Lithuania's post-World War I independence ended with annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940. Fifty years later, in 1990, Lithuania reclaimed its independence, even before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. By 2004, Lithuania had become a member of both the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Ethnic Lithuanians are the dominant group in the country, comprise 83.4 percent of the population, but there also are small groups of Polish (6.7 percent) and Russians (6.3 percent). Almost 80 percent of Lithuanians are Roman Catholic. By 2008, 67 percent of Lithuanians lived in urban areas.

Women's rights groups have been active since the late 19th century, and women won the right to vote in 1920. However, activism was outlawed under Communism. Since the early 1990s, ...

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