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Latvia's principal river Daugava, was at the head of an important trade route from the Baltic region through Russia into southern Europe and the Middle East that was used by the Vikings and later Nordic and German traders.
In the early medieval period, the region's peoples resisted Christianisation and became subject to attack in the Northern Crusades.
The last period of external hegemony began in 1710, when control over Riga and parts of modern-day Latvia switched from Sweden to Russia during the Great Northern War.
Under Russian control, Latvia was in the vanguard of industrialisation and the abolition of serfdom, so that by the end of the 19th century, it had become one of the most developed parts of the Russian Empire.
These people from the Kunda culture made weapons and tools from flint, antler, bone and wood.
The early Neolithic (5400 – 1800 BC) was marked by beginnings of pottery-making, animal husbandry and agriculture.
The renowned trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks mentioned in ancient chronicles stretched from Scandinavia through Latvian territory via Daugava to the ancient Kievan Rus' and Byzantine Empire.
The First Latvian National Awakening began in the 1850s and continued to bear fruit after World War I when, after two years of struggle in the Latvian War of Independence, Latvia finally won sovereign independence, as recognised by Soviet Russia in 1920 and by the international community in 1921. Political instability and effects of the Great Depression led to the May 15, 1934 coup d'état by Prime Minister Kārlis Ulmanis.By the 16th century, Baltic German dominance in Terra Mariana was increasingly challenged by other powers.Due to Latvia's strategic location and prosperous trading city of Riga, its territories were a frequent focal point for conflict and conquest between at least four major powers: the State of the Teutonic Order, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden and Russian Empire.At the beginning of the Late Neolithic (2900 – 1800 BC), arrived people belonging to the Corded Ware culture.They were Balts, forefathers of Latvians, who have inhabited most of Latvian territory since the third millennium BCE.