Latvia

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"Lettonia" redirects here. Latvia_sentence_0

For Latvian student corporation, see Lettonia (corporation). Latvia_sentence_1

Latvia_table_infobox_0

Republic of Latvia

Latvijas Republika  (Latvian)Latvia_header_cell_0_0_0

Capital

and largest cityLatvia_header_cell_0_1_0

RigaLatvia_cell_0_1_1
Official languagesLatvia_header_cell_0_2_0 LatvianLatvia_cell_0_2_1
Ethnic groups (2019)Latvia_header_cell_0_3_0 Latvia_cell_0_3_1
ReligionLatvia_header_cell_0_4_0 Latvia_cell_0_4_1
Demonym(s)Latvia_header_cell_0_5_0 LatvianLatvia_cell_0_5_1
GovernmentLatvia_header_cell_0_6_0 Unitary parliamentary constitutional republicLatvia_cell_0_6_1
PresidentLatvia_header_cell_0_7_0 Egils LevitsLatvia_cell_0_7_1
Prime MinisterLatvia_header_cell_0_8_0 Krišjānis KariņšLatvia_cell_0_8_1
Speaker of the SaeimaLatvia_header_cell_0_9_0 Ināra MūrnieceLatvia_cell_0_9_1
LegislatureLatvia_header_cell_0_10_0 SaeimaLatvia_cell_0_10_1
Independence from RussiaLatvia_header_cell_0_11_0
DeclaredLatvia_header_cell_0_12_0 18 November 1918Latvia_cell_0_12_1
RecognisedLatvia_header_cell_0_13_0 26 January 1921Latvia_cell_0_13_1
Constitution adoptedLatvia_header_cell_0_14_0 7 November 1922Latvia_cell_0_14_1
RestoredLatvia_header_cell_0_15_0 21 August 1991Latvia_cell_0_15_1
Joined the EULatvia_header_cell_0_16_0 1 May 2004Latvia_cell_0_16_1
Area Latvia_header_cell_0_17_0
TotalLatvia_header_cell_0_18_0 64,589 km (24,938 sq mi) (122nd)Latvia_cell_0_18_1
Water (%)Latvia_header_cell_0_19_0 2.09 (as of 2015)Latvia_cell_0_19_1
PopulationLatvia_header_cell_0_20_0
2020 estimateLatvia_header_cell_0_21_0 1,907,675 (147th)Latvia_cell_0_21_1
2011 censusLatvia_header_cell_0_22_0 2,070,371Latvia_cell_0_22_1
DensityLatvia_header_cell_0_23_0 29.6/km (76.7/sq mi) (147th)Latvia_cell_0_23_1
GDP (PPP)Latvia_header_cell_0_24_0 2020 estimateLatvia_cell_0_24_1
TotalLatvia_header_cell_0_25_0 $63.490 billionLatvia_cell_0_25_1
Per capitaLatvia_header_cell_0_26_0 $30,579 (43rd)Latvia_cell_0_26_1
GDP (nominal)Latvia_header_cell_0_27_0 2020 estimateLatvia_cell_0_27_1
TotalLatvia_header_cell_0_28_0 $36.771 billionLatvia_cell_0_28_1
Per capitaLatvia_header_cell_0_29_0 $17,230 (42nd)Latvia_cell_0_29_1
Gini (2019)Latvia_header_cell_0_30_0 35.2

mediumLatvia_cell_0_30_1

HDI (2018)Latvia_header_cell_0_31_0 0.854

very high · 39thLatvia_cell_0_31_1

CurrencyLatvia_header_cell_0_32_0 Euro () (EUR)Latvia_cell_0_32_1
Time zoneLatvia_header_cell_0_33_0 UTC+2 (EET)Latvia_cell_0_33_1
Summer (DST)Latvia_header_cell_0_34_0 UTC+3 (EEST)Latvia_cell_0_34_1
Driving sideLatvia_header_cell_0_35_0 rightLatvia_cell_0_35_1
Calling codeLatvia_header_cell_0_36_0 +371Latvia_cell_0_36_1
ISO 3166 codeLatvia_header_cell_0_37_0 LVLatvia_cell_0_37_1
Internet TLDLatvia_header_cell_0_38_0 .lvLatvia_cell_0_38_1

Latvia (/ˈlɑːtviə/ or /ˈlætviə/ (listen); Latvian: Latvija [ˈlatvija), officially known as the Republic of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas Republika), is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Latvia_sentence_2

Since Latvia's independence in 1918, it has been referred to as one of the Baltic states. Latvia_sentence_3

It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia_sentence_4

Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km (24,938 sq mi). Latvia_sentence_5

Its capital and largest city is Riga; other notable major cities in Latvia are Daugavpils, Liepāja, Jelgava and Jūrmala. Latvia_sentence_6

The country has a temperate seasonal climate. Latvia_sentence_7

The Baltic Sea moderates the climate, although the country has four distinct seasons and snowy winters. Latvia_sentence_8

After centuries of Swedish, Polish and Russian rule, a rule mainly executed by the Baltic German aristocracy, the Republic of Latvia was established on 18 November 1918 when it broke away from the Russian Empire and declared independence in the aftermath of World War I. Latvia_sentence_9

However, by the 1930s the country became increasingly autocratic after the coup in 1934 establishing an authoritarian regime under Kārlis Ulmanis. Latvia_sentence_10

The country's de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II, beginning with Latvia's forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union, followed by the invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941, and the re-occupation by the Soviets in 1944 (Courland Pocket in 1945) to form the Latvian SSR for the next 45 years. Latvia_sentence_11

The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation from Soviet rule and condemning the Communist regime's illegal takeover. Latvia_sentence_12

It ended with the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4 May 1990 and restoring de facto independence on 21 August 1991. Latvia_sentence_13

Latvia is a democratic sovereign state, parliamentary republic. Latvia_sentence_14

Capital city Riga served as the European Capital of Culture in 2014. Latvia_sentence_15

Latvian is the official language. Latvia_sentence_16

Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 119 administrative divisions, of which 110 are municipalities and nine are cities. Latvia_sentence_17

Latvians and Livonians are the indigenous people of Latvia. Latvia_sentence_18

Latvian and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages. Latvia_sentence_19

Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions. Latvia_sentence_20

However, as a consequence of centuries of Russian rule (1710–1918) and later Soviet occupation, 26.9% of the population of Latvia are ethnic Russians, some of whom (10.7% of Latvian residents) have not gained citizenship, leaving them with no citizenship at all. Latvia_sentence_21

Until World War II, Latvia also had significant minorities of ethnic Germans and Jews. Latvia_sentence_22

Latvia is historically predominantly Lutheran Protestant, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, which has historically been predominantly Roman Catholic. Latvia_sentence_23

The Russian population is largely Eastern Orthodox Christians. Latvia_sentence_24

Latvia is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy and ranks 39th in the Human Development Index. Latvia_sentence_25

It performs favorably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, internet freedom, democratic governance, living standards, and peacefulness. Latvia_sentence_26

Latvia is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, and WTO. Latvia_sentence_27

A full member of the Eurozone, it began using the euro as its currency on 1 January 2014, replacing the Latvian lats. Latvia_sentence_28

Etymology Latvia_section_0

The name Latvija is derived from the name of the ancient Latgalians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes (along with Couronians, Selonians and Semigallians), which formed the ethnic core of modern Latvians together with the Finnic Livonians. Latvia_sentence_29

Henry of Latvia coined the latinisations of the country's name, "Lettigallia" and "Lethia", both derived from the Latgalians. Latvia_sentence_30

The terms inspired the variations on the country's name in Romance languages from "Letonia" and in several Germanic languages from "Lettland". Latvia_sentence_31

History Latvia_section_1

Main article: History of Latvia Latvia_sentence_32

Around 3000 BC, the proto-Baltic ancestors of the Latvian people settled on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. Latvia_sentence_33

The Balts established trade routes to Rome and Byzantium, trading local amber for precious metals. Latvia_sentence_34

By 900 AD, four distinct Baltic tribes inhabited Latvia: Curonians, Latgalians, Selonians, Semigallians (in Latvian: kurši, latgaļi, sēļi and zemgaļi), as well as the Finnic tribe of Livonians (lībieši) speaking a Finnic language. Latvia_sentence_35

In the 12th century in the territory of Latvia, there were lands with their rulers: Vanema, Ventava, Bandava, Piemare, Duvzare, Upmale, Sēlija, Koknese, Jersika, Tālava and Adzele. Latvia_sentence_36

Medieval period Latvia_section_2

Main articles: Terra Mariana, Livonian Crusade, and Northern Crusades Latvia_sentence_37

Although the local people had contact with the outside world for centuries, they became more fully integrated into the European socio-political system in the 12th century. Latvia_sentence_38

The first missionaries, sent by the Pope, sailed up the Daugava River in the late 12th century, seeking converts. Latvia_sentence_39

The local people, however, did not convert to Christianity as readily as the Church had hoped. Latvia_sentence_40

