Facts about Latvia
|Population||2,245,423 (July 2008 est.|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begin|
Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
General info about Latvia
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 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)
What about drugs?
transshipment and destination point for cocaine, synthetic drugs, opiates, and cannabis from Southwest Asia, Western Europe, Latin America, and neighboring Balkan countries; despite improved legislation, vulnerable to money laundering due to nascent enforcement capabilities and comparatively weak regulation of offshore companies and the gaming industry; CIS organized crime (including counterfeiting, corruption, extortion, stolen cars, and prostitution) accounts for most laundered proceeds
Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2% (2002)
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
0.6% (2001 est.)
maritime; wet, moderate winters
peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land
Latvia's economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07; but entered a recession as a result of unsustainable current account deficit and large debt exposure amid the softening world economy. The IMF, EU, and other donors provided assistance to Latvia as part of a package to defend the currency's peg to the euro and reduce public spending by about 5% of GDP. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999. EU membership, a top foreign policy goal, came in May 2004. The current account deficit and inflation remain major concerns.
Latvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; the main environmental priorities are improvement of drinking water quality and sewage system, household, and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution; in 2001, Latvia closed the EU accession negotiation chapter on environment committing to full enforcement of EU environmental directives by 2010
Cities in Latviaainazi aizkraukle aizpute akniste aloja aluksne ape auce baldone balozi balvi bauska broceni cesis cesvaine dagda daugavpils dobele durbe grobina gulbene ikskile ilukste jaunjelgava jelgava jurmala kalnciems kandava karsava kegums kraslava kuldiga lielvarde liepaja ligatne limbazi livani lubana ludza madona mazsalaca ogre olaine pavilosta piltene plavinas preili priekule rezekne riga rujiena sabile salacgriva salaspils saldus saulkrasti seda sigulda skrunda smiltene staicele stende strenci subate talsi tukums valdemarpils valka valmiera vangazi varaklani ventspils viesite vilaka vilani zilupe