The History of Latvia

“The United States cannot afford to be the
policemen of the world anymore” – Donald Trump “And he uses the Nato alliance almost as a
transactional business alliance. To think that the baltics could pay up that
kind of money for protection is simply never was in the cause.” – Christiane Amanpou Ever since the war in Ukraine, the baltic
states have been in the geopolitical spotlight. Because whenever you hear a discussion about
Trumps commitment to Nato, it’s also about the question whether the United States would
defend the sovereignty of those countries. Today, we wanna focus on Latvia, a country
with a history that’s significant, because it’s been playball of bigger european conflicts
in the past. This is, the history of Latvia. In the early middle ages, there were four
different baltic tribes that inhabited the area of todays Latvia. Which by then was ruled by many different
principalities. In the 12th century, german missionaries settled
along the Daugava river in order to convert the mostly pagan believing people to christianity. The germans also founded the city of Riga,
which is about 10 miles distance from the rivers mouth. Because of it’s location, the city quickly
became an important trading place and was the third biggest city along the baltic sea. In 1282 it joined the Hanseatic League, a
trading confederation that dominated commercial activity in northern Europe for over 3 centuries. Between the 16th and early 18th century, Russia,
Sweden and Poland-Lithuania all fought for control over the eastern baltic. Russia eventually gained control over Riga
and in 1768, the entire Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth became part of the Russian Empire,
which grew further west. The authorities heavily russified Latvia. They completely banned the Latvian language
from schools and joining the Russian orthodox church became mandatory. During the first world war parts of Latvia
were captured by Germany and the territory was largely destroyed by war. And at the end of the war, for the first time,
many people saw a real chance for a Latvian state to be founded. Especially since both russia and Germany were
busy figuring out their own future, with the creation of the socialist republic in russia
and the founding of the weimar republic in Germany. A National Awakening began that ultimately
led to the proclamation of Latvias Independence. And in 1920, a freely elected assembly drafted
a constitution for the new country. During that period, a contest was held to
design a monument for latvias independence. A statue of the russian ruler Peter the Great
in one of Rigas central roads, close to the old town, was torn down – and replaced by
the newly build Freedom Monument, unveiled in 1935. On the top of it a woman, holding three stars
that stand for the historic regions of latvia. At the beginning of the second world war,
nazi germany and the soviet union made a pact in which they re-ordered eastern europe into
german and russian spheres of influence. As a result of that Latvia was taken over
by the soviet union and the local population was suppressed. Many who were against it were either jailed,
deported or in some cases even killed. But nazi germany broke the pact and on the
22 June 1941 german troops attacked soviet forces. And took control over the entire land. During that time, some ethnic latvians joined
the german army in the fight against the soviet union. Those were in the latvian legion and fought
alongside german-Nazi-Troops. This leads to some controversy, to this day,
since on the 16th march every year – some people in latvia gather to remember these
latvian legionnaires. They see them as fighters against illegal
soviet-occupation, but at the same time these were nazi-troops and the commemoration is
honoring them. The Nazis killed about 66 thousand latvian
jews as well as tens of thousands of jews from other countries that were brought to
latvia. Later in 1943 the nazis built the concentration
camp Kaiserwald, near riga, where more than 10.000 people were imprisoned and had to do
forced labor. After the second world war, the land was annexed
by the soviet union again and the period of Stalins ruling was the toughest for many latvian
familys. Nationalists and potential troublemakers for
the soviet regime, were often imprisoned without a trial – or sent to the brutal soviet gulag
camps where many died. In March 1949 about 40.000 latvians were deported
to siberia without a right to ever return to their homes. Latvia was russiafied, and between 1945 and
1955 more than half a million russians moved to latvia, dramatically reducing the percentage
of native latvians living there. Remarkably, the freedom monument in the center
of Riga survived all of this and even the soviets did not touch it. But they tried to alter the meaning of it. The three stars were now said to represent
the three baltic states: latvia, estonia and lithuania – and they are held by mother russia. Despite that official reinterpretation, it
still remained a symbol for independence among most of the population. In the 1980s Mikhail Gorbachev began opening
and reforming the soviet union, and a new national awakening in latvia begann. By the summer of 1987 thousands of people
protested against the occupation at the freedom monument. And the chants for freedom became louder leading
up to the 23. August 1989 and one of the biggest political
demonstrations in history. About 2 million people from all the baltic
states formed a 420 miles long human chain that connected all across the three countries. The visually stunning protest was noticed
all across the world and within just 7 months lithuania gained it’s independence. Latvia followed and became a fully sovereign
state in august 1991. Since independance latvia has been working
towards joining NATO as well as the European Union. And in 2004, both of these goals were achieved. Because of it’s turbulent history, todays
latvia combines many differences in it. The capital Riga has many protestant churches
and buildings from the time of german settlement. But there also are russian orthodox churches
all across, as well as typical soviet stalinism buildings, like the Latvian Academy of Arts
(Mistake: Academy of Science) Today, about 61% of the population is latvian,
whereas 26% are russian. In fact, The second largest town, Daugavpils,
has a russian population of 53%. This leads to some tension, since when latvia
became independent many russians where not granted citizenship. Because lawmakers feared that this would make
the country unstable. And to this day, these are 247.000 people
of which almost all are russians from the former soviet union. They can however, become latvian citizen if
they speak the latvian language and live in the country for a long enough time. Since the relationship between the european
union and russia becomes more and more tense. Latvia also is an a conflict. Russia is Latvias second biggest trading partner
and latvia has a large russian population. But since the war in ukraine, many latvians
see russia as a security thread and old fears reappear. After all, Latvia only had 26 years since
independence, and while there are a bunch of challenges, there are also a lot of opportunities,
with the country changing rapidly, it will be interesting to see how it will develope
in the future. If you wanna support more documentaries like
this then please subscribe and share this video And while you’re at it, check out these videos we’ve made earlier. 🙂

