Riga (Ree'ga), capital of Livonia, and next after St Petersburg and Odessa the third seaport of Russia, lies on the Dwina, 7 miles from its mouth, and 350 by rail SW. of St Petersburg. The old town has narrow streets and mediAeval houses; but the suburbs are laid out in broad streets with handsome buildings. The chief edifices are the archiepiscopal cathedral, built in 1204, burned down in 1547, but rebuilt; St Peter's Church (1406), with a steeple 460 feet high; the castle of the old Knights of the Sword, built 1494-1515; and several old guild houses and Hanseatic halls. Its industries include the manufacture of cottons, machines, tobacco, corks, spirits, oil, metal wares, glass, paper, flax, jute, and oilcloth. Pop. (1867) 102,590; (1881) 169,329; (1897) 2S2,950. Nearly one-half are Germans (with German-speaking Jews), one-fourth Russians, and one-fourth Letts. Riga was founded in 1201, and soon became a first-rate commercial place and a Hanse town. It belonged to Poland from 1561, in 1621 was taken by Gustavus Adolphus, and in 1710 was annexed to Russia.
The Gulf of Riga is an inlet on the east side of the Baltic Sea, which washes the shores of Courland, Livonia, and Esthonia. It is 105 miles long from north to south, and 60 broad. The islands of Oesel, Dago, Mohn, and Worms lie athwart the entrance, and there are many sandbanks. The Dwina falls into the gulf.