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The increasing social problems and rising discontent that this brought meant that Riga also played a leading role in the 1905 Russian Revolution.The First Latvian National Awakening began in the 1850s and continued to bear fruit after World War I when, after two years of struggle in the Latvian War of Independence, Latvia finally won sovereign independence, as recognised by Soviet Russia in 1920 and by the international community in 1921. Political instability and effects of the Great Depression led to the May 15, 1934 coup d'état by Prime Minister Kārlis Ulmanis.A local Narva culture developed in the region during the Middle Neolithic (4100 – 2900 BC).Inhabitants of this age were Finno-Ugric peoples, forefathers of Livonians who are closely related to Estonians and Finns and belonged to Pit–Comb Ware culture.Latvia's principal river Daugava, was at the head of an important trade route from the Baltic region through Russia into southern Europe and the Middle East that was used by the Vikings and later Nordic and German traders.In the early medieval period, the region's peoples resisted Christianisation and became subject to attack in the Northern Crusades.These people from the Kunda culture made weapons and tools from flint, antler, bone and wood.The early Neolithic (5400 – 1800 BC) was marked by beginnings of pottery-making, animal husbandry and agriculture.

They hunted and fished, establishing camps near rivers and lakes; 25 settlements have been found near Lake Lubāns.

The last period of external hegemony began in 1710, when control over Riga and parts of modern-day Latvia switched from Sweden to Russia during the Great Northern War.

Under Russian control, Latvia was in the vanguard of industrialisation and the abolition of serfdom, so that by the end of the 19th century, it had become one of the most developed parts of the Russian Empire.

Bronze, which was traded from foreigners because Latvia has no copper or tin, was used for making a wide variety of decorative ornaments.

Starting from the Middle Iron Age (400–800 AD) the local inhabitants began to form distinct ethnic and regional identities.

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