Latvia (GPS: 57 00 N, 25 00 E) is located in Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania. The country’s area measurements are total: 64,589 sq km; land: 62,249 sq km, water: 2,340 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly larger than West Virginia. The total irrigated land is 12 sq km (2012).
One of Latvia’s essential features is that most of the country is composed of fertile low-lying plains with some hills in the east.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Riga’s GPS coordinates are 56 57 N 24 06 E. Riga’s local time is 7 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+2, note; Daylight saving time: +1hr begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October.
Several eastern Baltic tribes merged in medieval times to form 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 the USSR annexed it 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 26% 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 and the OECD in 2016. A dual citizenship law was adopted in 2013, easing naturalization for non-citizen children.
Latvia’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Latvia, conventional short form: Latvia, local long form: Latvijas Republika, local short form: Latvija, former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, etymology: 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.).
Latvia’s terrain is typically low plain. The country’s mean elevation: 87 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m, highest point: Gaizina Kalns 312 m.
The general climate in the country; maritime: wet, moderate winters.
The total number of border countries is 4, Belarus 161 km, Estonia 333 km, Lithuania 544 km, Russia 332 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Latvia’s coastline is 498 km. Its marital claims are territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: limits as agreed to by Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, and Russiacontinental shelf: 200 m depth or the depth of exploitation. Waterways: 300 km (navigable year-round) (2010). Land use: agricultural land: 29.2%; arable land 18.6%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 10.5%; forest: 54.1%; other: 16.7% (2011 estimate).
The population in Latvia 1,923,559 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 67.4% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: RIGA (capital) 621,000 (2015), while Latvia has the largest concentration of people is found in and around the port and capital city of Riga; small agglomerations are scattered throughout the country. Their spoken languages are Latvian (official language) 56.3%, Russian 33.8%, other 0.6% (includes Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian), unspecified 9.4%. Note: represents language usually spoken at home (2011 estimate). Main religions in Latvia are Lutheran 19.6%, Orthodox 15.3%, other Christian 1%, other 0.4%, unspecified 63.7% (2006). The nation uses a civil law system with traces of socialist legal traditions and practices. It is a(n) parliamentary republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 18 November (1918).
Economic overview for the country: Latvia is a small, open economy with exports contributing more than half of GDP. Due to its geographical location, transit services are highly-developed, timber and wood-processing, agriculture and food products, and manufacturing of machinery and electronics industries. Corruption continues to impede attracting foreign direct investment, and Latvia’s low birth rate and decreasing population are significant challenges to its long-term economic vitality. Latvia’s economy experienced more than 10% per year during 2006-2007 but entered a severe recession in 2008 due to an unsustainable current account deficit and considerable debt exposure amid the slowing world economy. Triggered by the collapse of the second-largest bank, GDP plunged by more than 14% in 2009 and, despite strong growth since 2011, the economy took until 2017 to return to pre-crisis levels in real terms.
Substantial investment and consumption, the latter stoked by rising wages, helped the economy grow by more than 4% in 2017, while inflation rose to 3%. Continued gains in competitiveness and investment will be vital in maintaining economic growth, especially in light of unfavorable demographic trends, including the emigration of skilled workers, and one of the highest income inequality levels in the EU. In the wake of the 2008-2009 crisis, the IMF, EU, and other international donors provided substantial financial assistance to Latvia as part of an agreement to defend the currency’s peg to the euro in exchange for the government’s commitment to stringent austerity measures. The IMF/EU program successfully concluded in December 2011, although the austerity measures imposed high social costs. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises, including 80% ownership of the Latvian national airline.
Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999 and the EU in May 2004. Latvia also joined the eurozone in 2014 and the OECD in 2016.
When you visit this country in Europe, consider the natural hazards in Latvia: N/A, while infectious diseases are the degree of risk: intermediate vector-borne diseases: tickborne encephalitis (2016). Also, note that Latvia faces the following environmental issues: While land, water, and air pollution are evident, Latvia’s environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence, Improvements have occurred in drinking water quality, sewage treatment, household, and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution, Concerns include nature protection and the rule of water resources and the safety of the Baltic Sea.