The Republic of Latvia is a European country with a population of about 2,300,000 people covering an area of about 64,500 square kilometers. Riga is the country's capital. The nation is located by the Baltic Sea. Latvia is bordered by Estonia to the North, Lithuania to the South and Russia and Belarus to the East. Latvia together with Estonia and Lithuania are often referred to as the Baltic Countries or Baltic States. The type of government is a parliamentary democracy. Latvia became independent in 1918, and was occupied by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany during the second world war and again by the Soviet Union after the second world war until it regained it's independence in 1991. Latvia is a member of both the European Union and NATO. Major industries include the manufacturing of transportation vehicles, electronics, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and processed foods.
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