Timeline of Latvian history

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This is a timeline of Latvian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Latvia and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Latvia. See also the list of presidents of Latvia.

7th century[edit]

Year Date Event
650 The Curonians and Livonians were paying tribute to king Ivar Vidfamne of Scania

8th century[edit]

Year Date Event
750 In the legendary Battle of Brávellir Curonians were fighting at the side of Sigurd Hring, king of Sweden, and Livonians under their duke Ger (Ger Livicus) at the side of Harald Wartooth, king of Denmark. According to Norna-Gests þáttr Sigurd Hring fought against the invading Curonians (Kúrir) in the southern part of what today is Sweden[1]
before 800 The ancient Balts began to form specific tribal realms.

9th century[edit]

Year Date Event
800 The Curonians had rebelled against the Swedes and refused to pay them tribute.
850 The Danish king marshalled a great fleet and sailed to Courland in order to take over their goods and to make the Curonians pay tribute to instead. The Curonians gathered forces from all five of their towns and butchered half the Danish army and plundered their war ships.
854 King Olaf of Sweden with 7,000 armed men attacked towns of Seeburg and Apulia. Curonians declared that they wished to be the subjects of the Swedish kings as in former times.
870 The legendary Danish king Hadingus wages wars in the Baltic and achieves victory against Curonian tyrant Loker (Loker, Curetum tyrannus) and king Handwanus of Duna (Duna urbs).
890 The Curonian king Dorno (Curetum rex Dorno), one of the legendary kings in Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum, fights against the legendary Danish king Frotho I.

10th century[edit]

Year Date Event
925 Egils Saga describes the expedition of Icelandic vikings Thorolf and Egill Skallagrímsson by the Eastern route (Austrvegr), where they won much wealth and had many battles. In Courland they made a peace for half a month and traded with the men of the land.[2]
950 The Norse prince Ragnvald (Rogvolod of Polatsk) came from overseas and subjugated hillforts along the river of Daugava. His capital was established at Polatsk.

11th century[edit]

Year Date Event
before 1100 The borders of the Baltic realms of Courland, Semigallia, Tālava, Koknese and Jersika (known as Lettia) became settled.

12th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1106 Semigallians completely destroyed united armies of the sons of Prince Vseslav of Polotsk in the lowlands of Daugava.
1111 Prince of Novgorod Mstislav Vladimirovich invaded eastern part of Tālava (Adzele) and Ugandi.
1180 Prince Mstislav Rostislavich led the Novgorodians against the Letts of Tālava.
1184 The monk Saint Meinhard began missionary work among the Livonian people.
1186 Meinhard was appointed bishop of Livonia by the Pope.
1198 Bishop Berthold of Hanover arrived at the mouth of the Daugava River accompanied by crusaders and was killed in battle with Livonians.
1199 Albert of Riga was elected the third bishop of Livonia.
Pope Innocent III proclaimed a second Baltic Crusade.

13th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1201 Albert founded Riga on the site of earlier Livonian settlement.
1202 The Catholic military order of Livonian Brothers of the Sword was founded by Bishop Albert.
1206 The Brothers of the Sword and their Semigallian allies defeated Livonians at Turaida
1217 The Brothers of the Sword and their Livonian and Latgalian allies defeated Estonians at the Battle of St. Matthew's Day near Viljandi.
1229 Bishop Albert died.
1236 Battle of Saule: The Brothers of the Sword were defeated in the Land of Saule (terra Sauleorum) by combined forces of Samogitians and Semigallians.
1242 Alexander Nevsky defeated the Livonian Order on Lake Peipus.
1255 The Bishopric at Riga was elevated to become the Archbishopric of Riga.
1282 Riga became a member of the Hanseatic League.

14th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1378 The Livonian Order raided Upytė, and another campaign threatened the Lithuanian capital in Vilnius.

15th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1422 A Livonian Diet first met.
1452 The Livonian Order and Archbishopric of Riga began to rule jointly in Livonia.
1481 Muscovy attacked Livonia.

16th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1501 The Livonian Order, aided by Lithuania, launched an attack on Pskov.
1502 Russian troops were defeated at the Battle of Lake Smolina near Palkino.
1558 Ivan the Terrible launched an attack on Livonia.
1561 Livonian War: Livonia fell to Lithuania.
1569 Lithuania and Poland joined to form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Livonia became a joint domain administered directly by both realms.

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1629 The Peace of Altmark was reached, under which Sweden annexed Livonia and several Courland territories to Swedish Livonia.
1689 The Old and New Testaments were published in Latvian translation by Pastor Ernst Glück.
1700 Great Northern War: A war began which involved the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden, and Russia.

18th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1710 Riga fell to the Russians, though Courland remained under the control of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
1721 Great Northern War: The Treaty of Nystadt ended the war.

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1841 A famine occurred in Livonia.
1873 The first Latvian Song and Dance Festival took place.
1887 Russification measures began in the Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire.

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1905 13 January Russian army troops opened fire on demonstrators in Riga, killing seventy-three and injuring two hundred people.
A revolution took place in the Baltic region directed primarily against German landowners and Russian autocracy.
1914 1 August World War I: The war began.
1918 18 November An independent Latvia was proclaimed.
1919 Latvian ruble currency introduced.[3]
1920 11 August The Latvian–Soviet Peace Treaty was signed.
1921 22 September Latvia became a member of the League of Nations.
1922 February A Latvian constitution was adopted.
1934 15 May Prime Minister Kārlis Ulmanis took power in a bloodless coup d'état.
1939 23 August The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was signed between the Soviet Union (USSR) and Nazi Germany.
1940 16 June An ultimatum was presented by the USSR to Latvia.
17 June Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940: Soviet troops occupied the country.
5 August Latvia was incorporated into the Soviet Union, becoming the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR).
1941 13 June The first mass deportations of Latvians to various sites in the Soviet Union began.
1 July Occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany: Nazi troops occupied Riga.
1944 October Occupation of Latvia by Soviet Union 1944-1945: The Soviet army reentered Riga.
1955 About thirty thousand deportees returned to Latvia from the USSR under a general amnesty.
1981 The modern Vanšu Bridge was opened across the Daugava River in Riga.
1987 14 June The first demonstration in Riga to commemorate the 1941 deportations took place.
1988 23 August Mass demonstrations took place against the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
1990 4 May The Latvian SSR Supreme Council adopted the declaration On the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia.
1991 January The Barricades: Pro-Communist political forces attempted to restore Soviet power in Latvia.
6 September The Soviet Union recognized Latvian independence.
17 September Latvia became a member of the United Nations.

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2004 2 April Latvia became a member of NATO.
1 May Latvia became a member of European Union.
2014 1 January Latvia became a member of Eurozone.

See also[edit]


  • Plakans, Andrejs (2008). Historical Dictionary of Latvia. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-5515-1.
  1. ^ Norna-Gests þáttr, c. 1157, Níkulás Bergsson, Iceland.
  2. ^ Rev. W. C. Green. The Story of Egil Skallagrimsson: An Icelandic Family History of the Ninth ... Chapter 46
  3. ^ Howard M. Berlin (2006). "Latvia: Chronology". World Monetary Units: An Historical Dictionary, Country by Country. USA: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-4042-9.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]