|Country||Belarus, Latvia, Russia|
|• location||Penovsky District, Tver Oblast, Russia|
|• elevation||221 m (725 ft)|
|Mouth||Gulf of Riga|
|0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||1,020 km (630 mi)|
|Basin size||87,900 km2 (33,900 sq mi)|
|• average||678 m3/s (23,900 cu ft/s)|
The Daugava (Latgalian: Daugova; German: Düna) or Western Dvina (Russian: Западная Двина, romanized: Zapadnaya Dvina; Belarusian: Заходняя Дзвіна; Estonian: Väina; Finnish: Väinäjoki) is a large river rising in the Valdai Hills of Russia that flows through Belarus and Latvia into the Gulf of Riga of the Baltic Sea. It rises close to the source of the Volga. It is 1,020 km (630 mi) in length, of which 352 km (219 mi) are in Latvia and 325 km (202 mi) are in Russia. It is a westward-flowing river, tracing out a great south-bending curve as it passes through northern Belarus.
According to Max Vasmer's Etymological Dictionary, the toponym Dvina cannot stem from a Uralic language; instead, it possibly comes from an Indo-European word which used to mean river or stream. The name Dvina resembles strongly Danuvius which itself derived from the Proto-Indo-European *dānu, meaning "large river".
The following rivers are tributaries to the river Daugava (from source to mouth):
- Left: Mezha, Kasplya, Dysna, Laucesa, Berezauka, Eglona, Pikstere, Ņega
- Right: Usvyacha, Palata, Drysa, Dubna, Aiviekste, Pērse, Dīvaja, Ogre
Humans have settled at the mouth of the Daugava and along the shores of the Gulf of Riga for millennia, initially participating in a hunter-gatherer economy and utilizing the waters of the Daugava estuary for fishing and gathering. Beginning around the sixth century CE, Viking explorers crossed the Baltic Sea and entered the Daugava River, navigating upriver into the Baltic interior.
In medieval times, the Daugava was part of the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, an important route for the transport of furs from the north and of Byzantine silver from the south. The Riga area, inhabited by the Finnic-speaking Livs, became a key location of settlement and defence of the mouth of the Daugava at least as early as the Middle Ages, as evidenced by the now destroyed fort at Torņakalns on the west bank of the Daugava in present-day Riga. Since the Late Middle Ages, the western part of the Daugava basin has come under the rule of various peoples and states; for example, the Latvian town of Daugavpils variously came under papal, Slavonic, Polish, German, and Russian rule until the restoration of the Latvian independence in 1990 at the end of the Cold War.
The following are select cities and towns built along the Daugava:
The river began experiencing environmental deterioration in the Soviet era due to collective agriculture (producing considerable adverse water pollution runoff) and hydroelectric power projects. This is the river that the Vula river flows into.
Upstream of the Latvian town of Jekabpils, the river's pH has a characteristic value of about 7.8 (slight alkaline). In this area, the concentration of ionic calcium is around 43 milligrams per liter, nitrate is about 0.82 milligrams per liter, ionic phosphate is 0.038 milligrams per liter, and oxygen saturation is 80%. The high nitrate and phosphate load of the Daugava has contributed to the extensive buildup of phytoplankton biomass in the Baltic Sea; the Oder and Vistula rivers also contribute to the high nutrient loading of the Baltic.
In Belarus, water pollution of the Daugava is considered moderately severe, with the chief sources being treated wastewater, fish-farming, and agricultural chemical runoff (such as herbicides, pesticides, nitrates, and phosphates).
- "Main Geographic Characteristics of the Republic of Belarus. Main characteristics of the largest rivers of Belarus". Land of Ancestors. Data of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus. 2011. Archived from the original on Jan 15, 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
- "Gruberts D. "Daugava". Nacionālā enciklopēdija". Nacionālā enciklopēdija. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
- Фасмер, Макс. Этимологический словарь Фасмера (in Russian). p. 161.
Frucht, Richard C. (2005-01-01). Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781576078006. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
The Daugava was an important transit river (carrying everything from Vikings to floating lumber) for centuries [...].
- C.Michael Hogan (2012). "Daugava River". Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment.
- Towards water security in Belarus: a synthesis report. OECD Studies on Water. 2020. pp. 19–20. doi:10.1787/488183c4-en. ISBN 9789264583962. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
- "Water Report 15". fao.org. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
- Richard C. Frucht; Aldis Purs (2005). Latvia. ABC-CLIO. p. 115. ISBN 9781576078006. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
- Francis W. Carter and David Turnock. 2002. Environmental problems of East Central Europe. 442 pages Google eBook
- Kropotkin, Peter Alexeivitch; Bealby, John Thomas (1911). . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 8 (11th ed.). p. 738.