Saturday, November 30, 2013


Latvia  officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia, to the south by Lithuania, to the east by Russia, and to the southeast by Belarus and by a maritime border to the west with Sweden. With 2,070,371 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi) it is one of the least populous and least densely populated countries of the European Union. The capital of Latvia is Riga. The official language is Latvian. The country has a temperate seasonal climate. Latvia is a unitary parliamentary republic, divided into 118administrative divisions of which 109 are municipalities and 9 are cities. There are five planning regions:CourlandLatgaleRigaVidzeme and Zemgale.
The Latvians are a Baltic people, culturally related to the Lithuanians. Together with the Finnic Livs (or Livonians), the Latvians are the indigenous people of Latvia. Latvian is an Indo-European language and along with Lithuanian the only two surviving members of the Baltic branch. Despite subjection to foreign rule from the 13th to the 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations, most notably the language, culture, and rich musical traditions. Latvia and Estonia share a long common history. Both countries are home to a large number of ethnic Russians (26.9% in Latvia and 25.5% in Estonia) of whom some are non-citizens. Latvia is historically predominantly Protestant Lutheran, except for the Latgalia region in the southeast, which has historically been predominantly Roman Catholic.
The Republic of Latvia was founded on 18 November 1918. However, its independent status was interrupted at the outset of World War II when in 1940, the country was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Unioninvaded and occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941, and re-occupied by the Soviets in 1944 to form the Latvian SSR for the next fifty years. The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation of Soviet rule. It ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and Latvia declared the restoration of its de factoindependence on the 21st of August, 1991.
Latvia is a member of the Council of EuropeCBSSEuropean UnionIMFNATONB8NIBOSCEUnited NationsWTO. For 2013, Latvia is listed 44th on the Human Development Index and as a high income country. Its currency, the Latvian lats, is to be replaced by the euro on 1 January 2014. Eurozone membership is a controversial topic in Latvian society, as it is opposed by the majority of population - according to current statistics, only 22% support introduction of euro, while 53% oppose introduction of euro in 2014.
The name Latvija is derived from the name of the ancient Latgalians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes.