Riga is the capital of Latvia and it was founded in 1201.
Riga is located along the Baltic Sea at the southern coast of the Gulf of Riga, on the Rigava coastal plain. The historical essence of Riga is situated on the right bank of the river Daugava.
The history of our capital is more than 800 years long, and it has an abundance of dramatic events stored in countless volumes of works and monuments, legends, songs, memoirs and tales.
At the end of the 12th century crusaders came here as well when the German merchants tried to widen and strengthen their area of activities along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. When the chronicler Indriķis recorded the word “Riga” it appeared for the first time in the written sources. The bishop Albert in 1201 moved from Ikšķile to Riga, and after negotiations with the local Livs started to build a fortification near the Riga Lake. 1201 became the official year of the foundation of Riga. In the 13th century trade boomed in Riga and it became one of the main intermediaries between the West and the East.
As a result of the Livonia war (1558-1583), after a little state of Livonia failed, Riga fell under the subordination of Poland. Later when Poland waged a war with Sweden (1600-1629), after fierce resistance Riga in 1621 fell under the Swedish rule and became an administrative center of its Baltic division. The 18th century started with the Northern War (1700-1721), in which Russia and Sweden struggled for supremacy in the Baltic Sea. As a result, in 1710 after long-term siege and plaque epidemic Riga fell under the rule of Russia.
Industry rapidly grew in Riga during the second half of the 19th century.
At the beginning of the 20th century Riga became as the second largest city (after St. Petersburg) in the western part of Russia.
1915-1917 was the breaking point in the development of Riga when with the start of World War I it became at the front line of the war. By the end of World War I, on 18 November 1918, an independent Republic of Latvia, was established and proclaimed.
Soviet tanks came to the streets of Riga on 17 June 1940 and The Soviet Union occupied Latvia. After the World War II war Riga became one of the biggest centers of the western part of the Soviet Union. Riga became also the center of the Baltic military district.
In 1991 the sovereignty of Latvia was restored. More info on www.riga.lv