Livonia Latvia History
In the late Middle Ages, Livonia, then also known as Eifland, was originally called the Danish part of Northern Estonia. This name extended to present-day Estonia and Latvia until the end of the 13th century, when it was conquered by the Livonian Brothers during the "Livonian Crusade" of 1193-1290. German-dominated Livonia, which in the 14th century encompassed the northern half of what is now Latvia and parts of Estonia, marked the beginning of a long period of peace and cooperation between the two countries. I would like to begin this historical survey of Latvia with a few words about the history of this region and its history as a whole, from its origins to the present day.
The Germans and Danes settled as nobility, the Estonians were increasingly subordinated to serfs and the Germans to the nobility. The region was called Livonia together with modern Latvia, but since there was no ethnically homogeneous population and was more inhabited by Estonians and Latvians, it was divided between Estonia and Latvia in the 14th and 15th centuries. At the beginning of the 16th century, parts of the northern half of Latvia and parts of Estonia were ceded to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and formed the region "Livonia - Estonia - Latvia," which was then united with Latvia.
On 18 November 1918, the Latvian People's Council declared full independence in Riga and Karlis Ulmanis became head of the provisional government. The Latvian Constituent Assembly, elected in April 1920, held its first session on 1 May. Initially, the demand for self-determination was limited to the autonomy of a free Latvia without Russia, but in May 1921 a Latvian-Soviet peace treaty was signed in which the Soviet government renounced all claims on Latvia.
Livonia remained in the Russian Empire until the end of World War II, when it was divided into the newly independent states of Latvia and Estonia. Independence from Latvia to Estonia was short, Livonia to the Soviet Union, but it remained for the rest of its existence under the Russian Empire.
The Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia have historically fallen under Scandinavian and Russian domination. These provinces, which were contested at different times by Poland, Russia and Sweden, are now home to the nations of Latvia and Estonia.
At the end of the 18th century, expansionist Russia annexed the whole of Latvia, Poland and Sweden divided it up and the Red Army occupied it in July 1940. The Soviet-Latvian flag was allowed to be used until it was replaced as an official flag in 1990. Latvia has been a full member of the European Union since 1991, despite being occupied during the Second World War, despite being independent. Riga has developed despite its German-Russian past, which led to the Soviet Union's annexation of Lithuania, Estonia, and other Baltic republics in the 1930s and 1940s, and Russia's annexation in 1941. The Baltic States, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia all became part of this Community and, together with the other Baltic Republics, were granted greater autonomy under the Lithuanian SSR.
Latvia has always been occupied by other, larger nations, and this situation has determined the fate of Latvia and its people.
Livonia roughly corresponds to the central region of modern Latvia, called Vidzeme, and was an area with varying borders between the 13th and 18th centuries. Livonia remained under Russian rule until the end of the 19th century, when it was split into the newly independent states of Latvia and Estonia. Latvia, however, remained a highly industrialised part of Russia, and its population retained much of its traditional culture, language and culture. After the world wars, southern Lithuania became an administrative region in traditional Latvian, comprising parts of Lithuania, Belarus, Estonia and Latvia, as well as a small part of Poland and Lithuania.
German landowners were able to retain their influence in Latvia, and Riga continued to act as a gateway to trade with Baltic tribes outside Russia, thereby gaining influence over the surrounding area and the city itself. At the beginning of the 20th century, Latvian nationalism, and in particular the influence of ethnic and religious minorities, had rapidly increased in Latvia.
In 1925, more than 60% of Latvian ethnic and religious minorities lived in Latvia, and in 1939, Riga was home to several thousand. There were only about 1,000 Latvian Jews in Germany, but in 1925 they all lived outside Latvia. Latvia had only one ethnic minority with a population of more than 10%, of which more than 60% lived in Rigo, the largest city in Europe.
It was a comparatively pleasant place for Jews to live during the interwar period, and there were individuals and families returning from distant regions of the USSR, as well as people who migrated from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus to the more western and better developed Latvia.