History Files


European Kingdoms

Northern Europe




Latgallia (Latgale) / Polish Livonia
AD 1629 - 1917

At the end of the First Polish-Swedish War (1600-1621), Sweden captured Riga from the commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania. The war ended with the Treaty of Altmark, which saw most of Polish-held Livonia fall under Swedish rule. The remainder, the eastern part of Livonia, named Latgallia, remained in Polish hands, fully unified with the Polish-Lithuanian crown, and was commonly known as Inflantia or the Inflanty Voivodeship (the principality of Livonia). The capital was at Dyneburk (now Daugavpils), and the administration was headed by a governor (or voivod). Although Latgallia was reunited with Livonia after the First World War, it still survives today as the Latgale region of Latvia.

At the heart of ancient Latgalia lay the settlement of Rēzekne, on the banks of the river of the same name. It began with a wooden castle on a hill by the river, which was built in the ninth century and lasted until the thirteen century. The name Rēzekne was first documented in 1285 (in German as Rositten), although the modern Latvian form of the name was only approved in 1920. After the war, Rēzekne developed as an important industrial city and also as Latgalia's cultural centre.

(Additional information by Kaspars Zvergis.)

1629 - 1677

From the point at which the Treaty of Altmark recognises Latgallia to be part of Poland-Lithuania, the region remains a unified part of the commonwealth until 1677. Then it is made a province, and is administered as part of Lithuania while remaining a common possession of both nations. The provincial capital remains at Dyneburk (modern Daugavpils).

1677 - 1695

Jan Teodor Schlieben

Died 1695.

1695 - 1696

Jan Andrzej Plater

1696 - 1705

Otto Friedrich von Voelkersamb


A prominent landowner named Eva Justine Selicka-Szostowicki is the owner of the Rusona estate in Latgallia. She invites the Dominican Order from Lithuania to establish a monastery and church school at nearby Aglona. The Dominicans are granted a large property consisting of Selicka-Szostowicki's estate at Viskovo in the hope that they will be able to strengthen Catholicism in the region. At this time Latgale has few churches and the people still observe various pagan practices.

Aglona Church, Latgale
The church of Aglona was built near one of two candidates for the burial site of Mindaugas, the first king of Lithuania

1705 - 1707

Fabian Plater

1707 - 1709

Stefan Karol Grotthus

1709 - 1713

Józef Mikolaj Kos

1713 - 1722

Piotr Jerzy Przebendowski

1722 - 1735

Antoni Andrzej Morsztyn

1735 - 1736

Jan Ludwik Plater

1737 - 1765

Franciszek Jakub Szembek

1765 - 1767

Johann Andreas Joseph von der Borch

1767 - 1769

Stanislaw Brzostowski

1769 - 1775

Jozafat Zyberk


In the First Partition of Poland-Lithuania, Latgallia is annexed by imperial Russia and incorporated directly within the state. The province of Dvinsk (Dvinskaya Provintsiya in Russian) is established as a subdivision of the government of Pskov. Dyneburk is renamed Dvinsk. The position of Polish governor becomes nominal.

1775 - 1778

Jan Tadeusz Zyberk


The province of Dvinsk becomes part of the government of Polotsk (although this arrangement is abolished in 1794).


Kasper Rogalinski

1790 - 1794

Adam Ewald von Voelkersamb

Died 1794.


The governorship of former Polish Livonia is abolished.


The province is transferred to the administration of the province of Belarus.


The province is transferred to the administration of the province of Vitebsk.

1863 - 1880

The January Uprising in Kreslav (Kraslava) is part of a wider uprising which takes place across much of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, including Poland, Lithuania, the Baltic Provinces, Latgallia, and Livonia. It results in a policy of Russification after spreading from Latgallia to the rest of Livonia within the Baltic Provinces.

January Uprising
The January Uprising took place across the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as a result of Russian occupation and control, but the last of its leaders were captured in 1865

1915 - 1918

Thanks to Russian First World War defeats of up to 1917, the Baltic Provinces are conquered by Germany between 1915 (Courland) and 1918 (Estonia). Latgallia is transferred by Russia to fall under Livonia administration in 1917, and the Baltic provinces are formally transferred to German authority by Russia in 1918 following the Treaties of Brest-Litovsk and of Berlin. This arrangement quickly falls apart and with a year Courland, Latgallia, and southern Livonia are independent within the republic of Latvia.