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General information
Common nameLatvia
Local name 
AnthemDievs, svētī Latviju! 
God Bless Latvia!
Largest citycapital
Official languagesLatvian
Ethnic groups59.5% Latvians,
27.4% Russians,
3.5% Belarusians,
2.4% Ukrainians,
2.3% Poles,
1.3% Lithuanians,
3.6% others and unspecified (2011)
GovernmentParliamentary republic
PresidentAndris Bērziņš
Prime MinisterValdis Dombrovskis
IndependenceIndependence (from Russia)
Declared1November 18, 1918
RecognizedJanuary 26, 1921
Soviet occupationAugust 5, 1940
Nazi German occupationJuly 10, 1941
Soviet occupation1944
AnnouncedMay 4, 1990
RestoredAugust 21, 1991
EU accessionMay 1, 2004
Total Area24938 sq mi (64589.4 km2) (124th)
Water %1.57% (1,014 km2)
Population Est.2,245,357 (143rd)
Population census2377383 (2000)
Density (pop.)34.4/km2 (166th) (89.0/sq mi)
GDP PPP$32.513 billion (2010)
GDP (PPP) per capita$14,460
GDP (nominal)$24.045 billion (2010)
GDP (nominal) per capita$10,694
Other information
Gini37.7 (2003) (medium)
HDI(+) 0.769 (2010) (high) (48th)
CurrencyLats (Ls) (LVL)
Time zoneEET (UTC+2)
- Summer (DST)EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on theright
Calling code+371

     Home | Country | Latvia

Latvia c-enaudio=en-us-Latvia.oggˈlætviə ( ), officially the Republic of Latvia ( ), is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia (border length 343 km), to the south by Lithuania (588 km), to the east by the Russian Federation (276 km), and to the southeast by Belarus (141 km). Across the Baltic Sea to the west lies Sweden. The territory of Latvia covers 64589 km2 (24938 sqmi) and it has a temperate seasonal climate.

The Latvians are Baltic people culturally related to the Estonians and Lithuanians, with the Latvian language having many similarities with Lithuanian, but not with the Estonian language (a Finnic language). Today the Latvian and Lithuanian languages are the only surviving members of the Baltic languages of the Indo-European family. The modern name of Latvia is thought to originate from the ancient Latvian name Latvji, which, like the name of Lithuania, may have originated from the river named Latuva. The country is also the home of a large number of ethnic Russians of whom some are non-citizens.

Latvia is a unitary parliamentary republic and is divided into 118 municipalities (109 counties and 9 cities). The capital and largest city is Riga. With a population of 2.22 million, Latvia is one of the least-populous members of the European Union, and its population has declined 15.1% since 1991. Latvia has been a member of the United Nations since September 17, 1991; of the European Union since May 1, 2004; and of NATO since March 29, 2004.

Following a period of being part of the Soviet Union after World War II, Latvia declared its independence in 1991. After years of economic stagnation in the early 1990s, Latvia posted Europe-leading GDP growth figures during the 1998 2006 period. In the global financial crisis of 2008 2010 Latvia was the hardest hit of the European Union member states, with a GDP decline of 26.54% in that period. Its per capita GDP is 49% of the EU average in 2009, making it the third poorest member-state.

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