Latvia is a country in Northern Europe, bordered by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia and Belarus. Latvians have a strong sense of national identity, in the language, culture and musical traditions of the country, which they preserved through centuries of foreign rule. Latvia is now officially known as The Republic of Latvia and is a member of the European Union. In Stanley’s great-great-grandfather’s time, there were a growing number of independent farmers in the country, following reforms allowing peasants to purchase the land they had worked on. There were a lot of landless poor too, which is why opportunities abroad in places like the United States were appealing.