Bosnia - Herzegovina
Located in north-eastern Europe, Latvia was annexed by the Soviet
Union in 1940. The occupation, however, was strongly resented by the
US and many other countries and was never recognized by these countries.
The collapse of the USSR in 1991 resulted in the independence of Latvia.
The country is now a member of NATO and the EU.
Primarily an agricultural economy for most part of its history, Latvia
experienced heavy industrialization during the Soviet times resulting
in the influx of immigrants. Even after independence Russian-speaking
people accounts for more than 25 percent of the population and has
been an issue of concern to the Russia.
Since independence tough legislation has been enacted on citizenship.
If one fails a Latvian language test three times will not be able
to acquire citizenship.
One of the states declaring their independence after the break up
of the USSR, Latvia has a varied landscape, with large parts covered
by forests and some 12,000 small meandering rivers.
For the tourists visiting the country the first port of call is the
bustling capital city of Riga that has been declared a World Heritage
City. Famous for its Art Nouveau architecture, the city is crammed
with plush bars, architectural delights including castle turrets and
church steeples. The World War II ghetto reminds us of the time.
Sigulda, set against the lovely Gauja valley boats of medieval castles
and caves scattered.
The most sacred place in Latvia is Agnola Basilica dating back to
the 16th century. Kuldiga is another town replete with historical
past and is home to a waterfall.
Not to be missed is the Latvian Occupation Museum, which offers an
account of the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Latvia.
Location: Eastern Europe
Climate: maritime, wet, moderate
Total Area: 64,589 sq km
Total Population: 2,259,810
Population Growth Rate: -0.648%
Sex Ratio: 0.862 male(s)/female
Ethnic Groups: Latvian, Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Polish, Lithuanian
Irrigated land: 200 sq km
Languages: Latvian, Russian, Lithuanian
Time Zone: UTC+2
Currency: Latvian lat (LVL)
Neighbouring countries: Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia
Type of govt.: parliamentary democracy
Head of Govt.: Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis
Major Political Parties: First Party of Latvia or LPP , For Human
Rights in a United Latvia or PCTVL , For the Fatherland and Freedom/Latvian
National Independence Movement or TB/LNNK , Harmony Center or SC ,
Latvian Farmer's Union or LZS , Latvian Social Democratic Workers
Party (Social Democrats) or LSDSP , Latvian Socialist Party or LSP
, Latvia's Way or LC , New Democrats or JD , New Era Party or JL ,
People's Party or TP , The Union of Latvian Greens and Farmers Party
Participation in International Organizations: Australia Group, BA,
EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, IBRD, ICAO, IHO, ILO,
IMF, IMO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU,
ITUC, NSG, MIGA, NATO, NIB, OAS, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UNWTO, UPU, WMO,
WTO, WCO, WEU , WHO, WIPO,
Major Agricultural Products: vegetables; beef, pork, grain, sugar
beets, potatoes, milk, eggs, fish
Natural Resources & Minerals: peat, hydropower, limestone, dolomite,
amber, wood, arable land.
Industry & Transport: automobiles, synthetic fibers, agricultural
machinery, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, washing
machines, processed foods, textiles
Railways: 2,303 km
Roadways: 69,532 km
Waterways: 300 km
Major Trade Partners: Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, UK, Russia, Sweden,
Denmark, Poland, Finland, Belarus
Exports: $6.98 billion
Imports: $10.33 billion