Today marks the 96th anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia and it is one of the most important national holidays in Latvia.
On the 18th of November 1918 a group of dedicated nationalist gathered and proclaimed the republic of Latvia, after a long history of foreign oppression (from Sweden and Russia among others).
The independence came to a halt again during the second world war when Latvia became a forced part of Soviet Union, which it remained until the beginning of the nineties.
Latvia actually have three independence days: November 18th (1918) as mentioned above, May 4th (1990) when the declaration of restored independence was proclaimed and August 21st (1991) when Latvia de facto broke loose from the dissolving Soviet Union and became an independent country again.
Both the 18th of November and 4th of May are national holidays in Latvia.