The terms Baltic region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countries refer to slightly different combinations of countries in the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe.
The Baltic Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain.
Northern Europe is a general term for the geographical region in Europe that is roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54°N. Nations usually included within this region are Denmark, Estonia, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, and less often the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, northern Germany, northern Belarus and northwest Russia. Major metropolian areas include Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Goteborg and Helsinki.
The first to name it the Baltic Sea ("Mare Balticum") was eleventh century German chronicler Adam of Bremen.
Adam of Bremen was a German medieval chronicler. He lived and worked in the second half of the eleventh century. Adamus is most famous for his chronicle Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum.
Depending on the context the Baltic region might stand for:
Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.
Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden on the other side, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia (338.6 km). The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq mi), water 2,839 km2 (1,096 sq mi), land area 42,388 km2 (16,366 sq mi), and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The official language of the country, Estonian, is the second most spoken Finnic language.
Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.
The Baltoscandian Confederation or Baltoscandia is a geopolitical concept of a Baltic–Scandinavian union. The idea was proposed by a Swedish professor Sten de Geer (1886–1933) in the journal Geografiska Annaler in 1928 and further developed by Professor Kazys Pakštas (1893–1960), a Lithuanian scientist in the field of geography and geopolitics.
Nordic identity in Estonia refers to opinions that Estonia is one of the Nordic countries or that it should/will be considered as such in the future. The current mainstream view outside of Estonia does not include it among them. Categorizing Estonia as a Nordic country is common in Estonia.
The Northern Dimension is a joint policy between four equal partners - the European Union, Russia, Norway and Iceland - regarding the cross-border and external policies geographically covering North-West Russia, the Baltic Sea and the Arctic regions, including the Barents region. The ND Policy was initiated in 1999 and renewed in 2006. The Northern Dimension addresses the specific challenges and opportunities arising in those regions and aims to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the EU and its member states, the northern countries associated with the EU under the European Economic Area and Russia. A particular emphasis is placed on subsidiarity, and on ensuring the active participation of all stakeholders in the North, including regional organisations, local and regional authorities, the academic and business communities, and civil society.
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The history of Latvia began around 9000 BC with the end of the last glacial period in northern Europe. Ancient Baltic peoples arrived in the area during the second millennium BC, and four distinct tribal realms in Latvia's territory were identifiable towards the end of the first millennium AD. 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.
Livonia is a historical region on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It is named after the Livonians, who lived on the shores of present-day Latvia.
The Northern Crusades or Baltic Crusades were religious wars undertaken by Catholic Christian military orders and kingdoms, primarily against the pagan Baltic, Finnic and West Slavic peoples around the southern and eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, and to a lesser extent also against Orthodox Christian Slavs. The crusades took place mostly in the 12th and 13th centuries and resulted in the subjugation and forced baptism of indigenous peoples.
The Baltic Germans are ethnic German inhabitants of the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, in what today are Estonia and Latvia. Since their expulsion from Estonia and Latvia and resettlement during the upheavals and aftermath of the Second World War, Baltic Germans have markedly declined as a geographically determined ethnic group. The largest groups of present-day descendants of the Baltic Germans are found in Germany and Canada. It is estimated that several thousand still reside in Latvia and Estonia.
The Baltic states, also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic republics, Baltic nations or simply the Baltics, is a geopolitical term used for grouping the three sovereign states in Northern Europe on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The term is not used in the context of cultural areas, national identity, or language. The three countries do not form an official union, but engage in intergovernmental and parliamentary cooperation.
Swedish Livonia was a dominion of the Swedish Empire from 1629 until 1721. The territory, which constituted the southern part of modern Estonia and the northern part of modern Latvia, represented the conquest of the major part of the Polish-Lithuanian Duchy of Livonia during the 1600–1629 Polish-Swedish War. Parts of Livonia and the city of Riga were under Swedish control as early as 1621 and the situation was formalized in Truce of Altmark 1629, but the whole territory was not ceded formally until the Treaty of Oliva in 1660. The minority part of the Wenden Voivodeship retained by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was renamed the Inflanty Voivodeship, which today corresponds to the Latgale region of Latvia.
