Lithuanians and Latvians are Balts by their ethnographic and linguistic origin. Lithuanian and Latvian languages are relatively closely related languages. As it is commonly known, Estonia is also a Baltic state, although Estonians are Finno-Ugric people (linguistically closely related to Finns).
In the 13th century, the homeland of Estonians and Latvians was conquered and forcibly converted to Christianity by the Livonian Order (by Danish troops in the north). For example, there was Livonia, Order state in the territory of today’s Estonia and Latvia with German upper class, named after Livonians, residents of the Gulf of Riga. It existed until the middle of the 16th century. By 1710 the territory was conquered by Poland and Sweden. Only Courland (today’s Western and Southern Latvia) was a stand-alone duchy in between 1561-1795. In 1710, Russia conquered the former Swedish territories, in 1795 Courland also fell to Russia. It was not until 1918 that Estonia and Latvia became independent states for the first time.
Lithuania, however, already formed an independent Grand Duchy in the 13th century, it could resist its neighbours in the 14th and 15th century – the Teutonic Order in Prussia and the Livonian Order in the north. At the end of the 14th century, the Lithuanian Grand Duchy made a union with Poland, which resulted in the Christianization of the country. Part of Lithuanian territories became Prussian. In the second half of the 18th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, dualistic state, went under the division of Poland; Lithuania fell to Russia. It was not until 1918 that Lithuania was re-established.
In 1940, as a result of the Hitler-Stalin Pact of the Soviet Union, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were de facto annexed and forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union. They did not return their independence (1941-1944) even after the German occupation. It was only in August 1991, at the time of the Moscow coup, that their independence was restored. In 2004 all three countries became members of the EU and NATO