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Latvia lies in Northern Europe, on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea and northwestern part of the East European craton, between latitudes 55° and 58° N (a small area is north of 58°), and longitudes 21° and 29° E (a small area is west of 21°). Latvia has a total area of 64,559 km² (24,926 sq mi) of which 62,157 km² (23,999 sq mi) land, 18,159 km² (7,011 sq mi) agricultural land, 34,964 km² (13,500 sq mi) forest land and 2,402 km² (927 sq mi) inland water.

The total length of Latvia's boundary is 1,866 km (1,159 mi). The total length of its land boundary is 1,368 km (850 mi), of which 343 km (213 mi) is shared with Estonia to the north, 276 km (171 mi) with the Russian Federation to the east, 161 km (100 mi) with Belarus to the southeast and 588 km (365 mi) with Lithuania to the south. The total length of its maritime boundary is 498 km (309 mi), which is shared with Estonia, Sweden and Lithuania. Extension from north to south is 210 km (130 mi) and from west to east 450 km (280 mi).

Most of Latvia's territory is less than 100 m (330 ft) above sea level. Its largest lake Lubans is 80.7 km² (31.2 sq mi), its deepest lake Dridzis is 65.1 m (214 ft). The longest river on Latvian territory is the Gauja, 452 km (281 mi). The longest river flowing through Latvian territory is the Daugava, which has a total length 1,005 km (624 mi) of which 352 km (219 mi) on Latvian territory. Latvia's highest point is Gaizinkalns, 311.6 m (1,022 ft). The length of Latvia's Baltic coastline is 494 km (307 mi). An inlet of the Baltic Sea, the shallow Gulf of Riga is situated in the northwest of the country.

The name Latvija is derived from the name of the ancient Latgalians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes (along with Couronians, Selonians and Semigallians), which formed the ethnic core of modern Latvians along with the Finnic Livonians.

Leon Edgar Books