German crusaders were sent, or more likely decided to go on their own accord as they were known to do. Latvia_sentence_41

Saint Meinhard of Segeberg arrived in Ikšķile, in 1184, traveling with merchants to Livonia, on a Catholic mission to convert the population from their original pagan beliefs. Latvia_sentence_42

Pope Celestine III had called for a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe in 1193. Latvia_sentence_43

When peaceful means of conversion failed to produce results, Meinhard plotted to convert Livonians by force of arms. Latvia_sentence_44

At the beginning of the 13th century, Germans ruled large parts of what is currently Latvia. Latvia_sentence_45

Together with southern Estonia, these conquered areas formed the crusader state that became known as Terra Mariana or Livonia. Latvia_sentence_46

In 1282, Riga, and later the cities of Cēsis, Limbaži, Koknese and Valmiera, became part of the Hanseatic League. Latvia_sentence_47

Riga became an important point of east–west trading and formed close cultural links with Western Europe. Latvia_sentence_48

The first German settlers were knights from northern Germany and citizens of northern German towns who brought their Low German language to the region, which shaped many loanwords in the Latvian language. Latvia_sentence_49

Reformation period and Polish–Lithuanian rule Latvia_section_3

Main articles: Swedish Livonia, Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, Duchy of Livonia, and Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Latvia_sentence_50

After the Livonian War (1558–1583), Livonia (Northern Latvia & Southern Estonia) fell under Polish and Lithuanian rule. Latvia_sentence_51

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 (Ducatus Livoniae Ultradunensis). Latvia_sentence_52

Gotthard Kettler, the last Master of the Order of Livonia, formed the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia. Latvia_sentence_53

Though the duchy was a vassal state to Poland, it retained a considerable degree of autonomy and experienced a golden age in the 16th century. Latvia_sentence_54

Latgalia, the easternmost region of Latvia, became a part of the Inflanty Voivodeship of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Latvia_sentence_55

In the 17th and early 18th centuries, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden, and Russia struggled for supremacy in the eastern Baltic. Latvia_sentence_56

After the Polish–Swedish War, northern Livonia (including Vidzeme) came under Swedish rule. Latvia_sentence_57

Riga became the capital of Swedish Livonia and the largest city in the entire Swedish Empire. Latvia_sentence_58

Fighting continued sporadically between Sweden and Poland until the Truce of Altmark in 1629. Latvia_sentence_59

In Latvia, the Swedish period is generally remembered as positive; serfdom was eased, a network of schools was established for the peasantry, and the power of the regional barons was diminished. Latvia_sentence_60

Several important cultural changes occurred during this time. Latvia_sentence_61

Under Swedish and largely German rule, western Latvia adopted Lutheranism as its main religion. Latvia_sentence_62

The ancient tribes of the Couronians, Semigallians, Selonians, Livs, and northern Latgallians assimilated to form the Latvian people, speaking one Latvian language. Latvia_sentence_63

Throughout all the centuries, however, an actual Latvian state had not been established, so the borders and definitions of who exactly fell within that group are largely subjective. Latvia_sentence_64

Meanwhile, largely isolated from the rest of Latvia, southern Latgallians adopted Catholicism under Polish/Jesuit influence. Latvia_sentence_65

The native dialect remained distinct, although it acquired many Polish and Russian loanwords. Latvia_sentence_66

Livonia & Courland in the Russian Empire (1795–1917) Latvia_section_4

Declaration of independence Latvia_section_5

World War I devastated the territory of what became the state of Latvia, and other western parts of the Russian Empire. Latvia_sentence_67

Demands for self-determination were initially confined to autonomy, until a power vacuum was created by the Russian Revolution in 1917, followed by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk between Russia and Germany in March 1918, then the Allied armistice with Germany on 11 November 1918. Latvia_sentence_68

On 18 November 1918, in Riga, the People's Council of Latvia proclaimed the independence of the new country, with Kārlis Ulmanis becoming the head of the provisional government. Latvia_sentence_69

The General representative of Germany August Winnig formally handed over political power to the Latvian Provisional Government on 26 November. Latvia_sentence_70

The war of independence that followed was part of a general chaotic period of civil and new border wars in Eastern Europe. Latvia_sentence_71

By the spring of 1919, there were actually three governments: the Provisional government headed by Kārlis Ulmanis, supported by Tautas padome and the Inter-Allied Commission of Control; the Latvian Soviet government led by Pēteris Stučka, supported by the Red Army; and the Provisional government headed by Andrievs Niedra and supported by the Baltische Landeswehr and the German Freikorps unit Iron Division. Latvia_sentence_72

Estonian and Latvian forces defeated the Germans at the Battle of Wenden in June 1919, and a massive attack by a predominantly German force—the West Russian Volunteer Army—under Pavel Bermondt-Avalov was repelled in November. Latvia_sentence_73

Eastern Latvia was cleared of Red Army forces by Latvian and Polish troops in early 1920 (from the Polish perspective the Battle of Daugavpils was a part of the Polish–Soviet War). Latvia_sentence_74

A freely elected Constituent assembly convened on 1 May 1920, and adopted a liberal constitution, the Satversme, in February 1922. Latvia_sentence_75

The constitution was partly suspended by Kārlis Ulmanis after his coup in 1934 but reaffirmed in 1990. Latvia_sentence_76

Since then, it has been amended and is still in effect in Latvia today. Latvia_sentence_77

With most of Latvia's industrial base evacuated to the interior of Russia in 1915, radical land reform was the central political question for the young state. Latvia_sentence_78

In 1897, 61.2% of the rural population had been landless; by 1936, that percentage had been reduced to 18%. Latvia_sentence_79

By 1923, the extent of cultivated land surpassed the pre-war level. Latvia_sentence_80

Innovation and rising productivity led to rapid growth of the economy, but it soon suffered from the effects of the Great Depression. Latvia_sentence_81

Latvia showed signs of economic recovery, and the electorate had steadily moved toward the centre during the parliamentary period. Latvia_sentence_82

On 15 May 1934, Ulmanis staged a bloodless coup, establishing a nationalist dictatorship that lasted until 1940. Latvia_sentence_83

After 1934, Ulmanis established government corporations to buy up private firms with the aim of "Latvianising" the economy. Latvia_sentence_84

Latvia in World War II Latvia_section_6

See also: Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940, German occupation of Latvia during World War II, The Holocaust in Latvia, Latvian partisans, and Latvian anti-Nazi resistance movement 1941–45 Latvia_sentence_85

Early in the morning of 24 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a 10-year non-aggression pact, called the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Latvia_sentence_86

The pact contained a secret protocol, revealed only after Germany's defeat in 1945, according to which the states of Northern and Eastern Europe were divided into German and Soviet "spheres of influence". Latvia_sentence_87

In the north, Latvia, Finland and Estonia were assigned to the Soviet sphere. Latvia_sentence_88

A week later, on 1 September 1939, Germany and on 17 September, the Soviet Union invaded Poland. Latvia_sentence_89

After the conclusion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, most of the Baltic Germans left Latvia by agreement between Ulmanis' government and Nazi Germany under the Heim ins Reich programme. Latvia_sentence_90

In total 50,000 Baltic Germans left by the deadline of December 1939, with 1,600 remaining to conclude business and 13,000 choosing to remain in Latvia. Latvia_sentence_91

Most of those who remained left for Germany in summer 1940, when a second resettlement scheme was agreed. Latvia_sentence_92

The racially approved being resettled mainly in Poland, being given land and businesses in exchange for the money they had received from the sale of their previous assets. Latvia_sentence_93

On 5 October 1939, Latvia was forced to accept a "mutual assistance" pact with the Soviet Union, granting the Soviets the right to station between 25,000 and 30,000 troops on Latvian territory. Latvia_sentence_94

State administrators were liquidated and replaced by Soviet cadres. Latvia_sentence_95

Elections were held with single pro-Soviet candidates listed for many positions. Latvia_sentence_96

The resulting people's assembly immediately requested admission into the USSR, which the Soviet Union granted. Latvia_sentence_97

Latvia, then a puppet government, was headed by Augusts Kirhenšteins. Latvia_sentence_98

The Soviet Union incorporated Latvia on 5 August 1940, as The Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. Latvia_sentence_99

The Soviets dealt harshly with their opponents – prior to Operation Barbarossa, in less than a year, at least 34,250 Latvians were deported or killed. Latvia_sentence_100

Most were deported to Siberia where deaths were estimated at 40 percent, officers of the Latvian army being shot on the spot. Latvia_sentence_101

On 22 June 1941 German troops attacked Soviet forces in Operation Barbarossa. Latvia_sentence_102

There were some spontaneous uprisings by Latvians against the Red Army which helped the Germans. Latvia_sentence_103

By 29 June Riga was reached and with Soviet troops killed, captured or retreating, Latvia was left under the control of German forces by early July. Latvia_sentence_104

The occupation was followed immediately by SS Einsatzgruppen troops who were to act in accordance with the Nazi Generalplan Ost which required the population of Latvia to be cut by 50 percent. Latvia_sentence_105

