in the Baltic region
of Northern Europe
. It is bordered to the north by Estonia
(border length 343 km), to the south by Lithuania
(588 km), to the east by the Russian Federation
(276 km), to the southeast by Belarus
(141 km) and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden
. With 2,229,641 inhabitants and a territory of 64589 km² (24,938 sq mi) it is one of the least populous and least densely populated countries of the European Union
1918 Germany, Austria and Russia sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ending Russia's involvement in World War I, and leading to the independence of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
1918 Latvia declares its independence from Russia.
1919 Lāčplēša day – Latvian forces defeat the Freikorps at Riga in the Latvian War of Independence.
1920 The Latvia-Bolshevist Russia peace treaty, which relinquished Russia's authority and pretenses to Latvia, is signed.
1934 Kārlis Ulmanis establishes an authoritarian government in Latvia.
1940 The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fall under the occupation of the Soviet Union.
1940 The United States' Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles issues a declaration on the U.S. non-recognition policy of the Soviet annexation and incorporation of three Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
1940 World War II: the Soviet Union formally annexes Latvia.
1941 June deportation, the first major wave of Soviet mass deportations and murder of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, begins.
1944 World War II: Riga, the capital of Latvia is liberated by the Red Army.