Latvia is a small country located in Europe’s Baltic region. It neighbors countries such as Belarus, Russia, Estonia and Lithuania. It’s beauty can be seen in it’s lush forests, pastures, farms, and it even has beaches filled with white sand. Because of its strategic setting and highly developed transportation, the nation has a very advanced economy even with only about 1.9 million population. Foreign trading is the major contributor to the Latvian GDP, along with agriculture products, machinery and electronic devices manufacturing, and timber and wood product processing.
Before the Latvian Lats came to light, the country was using the Latvian Rublis. The first issues of the Rublis were released by the Latvian Provisional Government on February 4, 1919. This happened briefly after the declaration of the Republic of Latvia in 1918. These treasury notes were issued in 1,2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 rublis and 5, 10, 25, and 50 kapeiku.
Introduction of the Latvian Lats
On August 3, 1922, the Latvian Bank introduced the lats which was also linked to the gold standard and was equivalent to 50 rublis. They were originally issued in 20, 35, 50, 100, and 500 latu. The currency was in circulation until the USSR Federation occupied the country on June 1, 1940. The Bank of Latvia ceased to exist and was replaced by the Latvia Republican Office of the Gosbank on 10 October. On November 25, 1940, the Soviet ruble was put into circulation along with the lats. Later on, the lats was discontinued without prior notice on March 25, 1941.
The Second Rublis (LVR)
Following the fall of the Soviet and Latvia’s independence on September 6, 1991, the country suffered from the high inflation rate of the Soviet ruble. As a result of this currency problem, the Monetary Reform Commission of the Republic of Latvia introduced the second Latvian rublis (LVR), which is commonly known as repsiki, named after the Central Bank governor Einars Repse.
On October 18, 1993, the Latvian rublis monetary unit was withdrawn and the Latvian lats was reintroduced on March 5, 1993. The 5 lati paper bills are issued first and the 500 lati banknotes issued last. The currency had been the world’s fourth highest-valued monetary unit per face value. It ranked alongside the Kuwait dinar, Bahraini dollar, and Oman’s rial. It was eventually replaced with the Euro in January 2014.