Latgale (lätˈgälĕ) [key] or Latgallia lătgălˈēə, region and former province, in Latvia, N of the Western Dvina River. Daugavpils was the chief city. The region was settled in the early Middle Ages by the Latgalians, who were closely akin to the Letts and spoke a Latvian dialect. Latgale shared the history of Livonia (of which it formed the southern part) until 1561, when it passed to Poland. Unlike the rest of Latvia, however, Latgale retained Roman Catholicism. The area was ceded to Russia during the Polish partition of 1772. In 1918 it became part of newly independent Latvia. The region has a proportionally larger Russian population than the rest of Latvia.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.