One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A country on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania; population 2,000,000 (estimated 2015); capital, Riga; languages, Latvian (official), Russian, Lithuanian.
Latvia was annexed by Russia in the 18th century after periods of Polish and Swedish rule. It was proclaimed an independent republic in 1918, but in 1940 was occupied by Soviet forces and incorporated into the USSR as a constituent republic. In 1991, on the breakup of the Soviet Union, Latvia became an independent republic once again. It joined both NATO and the EU in 2004
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