Latvia is situated in Eastern Europe, one of the three Baltic States, Latvia is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus in the south east, and the Baltic Sea in the west. The highlight is the capital Riga, a World Heritage Site.
Latvia was part of the Polish Lituanian Commonwealth until the Polish Partitions in the 18 th. century, than it became Russian. It get independent 1918 and 1991.
Latvia has joined the European Union in 2004, which makes many things much simpler for the traveller.
The highest point in Latvia is Gaizinkalns, at 312m above sea level, just west of the town of Madona.
Air Baltic  is the national airline.
Hitchhiking in Latvia is generally good. The roads around Riga present the largest obstacle, unless the city is your destination - there is no clean "drive-around" road, and considerable amount of local traffic makes hitching very difficult. The easiest way to get around Riga is to find a "cross-country" lift at the border with Lithuania or Estonia. License plate numbers/countries of origin are your friends.
Latvian or Lettish is an Indo-European language that shares its own Baltic branch of that linguistic family with Lithuanian. The language is spoken natively by most of the 1.4 million residents of Latvia, with some Russian also spoken by the Russian ethnic community and older generations. There is also a small Polish speaking minority. In addition, German and English are understood in urban centers.
See also: Latvian phrasebook