Latvia: Centenary of the Battle of Riga

On 7 October this year, a conference on Latvian independence was held at the War Museum in Riga. The event was organised by the French Embassy and the Institut Français, in partnership with the embassies of Estonia, Ireland and the UK, and with support from the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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The conference recalled the French role in the fighting of 1919 and in the development of diplomatic relations between France and Latvia in the 1920s. After the First World War, a Latvian government attempted to instal itself, but its authority was very weak, in particular due to German persecution aimed at combating the installation of a Soviet Socialist Republic. The Latvian authorities took refuge in the coastal town of Libau. In May 1919, Riga was liberated with the help of the Allied powers. Two months later, the Latvian government was installed in the capital.

After the conference, the participants were introduced to the memoirs, translated for the first time into Latvian, of Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel du Parquet, who played a prominent role in the events of 1919 in Latvia. Then the exhibition “The French and Allied contribution to Latvian independence” was officially opened for those present.

In addition to this event, others were held in Riga for the centenary, including tributes to the French captain Jean-Joseph Brisson, who fought in the Battle of Riga.

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Ministry of the Armed Forces/DPMA/SDMAE/BAPI (Office for Educational Actions and Information) – Text by Thomas Chevalier - Photo credit: French Embassy