Young Latvians

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Young Latvians


the participants in a national-liberal movement in Latvia during the 1850’s and 1860’s. Expressing the aspirations and demands of the developing Latvian bourgeoisie, the Young Latvians came out against the remnants of serf-holding and feudal despotism still practiced by the German and Latvian nobility; they favored a capitalist course of development for Latvia and a pro-Russian economic and political orientation. The Young Latvians supported the reforms introduced by the tsarist government, yet their statements in the press calling for economic independence and a renaissance of national culture expressed popular expectations.

The Young Latvians contributed to the development of the Latvian literary language, national literature and the arts, elementary education, the dissemination of scientific knowledge, and the strengthening of cultural ties with the Russian people. The founders and ideological leaders of the movement were the publicists K. M. Valdemars and K. K. Biezbardis, the poet J. A. Alunans, and the folklorist K. Barons. Their organ was the Peterburgas avizes (St. Petersburg Newspaper), published in St. Petersburg during 1862–65. With the development of capitalism and intensification of class contradictions in the 1870’s, the Young Latvian movement declined.


Valeskalns, P. I. Ocherk razvitiia progressivnoi filosofskoi i obshchestvenno-politicheskoi mysli v Latvii. Riga, 1967. Pages 86–103.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Young Latvians movement in the mid-19th century awakened national self-confidence, and stimulated national thinking and aspirations towards statehood.
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An excellent overview of the key members of the "Young Latvians" appears in Ieva Zake, "Inventing Culture and Nation: Intellectuals and Early Latvian Nationalism," National Identities 9.4 (2007), 307-29: 313-15.
I don't think I'll ever forget the determination and the courage of the young men of the Estonian Defense Forces, or the resolve of Helen and the young Latvians in the Riga museum.
In 1944, the Soviets ended the Nazi occupation and Latvia was incorporated into the Soviet Union until the breakup of the latter in 1991.) This theme was expressed in the route of the march from one of Riga's largest churches to the Freedom Monument, which throughout the Soviet occupations was the symbol of Latvian aspirations for independence, and the ceremonial honor guard of young Latvians with flags of today's democratic Latvia awaiting their arrival to lay wreaths at the monument.
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