32 Country Facts on Latvia

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  1. Latvia has 12,000 natural rivers and 3,000 natural lakes nationwide.
  2. The current flag of Latvia has existed since 1280, making it the 2nd oldest flag currently in use, behind Denmark.
  3.  20% of the nation’s landmass is protected, which was top of the Environmental Performance Index in 2012.
  4. At a former military prison, now a hostel in the Latvian town of Karosta, citizens can voluntarily pay to receive prison treatment when they stay there.
  5. On the shore of the Daugava River in Latvia stands a 3,500 year old oak tree.
  6. Wood is a huge Latvian export, due to the fact that the nation is 30% covered in forest. Thousands of years ago, the nation was 90% forested.
  7. Latvia produced the world’s first spy camera- Minox, in 1937.
  8. The Euro was introduced in Latvia January 1, 2014, which replaced the Latvian Lat.
  9. Because of the huge supply of wood in the country, the capital city of Riga has 4,000 wooden buildings and structures.
  10. According to the Global Peace Index of 2016, Latvia is the 32nd most peaceful nation in the world.
  11. Russian troops did not finally leave Latvia until 1994.
  12. Latvia has a 99.9% literacy rate.
  13. The ration of males to females in Latvia is 0.85 males per 1 female.
  14. One Latvian has ever won a Nobel Peace Prize: Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald in 1909.
  15. On 07.07.2007, about 700 couples were married in Latvia.
  16. 0.002% of the world’s population speaks Latvian. Of the 2.2 million speakers, 81% live in Latvia.
  17. An average Latvian consumes 78 kilograms of potatoes each year.
  18. If all Latvian rivers were placed along the world’s equator, it would make it 96% of the way.
  19. In 1920, an American organization came to Latvia and taught basketball. Latvia won the European Champion title 15 years later.
  20. Latvian women are on average 170 cm (5’7”) in height, making them some of the tallest in the world.
  21. On average, a Latvian citizen speaks 3 languages.
  22. Back in the 1600’s, Latvia owned Kunta Kinteh Island in the Carribean.
  23. Latvia borders 4 nations: Estonia, Russia, Lithuania, and Belarus.
  24. Latvia has a population of 1.96 million inhabitants. Riga, the capital, has about 640,000 inhabitants, about 32% of the population.
  25. ¼ of the Latvian population is Russian.
  26. The highest recorded temperature in Latvia was 37.8ºC (100ºF) in 2014. The lowest recorded temperature was -43.2ºC (-46ºF) in 1956.
  27. Latvia has 4 national parks: Gauja National Park, Kemeri National Park, Slītere National Park, and Rānza National Park.
  28. The only official language is Latvian, but about 34% of the population speaks Russian at home.
  29. Kristaps Porzingis, a 7’3” power forward and center for the New York Knicks, was born in Latvia.
  30. Latvia is distinguished into 9 republican cities and 110 one-level municipalities.
  31. A subdivision of the Latvian Military is called the BALTBAT (Baltic Battalion).
  32. The government of Latvia is a Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Republic. They have a President (Raimonds Vējonis) and Prime Minister (Māris Kučinskis).

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