithuania ranks very high in the Human Development Index. Its economic growth of an average of 8% per annum for consecutive years before 2008 was fueled by exports and domestic demand. However, Lithuania, along with the other Baltic states had the worst economic downfall in the world during the global economic recession in 2008-2009. The country’s GDP plummeted about 15% in 2009. In that same year, Lithuania implemented a high-profile campaign intended to pull foreign investment and widen its export markets. Support from international governments and enterprises has helped Lithuania’s transition to a market-based economy.
Lithuania’s major trading partners are Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia, and Germany. It exports petroleum, machinery, food, textile, automobile parts, and other transport equipment. Meanwhile, it imports crude petroleum, chemical products, metals, and food commodities.
Before the euro, the country used litas as the official currency. The monetary unit was first introduced in 1922 and was replaced by the Russian ruble during the Soviet occupation. It was reintroduced in 1993 until January 2015 when the country adopted the euro. Lithuanian litas banknotes were 135 x 65 mm in size except for the 500-litu paper bill. Initially, there were printed by the United States Banknote Corporation and later on by Thomas De La Rue and Giesecke & Devrient. They feature significant personalities such as national heroes Steponas Darius and Stasys Girenas, romantic poet Maironis, the Father of Independence Jonas Basanavicius, Simonas Daukantas, philosopher Vydunas, and writer Vincas Kudirka.