Under German occupation, Latvia was administered as part of Reichskommissariat Ostland. Latvia_sentence_106

Latvian paramilitary and Auxiliary Police units established by the occupation authority participated in the Holocaust and other atrocities. Latvia_sentence_107

30,000 Jews were shot in Latvia in the autumn of 1941. Latvia_sentence_108

Another 30,000 Jews from the Riga ghetto were killed in the Rumbula Forest in November and December 1941, to reduce overpopulation in the ghetto and make room for more Jews being brought in from Germany and the West. Latvia_sentence_109

There was a pause in fighting, apart from partisan activity, until after the siege of Leningrad ended in January 1944 and the Soviet troops advanced, entering Latvia in July and eventually capturing Riga on 13 October 1944. Latvia_sentence_110

More than 200,000 Latvian citizens died during World War II, including approximately 75,000 Latvian Jews murdered during the Nazi occupation. Latvia_sentence_111

Latvian soldiers fought on both sides of the conflict, mainly on the German side, with 140,000 men in the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS, The 308th Latvian Rifle Division was formed by the Red Army in 1944. Latvia_sentence_112

On occasions, especially in 1944, opposing Latvian troops faced each other in battle. Latvia_sentence_113

In the 23rd block of the Vorverker cemetery, a monument was erected after the Second World War for the people of Latvia, who had died in Lübeck from 1945 to 1950. Latvia_sentence_114

Soviet era (1940–1941, 1944–1991) Latvia_section_7

Main articles: Occupation of Latvia by Soviet Union 1944–1945, Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, and Stalinism Latvia_sentence_115

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. Latvia_sentence_116

In the course of the war, both occupying forces conscripted Latvians into their armies, in this way increasing the loss of the nation's "live resources". Latvia_sentence_117

In 1944, part of the Latvian territory once more came under Soviet control. Latvia_sentence_118

The Soviets immediately began to reinstate the Soviet system. Latvia_sentence_119

After the German surrender, it became clear that Soviet forces were there to stay, and Latvian national partisans, soon joined by some who had collaborated with the Germans, began to fight against the new occupier. Latvia_sentence_120

Anywhere from 120,000 to as many as 300,000 Latvians took refuge from the Soviet army by fleeing to Germany and Sweden. Latvia_sentence_121

Most sources count 200,000 to 250,000 refugees leaving Latvia, with perhaps as many as 80,000 to 100,000 of them recaptured by the Soviets or, during few months immediately after the end of war, returned by the West. Latvia_sentence_122

The Soviets reoccupied the country in 1944–1945, and further deportations followed as the country was collectivised and Sovieticised. Latvia_sentence_123

On 25 March 1949, 43,000 rural residents ("kulaks") and Latvian nationalists were deported to Siberia in a sweeping Operation Priboi in all three Baltic states, which was carefully planned and approved in Moscow already on 29 January 1949. Latvia_sentence_124

This operation had the desired effect of reducing the anti Soviet partisan activity. Latvia_sentence_125

Between 136,000 and 190,000 Latvians, depending on the sources, were imprisoned or deported to Soviet concentration camps (the Gulag) in the post war years, from 1945 to 1952. Latvia_sentence_126

Some managed to escape arrest and joined the partisans. Latvia_sentence_127

In the post-war period, Latvia was made to adopt Soviet farming methods. Latvia_sentence_128

Rural areas were forced into collectivization. Latvia_sentence_129

An extensive program to impose bilingualism was initiated in Latvia, limiting the use of Latvian language in official uses in favor of using Russian as the main language. Latvia_sentence_130

All of the minority schools (Jewish, Polish, Belarusian, Estonian, Lithuanian) were closed down leaving only two media of instructions in the schools: Latvian and Russian. Latvia_sentence_131

An influx of new colonists, including laborers, administrators, military personnel and their dependents from Russia and other Soviet republics started. Latvia_sentence_132

By 1959 about 400,000 Russian settlers arrived and the ethnic Latvian population had fallen to 62%. Latvia_sentence_133

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. Latvia_sentence_134

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. Latvia_sentence_135

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. Latvia_sentence_136

Latvia had its own film industry and musical records factory (LPs). Latvia_sentence_137

However, there were not enough people to operate the newly built factories. Latvia_sentence_138

To maintain and expand industrial production, skilled workers were migrating from all over the Soviet Union, decreasing the proportion of ethnic Latvians in the republic. Latvia_sentence_139

The population of Latvia reached its peak in 1990 at just under 2.7 million people. Latvia_sentence_140

In late 2018 the National Archives of Latvia released a full alphabetical index of some 10,000 people recruited as agents or informants by the Soviet KGB. Latvia_sentence_141

'The publication, which followed two decades of public debate and the passage of a special law, revealed the names, code names, birthplaces and other data on active and former KGB agents as of 1991, the year Latvia regained its independence from the Soviet Union.' Latvia_sentence_142

Restoration of independence in 1991 Latvia_section_8

Further information: Singing Revolution, Baltic Way, and On the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia Latvia_sentence_143

In the second half of the 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev started to introduce political and economic reforms in the Soviet Union that were called glasnost and perestroika. Latvia_sentence_144

In the summer of 1987, the first large demonstrations were held in Riga at the Freedom Monument—a symbol of independence. Latvia_sentence_145

In the summer of 1988, a national movement, coalescing in the Popular Front of Latvia, was opposed by the Interfront. Latvia_sentence_146

The Latvian SSR, along with the other Baltic Republics was allowed greater autonomy, and in 1988, the old pre-war Flag of Latvia flew again, replacing the Soviet Latvian flag as the official flag in 1990. Latvia_sentence_147

In 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted a resolution on the Occupation of the Baltic states, in which it declared the occupation "not in accordance with law", and not the "will of the Soviet people". Latvia_sentence_148

Pro-independence Popular Front of Latvia candidates gained a two-thirds majority in the Supreme Council in the March 1990 democratic elections. Latvia_sentence_149

On 4 May 1990, the Supreme Council adopted the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia, and the Latvian SSR was renamed Republic of Latvia. Latvia_sentence_150

However, the central power in Moscow continued to regard Latvia as a Soviet republic in 1990 and 1991. Latvia_sentence_151

In January 1991, Soviet political and military forces tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the Republic of Latvia authorities by occupying the central publishing house in Riga and establishing a Committee of National Salvation to usurp governmental functions. Latvia_sentence_152

During the transitional period, Moscow maintained many central Soviet state authorities in Latvia. Latvia_sentence_153

In spite of this, 73% of all Latvian residents confirmed their strong support for independence on 3 March 1991, in a non-binding advisory referendum. Latvia_sentence_154

The Popular Front of Latvia advocated that all permanent residents be eligible for Latvian citizenship, helping to sway many ethnic Russians to vote for independence. Latvia_sentence_155

However, universal citizenship for all permanent residents was not adopted. Latvia_sentence_156

Instead, citizenship was granted to persons who had been citizens of Latvia at the day of loss of independence at 1940 as well as their descendants. Latvia_sentence_157

As a consequence, the majority of ethnic non-Latvians did not receive Latvian citizenship since neither they nor their parents had ever been citizens of Latvia, becoming non-citizens or citizens of other former Soviet republics. Latvia_sentence_158

By 2011, more than half of non-citizens had taken naturalization exams and received Latvian citizenship. Latvia_sentence_159

Still, today there are 290,660 non-citizens in Latvia, which represent 14.1% of the population. Latvia_sentence_160

They have no citizenship of any country, and cannot vote in Latvia. Latvia_sentence_161

The 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. Latvia_sentence_162

The Saeima, Latvia's parliament, was again elected in 1993. Latvia_sentence_163

Russia ended its military presence by completing its troop withdrawal in 1994 and shutting down the Skrunda-1 radar station in 1998. Latvia_sentence_164

The major goals of Latvia in the 1990s, to join NATO and the European Union, were achieved in 2004. Latvia_sentence_165

The NATO Summit 2006 was held in Riga. Latvia_sentence_166

Language and citizenship laws have been opposed by many Russophones. Latvia_sentence_167

Citizenship was not automatically extended to former Soviet citizens who settled during the Soviet occupation, or to their offspring. Latvia_sentence_168

Children born to non-nationals after the reestablishment of independence are automatically entitled to citizenship. Latvia_sentence_169

Approximately 72% of Latvian citizens are Latvian, while 20% are Russian; less than 1% of non-citizens are Latvian, while 71% are Russian. Latvia_sentence_170

The government denationalized private property confiscated by the Soviets, returning it or compensating the owners for it, and privatized most state-owned industries, reintroducing the prewar currency. Latvia_sentence_171

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. Latvia_sentence_172

In 2014, Riga was the European Capital of Culture, the euro was introduced as the currency of the country and a Latvian was named vice-president of the European Commission. Latvia_sentence_173

In 2015 Latvia held the presidency of Council of the European Union. Latvia_sentence_174

