55 Facts About Latvia


Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe.

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Since then, Latvia has been a democratic unitary parliamentary republic.

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Latvia is a developed country, with a high-income advanced economy; ranking very high in the Human Development Index.

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Latvia is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the International Monetary Fund, the Nordic-Baltic Eight, the Nordic Investment Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the World Trade Organization.

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The southern part of Estonia and the northern part of Latvia were ceded to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and formed into the Duchy of Livonia .

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Latgalia, the easternmost region of Latvia, became a part of the Inflanty Voivodeship of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

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On 18 November 1918, in Riga, the People's Council of Latvia proclaimed the independence of the new country and Karlis Ulmanis was entrusted to set up a government and he took the position of Prime Minister.

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Latvia took a position of Prime Minister from 19 November 1918 to 13 July 1919.

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Latvia showed signs of economic recovery, and the electorate had steadily moved toward the centre during the parliamentary period.

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Under German occupation, Latvia was administered as part of Reichskommissariat Ostland.

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In 1944, when Soviet military advances reached Latvia, heavy fighting took place in Latvia between German and Soviet troops, which ended in another German defeat.

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Since Latvia had maintained a well-developed infrastructure and educated specialists, Moscow decided to base some of the Soviet Union's most advanced manufacturing in Latvia.

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New industry was created in Latvia, including a major machinery factory RAF in Jelgava, electrotechnical factories in Riga, chemical factories in Daugavpils, Valmiera and Olaine—and some food and oil processing plants.

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Latvia manufactured trains, ships, minibuses, mopeds, telephones, radios and hi-fi systems, electrical and diesel engines, textiles, furniture, clothing, bags and luggage, shoes, musical instruments, home appliances, watches, tools and equipment, aviation and agricultural equipment and long list of other goods.

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Latvia had its own film industry and musical records factory .

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Pro-independence Popular Front of Latvia candidates gained a two-thirds majority in the Supreme Council in the March 1990 democratic elections.

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Republic of Latvia declared the end of the transitional period and restored full independence on 21 August 1991, in the aftermath of the failed Soviet coup attempt.

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Latvia's was the first female head of state in the former Soviet block state and was active in Latvia joining both NATO and the European Union in 2004.

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Albeit having experienced a difficult transition to a liberal economy and its re-orientation toward Western Europe, Latvia is one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union.

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In 2015 Latvia held the presidency of Council of the European Union.

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Latvia has hundreds of kilometres of undeveloped seashore—lined by pine forests, dunes, and continuous white sand beaches.

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Latvia has the fifth highest proportion of land covered by forests in the European Union, after Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Slovenia.

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Latvia has ratified the international Washington, Bern, and Ramsare conventions.

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Common species of wildlife in Latvia include deer, wild boar, moose, lynx, bear, fox, beaver and wolves.

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Species that are endangered in other European countries but common in Latvia include: black stork, corncrake, lesser spotted eagle, white-backed woodpecker, Eurasian crane, Eurasian beaver, Eurasian otter, European wolf and European lynx .

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Phytogeographically, Latvia is shared between the Central European and Northern European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom.

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Latvia is a unitary state, currently divided into 43 local government units consisting of 36 municipalities and 7 state cities with their own city council and administration: Daugavpils, Jelgava, Jurmala, Liepaja, Rezekne, Riga, and Ventspils.

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Statistical regions of Latvia, established in accordance with the EU Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, duplicate this division, but divides Riga region into two parts with the capital alone being a separate region.

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The largest city in Latvia is Riga, the second largest city is Daugavpils and the third largest city is Liepaja.

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In January 2019, Latvia got a government led by new Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins of the centre-right New Unity.

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Latvia is a member of the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE, IMF, and WTO.

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Latvia is part of the Schengen Area and joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2014.

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Since the early 1990s, Latvia has been involved in active trilateral Baltic states co-operation with its neighbours Estonia and Lithuania, and Nordic-Baltic co-operation with the Nordic countries.

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Latvia is a member of the interparliamentary Baltic Assembly, the intergovernmental Baltic Council of Ministers and the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

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Latvia participates in the Northern Dimension and Baltic Sea Region Programme, European Union initiatives to foster cross-border co-operation in the Baltic Sea region and Northern Europe.

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Latvia hosted the 2006 NATO Summit and since then the annual Riga Conference has become a leading foreign and security policy forum in Northern Europe.

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Latvia held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2015.

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From 1 January 2007, Latvia switched to a professional fully contract-based army.

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Latvia took part in the US-led Multi-National Force operation in Iraq and OSCE missions in Georgia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

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Per capita, Latvia is one of the largest contributors to international military operations.

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Latvia participates in several NATO Centres of Excellence: Civil-Military Co-operation in the Netherlands, Cooperative Cyber Defence in Estonia and Energy Security in Lithuania.

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Latvia co-operates with Estonia and Lithuania in several trilateral Baltic defence co-operation initiatives:.

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Latvia is a member of the World Trade Organization and the European Union .

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Foreign investment in Latvia is still modest compared with the levels in north-central Europe.

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Eager to join Western economic institutions like the World Trade Organization, OECD, and the European Union, Latvia signed a Europe Agreement with the EU in 1995—with a 4-year transition period.

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In 2010 Latvia launched a Residence by Investment program in order to attract foreign investors and make local economy benefit from it.

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Latvia has three large hydroelectric power stations in Plavinu HES, Rigas HES and Keguma HES-2 .

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Latvia operates Incukalns underground gas storage facility, one of the largest underground gas storage facilities in Europe and the only one in the Baltic states.

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Unique geological conditions at Incukalns and other locations in Latvia are particularly suitable for underground gas storage.

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On 18 February 2012, Latvia held a constitutional referendum on whether to adopt Russian as a second official language.

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Latvia closed 131 schools between 2006 and 2010, which is a 12.

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Latvia was ranked 38th in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, down from 34th in 2019.

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BK Ventspils, which participates in EuroChallenge, is the second strongest basketball club in Latvia, previously winning LBL eight times and BBL in 2013.

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Latvia has participated successfully in both Winter and Summer Olympics.

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The most successful Olympic athlete in the history of independent Latvia has been Maris Strombergs, who became a two-time Olympic champion in 2008 and 2012 at Men's BMX.

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