After a brief period of independence
between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by
the USSR in 1940. It 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 continues to
revamp its economy for eventual integration into various
Western European political and economic institutions.
Latvia is situated at an intersection
of trade routes and has long served as a bridge between
Western Europe and Russia. The famous "route from
the Vikings to the Greeks" mentioned in ancient chronicles
stretched from Scandinavia through Latvian territory
along the Daugava River to the ancient Russia and
the Byzantine Empire.
Latvia’s three major ports are
Ventspils, Riga and Liepaja. Ventspils is the largest
port in the Baltic Sea region and is among the 15
leading Europen ports in terms of cargo turnover.
Sectors of the economy
Electronics and mechanical
engineering, chemical and pharmaceutical industries,
wood processing, food processing, textiles, info technologies.
The largest trading partner is the European Union.
Latvia is located in north-eastern
Europe on the Baltic Sea. The landscape is marked
by lowland plains and rolling hills. Most of the territory
is less than 100 metres above sea level. Forests cover
more than 40 percent of the country. Latvia’s
weather is temperate. The average summer temperature
is 18 degrees Celsius, the average winter temperature