Why Latvia?

It wasn’t a question I lost sleep over, but 15 years after it became established I still didn’t understand the need for Latvia, one of the three separate Baltic countries, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Why didn’t they all three just get together and make one country?

Tonight we had Sarlote (“Charlotte”) over for dinner. She came to Budapest from Riga, Latvia this week to participate in the film workshop here. She also answered my question.

Latvia is mostly Lutheran. Ask any Latvian, and they’ll say they are Lutheran. Whereas any Lithuanian would say they are Catholic.

“And what about Estonia?” was my next question.

“They’re Estonia,” was Sarlote’s answer. But apparently they have a larger Evangelical church than the other two countries.

Well that explained it for me. While religion in Europe no longer forms definitive boundaries, it certainly did so before the Soviet era. So when it came time to shake off Soviet occupation, it made sense to return to previous national identities closely tied to faith.

Now the question remains: What’s up with that little disconnected chunk of Russia just south of these three?

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