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Historic Riga

From its info structure to now,

Historic Riga, the key-words :

12th century   German conquest. After having conquered Slavic lands (Today eastern Germany and western Poland), the Germanic expansionists turned their attention to the eastern Baltic.


1201   The Germanic expansionists achieved their conquest little until Albert von Buxhoevden was appointed Bishop of Riga in 1201.  Info structure of the town of Riga.
1202   Bishop Albert established The Knights of the Sword to conquer the territories which belonged to Liv people, to the Cours, to the Zemgals,  to the Selonians and to the Latgals (former counties of Latvia).
1237   After several difficulties, the Knights of Sword became known as The Livonian Order.


1282   Riga became member of the Hanseatic League of traders which  controlled commerce on the Baltic     and on the North Sea and brought  prosperity to German-dominated Hanseatic towns.
1561   Riga became free after the collapse of the Livonian Order.
1581   Riga lost its freedom and from this date the town would be run by

different foreign successors :

    1581  The Polish king Stephan Bathory

    1621  The Swedish king Gustav Hadolf

    1710  The Russian tsar Peter the Great



In the beginning of the 18th century  Riga became a very important harbor and town of trade and then in the 19th century, a big industrial city.
18th of November 1918              Independence of Latvia
1920   Soviet Russia signed peace treaties with the parliamentary Republic  of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania recognizing their independence in perpetuity.
1939-1945   The beginning of the World War 2 commences an era of Soviet Occupation and then Nazi Occupation.
1945-1991   Soviet rule.
In the late  First steps to the New Independence began with the Soviet leader

1980's   Mikhail Gorbatchev who encouraged "glasnost" (openness) and "perestroika" (restructuring) in the USSR.



1989   The Singing Revolution. It dealt with Baltic people who gathered at to  sing previously banned national songs and give voice to their longing for  freedom.
............................................... ...... Sampolit Film - "The Baltic Way"
This short video is an excellent summary of the events that played a major part in the downfall of the Soviet empire. 

It is a true testament to the point "people and people working together can accomplish mighty feats"

Some world leaders might learn from this history.

click play button to view video
1991 - 21th of August       Independence of Latvia.


For ensure an economic stability, Latvia (and itís the same for both other Baltic States too) is desperate to join NATO and the European Union (EU) but this race towards Europe is not so easy to achieve in the early 1990's because of Russian pressure. However : 
January 1998    Signature of the US-Baltic Charter of Partnership in which it gave its support to Baltic integration into western institutions, including NATO.
October 1999    Accession talks with the EU. 
Finally, we see that full membership for the Baltic States should be achieved in 2004. Meanwhile, the people of the Baltic countries have finally started harmonizing their laws with those of Europe, for example we can quote the abolition of the death penalty (in Latvia, the death penalty was only abolished for ordinary crimes in 1999).Moreover, it's in 1999 that Estonia and Latvia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).


Design concept and content by: Anne-Claire DUFOUR,  France

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