The territory that is now Latvia was controlled by crusaders, primarily the German Order of Livonian Knights, until 1561, when Latvia fell into Polish and Swedish hands. Between 1721 and 1795 Latvia was absorbed into the Russian empire. In the part of Latvia unoccupied by the Germans during the First World War, the Bolsheviks won 72% of the votes in the Constituent Assembly elections (Nov. 1917). Soviet power was proclaimed in Dec. 1917, but was overthrown when the Germans occupied all Latvia (Feb. 1918). Restored when they withdrew (Dec. 1918), it was overthrown once more by combined British naval and German military forces (May-Dec. 1919), and a democratic government set up. This régime was in turn replaced when a coup took place in May 1934.
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