|Regions with significant populations|
|Latvia 1,319,552 (2012)|
A large non-religious population.
Historically Baltic Paganism.
|Related ethnic groups|
Latvians or Letts (Latvian: latvieši; Livonian: leţlizt) are an ancient Baltic ethnic group, native to what is modern day Latvia and the immediate geographical region. The native language of the Latvian people is called Latvian. Most Latvians belong to the Evangelical Lutheran and Roman Catholic Church, though a small minority of Latvians belong to the Latvian Orthodox Church and other religious congregations. Latvian are primarily an urban peoples with 68% living in/or near urban areas and 32% in "rural" areas. However, these numbers are not reflective of an independent Latvia, as much of recent history has been subject to imperial invasion and occupation.
A Finnic-speaking tribe known as the Livs settled among the Latvians and modulated the name to "Latvis," meaning "forest-clearers," which is how medieval German, Teutonic settlers also referred to these peoples. The Germanic settlers referred to the natives as "Letts" and the nation to "Lettland", naming their colony Livonia or Livland. The perseverance of Latvian culture and language is reflective in the pride and conviction that Latvians maintain, resolutely.
The Latin form, Livonia, gradually referred to the whole territory of the modern-day Latvia as well as southern Estonia, which had fallen under minimal Germanic influence. Latvians and Lithuanians are the only surviving members of the Baltic branch of the Indo-European family.
Paternal haplogroups N1c-Tat and R1a are the two most frequent, reaching 39.9% each among ethnic Latvians. N1c-Tat mutation probably originated in South Siberia 8-9 thousand years ago and had spread through the Urals into the Europe where it is currently most common among Finno-Ugric and Baltic people. Balts, however, differ from Finno-Ugrics by the predominance of the N1c-L550 branch of N1c-Tat. Haplogroup R1a is associated with the spread of Indo-European languages.
A recent autosomal study has shown that among other European populations, Latvians are genetically related to Lithuanians, followed distantly by Estonians. It is important to remember that Estonians are of Finno-Ugric language and partial genetics. Thus, it must be emphasized that Latvians and Lithuanians (the Eastern Baltic peoples) and Estonians, form a genetic continuum.
Latvians have some cultural and religious influences from centuries of Germanic, Scandinavian, and Russian occupation. However, Latvians remain distinctly Latvian linguistically and form a unique culture with traditions, holidays, customs, and the arts, wholly separate from previous imperial occupiers, regardless of their duration of stay. Latvians have proven a resilient peoples with an ancient culture that has been archaeologically dated back to 3,000 B.C. Latvians maintained considerable connection and trade with their neighbors, and near ethnic cousins the Finno-Ugrians, otherwise known contemporarily as Estonians and eventually Finns as well. The first indications of human inhabitants on the lands of modern Latvia date archaeologically to ~9,000 B.C., suggesting that the first settlers were hunters that stayed almost immediately following the end of the last Ice Age. Colonizers from the South arrived quickly, driving many of the hunters northward and polar ice caps melted further, or East, into modern day Russia, Belorussia, and Ukraine. The Roman author Tacitus remarked upon the "Aetii" peoples, whom he encountered upon his travails northward into the Baltic lands, suggesting that they were abound with formidable, yet peaceful and hospitable people. The Latvian peoples remained relatively undisturbed until Papal intervention via the Germanic, Teutonic Order colonized Kurzeme (Kurland in German), beginning in the first-half of the 13th century. Papal decrees ordered the Teutonic occupants to spread the "Word of the Lord" and the Gospel of Christianity throughout "uncivilized", "Pagan lands." Though, these attempts to Christianize the population failed, and the Teutonic Order eventually redeployed Southward, to the region of what was once known as East Prussia.
South-Eastern Latvia (Latgale), however, remains under minimal Russian, primarily linguistic influence.
