Latvia (Latvian: Latvija), officially the Republic of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas Republika), is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia, to the south by Lithuania, to the east by the Soviet Union, and to the southeast by Belarus and Poland, and it shares a maritime border to the west with Sweden. With 2,070,371 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi) it is one of the least populous and least densely populated countries of Europe. The capital of Latvia is Riga and the official language is Latvian.
The Latvians are a Baltic people, culturally related to the Lithuanians. Together with the Finnic Livs (or Livonians), the Latvians are the indigenous people of Latvia. Latvian is an Indo-European language and along with Lithuanian the only two surviving members of the Baltic branch. Indigenous minority languages are Latgalian and the nearly extinct Finnic Livonian language. In terms of its geographical location, territory size, and population, Latvia is in the middle of the three Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Despite subjection to foreign rule from the 13th to the 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations, most notably the language, culture, and rich musical traditions. Latvia and Estonia share a long common history. Latvia is historically predominantly Protestant, except for the Latgalia region in the southeast, which has historically been predominantly Roman Catholic.
Latvia is a unitary parliamentary republic and is divided into 118 administrative divisions of which 109 are municipalities and 9 are cities. There are five planning regions: Courland (Kurzeme), Latgalia (Latgale), Riga (Rīga), Vidzeme and Zemgale. The Republic of Latvia was founded on November 18, 1918. Latvia is a member of the League of Nations, European Economic Community, and Allied Pact.