Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a
sovereign country member of the European Union, with capital in
Riga, covering 64 589 km² of surface and has a total population of 2
070 371 inhabitants. This republic, which is located in northern
Europe, it is one of the Baltic countries and borders Estonia to the
north, Lithuania to the south, Russia and Belarus to the east, and
the Baltic Sea to the west, a country of low plains with extensive
Latvia became independent again after 1991, after
the dissolution of the Soviet Union, since that year it is part of
the United Nations Organization (UN), since 2004 of the European
Union (EU) and of NATO, and since 2016 is a member of the OECD.
Currently the country is a parliamentary democratic republic divided
into 120 municipalities (90 municipalities and 30 cities).
The country adopted the euro as the official currency on January 1,
2014. From that day the euro gradually replaced the LatA as the
currency of Latvia, there being a two-week double circulation period
during which the two currencies circulated, with the in order to
allow a progressive withdrawal of the Latvian currency. When a
payment was received in lats, the change was offered in euros.
Turaida Castle was constructed
in 1214 by Albert of Riga the third Bishop of Riga. He
called it 'Turaida' or 'God's garden'.
Around the 3rd millennium BC e. Finno-Ugric tribes
of pit-comb ceramics (whose linguistic descendants were historical
livings) came to the territory of modern Latvia. Not later than the
1st millennium BC. e. the Baltic tribes of the culture of hatched
ceramics settled here.
During the period of feudal
fragmentation in Russia and the emergence of destinies, the Livonian
lands in the Western Dvina were dependent on the Principality of
Polotsk, to which they were subordinate to the reign of Prince
Vseslav Bryachislavich (1044–1101). According to the chroniclers,
the Livs paid tribute to the princes of Polotsk, the Curonians paid
tribute to the kings of Sweden.
In 1184, the Catholic
missionary Maynard von Segeberg, with the permission of Prince
Vladimir Polotsky, began to preach Christianity in his vassal lands
- near the Livs. After 2 years, the Bremen Archbishop Hartwig II
elevated Maynard to the rank of bishop and created the first diocese
in Livonia under his leadership. On October 1, 1188, Pope Clement
III approved Maynard in the episcopal rank, and gave the created
bishopric to submission to Bremen. However, the Livs were not very
willing to convert to Christianity and rebelled against the
authority of the bishop, killing Maynard's successor, Bishop
XIII — XV centuries In 1201, Bishop Albert
Buxgewden founded the city of Riga. To strengthen his power, he
founded the Order of the Sword-Bearers (after the defeat at the
Battle of Saul - the Livonian Order as part of the Teutonic Order),
which later became an independent political and economic force; the
order and the bishop fought each other for political hegemony in
Livonia. In 1209, the bishop and order agreed to divide the
controlled lands among themselves. On the map of Europe appeared the
state formation of the German crusader knights - Livonia (according
to the name of the local ethnos - Livs). It includes the territories
in which Estonia and Latvia are located today. The control of the
Principality of Polotsk over its former inheritances in the
territory of Latvia (Kukenojs and Gersike) was lost.
a new division of Livonian lands took place - under an agreement
between the Riga Archbishopric, its cathedral chapter and the
Livonian Order. Many Livonian cities later became members of the
flourishing North European Trade Union - the Hansa.
century The first printed text in Latvian appears in the Catholic
church reference book - in the book “Agenda” (1507, Leipzig).
Riga residents also actively participated in the Reformation,
already in 1517 the preacher of ideas of Luther Andreas Knopken
arrived in Riga. In 1530, Nikolaus Ramm first translated Bible
passages into Latvian. After some conflicts (including armed ones)
in 1554, the Master of the Livonian Order, Walter von Plettenberg,
declared freedom of religion in Livonia.
At the same time,
Moscow Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible announced his claims to Livonia. As
an excuse, a protest was filed against the non-payment of tribute
from St. George, established after the Russo-Livonian war of
1480-1481 and the Russo-Livonian treaty of 1503, as well as the
oppression of Russian merchants. The Baltic Germans initially asked
to cancel the tribute, and at the negotiations in December 1557 they
agreed to pay off the debt in the amount of 30 thousand Hungarian
gold (which amounted to 45 thousand thalers or 18 thousand rubles),
in the future to pay one thousand Hungarian gold per year, however
promises are not kept. This was the reason for the outbreak of war.
Having invaded the territory of Livonia in 1558, already in August
1560, Ivan the Terrible defeated the fragmented forces of the order
at the battle of Ergem. The Livonian War, which lasted 25 years,
ended in 1583 with the Plyus Armistice. As a result, the Livonian
Order ceased to exist, and its territory was divided between the
Polish-Lithuanian state, Sweden (the north of present-day Estonia)
and Denmark (it got the island of Ezel). The lands of the Livonian
Order north of the Western Dvina became the Zadvina Duchy directly
controlled by Poland, and the lands to the south became the vassal
state of the Commonwealth - the Duchy of Courland.
century As a result of the Polish-Swedish wars, the Zadvinsk
Duchy ceased to exist. Most of it fell under Sweden's control
(Swedish Livonia), and the southeastern part was transformed into
the Inflantian Voivodeship of the Commonwealth.
