Situated in northeastern Europe with a coastline along the Baltic Sea, Latvia borders Estonia in the north, Lithuania in the south, the Baltic Sea in the west, Russia in the east, Belarus in the southeast.


For centuries Latvia was primarily an agricultural country, with seafaring, fishing and forestry as other important factors in its economy.
Latvia was subsequently under foreign dominion of Germans, Poles, Swedes and Russians from the 13th until the 20th century. After the World War I, in 1918, it declared independence, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Not much more than a decade after it declared independence, Latvia was welcomed as an EU member in May 2004. The move came just weeks after it joined NATO. These developments would have been extremely hard to imagine in so historically short period of time.

Country (long form)

Republic of Latvia

Capital Riga
Total Area 24,937.95 sq mi
64,589.00 sq km
Population 2011 2,070,371
Estimated Population 2016 1,957,200
Languages Latvian or Lettisch (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other
Literacy 100.0% total, 48.0% male, 52.0% female (2016 est.)
Religions Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Life Expectancy 69.9 male, 79.3 female (2016 est.)
Government Type parliamentary democracy
Leaders President: Raimonds Vējonis
Prime minister: Māris Kučinskis
Currency 1 Euro (EUR) = 100 cents
GDP (per capita) $14,140 (2016 est.)
Industry buses, vans, street and railroad cars, synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles;
note: dependent on imports for energy, raw materials, and intermediate products
Agriculture grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, milk, eggs; fish
Arable Land 28,19%
Natural Resources minimal; amber, peat, limestone, dolomite, hydropower, arable land
International dialling code + 371