Latvia celebrates the Restoration of Independence Day on 4 May each year. The holiday celebrates the day in 1990 when the Republic of Latvia restored its independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
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Latvia originally proclaimed its independence in 1918 which was internationally recognised two years later. However, in 1940, the Soviet Union invaded Latvia, claiming it was included in its borders under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The country became the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced reforms throughout the Soviet Union. These reforms led to active movements in various Soviet republics, including Latvia. Large demonstrations were held in Latvia, one of the first to begin pushing for independence. On 4 May 1990, Latvia proclaimed that its independence had been restored.
The declaration of restoring independence was an important step in Latvia’s history. It ensured the continuity of the Republic of Latvia from before World War II. The people never gave up on their freedom and many lost their lives in the effort to regain independence.