Comments 100

  • I'm so glad my song worked out into one of your videos! keep killing it!

  • Paganism and the connected practice of child sacrifice made a big come back in Latvia under Soviet rule and continue to this day. Declining population? Over 30% of all pregnancies are aborted (read: baby murder) in Latvia. The few young people that were born moved to England and Germany by the hundreds of thousands. The country is effectively abandoned and the people, now "free", have celebrated by genociding themselves, which is something neither the Germans nor the Russians were able to do to the Latvian people.

  • Im from latvia and one thing that many dont know is that Latvia once had a colony in tobago

  • Do a video on Lithuania too

  • je Es no Latvijas

  • Nice video! What's the song from 5:31 till 6:40?

  • Latvia is small, but never gave up!

  • Sveiki broliūkai!!

  • The Latvian SS Legion later became conscripted, and are not usually seen in the same light as German SS units.

  • i live in latvia im a latvian i live in grobiņa

  • putin liec latviu miera

  • love from lithuania braliukai

  • There's only 1 photo of Latvia's founding cause the people thought that the camera flash was a gunshot lmao

  • My grandfather was sent to siberia but he escaped a prison and escaped siberia

  • Im latvian and you tell all the truth!

  • I live in Latvia and i'm happy about it, and my grandmother experienced world war 2 in Latvia

  • Trump is a bastard

  • Latvian women can get it

  • The also produce soft big men that get injured… 😂

  • im so happy that we are free even thogh ive lived in latvia just 8 years its for me hard and my family…

  • 01:48 "And in 1768 the entire Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth became part of the Russian Empire" surely I'm no historian but was it really that hard for you to just simply google check your facts? How am I supposed to view any further information correct if you make such a huge flaw so early in the video…

  • Im the 250,000 Viewer ^^

  • I'm from lithuania

  • You forgot to mention how you got your ass kicked in your independence war and we estonians had to save your asses.

    You were attacked from 2 sides, but still.

  • Very interesting) thank you

  • My great grandpa was deported to Siberia and he never came back even after the war

  • Broliukai!

  • Fake and propaganda! Russia always supported latvian culture. before Russia latvians was not allowed to stay in Riga for night. both "atmoda"s was under russians.

  • What about the Latvian war of Independence in 1918-1920?

  • Weorderd eastern Europe.

  • Great video, very informative and interesting at the same time.

  • The early history lacks depth.

  • Damn, i dunno why, but i really wish i was Latvian. Latvia’s story is sad and interessting! ^^ it is my favorite country and i wanna live there! ^^ you Latvians stay strong! ^^ know your Amazing and that your country is Amazing for fighting back and not Giving up! ^^

    — Love from Denmark

  • Im from latvia and you know what?

    Im proud for being one of the latvian people 😀

  • В древние времена была Латвия потом древние времена стали настоящим и был Совок после Совка Латвия стала транзитёром между Россией и ЕС … Это всё ? Вся история за 8 минут ? … Нация у которой нет истории у той нет будущего … Так и будете шпротами для России … При СССР автобусы и радиоприёмники собирали …

  • I'm from Latvia

  • so not rtrue, my father was SS general, and he was latvian, just hatet jew sluts 😀 i know i still do. fucking imigrant assholes

  • no no no that is not symbol for that. NO you fucking jew

  • I am actually latvian

  • 7:02 That's the Latvian Academy of Sciences not Art

  • One point… countless American servicemen are ready to fight and die for Estonian, Latvia and Lithuania because without honoring treaties they mean nothing; and we've served and trained alongside them all.

    Beyond that, I don't believe for a moment our current leadership would honor a damn thing because they don't care.

  • Another point, if the Nazis had won they would have repeated the Baltic German times but simply expanded them into Estonia. Their ethnic policies did not believe that Finno-Ugric people were Aryan people. It was an alliance of convenience.



  • In Soviet Latvia a "history of Latvia" was told as a fight against evil Swedes and Germans and now in EU time "history of Latvia" is told as fight against evil Russia. I wonder when an independent minded Latvians start to write the real history of the country.
    I mean look at this video – how can you jump from 1200 to 1800 in a minute as if nothing significant happened in these times?

  • I live in Latvia😊

  • Why societu of geeks. Yes I know that my goverment really sucks, but anyway, I don't like that.

  • PLC became part of Russia in 1768? Wtf m8?

  • 🇱🇹🇱🇻🇪🇪= Baltic states

  • 2:09 Damn.Five years after R.M.S. TITANIC SANK.

  • A shame it pays no tribute to the brave Latvian people (notably the Red Latvian Riflemen) who played a pivotal role in establishing the nation. Instead, it skips those three years and goes directly to a "freely elected" national assembly brought about by the German Freikorps.

  • Ha te iet pasaule

  • Ejiet dirst krievi un vāci

  • Tēvzemei un Brīvībai

  • Es dzīvoju Rīgā latvijā

  • Russia and German? But why Latvian speak Spanish?

  • Latvia is terrible country

  • FYI, in 7:05 – that is the Latvian Academy of Sciences, not 'an Art'" (never have been). 😉

  • Gods dzīvot Latvijā ♥

  • I'm from Latvia:3

  • well done dude, lithuanian here, nice videos, subbed

  • werry poure presentation of my country.i'm shore this chanell is a propoganda bullshit .fu.

  • Dzimtene 👋😉👍🇮🇪🇱🇻🇪🇺✌️🏠🏡🚙🏍👂🗺☘️🎶

  • Sveiki, jūs nesaprotat, ka tas vispār neapstājas, kā jūs joprojām lasāt šo apstāšanos, kas jums ir pārsteidzošs i dont get kā jūs varētu izlasīt šo, izņemot, ja jūsu no Latvijas vai jūsu krāpšanos

  • Woah I from Latvia and dis is INTERESTING

  • wow i never know about it when I was kid at the Latvia. I cannot believe it I am live in U.S american. I want to researched for my life where I am come from.

  • totāls bulšits (propoganda ) – 1918 . krievu , ebreju skolas bija vairāk nekā tagad

  • One mistake though,
    7:05 That's not the Latvian Academy of Arts.
    That's Riga Technical University.

