As a consequence of centuries of Russian rule (1710–1918) and later Soviet occupation, Latvia is home to a large number of ethnic Russians (26.9% in Latvia), some of whom (14.1% of Latvian residents) have not gained citizenship, leaving them with no citizenship at all.
Until World War II, Latvia also had significant minorities of ethnic Germans and Jews.
In the 12th century in the territory of Latvia, there were 14 lands with their rulers: Vanema, Ventava, Bandava, Piemare, Duvzare, Ceklis, Megava, Pilsāts, Upmale, Sēlija, Koknese, Jersika, Tālava and Adzele.
The terms inspired the variations on the country's name in Romance languages from "Letonia" and in several Germanic languages from "Lettland".
By 900 AD, four distinct Baltic tribes inhabited Latvia: Curonians, Latgalians, Selonians, Semigallians (in Latvian: kurši, latgaļi, sēļi and zemgaļi), as well as the Livonians (lībieši) speaking a Finnic language.
Latvia is historically predominantly Protestant Lutheran, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, which has historically been predominantly Roman Catholic.
The Russian population has also brought a significant portion of Eastern Orthodox Christians.
Latvian and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages.
Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions.
The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation from Soviet rule and condemning the "Stalinist" regime's illegal takeover..
Its capital Riga served as the European Capital of Culture in 2014. Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 119 administrative divisions, of which 110 are municipalities and 9 are cities.
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It is a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, and WTO.