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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.It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, as well as sharing a maritime border with Sweden to the west.Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants After centuries of Swedish, Livonian, Polish and Russian rule, a rule mainly executed by the Baltic German aristocracy, the Republic of Latvia was established on 18 November 1918 after declaring independence from Russia in the aftermath of World War I.When peaceful means of conversion failed to produce results, Meinhard plotted to convert Livonians by force of arms.
In the 17th and early 18th centuries, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden, and Russia struggled for supremacy in the eastern Baltic.
The ancient tribes of the Couronians, Semigallians, Selonians, Livs, and northern Latgallians assimilated to form the Latvian people, speaking one Latvian language.
Throughout all the centuries, however, an actual Latvian state had not been established, so the borders and definitions of who exactly fell within that group are largely subjective.
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.