Big European events have been celebrated in Riga such as the Eurovision Song Contest 2003 and the European Film Awards 2014. Latvia_sentence_175

On 1 July 2016, Latvia became a member of the OECD. Latvia_sentence_176

Regional timeline Latvia_section_9

Affiliations of the areas that comprise modern Latvia in historical & regional context: Latvia_sentence_177

Geography Latvia_section_10

Main article: Geography of Latvia Latvia_sentence_178

See also: Baltic Sea, Baltic states, and Northern Europe Latvia_sentence_179

Latvia lies in Northern Europe, on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea and northwestern part of the East European Craton (EEC), between latitudes 55° and 58° N (a small area is north of 58°), and longitudes 21° and 29° E (a small area is west of 21°). Latvia_sentence_180

Latvia has a total area of 64,559 km (24,926 sq mi) of which 62,157 km (23,999 sq mi) land, 18,159 km (7,011 sq mi) agricultural land, 34,964 km (13,500 sq mi) forest land and 2,402 km (927 sq mi) inland water. Latvia_sentence_181

The total length of Latvia's boundary is 1,866 km (1,159 mi). Latvia_sentence_182

The total length of its land boundary is 1,368 km (850 mi), of which 343 km (213 mi) is shared with Estonia to the north, 276 km (171 mi) with the Russian Federation to the east, 161 km (100 mi) with Belarus to the southeast and 588 km (365 mi) with Lithuania to the south. Latvia_sentence_183

The total length of its maritime boundary is 498 km (309 mi), which is shared with Estonia, Sweden and Lithuania. Latvia_sentence_184

Extension from north to south is 210 km (130 mi) and from west to east 450 km (280 mi). Latvia_sentence_185

Most of Latvia's territory is less than 100 m (330 ft) above sea level. Latvia_sentence_186

Its largest lake, Lubāns, has an area of 80.7 km (31.2 sq mi), its deepest lake, Drīdzis, is 65.1 m (214 ft) deep. Latvia_sentence_187

The longest river on Latvian territory is the Gauja, at 452 km (281 mi) in length. Latvia_sentence_188

The longest river flowing through Latvian territory is the Daugava, which has a total length of 1,005 km (624 mi), of which 352 km (219 mi) is on Latvian territory. Latvia_sentence_189

Latvia's highest point is Gaiziņkalns, 311.6 m (1,022 ft). Latvia_sentence_190

The length of Latvia's Baltic coastline is 494 km (307 mi). Latvia_sentence_191

An inlet of the Baltic Sea, the shallow Gulf of Riga is situated in the northwest of the country. Latvia_sentence_192

Climate Latvia_section_11

Latvia has a temperate climate that has been described in various sources as either humid continental (Köppen Dfb) or oceanic/maritime (Köppen Cfb). Latvia_sentence_193

Coastal regions, especially the western coast of the Courland Peninsula, possess a more maritime climate with cooler summers and milder winters, while eastern parts exhibit a more continental climate with warmer summers and harsher winters. Latvia_sentence_194

Latvia has four pronounced seasons of near-equal length. Latvia_sentence_195

Winter starts in mid-December and lasts until mid-March. Latvia_sentence_196

Winters have average temperatures of −6 °C (21 °F) and are characterized by stable snow cover, bright sunshine, and short days. Latvia_sentence_197

Severe spells of winter weather with cold winds, extreme temperatures of around −30 °C (−22 °F) and heavy snowfalls are common. Latvia_sentence_198

Summer starts in June and lasts until August. Latvia_sentence_199

Summers are usually warm and sunny, with cool evenings and nights. Latvia_sentence_200

Summers have average temperatures of around 19 °C (66 °F), with extremes of 35 °C (95 °F). Latvia_sentence_201

Spring and autumn bring fairly mild weather. Latvia_sentence_202

Latvia_table_general_1

Weather records in LatviaLatvia_table_caption_1
Weather recordLatvia_header_cell_1_0_0 ValueLatvia_header_cell_1_0_1 LocationLatvia_header_cell_1_0_2 DateLatvia_header_cell_1_0_3
Highest temperatureLatvia_cell_1_1_0 37.8 °C (100 °F)Latvia_cell_1_1_1 VentspilsLatvia_cell_1_1_2 4 August 2014Latvia_cell_1_1_3
Lowest temperatureLatvia_cell_1_2_0 −43.2 °C (−46 °F)Latvia_cell_1_2_1 DaugavpilsLatvia_cell_1_2_2 8 February 1956Latvia_cell_1_2_3
Last spring frostLatvia_cell_1_3_0 Latvia_cell_1_3_1 large parts of territoryLatvia_cell_1_3_2 24 June 1982Latvia_cell_1_3_3
First autumn frostLatvia_cell_1_4_0 Latvia_cell_1_4_1 Cenas parishLatvia_cell_1_4_2 15 August 1975Latvia_cell_1_4_3
Highest yearly precipitationLatvia_cell_1_5_0 1,007 mm (39.6 in)Latvia_cell_1_5_1 Priekuļi parishLatvia_cell_1_5_2 1928Latvia_cell_1_5_3
Lowest yearly precipitationLatvia_cell_1_6_0 384 mm (15.1 in)Latvia_cell_1_6_1 AinažiLatvia_cell_1_6_2 1939Latvia_cell_1_6_3
Highest daily precipitationLatvia_cell_1_7_0 160 mm (6.3 in)Latvia_cell_1_7_1 VentspilsLatvia_cell_1_7_2 9 July 1973Latvia_cell_1_7_3
Highest monthly precipitationLatvia_cell_1_8_0 330 mm (13.0 in)Latvia_cell_1_8_1 Nīca parishLatvia_cell_1_8_2 August 1972Latvia_cell_1_8_3
Lowest monthly precipitationLatvia_cell_1_9_0 0 mm (0 in)Latvia_cell_1_9_1 large parts of territoryLatvia_cell_1_9_2 May 1938 and May 1941Latvia_cell_1_9_3
Thickest snow coverLatvia_cell_1_10_0 126 cm (49.6 in)Latvia_cell_1_10_1 GaiziņkalnsLatvia_cell_1_10_2 March 1931Latvia_cell_1_10_3
Month with the most days with blizzardsLatvia_cell_1_11_0 19 daysLatvia_cell_1_11_1 LiepājaLatvia_cell_1_11_2 February 1956Latvia_cell_1_11_3
The most days with fog in a yearLatvia_cell_1_12_0 143 daysLatvia_cell_1_12_1 Gaiziņkalns areaLatvia_cell_1_12_2 1946Latvia_cell_1_12_3
Longest-lasting fogLatvia_cell_1_13_0 93 hoursLatvia_cell_1_13_1 AlūksneLatvia_cell_1_13_2 1958Latvia_cell_1_13_3
Highest atmospheric pressureLatvia_cell_1_14_0 31.5 inHg (1,066.7 mb)Latvia_cell_1_14_1 LiepājaLatvia_cell_1_14_2 January 1907Latvia_cell_1_14_3
Lowest atmospheric pressureLatvia_cell_1_15_0 27.5 inHg (931.3 mb)Latvia_cell_1_15_1 Vidzeme UplandLatvia_cell_1_15_2 13 February 1962Latvia_cell_1_15_3
The most days with thunderstorms in a yearLatvia_cell_1_16_0 52 daysLatvia_cell_1_16_1 Vidzeme UplandLatvia_cell_1_16_2 1954Latvia_cell_1_16_3
Strongest windLatvia_cell_1_17_0 34 m/s, up to 48 m/sLatvia_cell_1_17_1 not specifiedLatvia_cell_1_17_2 2 November 1969Latvia_cell_1_17_3

2019 was the warmest year in the history of weather observation in Latvia with an average temperature +8.1°C higher. Latvia_sentence_203

Environment Latvia_section_12

Most of the country is composed of fertile lowland plains and moderate hills. Latvia_sentence_204

In a typical Latvian landscape, a mosaic of vast forests alternates with fields, farmsteads, and pastures. Latvia_sentence_205

Arable land is spotted with birch groves and wooded clusters, which afford a habitat for numerous plants and animals. Latvia_sentence_206

Latvia has hundreds of kilometres of undeveloped seashore—lined by pine forests, dunes, and continuous white sand beaches. Latvia_sentence_207

Latvia has the 5th highest proportion of land covered by forests in the European Union, after Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Slovenia. Latvia_sentence_208

Forests account for 3,497,000 ha (8,640,000 acres) or 56% of the total land area. Latvia_sentence_209

Latvia has over 12,500 rivers, which stretch for 38,000 km (24,000 mi). Latvia_sentence_210

Major rivers include the Daugava River, Lielupe, Gauja, Venta, and Salaca, the largest spawning ground for salmon in the eastern Baltic states. Latvia_sentence_211

There are 2,256 lakes that are bigger than 1 ha (2.5 acres), with a collective area of 1,000 km (390 sq mi). Latvia_sentence_212

