Latvia profile - Timeline

A chronology of key events:

1918 November - Latvian National Council proclaims independence.

1918-20 - Civil war ends in peace treaty with Soviet Russia.

1922 - First constitution promulgated.

1934 - Prime minister Karlis Ulmanis seizes power following succession of unstable governments.

1940 - Soviet troops occupy Latvia under the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939. Latvia is incorporated into the Soviet Union, along with neighbouring Estonia and Latvia, after fraudulent elections. Mass deportations of Latvians to Siberia and Central Asia.

1941 - Nazi Germany invades. Some 70,000 Latvian Jews are killed by Nazi death squads and Latvian paramilitary and police units established by the Nazis.

1944 - Soviet Army returns, heralding further waves of deportations and repression of resistance to Soviet rule.


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Image caption The Red Army returned in October 1944

1986 - First major anti-Soviet demonstrations held by nationalist and environmental activists.

1988 - Latvian People's Front formed to promote the cause of independence.

1989 - Latvians join pan-Baltic demonstrations commemorating secret protocols of Nazi-Soviet Pact that led to Soviet occupation.

1990 May - Latvian parliament declares "de jure" independence of Republic of Latvia. Ivars Godmanis of the People's Front becomes prime minister.

1991 January - As part of pro-Soviet forces' activities against the independence movement, Omon special police storm the Interior Ministry in Riga, resulting in six deaths.

1991 March - Referendum produces large majority in favour of independence.


1991 August - During the attempted anti-Gorbachev coup in Moscow, Omon forces again strike in Riga, causing another six deaths. Parliament declares the full restoration of independence.

1991 September - Latvia admitted to UN.

1991 November - Citizenship law passed, giving citizenship to those who held it before Soviet occupation of 1940 and their descendants.

1993 - Restoration of 1922 constitution.

1993 June - First independent elections to Saeima 100-seat parliament.

1993 July - Guntis Ulmanis elected president.

1994 August - Last former Russian troops leave Latvia.

1995 - Latvia admitted to Council of Europe.

1996 - President Ulmanis re-elected.

1999 - Vaira Vike-Freiberga is elected president - the first woman president in eastern Europe.

2002 May - Parliament votes to change election law in a bid to boost Nato membership chances, omitting clause requiring parliamentary candidates to be able to speak Latvian.

Nato, European Union membership

2002 November - Einars Repse of the New Era party invited to head centre-right coalition government following elections the previous month.

2002 December - European Union summit in Copenhagen formally invites Latvia to join in 2004.

2003 June - Parliament re-elects President Vike-Freiberga to a second four-year term.

2003 September - Latvian referendum vote gives strong backing to EU membership.

2004 February - Protests as parliament passes law restricting the use of the Russian language in schools.

Governing coalition collapses. Indulis Emsis of centre-right Greens and Farmers Union becomes prime minister of new coalition.

2004 March - Latvia admitted to Nato.

2004 1 May - Latvia is one of 10 new states to join the European Union.

2004 October - Coalition government of Indulis Emsis resigns after parliament rejects draft budget. Government of his successor, Aigars Kalvitis, is approved in December.

2005 March - Veterans of the Nazi SS Latvia Legion, which fought the Soviet Army in the Second World War, march through Riga and call on President Vike-Freiberga to pull out of the Moscow war anniversary ceremony. Dozens of arrests follow clashes with rival anti-fascist protesters.

2005 May - US President George Bush visits Riga.

President Vike-Freiberga is sole Baltic president to attend the Moscow Victory Day celebrations.

2005 June - Parliament ratifies proposed EU constitution.

2006 August - New citizenship law requires applicants to pass Latvian language test.

2006 October - Parties in coalition government led by Aigars Kalvitis together win parliamentary majority in general election.

2007 March - Border demarcation treaty signed with Russia.

2007 December - Prime Minister Kalvitis resigns, bowing to pressure over attempts to sack the country's anti-corruption chief. His coalition is returned to power in a parliamentary vote, with Ivars Godmanis as new prime minister.

2008 May - Latvian parliament approves European Union's Lisbon Treaty.

Financial crisis

2008 December - International Monetary Fund (IMF) approves 1.68bn euro rescue package to help Latvia ride out severe economic slump.

2009 January - Hundreds of demonstrators clash with police in Riga as anti-government protests over the terms of the IMF rescue package turn violent.

2009 February-March - Ruling coalition collapses amid widespread discontent over belt-tightening imposed as the price of the IMF package. Valdis Dombrovskis of the centre-right New Era party forms new six-party coalition government.

2009 August - Government, trade unions and employers agree deep public spending cuts aimed at saving the country from bankruptcy and getting the IMF to release a further tranche of rescue loans.

2009 October - Government agrees to slash budget deficit in 2010 in order to meet targets imposed by the European Union in exchange for 7.5bn euros of rescue loans.

2010 January - Unemployment soars to 20%, giving Latvia the highest jobless rate in the EU.

Coalition fractures

2010 March - Largest coalition party leaves government following repeated disagreements over austerity measures, depriving Prime Minister Dombrovskis of his majority.

2010 October-November - Valdis Dombrovskis forms centre-right government with Union of Farmers and Greens.

2011 June - Parliament elects Union of Farmers and Greens candidate and wealthy businessman Andris Berzins president, defeating the incumbent Valdis Zatlers. The outgoing president had demanded a snap general election to root out corruption.

2011 September - Pro-Russian Harmony Centre emerges as largest party in snap elections, but Valdis Dombrovskis forms a coalition government that excludes it.

2012 February - Referendum on giving Russian joint official language status rejected by a large margin.

2013 November - At least 54 people die when a supermarket in Riga collapses. Following criticism of lax building regulations, Prime Minister Dombrovskis takes responsibility and resigns.

Latvia adopts euro

2014 January - Latvia joins the eurozone.

Laimdota Straujuma of conservative Unity party becomes first woman prime minister at the head of a broad coalition including Greens and the nationalist National Alliance, excluding the pro-Russian Harmony party.

2014 September - US President Barack Obama visits Estonia to reassure the Baltic states that they can count on Nato protection, amid tensions following Russia's seizure of Crimea.

2014 October - Centre-right coalition wins a clear majority in parliamentary elections dominated by concern about Russia's intervention in Ukraine and its influence in the Baltic region.

2015 March - NATO reinforces its presence in the Baltic states and its forces conduct major military drills in the region.

2015 December - Government of Laimdota Straujuma resigns after series of clashes with coalition parties over EU migrant quotas and the 2016 budget.

2016 February - Maris Kucinskis takes over as prime minister at the head of the same coalition as Ms Straujuma's.

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