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(lät`gälĕ) or


(lătgăl`ēə), region and former province, in Latvia, N of the Western Dvina River. DaugavpilsDaugavpils
, Ger. Dünaburg, city (2011 provisional pop. 93,223), SE Latvia, on the Western Dvina River. It is a rail junction and commercial center. The city's industries produce lumber, food products, electric machinery, and textiles.
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 was the chief city. The region was settled in the early Middle Ages by the Latgalians, who were closely akin to the Letts and spoke a Latvian dialect. Latgale shared the history of LivoniaLivonia
, region and former Russian province, comprising present Estonia and parts of Latvia (Vidzeme and Latgale). It borders on the Baltic Sea and its arms, the Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of Finland, in the west and the north and extends E to Lake Peipus (Chudskoye) and the
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 (of which it formed the southern part) until 1561, when it passed to Poland. Unlike the rest of Latvia, however, Latgale retained Roman Catholicism. The area was ceded to Russia during the Polish partition of 1772. In 1918 it became part of newly independent Latvia. The region has a proportionally larger Russian population than the rest of Latvia.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a historical and cultural region in eastern Latvia that was settled by the Latgals during the early feudal period.

The name “Latgale” was first mentioned in 1209 as Letthia or Letthigallia. The early feudal principalities of Ersika, Talava, and Koknese, which were under the political and economic influence of the Russian principalities, formed in Latgale in the tenth to 13th century. Latgale was conquered by the German crusaders in the 13th century. The contemporary name “Latgale,” appeared in 1900 and refers to the eastern part of the present-day Latvian SSR, between the Daugava and Aiviekste rivers, which was part of Vitebsk Province in the 19th and early 20th centuries.


Istoriia Latviiskoi SSR, 2nd ed. Riga, 1971.
Mugurēvičs, E. S. Vostochnaia Latvia i sosednie zemli ν X-XIII vv. Riga, 1965. (Translated from Latvian.)
Latviešų etnogrāfija. Riga, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.