Riga, the capital of Latvia , is located on the shore of the Baltic Sea on both banks of the Daugava river. During the Middle Ages the River Daugava was one of the largest trade routes in Eastern Europe. Historical sources have mentioned it since the 5th century as the route connecting the Vikings with the Greeks, the upper reaches link the Baltic with the Black Sea. The delivery of goods down the Daugava was of the utmost importance in turning Riga into a prominent European port. And thus the sea bay became the destination of numerous North German merchants at the end of the 12th century.
According to the archeologists, an important settlement existed at the western end of the Daugava trade route. The village of Riga was mentioned in the chronicle of Latvian Indrikis in 1198. He stated that "a town is built in the field" of the village, meaning that a German settlement was built near the village of Livs.
The new town of Riga grew in a limited area, bordered by the Daugava on one side and the winding Riga river on the other. In 1201 the foundation of fortification walls were laid at the end of the peninsula, leaving a narrow embarkment for the unloading the ships. Within decades Riga grew to be one of the most important ports in Europe.
The first German settlers came to Riga in 1202 and since then it never was free from foreign inventors. Germen, Swiss, Russians, etc., always fought for their domain in this area.