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Latvia History Timeline

BC
  • (200BC) Latvian ancestors settled on the Baltic coast
1100s AD - 1800s
  • (1190 AD) Germany and Latvia established trade; German Christian missionaries converted many Latvians
  • (1201) Germans founded the city of Riga in Livonia, now Latvia pagan
  • (1282) Riga joined the Hanseatic League, a powerful trading bloc in Europe
  • (1561) Poland conquered southern Latvia; Catholicism established
  • (1629) Sweden conquered part of Latvia, included Riga
  • (1710) Russia acquired Latvia, Germans regained privileges
  • (1816) Serfdom abolished
1900s
  • (1918) Latvia proclaimed an independent sovereign state; Riga became capital
  • (1918-1920) Civil war, ended in peace treaty with Soviet Union
  • (1920) Civil war ended in peace treaty with Soviet Union
  • (1922) First constitution declared
  • (1934) Prime minister Karlis Ulmanis seized absolute power
  • (1940) Soviets occupied Latvia; Latvians opposed to Soviet rule resulted in mass deportations
  • (1941) Nazi forces invaded Latvia; Latvian Jews massacred
  • (1944) Red Army returned; thousands of Latvian's intellectuals fled to the west
  • (1949) Latvia lost 35% of its population to war, deportation, exile, and mass murder
  • (1987) Protests against Soviet rule occurred
  • (1990) Soviet Latvian legislature declared a transition to independence; Ivars Godmanis of the People's Front became prime minister
  • (1991) Soviets cracked down on the Baltic's; referendum produced large majority in favor of independence; Latvia declared independence from the Soviet Union; Latvia admitted to UN; citizenship law passed
  • (1993) Guntis Ulmanis sworn in as president
  • (1994) Russia officially ended its military presence in Latvia
  • (1995) Latvia admitted to Council of Europe
  • (1996) Ulmanis re-elected
  • (1999) Latvia became the first Baltic state to be a full member of the World Trade Organization (WTO); Vaira Vike-Freiberga elected president, first woman president in eastern Europe
2000s
  • (2001) Riga celebrated 800th birthday
  • (2002) EU summit in Copenhagen formally invited Latvia to join in 2004
  • (2003) President Vike-Freiberga elected to a second four-year term in office; Latvian referendum vote gave strong backing to EU membership
  • (2004) Latvia accepted into NATO; Latvia joined the European Union (EU)
  • (2005) US president George Bush visited Riga; President Vike-Freiberga was the only Baltic president that attended Moscow Victory Day celebrations; parliament ratified proposed EU constitution
  • (2006) New strict citizenship laws introduced
  • (2007) Border demarcation treaty signed with Russia; Prime Minister Kalvitis resigned, Ivars Godmanis became new prime minister
  • (2008) Latvian parliament approved European Union's Lisbon Treaty; (IMF) approved rescue package to help with Latvia's severe economic slump
  • (2009) Protests over the economic collapse turned violent; government agreed to slash the budget deficit in 2010
  • (2010) Unemployment reached 22.8%, highest in the EU; center-right government of Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis won majority in parliamentary elections; Prime Minister Dombrovskis formed government with Union of Farmers and Greens
  • (2011) Andris Berzins won presidential election over incumbent Valdis Zatlers

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.