Transforming Latvian National Awakening into independence in 1918 proved difficult, as wars of independence had to be fought against Russia. However, thanks to some famous Latvians of the era, the independence was won.
Key fighters for Latvian freedom ~1918 and their leaders:
Jānis Čakste (1859-1927) was a Latvian independence activist who firstly raised the idea of independent Latvia in 1900s. After independence was achieved he became the president in 1922 and died in office in 1927.
Colonel Frīdrihs Briedis (1888-1918) was a World War I leader of Latvian Riflemen – an ethnically Latvian regiment of Russian army. After the Russian revolution he decided to oppose communism in Moscow, but was captured and executed by the regime.
Oskars Kalpaks (1882-1919) was the leader of first independent Latvian forces (1st Latvian batallion) soon after independence of Latvia was achieved. He worked in repulsing Russian reconquest attempt. While this attempt was squashed by united Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian and remnant German forces, Oskars Kalpaks was killed in one of the battles.