Latvia, formally the Republic of Latvia, is a nation located in Northern Europe’s Baltic area. It is one of three Baltic states. It is bounded on the north by Estonia, on the south by Lithuania, on the east by Russia, and on the southeast by Belarus, as well as on the west by a sea border with Sweden. Latvia has a population of 1,957,200 people and a land area of 64,589 square kilometers (24,938 sq mi). The nation has a year-round moderate climate.
Latvia was founded in 1918 as a democratic parliamentary republic. Riga, the capital city, was named the 2014 European Capital of Culture. The official language of Latvia is Latvian. Latvia is a unitary state comprised of 118 administrative subdivisions, 109 of which are municipalities and nine of which are cities.
Latvians and Livs are Latvia’s indigenous people. Latvian is an Indo-European language; it is one of just two surviving Baltic languages, along with Lithuanian. Throughout the ages, despite foreign control from the 13th to the 20th century, the Latvian people preserved its identity via language and musical traditions. Latvia and Estonia have a long history in common. Both nations have a sizable ethnic Russian population as a result of the Soviet occupation (26.9 percent in Latvia and 25.5 percent in Estonia), some of whom are non-citizens.
Latvia has a mainly Protestant Lutheran history, with the exception of the Latgale area in the southeast, which has a predominantly Roman Catholic history. Additionally, the Russian community has imported a sizable number of Eastern Orthodox Christians.
Latvia was established as a republic on 18 November 1918. However, it lost its de facto independence with the outbreak of World War II. In 1940, the nation was forcefully integrated into the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany attacked and conquered it in 1941, and the Soviets re-took it in 1944, becoming the Latvian SSR for the next fifty years. Beginning in 1987, the nonviolent Singing Revolution agitated for the liberation of the Baltics from Soviet control. It came to an end with the Declaration on the Restoration of the Republic of Latvia’s Independence on 4 May 1990, and de facto independence on 21 August 1991.
Latvia is a democratic and developed nation that is a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the CBSS, the IMF, the NB8, the NIB, the OECD, the OSCE, and the World Trade Organization. Latvia was ranked 46th on the Human Development Index in 2014 and was classified as a high-income nation on 1 July 2014. It utilized the Latvian lats as its currency until 1 January 2014, when it was replaced by the euro.