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Henry of Latvia coined the latinisations of the country's name, "Lettigallia" and "Lethia", both derived from the Latgalians.

The terms inspired the variations on the country's name in Romance languages from "Letonia" and in several Germanic languages from "Lettland".

German crusaders were sent, or more likely decided to go on their own accord as they were known to do in search of pagans to kill and loot throughout eastern Europe.

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.

Until World War II, Latvia also had significant minorities of ethnic Germans and Jews.

Latgalia, the easternmost region of Latvia, became a part of the Inflanty Voivodeship of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The southern part of Estonia and the northern part of Latvia were ceded to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and formed into the Duchy of Livonia (Ducatus Livoniae Ultradunensis).

Gotthard Kettler, the last Master of the Order of Livonia, formed the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia.

By 900 AD, four distinct Baltic tribes inhabited Latvia: Curonians, Latgalians, Selonians, Semigallians (in Latvian: kurši, latgaļi, sēļi and zemgaļi), as well as the Livonians (lībieši) speaking a Finnic language.

In the 12th century in the territory of Latvia, there were 14 lands with their rulers: Vanema, Ventava, Bandava, Piemare, Duvzare, Ceklis, Megava, Pilsāts, Upmale, Sēlija, Koknese, Jersika, Tālava and Adzele.