Nordic folk music includes a number of traditions in Northern European, especially Scandinavian, countries. The Nordic countries are generally taken to include Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The Nordic Council, an international organization, also includes the autonomous territories of Åland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Historically, the term Nordic was also applied to Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The United Baltic Duchy, also known as the Grand Duchy of Livonia, was a state proposed by the Baltic German nobility and exiled Russian nobility after the Russian Revolution and German occupation of the Courland, Livonian, and Estonian governorates of the Russian Empire. It was proposed in April 1918, after Estonia and Latvia had formally declared independence.
The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia was a duchy in the Baltic region that existed from 1561 to 1569 as a vassal state of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and from 1569 to 1726 to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Sejm in 1726, On 28 March 1795, it was annexed by the Russian Empire in the Third Partition of Poland.
The Baltic governorates, originally the Ostsee governorates, was a collective name for the administrative units of the Russian Empire set up in the territories of Swedish Estonia, Swedish Livonia (1721) and, afterwards, of Duchy of Courland and Semigallia (1795).
The Governorate of Livonia was one of the Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire, now divided between the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Estonia.
Vidzeme is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. Literally meaning "the Middle Land", it is situated in north-central Latvia north of the Daugava River. Sometimes in German, it is also known as Livland, the German form from Latin Livonia, though it comprises only a small part of Medieval Livonia and about half of Swedish Livonia.
The Baltic or Baltic German nobility was the privileged social class in the territories of today's Estonia and Latvia. It existed continuously since the Northern Crusades and the medieval foundation of Terra Mariana. Most of the nobility were Baltic Germans, but with the changing political landscape over the centuries, Polish, Swedish and Russian families also became part of the nobility, just as Baltic German families re-settled in e.g. the Swedish and Russian Empires. The nobility of Lithuania is for historical, social and ethnic reasons often separated from the German-dominated nobility of Estonia and Latvia.
The Livonian Crusade was the conquest of the territory constituting modern Latvia and Estonia during the pope-sanctioned Northern Crusades, performed mostly by Germans from the Holy Roman Empire and Danes. It ended with the creation of the Terra Mariana and Duchy of Estonia. The lands on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea were the last corners of Europe to be Christianized.
The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia was briefly a client state of the German Empire. It was proclaimed on 8 March 1918, in the German-occupied Courland Governorate by a Landesrat composed of Baltic Germans, who offered the crown of the once-autonomous Duchy to Kaiser Wilhelm II, despite the existence of a formerly sovereign reigning family in that duchy, the Biron descendents of Ernst Johann von Biron. Although the German Reichstag supported national self-determination for the Baltic peoples, the German High Command continued the policy of attaching the Baltic to the Reich by relying on Baltic Germans.
Baltic Noble Corporations of Courland, Livonia, Estonia, and Oesel (Ösel) were medieval fiefdoms formed by German nobles in the 13th century under vassalage to the Teutonic Knights and Denmark in modern Latvia and Estonia. The territories continued to have semi-autonomous status from 16th to early 20th century under Swedish and Russian rule.
The Curonians or Kurs were a Baltic tribe living on the shores of the Baltic Sea in what are now the western parts of Latvia and Lithuania from the 5th to the 16th centuries, when they merged with other Baltic tribes. They gave their name to the region of Courland (Kurzeme), and they spoke the Old Curonian language. Curonian lands were conquered by the Livonian Order in 1266 and they eventually merged with other Baltic tribes participating in the ethnogenesis of Lithuanians and Latvians. Direct descendants of the Curonians include the Kursenieki of the Curonian Spit and the so-called Curonian Kings of Courland.
Terra Mariana was the official name for Medieval Livonia or Old Livonia, which was formed in the aftermath of the Livonian Crusade in the territories comprising present day Estonia and Latvia. It was established on 2 February 1207, as a principality of the Holy Roman Empire but lost this status in 1215 when proclaimed by Pope Innocent III as directly subject to the Holy See.