Latvia is a godsend for a tourist. Latvia is considered the most beautiful corner of Europe, where the conditions for an excellent rest were created by nature itself. It combines picturesque landscapes and unspoilt beaches, excellent microclimate, and travelers will appreciate the sights and most interesting places of Latvia, the hospitality and affability of local residents. Going on a trip from the capital of Latvia to Riga in any direction, you will see all the new attractions of Latvia and the new sides of life in Latvia.
History of Latvia
The ancestors of the Latvians were Fino-Ugrians and Balts, who lived in the present territory of Latvia before our era. Since 1198, these lands have become the object of a crusade declared by the pope. After several battles, Latvia, together with Estonia, became part of the Roman Empire under the name of Livonia and was baptized. In 1282, Riga, and later Cesis, Limbaži, Koknés and Valmiera were accepted into the alliance of the North German trading cities (“Hanseatic League”), which contributed to the rapid development of this region. After the defeat of the Teutonic Order in 1410 in the Battle of Grunwald, Latvia moved to Poland.
In the second half of the 16th century four states applied to the territory of Latvia: Russia, Sweden, Denmark and Lithuania. Sweden achieved the greatest success in diplomacy and, at the beginning of the 17th century, it subjugated the country to itself. Latvia became one of the most developed parts of Sweden, and Riga – its main city. At that time, the consolidation of individual peoples (Latgals, villages, Semigallians, Curonians and Livs) gradually took place in a single Latvian-speaking people speaking the same language. After the defeat of Sweden in the Northern War, Latvia became part of the Russian Empire. Already in 1817-1819, in the greater territory of present-day Latvia serfdom was abolished, and in 1887 the teaching of the Russian language in all schools was legislatively introduced.
During the First World War, the country’s territory was occupied by Germany. The Latvian fighters, called the “Latvian Arrows”, fought on the side of Russia and, thanks to their heroism, were known throughout Europe. In 1918, German troops were withdrawn from the territory of Latvia, and postwar confusion served as a good background for the establishment of an independent state. At the end of 1918, Latvia proclaimed its independence. On January 26, 1921, the independent Republic of Latvia was recognized by the world community and was admitted to the League of Nations.
Since the outbreak of World War II, when Germany attacked Poland, the USSR decided to protect its borders as much as possible and began to demand from Latvia, to transfer military ports, airfields and other military infrastructure for the needs of the Red Army. In October 1939, the Soviet-Latvian mutual assistance agreement was signed, which resulted in the deployment of Soviet military bases on the territory of the Baltic States. However, in the future the Soviet Union began to issue her ultimatums, one with the demand for the resignation of the government. June 17, 1940 Latvia was annexed by the USSR. In July of the same year, the People’s Seim was elected, proclaiming the creation of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic and adopting the Declaration of Entry into the USSR. In August 1940 Latvia became one of the socialist republics of the USSR. June 22, 1941 Germany attacked the USSR – the territory of Latvia within one and a half weeks passed under German control and remained under it until July 1944. After the victory of the Red Army at the Yalta Conference in January 1945, the borders of the USSR were fixed as of June 1941, that is, all the great powers recognized the inclusion of Latvia in the USSR.
On August 24, 1991, after the putsch, the first Russian president Boris Yeltsin signed a decree recognizing Latvia’s independence. In May 1992, Latvia joined the International Monetary Fund, in April 2004 became a member of NATO, and from May 1, 2004 – a member of the European Union.