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   Latvia Country Guide

Latvia Country Guide The name "Latvia" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Russians. A Latvian republic emerged following World War I, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 28% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia acceded to both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004; it joined the eurozone in 2014.

Latvia Full Name: Republic of Latvia
Area: 64,589 sq km (land: 63,589 sq km, water: 1,000 sq km)
Population: 1,965,686 (July 2016 est.)
Capital City: Riga

People: Latvian 61.1%, Russian 26.2%, Belarusian 3.5%, Ukrainian 2.3%, Polish 2.2%, Lithuanian 1.3%, other 3.4% (2013 est.)
Language: Latvian (official) 56.3%, Russian 33.8%, other 0.6% (includes Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian), unspecified 9.4% (2011 est.)
Religion: Lutheran 19.6%, Orthodox 15.3%, other Christian 1%, other 0.4%, unspecified 63.7% (2006)

Government Type: Parliamentary Republic
Chief of State President Raimonds VEJONIS (since 8 July 2015)
Head of Government: Prime Minister Maris KUCINSKIS (since 11 February 2016); Deputy Prime Minister Arvils ASERADENS (since 11 February 2016)

GDP: $US 50.87 billion (2016 est.)
GDP per Capita: $US 25,700 (2016 est.)
Inflation: -0.4% (2016 est.)
Unemployment: 9.6% (2016 est.)
Industries: 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 and raw materials
Currency: Euro (€ - EUR)

Member of EU: Yes

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Info provided by the CIA World Factbook
Updated 2/2017
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