Latvia is one of the three Baltic states, along with Estonia, its neighbor to the north, and Lithuania, its neighbor to the south. Russia and Belarus are to Latvia’s east, and the Baltic Sea is to its west. Latvia is a former Soviet republic which became independent in 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved. It joined the European Union in 2004 and has used the euro as its currency since 2014. Latvia is a heavily forested and fertile land which produces timber and wood products, as well as high-quality agricultural products including grain, dairy products, and honey. Latvia’s location makes it an important transit point between East and West, and the country’s transportation network is well developed. IT and technology are also major industries. The capital, Riga, is home to dozens of tech startups.