Mires occupy 9.9% of Latvia's territory. Latvia_sentence_213

Of these, 42% are raised bogs; 49% are fens; and 9% are transitional mires. Latvia_sentence_214

70% percent of the mires are untouched by civilization, and they are a refuge for many rare species of plants and animals. Latvia_sentence_215

Agricultural areas account for 1,815,900 ha (4,487,000 acres) or 29% of the total land area. Latvia_sentence_216

With the dismantling of collective farms, the area devoted to farming decreased dramatically – now farms are predominantly small. Latvia_sentence_217

Approximately 200 farms, occupying 2,750 ha (6,800 acres), are engaged in ecologically pure farming (using no artificial fertilizers or pesticides). Latvia_sentence_218

Latvia's national parks are Gauja National Park in Vidzeme (since 1973), Ķemeri National Park in Zemgale (1997), Slītere National Park in Kurzeme (1999), and Rāzna National Park in Latgale (2007). Latvia_sentence_219

Latvia has a long tradition of conservation. Latvia_sentence_220

The first laws and regulations were promulgated in the 16th and 17th centuries. Latvia_sentence_221

There are 706 specially state-level protected natural areas in Latvia: four national parks, one biosphere reserve, 42 nature parks, nine areas of protected landscapes, 260 nature reserves, four strict nature reserves, 355 nature monuments, seven protected marine areas and 24 microreserves. Latvia_sentence_222

Nationally protected areas account for 12,790 km (4,940 sq mi) or around 20% of Latvia's total land area. Latvia_sentence_223

Latvia's Red Book (Endangered Species List of Latvia), which was established in 1977, contains 112 plant species and 119 animal species. Latvia_sentence_224

Latvia has ratified the international Washington, Bern, and Ramsare conventions. Latvia_sentence_225

The 2012 Environmental Performance Index ranks Latvia second, after Switzerland, based on the environmental performance of the country's policies. Latvia_sentence_226

Access to biocapacity in Latvia is much higher than world average. Latvia_sentence_227

In 2016, Latvia had 8.5 global hectares of biocapacity per person within its territory, much more than the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. Latvia_sentence_228

In 2016 Latvia used 6.4 global hectares of biocapacity per person - their ecological footprint of consumption. Latvia_sentence_229

This means they use less biocapacity than Latvia contains. Latvia_sentence_230

As a result, Latvia is running a biocapacity reserve. Latvia_sentence_231

Biodiversity Latvia_section_13

Approximately 30,000 species of flora and fauna have been registered in Latvia. Latvia_sentence_232

Common species of wildlife in Latvia include deer, wild boar, moose, lynx, bear, fox, beaver and wolves. Latvia_sentence_233

Non-marine molluscs of Latvia include 159 species. Latvia_sentence_234

Species that are endangered in other European countries but common in Latvia include: black stork (Ciconia nigra), corncrake (Crex crex), lesser spotted eagle (Aquila pomarina), white-backed woodpecker (Picoides leucotos), Eurasian crane (Grus grus), Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), European wolf (Canis lupus) and European lynx (Felis lynx). Latvia_sentence_235

Phytogeographically, Latvia is shared between the Central European and Northern European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. Latvia_sentence_236

According to the WWF, the territory of Latvia belongs to the ecoregion of Sarmatic mixed forests. Latvia_sentence_237

56 percent of Latvia's territory is covered by forests, mostly Scots pine, birch, and Norway spruce. Latvia_sentence_238

Several species of flora and fauna are considered national symbols. Latvia_sentence_239

Oak (Quercus robur, Latvian: ozols), and linden (Tilia cordata, Latvian: liepa) are Latvia's national trees and the daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare, Latvian: pīpene) its national flower. Latvia_sentence_240

The white wagtail (Motacilla alba, Latvian: baltā cielava) is Latvia's national bird. Latvia_sentence_241

Its national insect is the two-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata, Latvian: divpunktu mārīte). Latvia_sentence_242

Amber, fossilized tree resin, is one of Latvia's most important cultural symbols. Latvia_sentence_243

In ancient times, amber found along the Baltic Sea coast was sought by Vikings as well as traders from Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire. Latvia_sentence_244

This led to the development of the Amber Road. Latvia_sentence_245

Several nature reserves protect unspoiled landscapes with a variety of large animals. Latvia_sentence_246

At Pape Nature Reserve, where European bison, wild horses, and recreated aurochs have been reintroduced, there is now an almost complete Holocene megafauna also including moose, deer, and wolf. Latvia_sentence_247

Administrative divisions Latvia_section_14

Main article: Administrative divisions of Latvia Latvia_sentence_248

See also: List of cities in Latvia, Planning regions of Latvia, Statistical regions of Latvia, and Historical regions of Latvia Latvia_sentence_249

Latvia is a unitary state, currently divided into 110 one-level municipalities (Latvian: novadi) and 9 republican cities (Latvian: republikas pilsētas) with their own city council and administration: Daugavpils, Jēkabpils, Jelgava, Jūrmala, Liepāja, Rēzekne, Riga, Valmiera, and Ventspils. Latvia_sentence_250

There are four historical and cultural regions in Latvia – Courland, Latgale, Vidzeme, Zemgale, which are recognised in Constitution of Latvia. Latvia_sentence_251

Selonia, a part of Zemgale, is sometimes considered culturally distinct region, but it is not part of any formal division. Latvia_sentence_252

The borders of historical and cultural regions usually are not explicitly defined and in several sources may vary. Latvia_sentence_253

In formal divisions, Riga region, which includes the capital and parts of other regions that have a strong relationship with the capital, is also often included in regional divisions; e.g., there are five planning regions of Latvia (Latvian: plānošanas reģioni), which were created in 2009 to promote balanced development of all regions. Latvia_sentence_254

Under this division Riga region includes large parts of what traditionally is considered Vidzeme, Courland, and Zemgale. Latvia_sentence_255

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. Latvia_sentence_256

The largest city in Latvia is Riga, the second largest city is Daugavpils and the third largest city is Liepaja. Latvia_sentence_257

Politics Latvia_section_15

Main articles: Politics of Latvia, Parliament of Latvia, and Government of Latvia Latvia_sentence_258

Latvia_table_general_2

Latvia_cell_2_0_0 Latvia_cell_2_0_1
Egils Levits

PresidentLatvia_cell_2_1_0

Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš

Prime MinisterLatvia_cell_2_1_1

The 100-seat unicameral Latvian parliament, the Saeima, is elected by direct popular vote every four years. Latvia_sentence_259

The president is elected by the Saeima in a separate election, also held every four years. Latvia_sentence_260

The president appoints a prime minister who, together with his cabinet, forms the executive branch of the government, which has to receive a confidence vote by the Saeima. Latvia_sentence_261

This system also existed before World War II. Latvia_sentence_262

The most senior civil servants are the thirteen Secretaries of State. Latvia_sentence_263

Foreign relations Latvia_section_16

Main article: Foreign relations of Latvia Latvia_sentence_264

Latvia is a member of the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE, IMF, and WTO. Latvia_sentence_265

It is also a member of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and Nordic Investment Bank. Latvia_sentence_266

It was a member of the League of Nations (1921–1946). Latvia_sentence_267

Latvia is part of the Schengen Area and joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2014. Latvia_sentence_268

Latvia has established diplomatic relations with 158 countries. Latvia_sentence_269

It has 44 diplomatic and consular missions and maintains 34 embassies and 9 permanent representations abroad. Latvia_sentence_270

There are 37 foreign embassies and 11 international organisations in Latvia's capital Riga. Latvia_sentence_271

Latvia hosts one European Union institution, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). Latvia_sentence_272

Latvia's foreign policy priorities include co-operation in the Baltic Sea region, European integration, active involvement in international organisations, contribution to European and transatlantic security and defence structures, participation in international civilian and military peacekeeping operations, and development co-operation, particularly the strengthening of stability and democracy in the EU's Eastern Partnership countries. Latvia_sentence_273

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. Latvia_sentence_274

The Baltic Council is the joint forum of the interparliamentary Baltic Assembly (BA) and the intergovernmental Baltic Council of Ministers (BCM). Latvia_sentence_275

Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB-8) is the joint co-operation of the governments of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. Latvia_sentence_276

Nordic-Baltic Six (NB-6), comprising Nordic-Baltic countries that are European Union member states, is a framework for meetings on EU-related issues. Latvia_sentence_277

Interparliamentary co-operation between the Baltic Assembly and Nordic Council was signed in 1992 and since 2006 annual meetings are held as well as regular meetings on other levels. Latvia_sentence_278

Joint Nordic-Baltic co-operation initiatives include the education programme NordPlus and mobility programmes for public administration, business and industry and culture. Latvia_sentence_279

The Nordic Council of Ministers has an office in Riga. Latvia_sentence_280

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. Latvia_sentence_281

The secretariat of the Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC) will be located in Riga. Latvia_sentence_282

In 2013 Riga hosted the annual Northern Future Forum, a two-day informal meeting of the prime ministers of the Nordic-Baltic countries and the UK. Latvia_sentence_283

The Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe or e-Pine is the U.S. Latvia_sentence_284 Department of State diplomatic framework for co-operation with the Nordic-Baltic countries. Latvia_sentence_285

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. Latvia_sentence_286

Latvia held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2015. Latvia_sentence_287

Human rights Latvia_section_17

Main article: Human rights in Latvia Latvia_sentence_288

According to the reports by Freedom House and the US Department of State, human rights in Latvia are generally respected by the government: Latvia is ranked above-average among the world's sovereign states in democracy, press freedom, privacy and human development. Latvia_sentence_289

More than 56% of leading positions are held by women in Latvia, which ranks 1st in Europe; Latvia ranks 1st in the world in women's rights sharing the position with five other European countries according to World Bank. Latvia_sentence_290

The country has a large ethnic Russian community, which was guaranteed basic rights under the constitution and international human rights laws ratified by the Latvian government. Latvia_sentence_291

Approximately 206,000 non-citizens – including stateless persons – have limited access to some political rights – only citizens are allowed to participate in parliamentary or municipal elections, although there are no limitations in regards to joining political parties or other political organizations. Latvia_sentence_292

In 2011, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities "urged Latvia to allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections." Latvia_sentence_293

Additionally, there have been reports of police abuse of detainees and arrestees, poor prison conditions and overcrowding, judicial corruption, incidents of violence against ethnic minorities, and societal violence and incidents of government discrimination against homosexuals. Latvia_sentence_294

Military Latvia_section_18

Main article: Military of Latvia Latvia_sentence_295

The National Armed Forces (Latvian: Nacionālie Bruņotie Spēki (NAF)) of Latvia consists of the Land Forces, Naval Forces, Air Force, National Guard, Special Tasks Unit, Military Police, NAF staff Battalion, Training and Doctrine Command, and Logistics Command. Latvia_sentence_296

Latvia's defence concept is based upon the Swedish-Finnish model of a rapid response force composed of a mobilisation base and a small group of career professionals. Latvia_sentence_297

From 1 January 2007, Latvia switched to a professional fully contract-based army. Latvia_sentence_298

Latvia participates in international peacekeeping and security operations. Latvia_sentence_299

Latvian armed forces have contributed to NATO and EU military operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996–2009), Albania (1999), Kosovo (2000–2009), Macedonia (2003), Iraq (2005–2006), Afghanistan (since 2003), Somalia (since 2011) and Mali (since 2013). Latvia_sentence_300

Latvia also took part in the US-led Multi-National Force operation in Iraq (2003–2008) and OSCE missions in Georgia, Kosovo and Macedonia. Latvia_sentence_301

Latvian armed forces contributed to a UK-led Battlegroup in 2013 and the Nordic Battlegroup in 2015 under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union. Latvia_sentence_302

Latvia acts as the lead nation in the coordination of the Northern Distribution Network for transportation of non-lethal ISAF cargo by air and rail to Afghanistan. Latvia_sentence_303

It is part of the Nordic Transition Support Unit (NTSU), which renders joint force contributions in support of Afghan security structures ahead of the withdrawal of Nordic and Baltic ISAF forces in 2014. Latvia_sentence_304

Since 1996 more than 3600 military personnel have participated in international operations, of whom 7 soldiers perished. Latvia_sentence_305

Per capita, Latvia is one of the largest contributors to international military operations. Latvia_sentence_306

Latvian civilian experts have contributed to EU civilian missions: border assistance mission to Moldova and Ukraine (2005–2009), rule of law missions in Iraq (2006 and 2007) and Kosovo (since 2008), police mission in Afghanistan (since 2007) and monitoring mission in Georgia (since 2008). Latvia_sentence_307

Since March 2004, when the Baltic states joined NATO, fighter jets of NATO members have been deployed on a rotational basis for the Baltic Air Policing mission at Šiauliai Airport in Lithuania to guard the Baltic airspace. Latvia_sentence_308

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. Latvia_sentence_309

It plans to establish the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga. Latvia_sentence_310

Latvia co-operates with Estonia and Lithuania in several trilateral Baltic defence co-operation initiatives: Latvia_sentence_311

Latvia_unordered_list_0

Future co-operation will include sharing of national infrastructures for training purposes and specialisation of training areas (BALTTRAIN) and collective formation of battalion-sized contingents for use in the NATO rapid-response force. Latvia_sentence_312

In January 2011, the Baltic states were invited to join NORDEFCO, the defence framework of the Nordic countries. Latvia_sentence_313

In November 2012, the three countries agreed to create a joint military staff in 2013. Latvia_sentence_314

Economy Latvia_section_19

Main article: Economy of Latvia Latvia_sentence_315

Latvia is a member of the World Trade Organization (1999) and the European Union (2004). Latvia_sentence_316

On 1 January 2014, the Euro became the country's currency, superseding the Lats. Latvia_sentence_317

According to statistics in late 2013, 45% of the population supported the introduction of the euro, while 52% opposed it. Latvia_sentence_318

Following the introduction of the Euro, Eurobarometer surveys in January 2014 showed support for the Euro to be around 53%, close to the European average. Latvia_sentence_319

Since the year 2000, Latvia has had one of the highest (GDP) growth rates in Europe. Latvia_sentence_320

However, the chiefly consumption-driven growth in Latvia resulted in the collapse of Latvian GDP in late 2008 and early 2009, exacerbated by the global economic crisis, shortage of credit and huge money resources used for the bailout of Parex bank. Latvia_sentence_321

The Latvian economy fell 18% in the first three months of 2009, the biggest fall in the European Union. Latvia_sentence_322

The economic crisis of 2009 proved earlier assumptions that the fast-growing economy was heading for implosion of the economic bubble, because it was driven mainly by growth of domestic consumption, financed by a serious increase of private debt, as well as a negative foreign trade balance. Latvia_sentence_323

The prices of real estate, which were at some points growing by approximately 5% a month, were long perceived to be too high for the economy, which mainly produces low-value goods and raw materials. Latvia_sentence_324

Privatisation in Latvia is almost complete. Latvia_sentence_325

Virtually all of the previously state-owned small and medium companies have been privatised, leaving only a small number of politically sensitive large state companies. Latvia_sentence_326

The private sector accounted for nearly 68% of the country's GDP in 2000. Latvia_sentence_327

Foreign investment in Latvia is still modest compared with the levels in north-central Europe. Latvia_sentence_328

A law expanding the scope for selling land, including to foreigners, was passed in 1997. Latvia_sentence_329

Representing 10.2% of Latvia's total foreign direct investment, American companies invested $127 million in 1999. Latvia_sentence_330

In the same year, the United States of America exported $58.2 million of goods and services to Latvia and imported $87.9 million. Latvia_sentence_331

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. Latvia_sentence_332

Latvia and the United States have signed treaties on investment, trade, and intellectual property protection and avoidance of double taxation. Latvia_sentence_333

In 2010 Latvia launched a Residence by Investment program (Golden Visa) in order to attract foreign investors and make local economy benefit from it. Latvia_sentence_334

This program allows investors to get Latvia residence permit by investing at least €250,000 in property or in an enterprise with at least 50 employees and an annual turnover of at least €10M. Latvia_sentence_335

Economic contraction and recovery (2008–12) Latvia_section_20

Main article: 2008–2010 Latvian financial crisis Latvia_sentence_336

The Latvian economy entered a phase of fiscal contraction during the second half of 2008 after an extended period of credit-based speculation and unrealistic appreciation in real estate values. Latvia_sentence_337

The national account deficit for 2007, for example, represented more than 22% of the GDP for the year while inflation was running at 10%. Latvia_sentence_338

Latvia's unemployment rate rose sharply in this period from a low of 5.4% in November 2007 to over 22%. Latvia_sentence_339

In April 2010 Latvia had the highest unemployment rate in the EU, at 22.5%, ahead of Spain, which had 19.7%. Latvia_sentence_340

Paul Krugman, the Nobel Laureate in economics for 2008, wrote in his New York Times Op-Ed column on 15 December 2008: Latvia_sentence_341

However, by 2010, commentators noted signs of stabilisation in the Latvian economy. Latvia_sentence_342

Rating agency Standard & Poor's raised its outlook on Latvia's debt from negative to stable. Latvia_sentence_343

Latvia's current account, which had been in deficit by 27% in late 2006 was in surplus in February 2010. Latvia_sentence_344

Kenneth Orchard, senior analyst at Moody's Investors Service argued that: Latvia_sentence_345

The IMF concluded the First Post-Program Monitoring Discussions with the Republic of Latvia in July 2012 announcing that Latvia's economy has been recovering strongly since 2010, following the deep downturn in 2008–09. Latvia_sentence_346

Real GDP growth of 5.5 percent in 2011 was underpinned by export growth and a recovery in domestic demand. Latvia_sentence_347

The growth momentum has continued into 2012 and 2013 despite deteriorating external conditions, and the economy is expected to expand by 4.1 percent in 2014. Latvia_sentence_348

