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The ancestors of Lithuanians came to the Baltic area most likely around 2500 BC. With the rise of the medieval lords in Germany and Russia, Lithuania was constantly subject to invasion and attempted conquest.
In 1569, Poland and Lithuania formed a political union - Rzeczpospolita (Commonwealth) – with a common legislature and a jointly elected sovereign.
The once powerful state gradually lost competitiveness against the stronger neighbours in the 17th and 18th century, and was partitioned by Prussia and Russia. The idea of Lithuanian independence was kept alive through the 19th century.
In February 1918, Lithuania declared its independence. The country was an independent republic until 1940, when it was occupied by the Soviet Army and it had to be a member of the USSR till 1990.
In 1990, Lithuania regained its independence, and in 1992 it adopted a new Constitution and held its first post-Soviet democratic elections.