The lats, in the plural, lati, was used as a means of payment in Latvia until December 2013. The ISO code is LVL, the common abbreviation is Ls.
Exchange of the Latvian lats in euros
Even if the lats can no longer be used as a means of payment in Latvia, you can. Both the banknotes and coins can still be exchanged for euros indefinitely. The Latvian National Bank or the ECB can be used for this.
The transition from the lats to the euro initially took place with a variable interest rate, which at times assigned the equivalent of up to two euros to a lats.
When the integration of Latvia into the European Monetary Union was imminent, the exchange rate was set to the above1,42288 euros for a lats.
History of the Latvian Lat
The currency was introduced in Latvia in 1922, replacing the Latvian ruble. This also resulted in a change from paper money to a gold currency.
The lat was used as a means of payment in Latvia until 1940, but was replaced by the Russian ruble due to its attachment by the Soviet Union.
When Latvia regained its independence in 1991, the lats were reintroduced. On January 1, 2014, however, this was replaced by the euro due to Latvia joining the European Union.
One lats used to be equivalent to 100 santimu, with the coins being available as 1, 2.5, 10, 20 and 50 santimi. Lats were available in 1 or 2 lati coins, as well as 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 banknotes.
When the lati replaced the ruble, an exchange rate of 1: 1 was set. Two years later, in 1993, the rate was set at the ratio of one lats to 200 Latvian rubles. As a result, Latvia had the highest available currency unit for some time.
The conversion to the euro also shows the high value of the lat. At times it was equivalent to € 1.40 and thus even exceeded the value of the British pound.
The determination of the ratio of one lats to 200 Latvian rubles is explained with an anecdote. The head of the National Bank at the time stated that a commodity should still be available as an equivalent value even for the smallest coin.
At that time, a Santimu could be used to buy a matchbox that was worth 2 Latvian rubles. This resulted in the conversion from one lats to 200 Latvian rubles.