In the XVII
century, as a result of the consolidation of Latgals, villages,
Zemgals, Curns and Livs, the formation of the Latvian nation took
In 1638, Georg Manselius compiled the first
Latvian dictionary Lettus, and in 1649 Paul Einhorn published the
Historia Lettica (Latvian History). In 1683, the first alphabet of
the Latvian language was published. In 1685, a textbook of the
Latvian language appeared under the authorship of Heinrich Adolfius.
Until now, differences between the dialects of the Latvian language
remain, and some linguists consider the deep dialects of the Upper
Latysh dialect to be a separate Latgalian language.
a local blacksmith Zviedris Johanson was sentenced to be burned at
the stake in Priekule. From 1670 to 1684, he spent several flights
with an aircraft of his own design (like a hang glider). For
dispersal I used towers of castles and churches. He flew 2 km to the
neighboring estates, broke his leg, and later already knew how to
circle in the air.
XVIII century After the victory of the
Russian kingdom over the Swedish Empire on August 30 (September 10),
1721, the Nishtadt Peace Treaty was signed. Sweden recognized the
accession of Livonia, Estonia, Ingermanland, part of Karelia and
other territories to Russia, for which Russia paid Sweden
compensation of 2 million yefimk (1.3 million rubles).
the Kraslava Catholic Theological Seminary was opened. 1772 -
during the first partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Latgale (Polish Inflants) also departs to Russia. 1775 - Academia
Petrina was opened in Courland by the Duke Peter Biron. 1785 - in
Courland, the Latvian mechanic Ernst Johann Binemann launched the
first balloon. 1795 - during the third division of the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Duchy of Courland departs from
the Russian Empire.
XIX century 1812 - the war with
Napoleon partially affected the territory of modern Latvia. 1817
- the abolition of serfdom in the Courland province. 1819 - the
abolition of serfdom in the Livonia province. 1822 - the first
newspaper in Latvian “Latviešu Avīzes” (“Latvian Newspaper”) begins
to be published in Jelgava. 1861 - the first railway in the
territory of modern Latvia, Riga - Dinaburg, came into operation.
1862 - Riga Polytechnic Institute was opened. Since the middle of
the XIX century - the growth of national identity, the movement of
The end of the XIX century - the rapid
development of industry. The Russian-Baltic Carriage Works, the
Phoenix Carriage Building Plant, the Conductor Rubber Products Plant
began to operate, and the first cars and bicycles in Russia were
produced. The leading industries are engineering and metalworking.
May 1899 - workers ’performances (the so-called Riga riot).
XX century 1905 - revolutionary events in the Livonia
1915 - German occupation of Courland during the
First World War, the evacuation of industry from Latvian cities, the
great destruction in Dvinsk (now Daugavpils), the creation of
Latvian rifle units.
November 18, 1918 - The People’s Council
of Latvia proclaimed the Republic of Latvia as an independent and
independent state, thus completing the preparation of the statehood
December 22, 1918 - V. Lenin signs a decree of the
Council of People's Commissars recognizing the independence of the
Soviet Republic of Latvia.
1918-1920 - the struggle for the
independence of Latvia. Pro-German and pro-Soviet armed groups were
forced to retreat, which created the prerequisites for international
recognition of Latvia.
August 11, 1920 - in Riga, a peace
treaty was signed between the RSFSR and Latvia, which recognizes the
independence of the Republic of Latvia. On the basis of legal norms
of that time, this de jure led to the emergence of the Republic of
Latvia as a subject of international law.
January 26, 1921 -
recognition by the Entente of Latvia as an independent state de
September 22, 1921 - Latvia joined the League of
February 15, 1922 - The Constituent Assembly adopts
the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia - Satversme.
15, 1934 - coup d'etat, absolute power in the country is
concentrated in the hands of K. Ulmanis.
June 7, 1939 -
Latvia signs a non-aggression pact with Germany, in a hidden clause
containing an obligation to take “all necessary military security
measures in relation to Soviet Russia”.
August 23, 1939 -
Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact (also known
as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact). The agreement was accompanied by a
secret additional protocol on the division of Eastern European
countries into spheres of German and Soviet interests (Latvia fell
into the sphere of influence of the USSR).
