Have You Ever Met a Latvian?

@RasmaSandra (10322)
Riga, Latvia
April 7, 2016 2:51pm CST
All the time I was growing up I enjoyed being of two nationalities. I was an American-Latvian. So knowing that there are still many Latvians living in the U.S. even though the older generations have passed on I found much to my interest that according to the 2000 U.S. Census there are 87,564 citizens who are of Latvian ancestry. That is saying quite a lot. The very first Latvians to set foot on American soil were settlers from Tobago and arrived in Massachusetts a few decades after the first English Puritans. Latvians settled in Delaware and Pennsylvania along with Swedish settles about 1640. Then in 1849 there were Latvians who jumped on the bandwagon and joined the fortune seekers heading for California during the Gold Rush. The first big wave of Latvian immigrants landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1888. These were mostly young men who wanted to have a better life and were escaping from mandatory military service for Imperial Russia. Latvian immigrants were divided up into two groups – those who were hoping that Latvia would gain independence from the Soviet Union and those who wanted Latvian workers not to be oppressed. As the century came to an end Latvian immigrants had settled mostly on the East Coast and in Midwest cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Chicago. Other headed for the West Coast and settled in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Many of the Latvian immigrants were well educated and had managed to finish the University of Latvia while other finished their education in Germany or later on in the U.S. They quickly learned to speak English but at home within the family only Latvian was spoken. Some notable Latvians: • Rutanya Alda an actress who appeared in movies such as “Mommy Dearest” and “The Deer Hunter”. • Gunnar Birkets architect who designed Corning Museum of Glass, Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. • Buddy Ebsen actor and dancer who was best known for his role as Jed Clampett in the TV series The Beverly Hillbillies. • Martins Krumins Latvian-American Impressionist Painter. • Peggy Lipton actress best known for her role in The Mod Squad. And many more who made a name for themselves in the U.S. Even though life was often hard in the beginning Latvian established organizations, churches, and schools to save the Latvian culture. They published Latvian newspapers and books. Books were published by Gramatu Draugs or Friend of a Book which was owned by the Latvian newspaper “Laiks” or “Time” and it gave Latvian writers and poets a way to share their creativity. Often being inspired by the new circumstances in which they lived and writing about the cities that they now called home such as New York. Once they had proved themselves they also were able to take up important jobs in U.S. companies, universities, the government, in art, and in society. They all made sure they became U.S. citizens and even fought in the U.S. Army. They never forgot to teach their children about Latvia and Latvian culture. Teaching them in Latvian schools which were held on Saturdays so they would learn the language. I was also taught the geography and history of Latvia as well as literature, art, and poetry. Latvian organizations continue to keep the Latvian social life alive. When Latvia celebrates its Independence Day on November 18th and you can be sure that if the holiday falls on a Monday the celebrations will be held in Latvian society on the weekend before. Latvian source: http://www.alausa.org/lv/kas-mes-esam/latviesi-amerika/
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   (Redirected from Latvian American) Jump to: navigation, search Latvian Americans Amerikas latvieši Total population (93,498 (2008 American Community Survey)[1]) Regions with significant populations California, New Yo
6 people like this
6 responses
@Asylum (45897)
• Manchester, England
7 Apr 16
Oddly I can only remember knowing one Latvian, who I worked with some 20 years ago.
1 person likes this
@RasmaSandra (10322)
• Riga, Latvia
7 Apr 16
@Asylum and now you know me!
1 person likes this
@Asylum (45897)
• Manchester, England
7 Apr 16
@RasmaSandra Yes, but Matt is still the only one that I have actually met in person.
1 person likes this
• Lakewood, Colorado
7 Apr 16
I have met two first generation born in America Latvian. And including you my friend. I know of those Latvians you had mentioned above. Buddy Ebsen in particluar. I too am the child of immigrants here in US.
1 person likes this
@RasmaSandra (10322)
• Riga, Latvia
7 Apr 16
@TiarasOceanView we're in good company
1 person likes this
• Lakewood, Colorado
7 Apr 16
@RasmaSandra We are my friend..it is very special to know ones heritage and be so close to it.
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
9 Apr 16
That is an interesting sketch of Latvians in the US and of Latvian history as well. I don't believe that I ever met a Latvian-American, except you through your writing here and elsewhere.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (28625)
• Denmark
7 Apr 16
I've never met a real life Latvian. I think I passed Latvia at night when going by train from Hannover in Germany to Moscow in 1964. Or was it Lithuania? Please forgive me the question, I easily mix the two countries. Many people do. At least, I know where in the world they are. How come that Latvians came from Tobago? Why did they go there in the fist place?
@RasmaSandra (10322)
• Riga, Latvia
7 Apr 16
@MALUSE Tobago was purely a Latvian colony and many early Latvians settled there first.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (28625)
• Denmark
7 Apr 16
@RasmaSandra Climate-wise a big step from Latvia to Tobago!
1 person likes this
@marlina (56979)
• Canada
17 Apr 16
@RasmaSandra Tobago was a Latvian colony? I sure didn't know that.
@JudyEv (90145)
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Apr 16
Thanks for this information. I guess America was relatively close and made a good choice for those wishing to leave their home country.
@RasmaSandra (10322)
• Riga, Latvia
9 Apr 16
@JudyEv there were quite a few Latvians who stayed in Europe. We're actually all over the place like in Australia and even South America. My parents chose the U.S. because my dad had a job waiting for him in NYC.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (90145)
• Bunbury, Australia
10 Apr 16
@RasmaSandra At the 2011 census there were 20,000 odd Latvians (not saying Latvians are odd!) in Australia. There is a Latvian association in Sydney apparently.
1 person likes this
@marlina (56979)
• Canada
17 Apr 16
Very interesting.