    Other than that great video!

  • Čau lātvieši. Es Esmu Lātvietis

  • Latvians are afraid of Russia because of Ukraine events?!?! I think Europe suffers from fake news. Good video, though. Thanks, and thumbs up!

  • IM from latvia

  • Welp im latvian soon gonna be in korea ):

  • Amazing video !
    How you made these map coloring animations?

  • That moment when you're Latvian and see some people in the comments say what a nice place it is and such while your sitting home broke with 10 euros in yo wallet wishing you had enough money to leave this place 🙂

  • Thx for making this. It realy means a lot for oure people.

  • But now latvia is peacefull no attacks btw i live in latvia

  • Thetr was once a guy in our school he was telling us about the war he was in he told us how he survived and stuff

  • 1:48 1768 my ass… even the first partition was still four years away at that time. Don't make videos like this unless you check the simplest of facts first.

  • Nicely done. I"m saddened by all the Russiaphobia being promoted in the world, and yet I understand the concern of Latvians. The history is complex. The key will be to allow different ethnic groups their rights and not try to suppress them. I don't see Russia as a threat. It would be a lose lose for Russia and Latvia for that matter to try to fight over boarders or promoting one language/culture over another.

  • I am Latvian

  • i live in latvjia and i talk like latvija like this copy it čau mani sauc endijsnikskokorēvič

  • I've heard that Latvia is the only country in the world where freedom has a momument. Its like burry your freedom alive.

  • Depressing history

  • Hi im from Latvia liepaja and i like your video thx wery mucu 😘😘😘

  • es dzivo latvia I live in Latvia

  • Latvians are the MURDERERS and OPPRESSORS of Jewish people and they have murdered hundreds of thousands if not millions of Jews in Latvia! Latvia is a very xenophobic country and they have ethnically cleansed the country of it’s Jewish History! I am a Latvian Jew and all if the cities of Latvia such as Riga and Vilnius were built by Jews and the homes and businesses were stolen by the Latvian people in the aftermath of the Holocaust and they have not return our property and they have never apologized for the Holocaust, and the hundreds of years of pogroms against Jews (and other minorities but mostly Jews) in Latvia and the whole Baltic/Eastern Europe region. If my family hadn’t escaped Latvia, they would have all died and I wouldn’t exist! There are millions of Jewish people who died, and whose descendants would have numbered in the tens of millions because of the bloodthirsty, intolerant, hateful, xenophobic Latvians, as well as the Lithuanians, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Germans, Romanians, Bulgarians, Belorussians, Estonians, Norwegians, Finns, French, Greeks, Austrians, Dutch, Belgians and many more! At least a few of the Western European countries have acknowledged their role in murdering millions of Jews (but they need to do much more sn fight antisemitism), by nations like Latvia ethnically cleanse and whitewash their nation’s Jewish past and present to this day. There are still small amounts of Jewish people who live in Latvia and fear for their lives and are unable to leave, or they wish to stay to maintain the presence our people have had in Latvia for thousands of years, longer than many of the Latvians themselves. If you are a Latvian person please remember what your relatives (and possibly you if you’re old enough) did to your fellow Latvians, the Latvian Jews, and remember that you murdered almost all of the them and you raped their women, children and men as well as tortured, robbed and murdered them in gruesome ways! Don’t forget that is part of your national history and try to right the wrongs of history and be more tolerant of minorities and people of other faiths.

  • Also Latvia is Ann ugly country and there is no one attractive there’s the women at s disgusting I ublikr thebmodt beautiful countries in the world, Israel and the United States! The beauty of Jewish women in comparison to the ugly Latvians is one of the the many reasons why the evil latvians raped our Jewish women and continue to do so to this day!

  • Latvian men are known for having the worlds smallest schmeckles!

  • yeet!

  • As stated by the Latvian historian Andrievs Ezergailis, this was the beginning of "the greatest criminal act in the history of Latvia". From July 1941 the Jews of Latvia were also humiliated in different ways and deprived of the rights that were enjoyed by the other citizens of Latvia. Jews were strictly forbidden to leave their homes in the evening, at night and in the morning. They were allotted lower food rations, they could only shop in some special stores, and they had to wear the mark of recognition – the yellow Star of David on their clothes. It was forbidden for them to attend places where public events took place, including cinemas, athletic fields and parks.[8] They were not allowed to use trains and trams, to go to bath-houses, use pavements, attend libraries and museums or to go to schools, and they had to hand over bicycles and radios. Jewish doctors were only allowed to advise and treat Jews, and they were forbidden to run pharmacies.[9][10] Maximum norms for furniture, clothes and linen were also soon introduced for Jews. All articles above the norm were subject to confiscation for the needs of the Reich and the Latvians. All jewelry, securities, gold and silver coins had to be surrendered on demand. Anti-Semitism thus became the source of enrichment of Nazi officials and their local collaborators who confiscated Jewish property. The extermination of Jews suited the purposes of these Nazis and their Latvian allies, since nobody would remain alive to demand the return of stolen items.[11]

    Main article: Liepāja massacres
    In Liepāja the first mass killing of Jews took place on July 3 and 4, when about 400 people were shot dead, and on July 8 when 300 Jews were killed. The German group of SD and policemen did the shooting, while the Latvian members of Latvian Selbstschutz convoyed victims to the killing site.[citation needed] On July 13 the destroying of the large choral synagogue of Liepāja began. The rolls of the Scripture were spread on the Ugunsdzēsēju Square, and the Jews were forced to march across their sacred things, with watchers merrily laughing at the amusing scene. The above operations took place under the direct leadership of Erhard Grauel, commander of the Einsatzgruppe's Sonderkommando.

    Thereafter Grauel went to Ventspils. The killings were jointly carried out by German Ordnungspolizei and the men of the local Selbstschutz. On July 16-July 18, 300 people were shot dead in the Kaziņu Forest. In July–August the remaining 700 Jews of the town were shot dead, while the Jews of the region were killed in the autumn. The shooting was carried out by German, Latvian and Estonian SD men who had arrived by ship. Soon a poster appeared on the Kuldīga-Ventspils highway, which said that Ventspils was Judenfrei (free of Jews).

    Main article: Daugavpils ghetto
    In Daugavpils the extermination of Jews was initially commanded by Erich Ehrlinger, chief of Einsatzkommando 1b.[12] By July 11 they had killed about 1150 people. Ehrlinger's work was continued by Joachim Hamann, who was liable for the killing of 9012 Jews in the city and in southern Latgale. The chief of the local auxiliary Latvian police Roberts Blūzmanis had rendered active assistance by ensuring the moving of the Jews to the Grīva ghetto and transporting them to the killing places.

    In Rēzekne killings were carried out by a German SD group, which was helped by Selbstschutz men and Arājs murderers(Latvian people). About 2,500 people were exterminated. By October 1941, altogether about 35,000 Latvian Jews were killed.

    Varakļāni, a relatively small town, had about 540 remaining Jews when the Germans and their Latvian collaboraters gained control. They were shot into graves they were forced to dig on August 4, 1941. The fate of this small town is similar to many other towns, documented by JewishGen and others.[13]

    See Jungfernhof concentration camp


  • it;s funny how he describes atrocities under russians, but skips how natives lived under germans and swedes. germans came to convert latvians to christianity – yeah right 😀 but i wonder – would conversion be more efficient if latvians were allowed to enter riga?

  • 7:05 Academy of Arts? No that's Ministry of Sprats

  • God bless Latvia.

  • Thank You so much for this! I'm from Latvia. Glad to see how other's care about our country.
    Dievs svētī Latviju🇱🇻🇱🇻🇱🇻

  • Tagad skatos kāda vēsture bija latvijā. Nu tagad man skaidris

  • Livonians dont exist rn

  • I am 50% French, 25% Flemish and 25% Latvian 🇫🇷🇧🇪🇱🇻 love you from Orléans, France

  • Proud to be Latvian…application for dual citizenship started…

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