Latvia

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Republic of Latvia
Latvijas Republika
Anthem: Dievs, svētī Latviju!  
God Bless Latvia!
Location of  Latvia  (dark green)– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Latvia  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]

Capital
and largest city
Riga
56°57′N 24°6′E / 56.95°N 24.1°E / 56.95; 24.1
Official languages Latvian
Ethnic groups (2011) 59.5% Latvians,
27.3% Russians,
3.5% Belarusians,
2.5% Ukrainians,
2.3% Poles,
1.3% Lithuanians,
3.6% others and unspecified[1]
Demonym Latvian
Government Parliamentary republic
 -  President Andris Bērziņš
 -  Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis
Independence from Russia
 -  Declared1 November 18, 1918 
 -  Recognized January 26, 1921 
 -  Soviet occupation August 5, 1940 
 -  Nazi German occupation July 10, 1941 
 -  Soviet occupation 1944 
 -  Announced May 4, 1990 
 -  Restored August 21, 1991[2] 
Area
 -  Total 64,589 km2 (124th)
24,938 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.57% (1,014 km2)
Population
 -  2011 estimate 2,229,641[3] (143rd)
 -  2000 census 2,377,383
 -  Density 34.3/km2 (166th)
89.0/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $32.513 billion[4]
 -  Per capita $14,460[4]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $24.045 billion[4]
 -  Per capita $10,694[4]
Gini (2003) 37.7
medium
HDI (2011) Increase 0.805[5]
very high · 43rd
Currency Euro () (EUR)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code +371
Internet TLD .lv
1 Latvia is de jure continuous with its declaration November 18, 1918.

Latvia is a country in Northern Europe. The capital is Riga. It is one of the Baltic States, together with Estonia in the north and Lithuania in the south. Latvia's neighbours to the east are the countries Russia and Belarus. Latvia is split into four parts called Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale, and Latgale.

People from Latvia are called Latvians. They speak the Latvian language, which is a little like the Lithuanian language, though not close enough to be understood.

History[change | edit source]

Latvia was settled by the Baltic tribes thousands of years ago. They mainly fished, hunted, and traded.

German traders and crusaders came to Latvia at the end of the 12th century. Latvians lost control of their homeland. Over the next 800 years, Germans, Danes, Swedes, Poles, and Russians all invaded Latvia. Latvia finally became independent in 1918.

The Soviet Union invaded Latvia during World War II and killed or took away many of its people to Siberia and other places far away from their homes. Nazi Germany invaded and killed half of Latvia's Jews. The Soviet Union then invaded again and occupied Latvia until 1991, when the Soviet Union fell apart and Latvia became an independent country again.

Politics[change | edit source]

In Copenhagen on 13 December 2002, Latvia and nine other countries were invited to join the European Union. On 20 September 2003, Latvians held an election to vote on joining. Two thirds of Latvians voted to join, and on 1 May 2004 Latvia became a member of the EU.

Latvia has been a NATO member since 29 March, 2004.

International rankings[change | edit source]

Rankings
Name Year Place Out of # Reference
CIA World FactbookGDP per capita (PPP) 2008 66th 229 [1]
CIA World Factbooklife expectancy 2008 120th 223 [2]
World Economic Forum – Enabling Trade Index ranking 2008 43rd 118 [3]
Yale University / Columbia UniversityEnvironmental Performance Index 2008 8th 149 [4]
The Economist Intelligence Unite-readiness 2008 37th 70 [5]
The Economist Intelligence UnitGlobal Peace Index 2008 39th 140 [6]
United States Patent and Trademark Office's list of patents by country 2007 95th 172 [7]
Save the Children – Mother's Index Rank 2007 25th 141 [8]
Save the Children – Women's Index Rank 2007 21st 141 [9]
Save the Children – Children's Index Rank 2007 33rd 141 [10]
Wall Street Journal / The Heritage FoundationIndex of Economic Freedom 2007 39th 157 [11]
United NationsHuman Development Index 2008 44th 179 [12]
World Economic Forum – Global Competitiveness Report 2007–2008 2007 45th 131 [13]
World Economic Forum – The Global Gender Gap Report 2007 2007 13th 128 [14]
World BankEase of Doing Business Index 2007–2008 29th 181 [15]
Reporters Without BordersWorldwide Press Freedom Index 2007 12th 169 [16]
Transparency InternationalCorruption Perceptions Index 2007 49th 180 [17]
The Economist Intelligence UnitIndex of Democracy 2007 43rd 167 [18]
Privacy InternationalPrivacy index (EU and 11 other selected countries) 2006 28th 36 [19]
New Economics FoundationHappy Planet Index 2006 160th 178 [20]
The Economist Intelligence UnitQuality-of-life index 2005 66th 111 [21]
Save the Children – % seats in the national government held by women 2004 23–25th 126 [22]
World Health Organizationsuicide rates by country (both sexes) 8th 101 [23]
NationMaster's index of civil and political liberties 17th 140 [24]

Other pages[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. "Etniskais sastāvs un mazākumtautību kultūras identitātes veicināšana". Latvijas Republikas Ārlietu Ministrija. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. http://web.archive.org/web/20110712232935/www.mfa.gov.lv/lv/latvia/integracija/integracijas-politika/kultura/. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  2. "History – Embassy of Finland, Riga". Embassy of Finland, Riga. 2008-07-09. http://www.finland.lv/public/default.aspx?nodeid=38439&contentlan=2&culture=en-US. Retrieved 2010-09-02. "Latvia declared independence on 21 August 1991...The decision to restore diplomatic relations took effect on 29 August 1991"
  3. "Total population". Centrālās statistikas pārvaldes datu bāzes. 2011. Archived from the original on 26 May 2012. http://archive.is/3bY9. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Latvia". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2011/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2008&ey=2011&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=941&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=46&pr.y=2. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
  5. "Human Development Index Report 2011". United Nations. 2011. http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/. Retrieved 2 November 2011.

Other websites[change | edit source]