2 "Meet Latvia" - History of Latvia

Uploaded by meetlatvia on 25.05.2011

You know ? I am small by figure, but my courage is big!
The first people on Latvia land
You know, the first people appeared here already before 10 000 years \u2013 during the stone age.
3000 years B.C. the ancestors of the Balts the ancient Estonians, , the Finns, the Livs , the Latvians and the Lithuanians resettled in Baltic.
The inhabitants were engaged in agriculture, and were fishing and collecting amber on the seashore that could be gainfully sold in those times to Romans.
Scandinavian pillages
Within the 9th \u2013 11th centuries the peaceful life of the nations was disturbed from time to time by Scandinavian - the Vikings - pillages.
The Vikings were robbing, killing, and inspired the inhabitants with horror.
Only the ancient Kurshi could show more serious opposition to the Vikings.
The Germans establish Riga
In the end of the 12th century, German tradespeople and the preachers of Christianity arrived more and more frequently.
They established their first camps on the banks of Daugava.
Bishop Albert established Riga on 1201 and it became the centre of the conquerors , in order to place under the command the Baltic nations.
German crusaders pushed the local inhabitants with violence to pass over to Christianity.
The ancient Baltic tribes \u2013 the Kurshi, the Latgalls, the Semigallians and the Selonians \u2013
had created their own self-government and they fought back the attackers as much as they could.
During many struggles the victory was won, anyway, the independence was lost after all.
In spite of the frequent wars Riga becomes an important sales centre and in 1282 it joins Hansa trade union.
Livonia and the beginning of feudalism
Within the 14th- 16th centuries the German invaders with the message of Pope of Rome had occupied the Baltic nations.
This territory was named Livonia . German landlords and knights became the actual governors and owners of the land here.
The local peasants gradually were enslaved more and more. In the beginning of the 16th century there were almost no free peasants in Livonia.
The peasants from dawn to sunset were slaving in favor of the landlords , besides they could be sold and interchanged.
Livonia experienced flourishing in the economic field - the commerce enlarged, the cities were growing.
At the same time there existed Polish kingdom in the East of Latvia \u2013 Polish vassal state \u2013 Kurland dukedom,
where during the government of the Duke Jekabs, navigation and industry boomed.
Kurland dukedom had even two colonies in Africa - Gamby and the Caribbean Sea island -Tobago.
In 1561, Livonia was conquered by Polish-Lithuanian conquerors, but at the same time the power of the landlords over their peasants did not suffer from that.
In 1621, Riga and Vidzeme was conquered by Swedish king Gustav Adolf,
but the German landlords still remained to be the real owners of the land. Latgale and Kurland dukedom remained to be Polish subjection.
Russian times and abolition of feudalism
In 1700, the Great Northern War started between Russia and Sweden. Russia gradually gained the dominium in all the present Latvia territory.
At last also the German landlords\u2019 privileges were restricted. The peasants were liberated from the bondage.
Although formally they were free but the land of their ancestry were not given back to them and they became the servants of the landlords.
Only starting from the middle of the 19th century, the Latvian peasants gained the rights to receive land in their possession.
The ideas of the state
Together with economical growth, also the Latvian national awareness grew.
Latvians gained education and properties and started to organize their own societies, choirs,
started issuing newspapers and publishing books.
The movement of New Latvians started , with the aim to advance the education and culture of Latvians.
Gradually Latvians became the rulers in their own country preparing the base for the establishment of their own national state.
Riga, in the end of the 19th century, at once after Moscow and St. Petersburg was the third largest industrial city in Russia.
Even cars and airplanes were produced in Riga.
World War I and the German occupation
World War I brought big disaster to Latvia. All the territory was occupied by German army.
Hard struggles took place on Latvia territory. 700\240000 people went to Russia as displaced persons.
Anyway, with collapse of German and Russian empires,
there occurred for Latvians the potential to establish their own state.
Latvia state establishment
On the 18th of November, 1918 - at once after the end of the war, Latvia independence was proclaimed.
But in order to guard its independence, Latvia had to struggle several hard battles.
On the 11th of November 1919, units of Latvia army beat off the last German attack to Riga.
This historical event is still celebrated in Latvia as Lacplesis Day.
On the 11th of August 1920, peace treaty was signed with Soviet Russia, by which it affirmed the independency of Latvia.
At last Latvia became a democratic and independent state.
Janis Chakste was elected as the first Latvia president. But it was not a long life for the democracy.
Karlis Ulmanis government
On the 15th of may 1934, the prime minister Karlis Ulmanis, following \u201cEuropean fashion\u201d overtook the rule in the country.
Saeima was released and all the political parties were forbidden.
An authoritative regime was established in Latvia with Karlis Ulmanis as the head.
Notwithstanding the fact that the people had no saying any more,
the most of the inhabitants valued positively the period of Ulmanis government,
because the economics grew and welfare rise.
World War II, occupation of Germany and the Soviet Russia
When World War II started, Latvia entered the interests sphere of Soviet Russia and Germany.
In order to avoid military operations and bloodshed,
Ulmanis accepted the ultimatum of the Soviet Union and submitted without resistance to the superiority of the Soviet Army.
Already in August of 1940, Latvia became the 15th of the Soviet Republics .
A year later 15\240000 of Latvia wealthy and educated people were deported by force to Siberia in stock cars.
Many of them died, especially elderly people and children.
Men were destroyed at the work camps, but women with the children were doomed to starvation in Siberia.
On the 21st of June 1941, German army conquered Latvia and occupied all Latvia territory.
Fascists killed about 70\u2019000 Latvia\u2019s Judaic.
In the end of World War II, when Germans lost their positions, The Red Army again entered Latvia territory.
Latvians went into banishment abroad. 300\u2019000 inhabitants of Latvia run away to the West.
On the 25th of march 1949, the second mass deportation took place.
44\240000 people were deported by force to Siberia \u2013 mainly Latvia peasants.
This deportation was organized by Stalin regime of Soviet Russia.
Only after the death of Stalin, those who were still alive were allowed to return to Latvia.
Socialism and communism in Latvia
Until 1991, Latvia was governed by the leaders appointed by Moscow.
Planned socialistic economy was performed, that was not based on free market principles. Business was forbidden.
Any buying of the goods for cheaper price and selling more expensive was considered to be a crime.
People often queued in long rows in order to buy bread, butter, sausage, and other goods.
People had money, but there was a shortage of the goods in the shops. For some periods some goods were possible to be bought only for coupons.
During this period the welfare level in Latvia was several times lower than in capitalistic countries.
Together with low live level, also the total people dissatisfaction with the present soviet regime.
Routine fight for freedom
In 1988, Latvia national front was organized, that became the leading force in the fights for Latvia routine independence fight.
On the 4th of May 1990, Latvia Socialist Republic deputies of the Supreme Council voted for independence resumptions of Latvia.
Anyway it could not be done without fight also this time. Soviet Army threatened to suppress by force the nation rebellion.
In order to protect the state, at least half of million of people were present on the barricades and joined their hands on the Baltic way.
Only fiasco of August putsch in 1991, in Moscow, gave the way to actual Latvia independence.
Joining European Union and NATO
Because of the interests their safety Latvia joined NATO in 2004.
That gives bigger potential of protection to Latvia, because attack on one NATO member state is considered as attack to all of them.
During the same year Latvia became also the member state of European Union.