Riga is situated on the Baltic Sea coast on the mouth of the River Daugava. It is the capital of Latvia and the largest city in the Baltics. Riga is also a major cultural, educational, political, financial, commercial, and industrial center in the Baltics. The city does not have many widely known tourist places, but the city is packed with quaint archeticture from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The foundings of Riga started in the 12 century with the arrival of German traders and religious crusaders, who converted the local population to Christianity. Riga soon became an important trading post between the Baltic states and Russia. Lativia during the next centuries was controlled by the Poles, the Swedes, Russia and had a few short periods of independence. In 1918 Lativia became independent from Russia, but was occupied by the Nazi's during World War II, and controlled by the USSR until 1991. Latvia joined NATO and the European Union in 2004.
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