Vidzeme is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. Literally meaning "the Middle Land" it is situated in north-central Latvia north of the Daugava River. Sometimes in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 it is also known as Livland- German form from Latin Livonia, though it comprises only a small part of Medieval Livonia and about half (Latvian part) of Swedish Livonia
Swedish Livonia
- Swedish infantry and cavalry regiments:Infantry regiments:* Garnisonsregementet i Riga * Guvenörsregementet i Riga * Livländsk infanteribataljon I...


Vidzemes guberņa - Livland Governorate is also bigger than Vidzeme, since it corresponds roughly to Swedish Livonia
Swedish Livonia
- Swedish infantry and cavalry regiments:Infantry regiments:* Garnisonsregementet i Riga * Guvenörsregementet i Riga * Livländsk infanteribataljon I...



In ancient times the territory of Vidzeme was inhabitated by Latgalians
The term Latgalians The term Latgalians The term Latgalians (Latgalian: latgalīši, latgali, (also spelt Latgallians and sometimes known as Lettigalls, Latgolans, or Lettigallians) can refer to the inhabitants of the Latgale region in eastern Latvia in general, the ethnic Latvians of Latgale...

 and Livs (near the coast of the Gulf of Riga and along the lower reaches of the Daugava and Gauja
The Gauja is one of the longest rivers in Latvia, with a length of and a catchment area of . Its source is in the hills southeast of Cēsis. It first flows east and north and forms the border with Estonia for about . South of Valga and Valka, it turns west towards Valmiera, continuing southwest...

Until the German conquest
Livonian Crusade
The Livonian Crusade refers to the German and Danish conquest and colonization of medieval Livonia, the territory constituting modern Latvia and Estonia, during the Northern Crusades...

 in the 13th century the Daugava, which now forms the south-east border of Vidzeme, was the boundary between the lands of the Livs and Latgalians on the right bank and those of the Semigallians
Semigallians were the Baltic tribe that lived in the southcentral part of contemporary Latvia and northern Lithuania...

 and Selonians
Selonians were a tribe of Baltic peoples. The Selonians lived until the 15th century in Selonia, located in southeastern Latvia and northeastern Lithuania. They merged with neighbouring tribes, contributing to the ethnogenesis of Latvians and Lithuanians....

 on the left bank of the river. The most notable Latgalian region in today’s Vidzeme was Tālava
Tālava was a Latgalian county in the northern Vidzeme and northern Latgale region of today's Latvia. It was bordered by the Latgalian principality of Jersika to the south, the Livonian counties of Metsepole and Idumeja to the west, the Estonian counties of Sakala and Ugandi to the north and the...


After the Livonian War
Livonian War
The Livonian War was fought for control of Old Livonia in the territory of present-day Estonia and Latvia when the Tsardom of Russia faced a varying coalition of Denmark–Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.During the period 1558–1578,...

 part of the Livonian Confederation
Livonian Confederation
Terra Mariana was the official name for Medieval Livonia or Old Livonia which was formed in the aftermath of the Livonian Crusade in the territories comprising present day Estonia and Latvia...

 on the right bank of the Daugava river and the Patrimony of Riga was ceded to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

, and the Duchy of Livonia
Duchy of Livonia
The Duchy of Livonia was a territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania — and later the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth — that existed from 1561 to 1621...

 (the left bank forming the Duchy of Courland and Semigalia).

After the Polish-Swedish War concluded by the Truce of Altmark
Truce of Altmark
The six-year Truce of Altmark was signed on 25 September 1629 at the Altmark , near Danzig by Sweden and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during Thirty Years' War, ending the Polish–Swedish War ....

 in 1629 Sweden acquired the western part of the Duchy of Livonia roughly as far as the Aiviekste River
Aiviekste River
The Aiviekste is a river in Latvia. It begins at Lake Lubāns and drains into the Daugava . The Aiviekste is the largest tributary of the Daugava in Latvia. The Aiviekste, along with the Pededze River, forms the border between Vidzeme and Latgale.-Tributaries:*Pededze River*Balupe River...

, since then forming Vidzeme's eastern border.

During the course of the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

 Swedish Livonia was conquered by the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and ceded to Russia at the Treaty of Nystad
Treaty of Nystad
The Treaty of Nystad was the last peace treaty of the Great Northern War. It was concluded between the Tsardom of Russia and Swedish Empire on 30 August / 10 September 1721 in the then Swedish town of Nystad , after Sweden had settled with the other parties in Stockholm and Frederiksborg.During...

 in 1721. In place of Livonia the Russians created the Riga Governorate, but in 1796 the Riga Governorate was renamed the Governorate of Livonia . After the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

it was split between the newly independent countries of Latvia and Estonia.

External links

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