• Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


The name Latvia derives from latvis, a ‘forest clearer’. Human inhabitation dates from around 9000 BC and the Balts (or proto-Balts) probably arrived around 2000 BC. In addition to the Finnic predecessors of the Estonians and Livs, four Baltic tribal groups emerged during the Iron Age: the Couronians (Kurši), Selonians (Sēļi), Semigallians (Zemgaļi) and Latgallians (Latgaļi). Linguistic evidence points to the habitation of central Latvia by Latgallians and Lithuanians while coastal areas were populated by Couronians, Semigallians, Selonians and Prussians. The north of the country, occupied mainly by Finnic Livs, was separated by sparsely inhabited areas, which accounts for the lack of cultural mixing between the ethnic groupings.


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Further Reading

  1. Central Statistical Bureau. Statistical Yearbook of Latvia.—Latvia in Figures. Annual.Google Scholar
  2. Dreifeld, J., Latvia in Transition. Riga, 1997Google Scholar
  3. Lieven, A., The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence. 2nd ed. Yale Univ. Press, 1994Google Scholar
  4. Misiunas, R. J. and Taagepera, R., The Baltic States: the Years of Dependence, 1940–91. 2nd ed. Farnborough, 1993Google Scholar
  5. O’Connor, Kevin, The History of the Baltic States. Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, Connecticut, 2003Google Scholar
  6. Smith, David J., Purs, Aldis, Pabriks, Artis and Lane, Thomas, (eds.) The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Routledge, London, 2002Google Scholar
  7. Who is Who in Latvia. Riga, 1996Google Scholar
  8. National Statistical Office: Central Statistical Bureau, Lācplēša ielā l, 1301 Riga.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

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