History of Riga: year of foundation, main dates and events

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History of Riga: year of foundation, main dates and events
History of Riga: year of foundation, main dates and events

The history of Riga dates back to 1201, when Bishop A. Buxgevden, who arrived from Bremen, agreed with the elder of the community on the construction of a stone church. The year before, the Pope had signed a document according to which only one place was a permitted trading point at the mouth of the Riga River for merchants from Europe. About the history of Riga, its various periods will be described in the essay.

Rise of the city

As mentioned earlier, the founding of Riga falls on 1201. In the first few decades, it developed quite rapidly. In the future, the city became the most important in Livonia.

The Dome Cathedral, which is a landmark of the city and is currently, was founded 10 years after the founding of Riga, in 1211.

Landscapes of Riga

Bishop Albert Buxgevden, wanting to attract even more immigrants from Germany, got a special bull from the Pope, which gave indulgence to the colonists. As early as 1225, a position appeared in Rigavogta of the city, which was elective. He was endowed with judicial, administrative and fiscal powers.

In 1257, the residence of the archbishops of the Riga lands was transferred to the city, and trade began to become increasingly important. In 1282 Riga joins the Hansa (Hanseatic League). It was a major economic and political union, consisting of the trading cities of northwestern Europe. It included 130 cities, and under its influence there were about 3 thousand settlements.

Teutonic Order

The history of Riga is closely connected with the Teutonic Order. During the expansion of German influence to the east, the bishops of Riga encouraged the settlement of their lands. At the same time, the Teutonic Order provided special support to the military settlers. It was an independent rather powerful church organization with military knightly support. After the Teutonic (German) Order was expelled from Palestine, it began its strengthening in Eastern Europe, mainly in Livonia and Prussia.

Old Riga

Over time, the order began to compete with the archbishops of Riga for influence throughout the region. It was decided to create an entire Livonian branch, which was headed by a Landmaster, who was subordinate only to the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.

As expected, this led to numerous conflicts with the bishops of Riga, which were resolved in the course of hostilities and with the intervention of the Pope. As a result, after the defeat at Neuermuhlen in 1492, the Teutonic Order was recognized by the Archbishop of Riga as the protector of Livonia.


BRiga's history in 1522 is a key turning point, she joins the Reformation movement. After that, the power of the archbishops significantly weakened, the last of them was William of Brandenburg.

After the outbreak of the Livonian War in 1558, Riga began to seek the special status of a free city of the Holy Roman Empire, refusing to join the Commonwe alth. In 1561, this status was obtained, and Riga was a free city-state until 1582. However, after another Russian offensive, it became clear that there was nowhere to get help, and Riga had to swear allegiance to the King of the Commonwe alth, Stefan Batory.

16th to 17th century period

Riga was part of the Commonwe alth from 1581 to 1621. At that time, the latter was a fairly strong state. It was a federation, which included the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Almost immediately, a protest movement of the inhabitants of Riga against this union arose. It appeared due to sharp political, economic, social, ethnic and religious contradictions.

City on the Riga River

After the Counter-Reformation, the so-called calendar riots broke out. They appeared because of the decree of Stefan Batory on the introduction of the Gregorian calendar and the restoration of the former privileges of the Catholic order of the Jesuits, which was banned after the Reformation. The calendar was proposed by Pope Gregory XIII, which was met with hostility by the Protestant Germans in Riga.

Swedish Conquest

1622 can also be attributed to the main dates of the city of Rigathe year when it was conquered by King Gustav 2 Adolf of Sweden. The city was a strategically important object for the interests of Sweden. It should be noted that it was the second most important after Stockholm.

During the war between the Russian Empire and Sweden in 1656-1658, Riga was under siege, but until the 18th century it was under Swedish influence. During this period, the city had a fairly broad self-government. However, in 1710, during the Northern War, another siege began, a long one, which led to the fall of Swedish rule.

City in the 18th and 19th centuries

Riga was a part of the Russian Empire since 1721, right after the Peace of Nystadt was concluded. After its signing, the Russian-Swedish border was significantly changed, and the city became one of the key cities in the empire in the B altic.

View overlooking the town

The city becomes the main one in the newly formed Riga province, in the period from 1783 to 1796 it was the center of the Riga viceroy, and from 1796 to 1918 - the Livonian province. By the end of the 19th century, Riga became one of the important ports of the empire, and in the period from 1850 to 1900, the population of the city increased 10 times.

Despite Russian citizenship, Riga culture, factories and large land holdings until the end of the 19th century remained in the sphere of influence of the German upper class. It should be noted that the Russian language received official status and began to be used in office work only in 1891.

Early 20th century

The city developed rapidly, but its development was stoppedalong with the outbreak of the First World War. Riga was located on the front line. In this regard, to ensure the war economy, more than 200 thousand inhabitants (workers with families) had to be evacuated to Central Russia along with factories. Already in September 1917, Riga was captured by the German army.

After the end of the war in November 1918, the independent Republic of Latvia was proclaimed in the city, which was occupied by German troops. During 1919, as the capital of the state, as many as 3 different Latvian governments were located in it.

Port of Riga

At first it was the leadership of the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic. Then, after his overthrow, the country was ruled by a cabinet headed by nationalist Prime Minister A. Niedra. In mid-1919, parliamentary power was restored under the leadership of K. Ulmanis.

After the signing of the Soviet-Polish peace treaty in 1921, the population of Riga was divided into several communities: German, Latvian, Jewish and Russian. By 1938, the population numbered 385,000, of which 45,000 were of German origin.

Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic

In 1940, after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the B altic states were recognized as a Soviet republic. Thus, the USSR, as the successor of the Russian Empire, restored its previously lost territories.

However, after the start of the Great Patriotic War and the occupation of Soviet territories by Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1944, the GeneralReichskommissariat Ostland.

Academy of Sciences of the Latvian SSR

After liberation from German troops, Latvia again became part of the USSR. During the battles for Riga, the city was significantly damaged. Gradually began its restoration and reconstruction. Subsequently, Riga was not only recreated, but also its industrial and agricultural development took place. In the period from 70 to 80 years, machine-building, radio-electronic and electrical industries were created.

Seaports have been expanded, the share of cargo transportation has increased several times. The city was built and expanded, and products manufactured in the republic were exported to more than 100 countries of the world. However, in 1991, after the destruction of the Soviet Union, Latvia ceased to exist on the map as one of its republics.

Independent State

After gaining independence, Riga began its independent development. In 2004, Latvia was admitted to the NATO military alliance, and then to the European Union. It is currently a unitary state with Riga as its capital.

A large number of buildings belonging to the Middle Ages have been preserved on the territory of the capital. These include the famous Dome Cathedral - a Catholic church that was built in 1277.

Building architecture

Looking at the map of Latvia, you can see that this is a small country, but it has a rich history and architecture. Especially Riga, which attracts thousands of tourists from European countries with its extraordinary beauty.during the summer season.

This city is unlike any other, it organically combines the ancient architecture of castles and modern buildings built using the latest technologies. Of course, Riga is the place that you must visit if you decide to see the real Europe.

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