The Baltic Languages: Lithuanian and Latvian

Within the Indo-European language family are to be found the Baltic languages.  The two languages of this subfamily that survive at present are Lithuanian and Latvian.

Lithuanian is spoken by approximately four million people, and in ancient Baltic literature all the Baltic languages were referred to as Lithuanian.  It is the official language of Lithuania and one of the official languages of the European Union.  The oldest Lithuanian documents extend all the way back to the 16th century, with the oldest example being a translation of a hymn from the year 1545.

Latvian is spoken by approximately 1.4 million people, and it is the official language of the Republic of Latvia.  Latvian was born as a distinct language in the 16th century, with the oldest known text in this language dating back to 1530.