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Latvian American

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Title: Latvian American  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: European American, Lithuanian American, Latvian American, Latvian diaspora, Laila Robins
Collection: American People of Latvian Descent, European-American Society, Latvian American, Latvian Diaspora
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Latvian American

Latvian Americans
Amerikas latvieši
Total population
93,498 (2008 American Community Survey)[1]
Regions with significant populations
California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, San Francisco
American English, Latvian
Related ethnic groups
Lithuanian Americans, Estonian Americans

Latvian Americans are Americans who are of Latvian ancestry. According to the 2000 US census, there are 87,564 Americans of full or partial Latvian descent.


  • History 1
  • Demography 2
  • Education 3
  • Languages and religions 4
  • Notable Latvian Americans 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes and references 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


Around 1640 other Latvians settled in Delaware and Pennsylvania, together with Scandinavian settlers. Later, in 1849, a number of Latvians were part of the thousands of people who emigrate to California looking for fortune during the Gold Rush. However, the first significant wave of Latvian settlers that emigrated to the United States came in 1888 to Boston. They were mainly single young men who came to the United States looking for fortunes or fleeing mandatory military service of Imperial Russia. The Latvian immigrants were divided into two groups: The people who dreamed of Latvia's independence from the Soviet Union and those who wanted Latvian workers to ceased to be oppressed by Russia. By the end of century, those Latvians immigrants settled primarily in other East Coast and Midwest cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Chicago, as well as in some cities on the West Coast, such as Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Some immigrants also established themselves in rural areas, although they were few and usually did not form long-lasting communities. Although most Latvians settle in cities, in most of these (with the exception of the Roxbury district of Boston) the Latvians were also few and they not could form ethnic neighborhoods. The first Lutheran church built by Latvians in the United States was erected in Lincoln County, where there was a Lithuanian agricultural colony that disappeared due to climatic and political problems of its members, in Wisconsin in 1906. A new wave of Latvian immigration began around 1906, after the failure of their 1905 Revolution in Latvia. Many of the immigrants were political leaders and rank-and- file revolutionaries who could be killed by Russian soldiers if they were discovered, so they decided emigrate and to continue the revolutionary movement in other countries. Due to that most of the Latvians revolutionaries who emigrated in the United States were more politically radical than the earlier Latvian immigrants, reattached divisions even among the leftists themselves. In 1917, many Latvian Revolutionaries went back to Latvia to work in the creation of a Bolshevik government, and in 1918, when Latvia declared its independence, some nationalists also went back.

After this period during which thousands of Latvians emigrated to the United States, in the 1920´s and 1930´s with the promise of economic improvements in Latvia, due to the immigration quotas of United States established in 1924 that limited the number of Latvians and other immigrants who could settle in this country, and due to the Great Depression in the United States—immigration was generally discouraged, so there was little Latvian immigration. After

  • Latvians Online
  • The American Latvian Association
  • Latvian Cultural Association TILTS
  • Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of New York
  • Latvians in America

External links

  • "Baltics in Boston" (Archive). WGBH-TV. August 22, 1989.

Further reading

  1. ^ 2008 American Community Survey
  2. ^ a b c d Latvian Americans. Posted by Andris Straumanis.
  3. ^ a b c d "Latvia's Famous People". Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ Noted as one of several Latvian Americans at [1]; [2] "the only son (four sisters) to parents of Danish-German and Latvian extraction"
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Latvian Art in Exile," The Latvian Institute (2008), Elizabetes iela 57, Rīga, LV 1050, LATVIA.
  8. ^ Daughter of Latvian refugees receives top technological award at White House

Notes and references

See also

Notable Latvian Americans

Most Latvian-Americans speak English, while Latvian (also known as Lettish) is basically the language spoken by American Latvians of the first generation due to intermarriage. As for religion, although most Latvians Americans are Lutherans, there are also small Catholic communities, Represented by the American Latvian Catholic Association.[2] There is also a sizable American-Latvian Jewish community.

Languages and religions

The majority of Latvians emigrants to the United States after World War II were university graduates. Many were academics or belonged to intelligentsia.[2]

Most of the Old Latvians, although recognizing the importance of education, did not appear to want or to be able to afford college degrees. Thus, in 1911 only two individuals had obtained American university degrees.


California   11,443
New York 9,937
Illinois 6,982
Florida 4,921
Michigan 4,265
Massachusetts 4,706
New Jersey 3,946
Pennsylvania 3,754
Washington 3,380
Maryland 3,289
Ohio 2,362
with the largest Latvian-American populations are: statesThe

[2] According the 2000 census, a total of 87,564 people of Latvian descent live in the United States. There are larger populations in the states of



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