History and culture
Our quest is to to find and preserve long forgotten pieces of paper holding accounts of the Baltic past, produced during the times they describe—or accounts by those who were there to experience events. The purpose? To see the Baltics through the eyes of their times, no hindsight, no spin doctoring. Our search for objectivity also extends to present, to disseminate reputable scholarship to counter the mischaracterizations and misperceptions which still envelope the Baltics more than two decades after they regained independence.
The Baltic past is rich in ancient cultural treasures and in the geopolitical lessons it teaches, as relevant to today as when Count Shuvalov, Russian governor-general of the Baltic provinces, first stated:
The historical mission of the Baltic provinces is to serve as a battlefield for the problems of the highest politics in Europe.
That role continues even today as the Baltics find themselves between an autocratic-leaning Russia flush with energy revenues and a Western Europe seeking to fashion them into a geopolitical "front-line" of democracies.
Yet, the significance of the Baltics is not that they have been a battlefield for eight centuries—their significance is that those eight centuries are but a fraction of the millennia the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians have lived and thrived along the Baltic coast as stewards of some of Europe's oldest and richest cultures.
Our digital collection brings the Baltic past out of obscurity to light for a new century and millenium.
New and notable
Legacies, Coercion and Soft Power: Russian Influence in the Baltic States
Russia attempts to constrain the independence of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and to undermine their political, economic and civilizational choices. However, it has failed to alter significant aspects of their strategic direction. ...
|Center for Baltic Heritage — We've added a news feed watch to our home page for Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian news items--and a check for the last 24 hours or so of any mention of the Baltics on the RT (nee Russia Today) Russian state media site. Sat, 15 Sep 2012 |
Latvian Folk Costumes — Anna Dārziņa graduated the Latvian Art Academy in 1937. As a war refugee in Germany, she created pastels of Latvian folk costumes, popular with the Latvian community as well as American officers. We've reprocessed our original scans of 18 postcards as larger images and more faithful to the originals...
Latvia—Lettish Life in Legendary & Modern Times — Share our enjoyment leafing through the pictures in Florence Farmborough's chronicle of newly independent Latvia—we've added thumbnails with viewer for your perusal.
A Shepherd Died, an illustrated folk song under German occupation — This miniature booklet caught our eye because it contained illustrations by Margarita Kovaļevska, a popular Latvian illustrator and writer. We could tell it was a war-time publication, being issued by a charitable organization which had functioned under German occupation. We cannot begin to fathom l...
Dziesmu Diena Fišbachā (Fischbach Latvian Song Festival) — Refugees first arrived on June 27, 1945, riding in the backs of American lorries, at the site of a former military camp located not far from Nuremberg. The newcomers took on the daunting task of transforming the old huts, dirty barracks, and piles of rubble into an orderly, well-run Latvian settlem...