UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Only three European countries-Estonia, Finland, and Iceland-are farther north in their entirety than Latvia, which has latitude of between 55° and 58° and a longitude of between 20° and 28°. During most of December and January, the sun does not rise until after 9 a.m. and sets as early as 3 p.m. On the other hand, to compensate, the longest day of summer lasts almost 18 hours. In spite of its northern location, daytime winter temperatures average only slightly below freezing because of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf Stream. Daytime summer temperatures average about 70°F. The maritime climate also accounts for the country's frequent cloud cover and considerable precipitation (average per year is about 25 inches).
Latvian lat (LVL)
Russian is still used in commerce and daily life. English and German are also widely used. Latvian is related to the Lithuanian language. Latvian is based on the Latin alphabet, but contains many diacritical marks. It is now the official language.
Latvian (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other
Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2% (2002)
Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 was the date Latvia established its statehood and its concomitant independence from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 was the date it declared the restoration of Latvian statehood and its concomitant independence from the Soviet Union
57 00 N, 25 00 E
Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania