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Saint Meinhard of Segeberg arrived in Ikšķile, in 1184, traveling with merchants to Livonia, on a Catholic mission to convert the population from their original pagan beliefs.Pope Celestine III had called for a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe in 1193.The terms inspired the variations on the country's name in Romance languages from "Letonia" and in several Germanic languages from "Lettland".By 900 AD, four distinct Baltic tribes inhabited Latvia: Curonians, Latgalians, Selonians, Semigallians (in Latvian: kurši, latgaļi, sēļi and zemgaļi), as well as the Finnic tribe of Livonians (lībieši) speaking a Finnic language.Gotthard Kettler, the last Master of the Order of Livonia, formed the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia.

The native dialect remained distinct, although it acquired many Polish and Russian loanwords.Latvia is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, and WTO.A full member of the Eurozone, it began using the euro as its currency on 1 January 2014, replacing the Latvian lats.Latvia is historically predominantly Lutheran Protestant, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, which has historically been predominantly Roman Catholic.a very high standard of living and performs favourably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, internet freedom, democratic governance and peacefulness.

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The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation from Soviet rule and condemning the Communist regime's illegal takeover.

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