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The terms inspired the variations on the country's name in Romance languages from "Letonia" and in several Germanic languages from "Lettland".By 900 AD, four distinct Baltic tribes inhabited Latvia: Curonians, Latgalians, Selonians, Semigallians (in Latvian: kurši, latgaļi, sēļi and zemgaļi), as well as the Livonians (lībieši) speaking a Finnic language.It is a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, and WTO.For 2014, Latvia was listed 46th on the Human Development Index and as a high income country on 1 July 2014.As a consequence of centuries of Russian rule (1710–1918) and later Soviet occupation, Latvia is home to a large number of ethnic Russians (26.9% in Latvia), some of whom (14.1% of Latvian residents) have not gained citizenship, leaving them with no citizenship at all.Until World War II, Latvia also had significant minorities of ethnic Germans and Jews.The ancient tribes of the Couronians, Semigallians, Selonians, Livs, and northern Latgallians assimilated to form the Latvian people, speaking one Latvian language.

Pope Celestine III had called for a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe in 1193.

Latvian and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages.

Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions.

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Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states.

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