Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Latvia, located in the Baltic in northeastern Europe, was controlled by the Teutonic knights in Medieval times, and then by Sweden. It was a part of the Russian Empire for about 200 years. Gaining its independence in 1918, it was occupied by Russia in 1940, the Germans in 1941, and then Russia from 1944 until 1991, when it again became independent. During that time, with most people in the country speaking Latvian, it has managed to keep its cultural identity, and some of this is reflected through its games. In Medieval times, most of the pastimes involved military prowess, and the Teutonic knights were passionate about jousting, swordplay, and other combat sports, as well as archery. This continues to be seen through interest in fencing, and ...