Why November 18 is Latvia's Independence Day

Take note – story published 1 year and 7 months ago

As another Latvian Independence Day is upon us, it is a perfect time to look again at November 18, 1918 and understand the preceding events that enabled it to take place.

As this short documentary prodiced by VFS Films for Latvian Television shows, proclaiming independence was no simple matter, with several rival political forces wanting to go down in history as the ones that did it. It took an extraordinary diplomatic mission to Stockholm and London by a young man named Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics to help the process move forward.

But even then, there were battles to be fought both in trenches and in diplomatic meetings to make the fact of Latvia's independence stick.

Latvia declared de facto independence on November 18, 1918 but it wasn't until January 26, 1921 that the Entente powers responsible for drawing up Europe's post-war borders approved the new country's existence de jure in international law. Then, following decades of illegal Soviet occupation after the Second World War, May 4 joined the list of notable dates when it became the day Latvia officially restored the independence it had originally won in 1918.

The documentary was originally aired during Latvia's centenary year in 2018.

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