October 29 - according to the Mutual Assistance
Pact between the USSR and Latvia, signed after the surrender of
Poland, parts of the 2nd separate rifle corps and the 18th aviation
brigade of the Red Army arrive in Latvia, in which there were 21,559
June 15, 1940 - attack on the Latvian border guards
June 16 - at 14:00, the Soviet People’s
Commissar of Foreign Affairs V. Molotov read to the Ambassador of
Latvia F. Kocins the ultimatum of the USSR government, which
required the resignation of the Latvian government and the
introduction of an unlimited contingent of Soviet armed forces in
Latvia, supplementing it if before 23:00 no response will be
received from the government of Latvia, the armed forces of the USSR
will enter the territory of Latvia and suppress any resistance. The
government of K. Ulmanis decided to accept an ultimatum and resign
on the evening of June 16. The Cabinet of Ministers rejected
military resistance, as it believed that it would cause bloodshed,
but would not save the Latvian state.
June 17 - additional
units of the Red Army enter Latvia.
July 14-15, 1940 - the
elections to the People’s Diet are held in Latvia. Only one was
admitted to the elections - a list of candidates nominated by the
"Bloc of Working People". All other alternative lists were rejected.
It was officially reported that 97.5% of the vote was cast for the
July 21, 1940 - The People’s Diet proclaims Latvia as
the Soviet Republic (the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic) and on
August 5, 1940 - the Supreme Soviet of the USSR accepts Latvia into
1941 - a wave of repression - in accordance with
the Decree of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party
of Bolsheviks and the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR of
May 16, 1941 "On measures to clean the Lithuanian, Latvian and
Estonian SSR from the anti-Soviet, criminal and socially dangerous
elements" were arrested and deported to remote areas USSR members of
anti-Soviet nationalist organizations, former law enforcement
officials and military personnel of bourgeois Latvia and the White
Army (subject to compromising documents), large manufacturers,
landowners, merchants and high-ranking civil servants of Latvia
yskoy Republic of criminals who continue to engage in illegal
activities - those whom the authorities considered dangerous to the
Soviet regime on the eve of the war.
According to the
documents of the State Archives of Latvia, on June 14, 1941, 15 424
people were deported from Latvia, of which 5263 were arrested. Of
those arrested, 700 were shot, 3441 people died in custody; that is,
one fifth of those arrested survived. Among the rest deported to
places of special settlement, 1,900 people died. According to the
KGB of the USSR, which was analyzed by historian A. Dyukov, the
total number of deceased victims of deportation amounted to 4884
people (34% of the total), while before 1953, 2000 people returned
home. According to A. Dyukov, 81.27% of the deportees were Latvians,
11.70% Jews, 5.29% Russians.
June 22, 1941 - Nazi Germany
attacked the USSR. By mid-July, the entire territory of Latvia was
occupied by German troops. The formation of police battalions has
begun on a voluntary basis, subsequently united in the Latvian
Volunteer SS Legion.
According to Soviet data, during the
years of Nazi occupation by the Nazis and their accomplices, 313,798
Soviet citizens (including 39,835 children) and 330,000 Soviet
prisoners of war were killed in Latvia.
October 13, 1944 -
units of the Red Army enter Riga.
1949 - during the second
wave of repressions, about 50,000 people were deported from Latvia.
1940-1956 - the movement of "national partisans" (the so-called
1940-1991 - Latvian SSR as part of the
USSR. Industry is developing in the republic (enterprises of the
WEF, Radiotechnika, RAF, and Lyme). During this period, some party
leaders of Soviet Latvia were promoted to leading posts in Moscow,
among them A. Pelshe, member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central
Committee, B. Pugo, head of the KGB of Latvia, etc.
Latvian historiography, the period when the country was part of the
USSR is considered to be Soviet occupation. In 2016, the damage from
it was estimated at € 185 billion.
On May 4, 1990, the
Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR adopted the “Declaration on the
Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia”. According to
this document, the constitution of independent Latvia of 1922 was
resumed and a de facto transitional period was established before
the convocation of the Seimas.
On August 21, 1991, the
Supreme Council of Latvia confirmed the independence of the republic
by adopting the Constitutional Law “On the State Status of the
Republic of Latvia”.
On September 6, 1991, Latvia's
independence was recognized by the USSR State Council.
September 17, 1991 the Republic of Latvia became a
member of the UN.
February 10, 1995 the Republic of Latvia
becomes a member of the Council of Europe.
On February 10,
1999, the Republic of Latvia became a member of the World Trade
XXI Century In February 2004, 19 NATO member
states ratified the protocols on Latvia’s accession to the North
Atlantic Alliance; in May of the same year, the country was admitted
to the European Union.
Latvia became a part of December 21,
2007, and since March 30, 2008 fully applies the rules of the
Schengen zone. On January 1, 2014, Latvia became the 18th member of
In the first half of 2015, Latvia presided over
the Council of the European Union.
On June 2, 2016, Latvia
became the 35th member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD).