Latvia Informational Slideshow

All you need to know to prep for an adoption in Latvia.

Bryan Bennion April 06, 2016

Are you interested in adopting from Latvia? Well then this slideshow is for you. Read on to learn all about Latvia culture, history, holidays, and more. This will help give you an introduction to your future child’s heritage and culture.

1. Latvia

Latvia, or the Republic of Latvia is located along the Baltic Sea, south of Estonia and Finland, east of Sweden, and west of Russia. It has a population of around 2 million and a geographical size close to that of West Virginia and Ireland. The economy is new and has undergone heavy transformations since the country declared independence in 1991. Since then the economy has diversified into a privatized industry made up of mostly trade, shipping, tech, fishing, and agriculture.

Latvia Government and Culture
2. Latvia Government and Culture

The Latvian government is ruled by a president and prime minister, and a 100-seat parliament that are elected by popular vote every four years.

Because of its complex history of being invaded and ruled by neighboring countries, Latvia’s culture is mixture of Russian and Northern European traditions and customs. The main language is Latvian, but the second most spoken is Russian because nearly a quarter of the population is Russian. The most common religions are Christian Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodox.

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Latvia Landscape
3. Latvia Landscape

The country is commonly known for its lowlands of forests, swamps and pastures. Being next to the Baltic Sea, the country endures cold winters and cloudy, rainy summers. There is a large bird population with a variety that exceeds that of surrounding areas, and so adds a strong attraction for bird enthusiasts from around the world.

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Latvia History
4. Latvia History

Latvia’s history, though brief, is just as colorful as that of the surrounding countries. It remained largely peopled by Nordic tribes who traded with the Romans for a time, but was never completely ruled entirely by one governing force until the 12th century when the Christians from the south attempted to convert the inhabitants, failed, and then were converted by force after a crusade as directed by Pope Celestine lll.

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Latvia History
5. Latvia History

From the 16th to 18th century, the inhabitants of the country struggled to establish a culture as the territory was divided up of again and again between the dominant neighboring countries. For a time, Riga, the current capital was also the capital of the Swedish Nation. It was about this time that Latvians adopted Lutheranism and Catholicism as well as officially developed a Latvian language.

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Latvia History
6. Latvia History

Following the Great Northern War in the early 1700s, the entire Latvian region became a Russian province. Literature and art thrived between this time and the 1900s, much of which is still seen and studied today.

Around the 1800s, the port of Latvia became the largest trading route in Russia, establishing banks, universities, and roads still used today.

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Latvia History
7. Latvia History

The First World War was a time of attempted independence for the country, which it achieved somewhat with the help of Britain during the Russian Revolution and just before being invaded by Germans. Russia wanted the country as much as the Latvians wanted the Germans out, and so the Russians assisted in driving the Germans away while the country claimed full independence only to be invaded by the Red Army about 20 years later as part of the secret German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact.

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Latvia History
9. Latvia History

World War ll was filled with violence as the Germans and the Red Army commanded much of the country while over 100,000 Latvians fled to Sweden, 35,000 were sent to prison camps, and around 75,000 Jews were killed during the holocaust.

After the war, Russia took complete control of the country where it remained under Communist rule until 1993 when new legislature was established and the 1922 constitution was restored. Russia recognized this independence, but didn’t withdrawn military personnel stationed within the country until 1998.

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Latvia History
10. Latvia History

In recent years, tensions between Russia and Latvia have persisted, especially since the country joined the European Union. Today, the economy continues to grow rapidly, but still sees tensions between pro and anti Russian political parties.

Latvia Flag
11. Latvia Flag

The Latvian flag was originally designed back in 1279 to represent the Latvian militia. Though the flag has seen brief usage during the country’s independence in 1918, and none while under Swiss and Russian rule, it was reestablished as the official flag during the their declaration of independence from Russia in 1991.

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Map of Latvia
12. Map of Latvia

Latvia is divided into 26 self-governed districts and seven self-governing cities. These are organized into smaller segments that make up the whole.

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Latvian Independence Day
13. Latvian Independence Day

Latvians enjoy many of the international holidays celebrated from around the world, however, despite how young the government might be, the Latvian citizens enjoy an independence day of their own with parades and festival activities around the region.

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Jani (Summer Solstice)
14. Jani (Summer Solstice)

Jāņi is the oldest and largest festival in the Latvian culture. It is celebrated on the Summer Solstice and is commonly filled with flowers, bonfires, food, dancing, and other related activities in celebration of the warm summer weather.

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Ziemas Saulgriezi (Winter Solstice)
15. Ziemas Saulgriezi (Winter Solstice)

Ziemas Saulgriezi is celebrated on the winter solstice and is typically held around Christmas. This event is celebrated as part of other Christmas celebrations, but is more pagan in nature.

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Bryan Bennion

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