Home page > Topics > 18 cent.
18th Century: Latvia Became a Part of Russian Empire

18th Century: Latvia Became a Part of Russian Empire

The end of the 17th Century was marked by a strengthening of the struggle for domination of the Baltic region. Denmark, Saxony and Russia formed a coalition against Sweden. At first the war was working in the Swedes’ favour. Denmark and the Rzeczpospo-lita left the war. However, the energetic Russian Tsar Peter I had quickly managed to modernise his army. A crucial event in the progress of the Northern War was the Battle of Poltava (1709), which ended in the utter defeat of the Swedish army. Russian troops besieged Riga as soon as November 1709. By the end of 1710 practically all of the territory of Livonia and Estonia were in Russian hands. In 1721 the Peace of Nystadt was signed between Sweden and Russia. One of the conditions was the affirmation of rights and privileges of the local German (Ostsee) nobility.

Livonia and Courland retained actual autonomy within Russia up until the end of the 19th Century. The German nobility continued to rule in these two provinces of Russia. Eastern Latvia – Latgalia became part of the Vitebsk province and its multi-national population became subject to Russian laws.

The inclusion of Riga within Russia enabled transit trade to develop. Riga and other towns of Latvia received a powerful impulse for development in the conditions of stability that had lasted for two centuries.

In the 18th Century different groups of Russians moved into Latvia. This was not only military staff and officials but also merchants, craftsmen, workers and serfs.

In Riga Russians settled predominantly outside the city fortifications – in the parts of the town named as Moscow Suburb (in German Moskauer Vorstadt , in Russian – Moskovsky forshtadt), St Petersburg Suburb and on the left bank of the Daugava – in the Mittau Suburb (named by the Latvian town – Mittau, in Russian – Mitavsky forshtadt). A trader from Vyazma – Ivan (Johann) Fatov a successful exporter of hemp became the first Russian house-owner (burgher) (1775) within the borders of Old Riga.

Василий Дорошенко. Жители Старой Риги в 1786 году

Антонина Заварина. Русское население Латвии (К истории поселения)

Иван Заволоко. О старообрядцах г. Риги

 Светлана Ковальчук, "Рижский бальзам от Семена Лелюхина и судьба острова имени Д.Кливера"

А.А.Поммер. Русские в Латвии. Исторический очерк. XIII-XIX века. - В сб. Русские в Латвии. - Выпуск 1. - Рига, 1992

Евграф Чешихин. Путешествие императрицы Екатерины II  по Эстляндии и Лифляндии в 1764 году

Евграф Чешихин. Русские беглые люди в Курляндии в 1783 году

Related illustrations