This issue marks the beginning of a new phase in the journal’s existence. During preparation of the current issue, we received a call inviting us to submit the information of the journal for consideration to be included in the SCOPUS database. The happy news of the journal’s inclusion in this prestigious database followed soon after. For this success we have to thank the previous creators of the journal: the editor Jānis Taurēns, the editorial board members Ēriks Jēkabsons and Andris Levāns, as well as the journal secretary Vanda Visocka and the University of Latvia Press. The inclusion in the SCOPUS database clearly is a recognition of the journal’s quality and simultaneously an approbation. Above all, I am most pleased that the inclusion of another journal in SCOPUS yields a further opportunity to Latvian historians and representatives of the sciences related to historical research to publish their research in an international environment and to become ever more integrated into the international scientific community. This will also mean a gradual shift of the journal’s content towards English language.
Furthermore, it is the first issue of the journal since the change of editor. Taking over the editorship and preparing this issue was accompanied by various reflections on the importance of not only finding new facts and sources, but also of publishing our research and making it accessible to other researchers and interested parties. Naturally, in order to ensure this, it is necessary to have a sufficient number and variety of focused historical periodicals in Latvia, in which to publish the research and writings. I hope to continue the work launched by my predecessors, and uphold “The University of Latvia Journal. History” as one of such publishing opportunities. Starting this year, we will also return to publishing two separate issues annually.
This year, the editorial board of the journal has been joined by a Polish representative – Tomasz Pudłocki, Associate Professor at the Institute of History, Jagiellonian University. I am delighted that the previous editor, Associate Professor Jānis Taurēns will continue his work as a member of the editorial board.
In the current – the first – issue of 2023, we offer the readers three articles and two absorbing source publications.
Jerzy Grzybowski, Professor at the University of Warsaw, examines economic emigration from Poland to Latvia between 1928 and 1939. In the 1930s, seasonal migration to Latvia to work in agriculture accounted for a very significant proportion of all Polish seasonal migration. The article presents the dynamics and reasons for emigration, including the practical aspects of its implementation – hiring for work in Latvia and transport to Latvia, work organisation and remuneration, relations with employers in Latvia, as well as the religious life and daily habits of emigrants.
The research by Marika Selga, a doctoral student at the University of Latvia, offers an opportunity to trace in detail an event that vividly illustrates the efforts of Latvian exiles and the diplomatic service during the Soviet occupation, at least in their host countries, especially in the USA, to keep alive the idea of the independence of the Republic of Latvia, as well as to promote the knowledge and explanation of Latvian history amongst the societies of their host countries. The event analysed by Marika Selga – Arnold Spekke’s attempt in 1958 to refute certain accusations against Latvians in the popular J. Kennan’s book, is an excellent example of the broader processes in exile.
The article by Anete Korbi, a researcher at the Latvian National Archives, based on her master’s thesis, focuses on a more unfamiliar issue for the Latvian region – it analyses the decorations of painted pottery found in the north-eastern highlands of Anatolia in the Late Iron Age. The author concludes that the motifs of painted ceramic decoration of this period are highly diverse, suggesting that painted ceramics played a considerable role in the expression of cultural identity values.
This issue of the journal includes the texts from two sources, both of which pertain to the history of Latvia’s eastern region. Professor Ēriks Jēkabsons of the University of Latvia has prepared for publication the memoirs of the Latgalian public figure Jānis Rubulis, which describe the processes of Latvian national awakening in Latgale. Jānis Rubulis participated in the Latgale Congress, the work of the Latgalian Riflemen Section of the Executive Committee of the Latvian Rifle Regiments (Iskolastrel), the Latvian War of Independence, the Constitutional Assembly and the Saeima, and his memoirs contain plentiful interesting and undoubtedly useful details about these events.
The second historical source published in this issue consists of two 18th-century letters written by Basilian monks from Jēkabpils to Michael von der Borch, the owner of Varakļāni manor. The letters are rich in information about the history of the Basilian monks in Jēkabpils, as well as the town itself in the 18th century. They also describe the practical difficulties encountered by the monks – financial problems, transport difficulties, unavailability of specialists – in their aspiration to build their church. These letters are presented to the readers in the original language – Polish, and their contents are freely reiterated in English. The letters have been translated and prepared for publication by Teresa Rączka-Jeziorska and Paweł Jeziorski. I hope that the publication of these letters may encourage the researchers in Latvia to explore the currently relatively little-studied history of the 18th century.
In line with the tradition, the journal concludes with reviews of several recently published consequential scientific books.
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