Latvians place great value in an educated populace and has always been a highly literate society. Given the number of books published in relation to population, Latvia has presented itself as a literary epicenter of creation and postulation over centuries. Education is universal and fully financed by the state. Attendance is compulsory until age 18.
Most of the religious Latvians belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church but Eastern Latvia (Latgale) has some Russian Orthodox influence. In the late 18th century, a small but vibrant Herrnhutist movement played a significant part in the development of Latvian literary culture, before it was absorbed in to the mainstream Lutheran denomination.
The majority of Latvians do not practice any form of monotheism, and have not for centuries, irrespective of Germanic and Slavic occupations. Dievturiba retains some contemporary influence emphasizing traditional, ecologically-oriented beliefs, otherwise labeled "Pagan" by the Papacy and adherents, in the past. Modern-day Latvians are predominately non-religious, but exhibit profound spiritual inclinations, reflected in their love and respect for the preservation of the 'natural', from vast birch forests, to lowly quiet bogs, from the Baltic coast to the steppes in the East of the nation.
The national language of the Latvian people is Latvian. Latvian is an ancient language, and is part of a unique linguistic branch of Indo-European languages: the Baltic languages. Much as there are Slavic, Celtic, Germanic, Romance based languages, Latvian is of a wholly different origin. Latvian or Lithuanian (relatively similar) are often referred to as the "Sanskrit of Europe", implying how closely related the Baltic languages are to the origins of all Indo-European languages, tracing back to, what is now the Central Asian Steppes peoples.
- "Detailed Tables - American FactFinder". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- Population by country of birth and nationality, Annual Population Survey, Office of National Statistics, 2010[dead link]
- BNS. "TVNET :: Ārvalstīs - Lielbritānijā pašlaik dzīvo 39 tūkstoši viesstrādnieku no Latvijas". Tvnet.lv. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "Revista Época Ediусo 214 24/06/2002". Epoca.globo.com. 2002-06-24. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "CSO Emigration". Census Office Ireland. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Russians#cite note-gks-1
- "Federal Statistical Office - Foreign population by average-age and average duration of residence". Destatis.de. 2008-10-20. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
- State statistics committee of Ukraine - National composition of population, 2001 census (Ukrainian)
- "Gyventojų skaičius metų pradžioje. Požymiai: tautybė - Rodiklių duomenų bazėje". Db1.stat.gov.lt. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT". Demo.istat.it. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "Statistics Estonia - Population by ethnic nationality, 1 January, years". Stat.ee. 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- [dead link]
- ru:Латыши#cite note-5
- Ethnic composition, religion and language skills in the Republic of Kazakhstan
- "Taulukko: Kieli iän ja sukupuolen mukaan maakunnittain 1990 - 2010". Pxweb2.stat.fi. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "Bevolking per nationaliteit, geslacht, leeftijdsgroepen op 1/1/2008" (in (Dutch)). Statbel.fgov.be. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- (Polish) http://www.stat.gov.pl/cps/rde/xbcr/gus/LUD_ludnosc_stan_str_dem_spo_NSP2011.pdf
- "Tieslietu ministrijā iesniegtie reliģisko organizāciju pārskati par darbību 2011. gadā" (in Latvian). Retrieved 2012-07-25.
- Artis Zelmenis (2012-09-10). "Latvia facts - business, people and nature". Baltic Legal. p. 3. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
- http://www.eva.mpg.de/genetics/pdf/Kasperavicuite.2004.pdf Kasperaviciute et al. 2004 (link broken)
- http://dna2012.gerichtsmedizin.at/files/DNA_in_Forensics_2012.pdf Pamjav H, Nemeth E, Feher T, Volgyi A "Genetic journey of the N1c haplogroup"
- http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0005472#pone-0005472-t002 Nelis et al. "Genetic Structure of Europeans: A View from the North–East"
- List of Latvians
- Demographics of Latvia
- History of Latvia
- Livonian people
- Latvian Russians
- Latvian name