The Kurs and Livs tribes had lived here long ago - since the 2nd century.They were fishermen, craftsmen and farmers. They lived in villages.
2 The German invasion
In the second half of the 12 th century bishop Albert arrived with 500 crusaders from Bremen and conquered Kurs and Livs territories.
The German merchants and crusaders founded Riga in 1201. They built houses and warehouses, churches and castles out of stone.
The Germans established Christianity with force. Bishop Albert established the Order of Livonian Bothers of the Sword , later the Livonian Order. Riga became the capital of the German province Livonia.
In 1282 Riga joined the Hanseatic Leaague and soon became the centre of trade between Europe and Russia.
The permanent tension and fighting among three forces: the merchant citizens of Riga, the bishop (Church) and the Order ( warriors) were taking place. The Order gained the upper hand.
3 The Polish-Lithuanian invasion
After the Livonian Order had been defeated, Riga came under the rule of the Polish-Lithuanian Union in 1581.
4 The invasion of Russian Empire
In 1710 Peter the Great conquered Riga . Riga became a part of the Russian Empire. However the power of Riga remained in the hands of the German merchant class.
In the 19 the century Riga became a large port.
It had a lot of factories.
Riga was the third largest city in the Russian Empire.
In the middle of the 19th centuries the fortress and dams were destroyed. A lot of beautiful houses and buildings were built outside the Old Riga.
The buildings in Art Nouveau style (Jugendstil) were constructed at the turn of the centuries.
In the second half of the 19th century a lot of educated and motivated Latvians appeared in Riga.
The Riga Latvian Association was founded in 1868.
It organized the first Song Festival in 1873.
Until 1877 the street names were only in German. Between 1877 and 1914 they were mostly in German and Russian.
In 1891 the Russian language became the official language
5 The Swedish invasion
In 1621 the Swedish king Gustav Adolf took control of Riga.
Riga became the largest city in the Swedish Empire.
The fortress of Riga was built at that time. The Swedish Gate built at that time in the Old Riga, reminds us about the "Swediish times".
A lot of schools were opened during the Sweedish occupation. The Bible was translated into Latvian at that time.
6 Independent LATVIA
Latvian people revolted against the Soviet regime. (1989-1991). In 1989 the human chain "the Baltic Way" was formed running from Tallin to Vilniuss through Riga.In 1991 the barricades were built in Riga.
In 1991 Latvia restored its independence.Riga became the capital city of Latvia again.
In 2001 Riga celebrated its 800th anniversary.
In 2004 Latvia joined the European Union and the NATO military block.
During the last two decades a lot of old beautiful houses were restored and modern buildings built in Riga.
In 2014 Riga became the European Capital of Culture.
7 the Soviet Union occupation
In 1940 the Soviet Union occupied Latvia.
A lot of people were killed or deported.
The German occupation during the Second World War (1941-1945) was even more cruel.
Most of the Riga Jewish people were killed.
In 1944 the Soviets were in power again - until 1991.
Mass deportations to Siberia followed again.
Workers, mostly Russians, from all over the Soviet Union were brought to Riga.
As result Latvians became a minority in Riga and the Russian language was spoken mostly.
A lot of multistorey residential apartments were built in the suburbs of Riga. They were poor in quality and quite ugly.
After the First World War (1914-1918) Latvia declared its Independence on the 18th of November in 1918.
Two years of civil war followed.
In 1920 the newly formed Soviet Union recognized Latvia as an independent country and Riga became the capital city.
The Latvian language became the official language.
Riga became a vibrant and grand city , often called "Paris of the North"