The unemployment rate has receded from its peak of more than 20 percent in 2010 to around 9.3 percent in 2014. Latvia_sentence_349

Infrastructure Latvia_section_21

Main article: Transport in Latvia Latvia_sentence_350

The transport sector is around 14% of GDP. Latvia_sentence_351

Transit between Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan as well as other Asian countries and the West is large. Latvia_sentence_352

The four biggest ports of Latvia are located in Riga, Ventspils, Liepāja and Skulte. Latvia_sentence_353

Most transit traffic uses these and half the cargo is crude oil and oil products. Latvia_sentence_354

Free port of Ventspils is one of the busiest ports in the Baltic states. Latvia_sentence_355

Apart from road and railway connections, Ventspils is also linked to oil extraction fields and transportation routes of Russian Federation via system of two pipelines from Polotsk, Belarus. Latvia_sentence_356

Riga International Airport is the busiest airport in the Baltic states with 7.8 million passengers in 2019. Latvia_sentence_357

It has direct flight to over 80 destinations in 30 countries. Latvia_sentence_358

The only other airport handling regular commercial flights is Liepāja International Airport. Latvia_sentence_359

airBaltic is the Latvian flag carrier airline and a low-cost carrier with hubs in all three Baltic States, but main base in Riga, Latvia. Latvia_sentence_360

Latvian Railway's main network consists of 1,860 km of which 1,826 km is 1,520 mm Russian gauge railway of which 251 km are electrified, making it the longest railway network in the Baltic States. Latvia_sentence_361

Latvia's railway network is currently incompatible with European standard gauge lines. Latvia_sentence_362

However, Rail Baltica railway, linking Helsinki-Tallinn-Riga-Kaunas-Warsaw is under construction and is set to be completed in 2026. Latvia_sentence_363

National road network in Latvia totals 1675 km of main roads, 5473 km of regional roads and 13 064 km of local roads. Latvia_sentence_364

Municipal roads in Latvia totals 30 439 km of roads and 8039 km of streets. Latvia_sentence_365

The best known roads are A1 (European route E67), connecting Warsaw and Tallinn, as well as European route E22, connecting Ventspils and Terehova. Latvia_sentence_366

In 2017 there were a total of 803,546 licensed vehicles in Latvia. Latvia_sentence_367

Latvia has three big hydroelectric power stations in Pļaviņu HES (825MW), Rīgas HES (402 MW) and Ķeguma HES-2 (192 MW). Latvia_sentence_368

In the recent years a couple of dozen of wind farms as well as biogas or biomass power stations of different scale have been built in Latvia. Latvia_sentence_369

Latvia operates Inčukalns underground gas storage facility, one of the largest underground gas storage facilities in Europe and the only one in the Baltic states. Latvia_sentence_370

Unique geological conditions at Inčukalns and other locations in Latvia are particularly suitable for underground gas storage. Latvia_sentence_371

Demographics Latvia_section_22

Main article: Demographics of Latvia Latvia_sentence_372

The total fertility rate (TFR) in 2018 was estimated at 1.61 children born/woman, which is lower than the replacement rate of 2.1. Latvia_sentence_373

In 2012, 45.0% of births were to unmarried women. Latvia_sentence_374

The life expectancy in 2013 was estimated at 73.19 years (68.13 years male, 78.53 years female). Latvia_sentence_375

As of 2015, Latvia is estimated to have the lowest male-to-female ratio in the world, at 0.85 males/female. Latvia_sentence_376

In 2017 there were 1 054 433 female and 895 683 male living in Latvian territory. Latvia_sentence_377

Every year more boys are born. Latvia_sentence_378

Until the age of 39, there are more male than female. Latvia_sentence_379

From the age of 40 – more female. Latvia_sentence_380

And from 70 females are 2,3 times more than males. Latvia_sentence_381

Ethnic groups Latvia_section_23

Main articles: Latvian people, Latvian Russians, Latvian Germans, Latvian Jews, Latgalians (modern), Livonians, and Gauja Estonians Latvia_sentence_382

Latvia's population has been multiethnic for centuries, though the demographics shifted dramatically in the 20th century due to the World Wars, the emigration and removal of Baltic Germans, the Holocaust, and occupation by the Soviet Union. Latvia_sentence_383

According to the Russian Empire Census of 1897, Latvians formed 68.3% of the total population of 1.93 million; Russians accounted for 12%, Jews for 7.4%, Germans for 6.2%, and Poles for 3.4%. Latvia_sentence_384

As of March 2011, Latvians form about 62.1% of the population, while 26.9% are Russians, Belarusians 3.3%, Ukrainians 2.2%, Poles 2.2%, Lithuanians 1.2%, Jews 0.3%, Romani people 0.3%, Germans 0.1%, Estonians 0.1% and others 1.3%. Latvia_sentence_385

250 people identify as Livonians (Baltic Finnic people native to Latvia). Latvia_sentence_386

There were 290,660 "non-citizens" living in Latvia or 14.1% of Latvian residents, mainly Russian settlers who arrived after the occupation of 1940 and their descendants. Latvia_sentence_387

In some cities, e.g., Daugavpils and Rēzekne, ethnic Latvians constitute a minority of the total population. Latvia_sentence_388

Despite the fact that the proportion of ethnic Latvians has been steadily increasing for more than a decade, ethnic Latvians also make up slightly less than a half of the population of the capital city of Latvia – Riga. Latvia_sentence_389

The share of ethnic Latvians had fallen from 77% (1,467,035) in 1935 to 52% (1,387,757) in 1989. Latvia_sentence_390

In 2011, there were even fewer Latvians than in 1989, though their share of the population was larger – 1,285,136 (62.1% of the population). Latvia_sentence_391

Language Latvia_section_24

Further information: Language policy in Latvia Latvia_sentence_392

The sole official language of Latvia is Latvian, which belongs to the Baltic language sub-group of the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. Latvia_sentence_393

Another notable language of Latvia is the nearly extinct Livonian language of the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family, which enjoys protection by law; Latgalian – as a dialect of Latvian is also protected by Latvian law but as a historical variation of the Latvian language. Latvia_sentence_394

Russian, which was widely spoken during the Soviet period, is still the most widely used minority language by far (in 2011, 34% spoke it at home, including people who were not ethnically Russian). Latvia_sentence_395

While it is now required that all school students learn Latvian, schools also include English, German, French and Russian in their curricula. Latvia_sentence_396

English is also widely accepted in Latvia in business and tourism. Latvia_sentence_397

As of 2014 there were 109 schools for minorities that use Russian as the language of instruction (27% of all students) for 40% of subjects (the remaining 60% of subjects are taught in Latvian). Latvia_sentence_398

On 18 February 2012, Latvia held a constitutional referendum on whether to adopt Russian as a second official language. Latvia_sentence_399

According to the Central Election Commission, 74.8% voted against, 24.9% voted for and the voter turnout was 71.1%. Latvia_sentence_400

Beginning in 2019, instruction in Russian language will be gradually discontinued in private colleges and universities in Latvia, as well as general instruction in Latvian public high schools, except for subjects related to culture and history of the Russian minority, such as Russian language and literature classes. Latvia_sentence_401

Religion Latvia_section_25

Main article: Religion in Latvia Latvia_sentence_402

The largest religion in Latvia is Christianity (79%). Latvia_sentence_403

The largest groups as of 2011 were: Latvia_sentence_404

Latvia_unordered_list_1

In the Eurobarometer Poll 2010, 38% of Latvian citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", while 48% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 11% stated that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force". Latvia_sentence_405

Lutheranism was more prominent before the Soviet occupation, when it was a majority religion of ~60% due to strong historical links with the Nordic countries and to the influence of the Hansa in particular and Germany in general. Latvia_sentence_406

Since then, Lutheranism has declined to a slightly greater extent than Roman Catholicism in all three Baltic states. Latvia_sentence_407

The Evangelical Lutheran Church, with an estimated 600,000 members in 1956, was affected most adversely. Latvia_sentence_408

An internal document of 18 March 1987, near the end of communist rule, spoke of an active membership that had shrunk to only 25,000 in Latvia, but the faith has since experienced a revival. Latvia_sentence_409

The country's Orthodox Christians belong to the Latvian Orthodox Church, a semi-autonomous body within the Russian Orthodox Church. Latvia_sentence_410

In 2011, there were 416 religious Jews, 319 Muslims and 102 Hindus. Latvia_sentence_411

Most of the Hindus are local converts from the work of the Hare Krishna movement; some are foreign workers from India. Latvia_sentence_412

As of 2004 there were more than 600 Latvian neopagans, Dievturi (The Godskeepers), whose religion is based on Latvian mythology. Latvia_sentence_413

About 21% of the total population is not affiliated with a specific religion. Latvia_sentence_414

Education and science Latvia_section_26

Main article: Education in Latvia Latvia_sentence_415

See also: List of universities in Latvia Latvia_sentence_416

The University of Latvia and Riga Technical University are two major universities in the country, both established on the basis of Riga Polytechnical Institute and located in Riga. Latvia_sentence_417

