Latvia History

By | January 9, 2023

Latvia – national flag

Latvia National Flag

A red flag with a white stripe is mentioned in a chronicle from 1279. These colors were used by the Latvian national movement from the 1870’s. In 1917, the flag received its current design with the characteristic crimson color. The flag was the flag of Latvia 1918-40, but was banned in Soviet times. From 1987, the flag had to be shown again in public, and it became the national flag again in the spring of 1990.

  • Countryaah: What does the flag of Latvia look like? Follow this link, then you will see the image in PNG format and flag meaning description about this country.

Latvia – prehistory

According to a2zgov, the country was inhabited after the ice age by hunters and fishermen, whose settlements and burial sites have been found along the coast, along streams and lakes. Hunting, fishing and gathering were the basis of life throughout the older and most of the Neolithic. Pottery was made from 4000 BC. In the Neolithic, a distinction is made between the older Narva culture and the younger comb-pottery culture. Settlements in peat bogs contain well-preserved tools of wood, bone and roof, as at Sārnate, where amber was also collected and processed. Farming was not introduced until the end of the Stone Age and continued into the Bronze Age, at the same time as metal tools gained ground and fortified settlements were built. From the Iron Age, many simple castles are known. Finds from Grobin in Kurland testify to Scandinavian settlement approximately 650-800 AD.

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Latvia – history

In present-day Latvia lived at the beginning of historical time several Baltic tribes as well as Finno-Ugric livers. The area was conquered around 1200 by German crusaders and became a diocese under Bremen. Bishop Albert founded Riga in 1201 and founded the year after the Order of the Sword Knights, which from 1237 was part of the German Order. Thereafter, the country was part of a state of order, which disintegrated after the Reformation and in 1561 was divided. The majority came under Poland-Lithuania, which eventually lost most to Sweden. At the Peace of Nystad in 1721, the Swedish part (Livonia) was incorporated into Russia. In 1772 and 1795 also became the Polish part and KurlandRussian. However, the German-Baltic nobility retained its privileges, including self-government with its own Landtag. In the early 1800’s. the serfdom was abolished, but at the same time the peasants lost the right to use the land. The actual liberation came with reforms in the mid-1800’s. In opposition to German domination, a strong Latvian national movement emerged in the cities, which withstood a brutal Russification that began in the late 1800’s. At the same time, a Latvian labor movement emerged, and the Latvian Social Democratic Party took an active part in the Russian revolutionary events of 1905-07.

After large parts of the population during World War I had been forcibly relocated to Russia, Germany occupied most of the country in 1915, and in February 1918 it occupied all of Latvia. Germany wanted the area incorporated into Prussia or possibly. to establish a vassal government, but the political leaders of the country established a People’s Council, which with British support 18.11.1918 proclaimed Latvia as an independent republic with Kārlis Ulmanisas Prime Minister. The Western powers wanted the German forces to remain in the country as a defense against the Russians, but when the Germans withdrew, most of Latvia was occupied by Bolshevik forces, a significant part of whom were recruited from among evacuated refugees. In December 1918, a Latvian Soviet government was formed under Pēteris Stučka (1865-1932). This government was overthrown when German volunteers, supported by whitesLatvian military units, in May 1919 went on the counterattack. The German units had previously installed a new government and wanted to regain control of the Baltics, which was thwarted by the defeat of the Estonian-Latvian forces in June 1919. Ulmanis’ government returned to power and the German forces left the country.. At the Peace of Riga on August 11, 1920, Soviet Russia recognized Latvia’s independence. The following year, recognition came from several states, and the country became a member of the League of Nations.

In 1922, Latvia got a democratic constitution, and a land reform dissolved the mainly German-owned large estates. Political life, however, was marked by great contradictions, and in connection with the economic crisis of the 1930’s, the situation worsened. In 1934, Ulmanis imposed a state of emergency, dissolved all political parties and unions, and then ruled the country authoritarianly. At the outbreak of World War II, Latvia declared neutrality, but the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pacthad placed the country in the Soviet sphere of interest, and it was forced to sign a base agreement with the Soviet Union. The German-Baltic minority, approximately 53,000 people, was moved to Germany in 1939-41. In June 1940, Soviet forces occupied Latvia. A pro-Soviet government was formed, which called elections to a People’s Assembly. It proclaimed on July 21, 1940, Latvia as a Soviet republic, which was subsequently annexed by the Soviet Union.

