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LOCATION: Latvia is situated in the north Europe at the coasts of Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga. Latvia borders on the north on Estonia, on the east on Russia and on the south on Lithuania.


LANGUAGE: The Latvian language is eastern Baltic language which is spoken mainly in Latvia, where it became the official language in 1918. In 1922 a modified Latin alphabet was adopted. The Latvian language is distinguished into three dialects: the eastern, the upper Latvian, the western Latvian and the central Latvian. The latter is more conservative and it is the base for the modern written language. Despite its close connection with the Lithuanian, the Latvian is in many respects more innovative than the Lithuanian. The diminution of vowels for example of the ending syllables was developed more in the Latvian. The accent was stabilized in the first syllable because of the influence of the Finnish. The Latvian alphabet has 33 letters and 11 distinctive elements. It uses four accents to show the quality of the syllable.


GEOGRAPHY: The area of the country is 64.500 sq km.

POPULATION: Most of the inhabitants are Latvians. Latvia had 2.551.000 inhabitants in 1994.

HISTORY: Present Latvia was inhabited during the first ante-Christian centuries by a mixture of nations. These nations were fused to form one national group after the conquest of the region by German tribes during the medieval ages.

In 1201 the bishop Albert founded the city Riga. He also established the order of knights of Port-Glaive, which together with the Teutonic order of knights realized the Christianisation of Latvia in the 13th century. Fortresses were built then around which cities were created. At that time a group of feudal lords was created, the barons of Baltic, who enslaved the Latvians and had the power until the 20th century under different dynasties.

Sweden conquered Latvia in 1621. The country then passed under Lutheranism. In the 18th century Russia conquered the country. In 1795 the whole country came under Russian occupation. During the First World War the Germans conquered the country. After the defeat of Germany in 18th of November 1918 Latvia became independent. During the Revolution in Russia a Russian government was established in Latvia, but in 1920 Latvia was evacuated and the Soviets recognized its independence. Latvia obtained democratic constitution in 1922. In 1940 soviet powers invaded the country and the country was incorporated into the Soviet Union. In 1941 German powers conquered Latvia and kept it under their authority until 1944, when the Soviets established a socialistic democracy. In 1988 intense nationalism and religious feelings were expressed. The main demand was the use of the national Latvian language in the administration.

In 1990 Latvia manifested its independence. The new constitution was voted and Russia recognized its independence.In 1995 it became member of the European Council.

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Latest update of this page: 2005-06-28 
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