Other important universities, which were established on the base of State University of Latvia, include the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (established in 1939 on the basis of the Faculty of Agriculture) and Riga Stradiņš University (established in 1950 on the basis of the Faculty of Medicine). Latvia_sentence_418

Both nowadays cover a variety of different fields. Latvia_sentence_419

The University of Daugavpils is another significant centre of education. Latvia_sentence_420

Latvia closed 131 schools between 2006 and 2010, which is a 12.9% decline, and in the same period enrolment in educational institutions has fallen by over 54,000 people, a 10.3% decline. Latvia_sentence_421

Latvian policy in science and technology has set out the long-term goal of transitioning from labor-consuming economy to knowledge-based economy. Latvia_sentence_422

By 2020 the government aims to spend 1.5% of GDP on research and development, with half of the investments coming from the private sector. Latvia_sentence_423

Latvia plans to base the development of its scientific potential on existing scientific traditions, particularly in organic chemistry, medical chemistry, genetic engineering, physics, materials science and information technologies. Latvia_sentence_424

The greatest number of patents, both nationwide and abroad, are in medical chemistry. Latvia_sentence_425

Health Latvia_section_27

Main article: Health in Latvia Latvia_sentence_426

The Latvian healthcare system is a universal programme, largely funded through government taxation. Latvia_sentence_427

It is among the lowest-ranked healthcare systems in Europe, due to excessive waiting times for treatment, insufficient access to the latest medicines, and other factors. Latvia_sentence_428

There were 59 hospitals in Latvia in 2009, down from 94 in 2007 and 121 in 2006. Latvia_sentence_429

Culture Latvia_section_28

Main article: Culture of Latvia Latvia_sentence_430

Traditional Latvian folklore, especially the dance of the folk songs, dates back well over a thousand years. Latvia_sentence_431

More than 1.2 million texts and 30,000 melodies of folk songs have been identified. Latvia_sentence_432

Between the 13th and 19th centuries, Baltic Germans, many of whom were originally of non-German ancestry but had been assimilated into German culture, formed the upper class. Latvia_sentence_433

They developed distinct cultural heritage, characterised by both Latvian and German influences. Latvia_sentence_434

It has survived in German Baltic families to this day, in spite of their dispersal to Germany, the United States, Canada and other countries in the early 20th century. Latvia_sentence_435

However, most indigenous Latvians did not participate in this particular cultural life. Latvia_sentence_436

Thus, the mostly peasant local pagan heritage was preserved, partly merging with Christian traditions. Latvia_sentence_437

For example, one of the most popular celebrations is Jāņi, a pagan celebration of the summer solstice—which Latvians celebrate on the feast day of St. John the Baptist. Latvia_sentence_438

In the 19th century, Latvian nationalist movements emerged. Latvia_sentence_439

They promoted Latvian culture and encouraged Latvians to take part in cultural activities. Latvia_sentence_440

The 19th century and beginning of the 20th century is often regarded by Latvians as a classical era of Latvian culture. Latvia_sentence_441

Posters show the influence of other European cultures, for example, works of artists such as the Baltic-German artist Bernhard Borchert and the French Raoul Dufy. Latvia_sentence_442

With the onset of World War II, many Latvian artists and other members of the cultural elite fled the country yet continued to produce their work, largely for a Latvian émigré audience. Latvia_sentence_443

The Latvian Song and Dance Festival is an important event in Latvian culture and social life. Latvia_sentence_444

It has been held since 1873, normally every five years. Latvia_sentence_445

Approximately 30,000 performers altogether participate in the event. Latvia_sentence_446

Folk songs and classical choir songs are sung, with emphasis on a cappella singing, though modern popular songs have recently been incorporated into the repertoire as well. Latvia_sentence_447

After incorporation into the Soviet Union, Latvian artists and writers were forced to follow the socialist realism style of art. Latvia_sentence_448

During the Soviet era, music became increasingly popular, with the most popular being songs from the 1980s. Latvia_sentence_449

At this time, songs often made fun of the characteristics of Soviet life and were concerned about preserving Latvian identity. Latvia_sentence_450

This aroused popular protests against the USSR and also gave rise to an increasing popularity of poetry. Latvia_sentence_451

Since independence, theatre, scenography, choir music, and classical music have become the most notable branches of Latvian culture. Latvia_sentence_452

During July 2014, Riga hosted the 8th World Choir Games as it played host to over 27,000 choristers representing over 450 choirs and over 70 countries. Latvia_sentence_453

The festival is the biggest of its kind in the world and is held every two years in a different host city. Latvia_sentence_454

Starting in 2019 Latvia hosts the inaugural , a new festival in which world-famous orchestras and conductors perform across four weekends during the summer. Latvia_sentence_455

The festival takes place at the Latvian National Opera, the Great Guild, and the Great and Small Halls of the Dzintari Concert Hall. Latvia_sentence_456

This year features the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra. Latvia_sentence_457

Cuisine Latvia_section_29

Main article: Latvian cuisine Latvia_sentence_458

Latvian cuisine typically consists of agricultural products, with meat featuring in most main meal dishes. Latvia_sentence_459

Fish is commonly consumed due to Latvia's location on the Baltic Sea. Latvia_sentence_460

Latvian cuisine has been influenced by the neighbouring countries. Latvia_sentence_461

Common ingredients in Latvian recipes are found locally, such as potatoes, wheat, barley, cabbage, onions, eggs, and pork. Latvia_sentence_462

Latvian food is generally quite fatty, and uses few spices. Latvia_sentence_463

Grey peas and ham are generally considered as staple foods of Latvians. Latvia_sentence_464

Sorrel soup (skābeņu zupa) is also consumed by Latvians. Latvia_sentence_465

Rupjmaize is a dark bread made from rye, considered the national staple. Latvia_sentence_466

Sport Latvia_section_30

Main article: Sport in Latvia Latvia_sentence_467

Ice hockey is usually considered the most popular sport in Latvia. Latvia_sentence_468

Latvia has had many famous hockey stars like Helmuts Balderis, Artūrs Irbe, Kārlis Skrastiņš and Sandis Ozoliņš and more recently Zemgus Girgensons, whom the Latvian people have strongly supported in international and NHL play, expressed through the dedication of using the NHL's All Star Voting to bring Zemgus to number one in voting. Latvia_sentence_469

Dinamo Riga is the country's strongest hockey club, playing in the Kontinental Hockey League. Latvia_sentence_470

The national tournament is the Latvian Hockey Higher League, held since 1931. Latvia_sentence_471

The 2006 IIHF World Championship was held in Riga. Latvia_sentence_472

The second most popular sport is basketball. Latvia_sentence_473

Latvia has a long basketball tradition, as the Latvian national basketball team won the first ever EuroBasket in 1935 and silver medals in 1939, after losing the final to Lithuania by one point. Latvia_sentence_474

Latvia has had many European basketball stars like Jānis Krūmiņš, Maigonis Valdmanis, Valdis Muižnieks, Valdis Valters, Igors Miglinieks, as well as the first Latvian NBA player Gundars Vētra. Latvia_sentence_475

Andris Biedriņš is one of the most well-known Latvian basketball players, who played in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors and the Utah Jazz. Latvia_sentence_476

Current NBA players include Kristaps Porziņģis, who plays for the Dallas Mavericks, Dāvis Bertāns, who plays for the Washington Wizards, and Rodions Kurucs, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets. Latvia_sentence_477

Former Latvian basketball club Rīgas ASK won the Euroleague tournament three times in a row before becoming defunct. Latvia_sentence_478

Currently, VEF Rīga, which competes in EuroCup, is the strongest professional basketball club in Latvia. Latvia_sentence_479

BK Ventspils, which participates in EuroChallenge, is the second strongest basketball club in Latvia, previously winning LBL eight times and BBL in 2013. Latvia_sentence_480

Latvia was one of the EuroBasket 2015 hosts. Latvia_sentence_481

Other popular sports include football, floorball, tennis, volleyball, cycling, bobsleigh and skeleton. Latvia_sentence_482

The Latvian national football team's only major FIFA tournament participation has been the 2004 UEFA European Championship. Latvia_sentence_483

Latvia has participated successfully in both Winter and Summer Olympics. Latvia_sentence_484

The most successful Olympic athlete in the history of independent Latvia has been Māris Štrombergs, who became a two-time Olympic champion in 2008 and 2012 at Men's BMX. Latvia_sentence_485

In Boxing, Mairis Briedis is the first Latvian to win a boxing world title, having held the WBC cruiserweight title from 2017 to 2018, and the WBO cruiserweight title in 2019. Latvia_sentence_486

In 2017, Latvian tennis player Jeļena Ostapenko won the 2017 French Open Women's singles title being the first unseeded player to do so in the open era. Latvia_sentence_487

See also Latvia_section_31

Latvia_unordered_list_2


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latvia.