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Facts About Latvia | Latvia Facts Info Stuff

Here are some interesting facts about Latvia - Category: Introduction - Background: 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.

Category: Government - Administrative divisions: 26 counties (singular - rajons) and 7 municipalities*: Aizkraukles Rajons, Aluksnes Rajons, Balvu Rajons, Bauskas Rajons, Cesu Rajons, Daugavpils*, Daugavpils Rajons, Dobeles Rajons, Gulbenes Rajons, Jekabpils Rajons, Jelgava*, Jelgavas Rajons, Jurmala*, Kraslavas Rajons, Kuldigas Rajons, Liepaja*, Liepajas Rajons, Limbazu Rajons, Ludzas Rajons, Madonas Rajons, Ogres Rajons, Preilu Rajons, Rezekne*, Rezeknes Rajons, Riga*, Rigas Rajons, Saldus Rajons, Talsu Rajons, Tukuma Rajons, Valkas Rajons, Valmieras Rajons, Ventspils*, Ventspils Rajons

Category: People - Languages (%): Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)

Category: Economy - Imports - partners (%): Germany 15.1%, Lithuania 13.8%, Russia 8.7%, Estonia 8%, Poland 6.9%, Finland 5.1%, Sweden 4.9% (2007)

Category: Geography - Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania

Category: Transportation - Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 21; 914 to 1,523 m: 1; under 914 m: 20 (2007)

Category: Communications - Internet users: 1.177 million (2007)

Category: Military - Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 14,506; female: 13,982 (2008 estimate)

Category: Transnational Issues - Illicit 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

Other random facts about Latvia 

  1. Economy - Natural gas - imports (cu m): 2.04 billion cu m (2007 estimate)

  2. Geography - Area - comparative: slightly larger than West Virginia

  3. Communications - Internet users: 1.177 million (2007)

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Source: CIA - The World Factbook