Sovietization with nationalization, purges and deportations were halted by the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, and Latvia was occupied by German troops until October 1944. However, an army group remained in Kurland until the German capitulation in May 1945. The German occupation was brutal., and the majority of Latvian Jews were murdered. In connection with the German defeat, approximately 140,000-150,000 facilitate escape to the West.

After World War II, Sovietization was completed. In March 1949, over 42,000 were deported, after which agriculture was quickly collectivized. With Mikhail Gorbachev’s new policy in 1985, the desire for independence in the Baltic states gained new impetus. In 1990, Latvia’s Supreme Soviet adopted a declaration of sovereignty, which was confirmed by a referendum in March 1991. By January, Soviet forces had stormed the Interior Ministry, killing several civilians. During the August coup in Moscow the same year, a restoration of Latvia’s independence was declared, which was quickly recognized by several countries, including The Soviet Union, and Latvia was then admitted to the UN.

In 1993, the country got a new constitution. The first parliamentary election was won by the liberal “Road of Latvia”, which formed the government led by Valdis Birkavs (b. 1942); Guntis Ulmanis was elected president. In 1994, Russian troops left the country except for a radar base in Skrunda, which Russia was allowed to retain for four years. That same year, Latvia joined the ” Partnership for Peace “. In 1995, he joined the Council of Europe. The parliamentary elections of the same year led to a strengthening of the outer wings and the formation of a broad government under the non-partisan businessman Andris Šķēle (b. 1958), who was replaced in August 1997 by Guntars Krasts (b. 1957). Reform policy has been hampered by corruption and bureaucracy. Disagreement over Russian integration has strained relations with Russia.

Relations between Latvia and Russia deteriorated in 1998 when Russia imposed sanctions on Latvia. Andris Šķēle and his People’s Party won the election the same year. Despite this, Vilis Krištopans from the Party of Latvia formed the government together with the National Conservatives and the New Party. In 1999, the Latvian Latvian Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga (b. 1937) was elected president by parliament as a compromise candidate. Krištopans was then replaced by Šķēle, who took his party into the government. Šķēle fell in 2000 due to disagreement over the privatization process, after which the post of prime minister went to Andris Bērziņš from Latvia’s Road. His government lasted until October 2002 and thus became the longest-serving government since independence. In 2003, Vike-Freiberga was re-elected for a final term.

In a referendum in 2003, 67% voted for the country’s accession to the EU, and in 2004 Latvia became a member of both the EU and NATO. In December 2004, the 12th government since independence was formed; it was, like the previous ones, a center-right government. Integration into the EU and membership of NATO are the cornerstones of the country’s foreign and security policy, which, however, also has a significant Russian dimension. The Skrundabase was closed down in 1999, thus ending the Russian military presence. In 1997, Latvia concluded a border agreement with Russia, which was not signed until December 2007. In 1999, the Latvian language law was amended in accordance with the OSCE recommendations, and in 2001, the OSCE’s missions to monitor the minority situation were disbanded.

But the demands for Latvian knowledge in the school reform of 2004 aroused renewed Russian criticism of the position of the minority. Conditions for the large Russian-speaking minority and unresolved historical issues will continue to create problems between Latvia and Russia. However, the two countries also have significant common economic interests in relation to Latvia’s position as a transit country for Russian exports of oil and other goods and as a gateway to the EU. In 2007, the virtually unknown Valdis Zatlers was elected president of the governing coalition in parliament.

During the international financial crisis, Latvia was one of the hardest hit in the EU. Up until the crisis in 2008-09, the country had experienced strong economic growth, but was sensitive to international economic fluctuations. In 2010, the unemployment rate was 20%, and although Latvia has returned to strong economic growth, there is still high unemployment, just as many younger well-educated people are leaving the country. Valdis Zatlers was defeated in the 2011 presidential election by Andris Bērziņš.

In 2014, Latvia joined the euro area.