- Riga; 733,000
- 64,589 square kilometers (24,938 square miles)
- Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian
- Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
- Latvian lat
- Life Expectancy:
- GDP per Capita:
- U.S. $8,900
- Literacy Percent:
Latvia Facts Flag
Flat and forested, Latvia lies on the Baltic Sea in northern Europe. Few former Soviet republics experienced a more profound shift in character during their 50 years of domination than this Baltic country. From 1939-1989 the proportion of ethnic Latvians in Latvia dropped from 73 to 52 percent—due to heavy Russian immigration and Latvian emigration. Since independence in 1991, Latvian ethnicity has started to rebound and now constitutes 59 percent of the population—Russians are 29 percent. An industrial country with trade ties to the West, Latvia joined NATO and the EU in 2004.
- Industry: Buses, vans, street and railroad cars, synthetic fibers
- Agriculture: Grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef; fish
- Exports: Wood and wood products, machinery and equipment, metals, textiles
—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition
National Geographic Traveler presents the New Year's must-see places. From Argentina to Oz, this list reflects what’s authentic, culturally rich, sustainable-minded, and of course superlative in the world of travel today.
A brilliant blur as it plucks a butterfly from the air, the European bee-eater leads a colorful life on three continents.
Driven underground for 75 years, the faith of the Russian tsars now enjoys favored status.
2015 Traveler Photo Contest
Explore the submissions, share your favorites, and check back for the winning images.