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Republic of Latvia
and largest city
2% others and unspecified
|November 18, 1918|
|January 26, 1921|
|August 5, 1940|
|July 10, 1941|
|May 4, 1990|
|August 21, 1991|
|64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi) (124th)|
• Water (%)
|1.57% (1,014 km2)|
• 2011 estimate
• 2000 census
|34.3/km2 (88.8/sq mi) (166th)|
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.
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.
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.
- "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.
- "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"
- "Total population". Centrālās statistikas pārvaldes datu bāzes. 2011. Archived from the original on 26 May 2012. http://archive.is/3bY9. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
- "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.
- "Human Development Index Report 2011". United Nations. 2011. http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/. Retrieved 2 November 2011.