Please add an image!
Birth Date:
Death date:
Person's maiden name:
Jānis Pliekšāns
Extra names:
Rainis, Райнис, Ivans Hristoforovičs Pliekšāns, Jānis Pliekšāns
Minister, MoP, Latvia, Official, Playwright, Poet, Politician, Translator, Writer
Raiņa kapa vieta
Rīgas Raiņa kapi

Rainis was the pseudonym of Jānis Pliekšāns a Latvian poet, playwright, translator, and politician.

Rainis' works include the classic plays Uguns un nakts (Fire and Night, 1905) and Indulis un Ārija (Indulis and Ārija, 1911), and a highly regarded translation of Goethe's Faust. His works had a profound influence on the literary Latvian language, and the ethnic symbolism he employed in his major works has been central to Latvian nationalism.

Rainis was born on "Varslavāni" farm, Dunava parish in Jēkabpils municipality.

His father, Krišjānis Pliekšāns (ca. 1828–1891), was a wealthy tenant farmer.

His mother was Dārta, née Grikovska (ca. 1828–1899), and he had two sisters, Līze (1854–1897) and Dora (1870–1950).

During his education at the Riga City Gymnasium he met and befriended Pēteris Stučka, Dora Pliekšāne's future husband, who later become a prominent communist party leader (Peteris Stuchka formed and was a head of Russian puppet state- Latvian Soviet Republic government in 1919, and after communists were pushed back to Russia- become Head of USSR Supreme Court)

Rainis studied law at the University of St. Petersburg, where he shared a room with Pēteris Stučka.

While still a student, Rainis was already collecting folk songs, writing satirical and lyric poetry, and translating literature. Together with Stučka he edited a collection of epigrams and satire, Mazie dunduri (The Small Gadflies) and published Apdziedāšanas dziesmas (Mocking Songs) about the third All-Latvian Song Festival. The two men, however, would later split because of the differences between socialist and communist ideologies.

After completing his studies, he worked at the Vilnius regional courtrooms and with Andrejs Stērsts in Jelgava. Rainis wrote for Dienas Lapa (The Daily Sheet), Tēvija (Fatherland) and the Latvian Conversational Dictionary.

From 1891 to 1895 Rainis was editor in chief of Dienas Lapa. The Dienas Lapa scene was mostly a group of young Latvian liberal and socialist intellectuals who came to be known as the New Current. After attending the congress of the Second International in 1893, Rainis began to emphasize socialist ideology and news of socialist events in "Dienas Lapa." He is recognized as the father of Latvian socialism. It was during this period that he met Aspazija (pseudonym of Elza Pliekšāne, born Rozenberga), another Latvian poet and playwright active in the New Current.

Because of their social criticism and calls for various reforms, the New Current was viewed as a seditious movement and was the subject of a Tsarist crackdown.

In 1897 Rainis was arrested and deported first to Pskov, and later to Vyatka guberniya (now Kirov Oblast). It was during this period of internal exile that Rainis translated Faust and other works from classical literature. Here he also produced his first collection of poems, Tālas noskaņas zilā vakarā (Far-Off Moods on a Blue Evening, 1903).

Rainis was also socially active and politically prominent, being one of the national leaders of the Revolution of 1905 in Latvia and the New Current that foreshadowed it. With the failure of the Revolution, he emigrated to Switzerland together with his wife Aspazija, settling in Castagnola, a suburb of Lugano. As an émigré, Rainis wrote:

  • plays — Zelta Zirgs (The Golden Horse) (translated to English 2012), Jāzeps un viņa brāļi (Joseph and His Brothers), Spēlēju, dancoju (I Played, I Sang), Daugava (The Daugava, 1916), and Ģirts Vilks;
  • poetry — Klusā grāmata (The Quiet Book), Vēja nesta lapas (Leaves Upon the Wind), Tie, kas neaizmirst (Those, Who Do Not Forget), Gals un sākums (The End and the Beginning), Ave sol, and Sveika, brīvā Latvija (Hello, Free Latvia).

His dramatic ballad Daugava contained the first explicit demand for Latvian sovereignty:

Land, land, what is that land demanded in our song? Land, that is a state.

Those lines were removed by the censor when the work was first published in Moscow.

After the defeat of Bermondt-Avalov's forces at Riga in November 1919, the ballad was given a performance at the National Theater to mark the first anniversary of Latvia's proclamation of independence; many soldiers carried this work into battle.

"Zelta Zirgs" ("The Golden Horse") was translated to English in 2012 by Vilis Inde.

Rainis and Aspazija returned to Latvia on April 4, 1920 and received a heroes welcome. They had served as the spiritual leaders for the fight for Latvian independence. Rainis, as a member of the Central Committee of the Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party, resumed his political activities and was a member of the Constitutional Assembly of Latvia (Satversmes sapulce) and Saeima (Parliament) and of the Ministry of Education Arts Department, founder and director of the Dailes Theater, and director of the Latvian National Theatre from 1921 to 1925, Minister of Education from December, 1926 to January, 1928, and a member of the Cultural Fund and (Military) Order of Lāčplēsis Council. During this period he wrote:

  • plays — Iļja Muromietis (Ilya Muromets), Mīla stiprāka par nāvi (A Love Stronger Than Death), Rīgas ragana (The Witch of Riga);
  • poetry — Treji loki, Sudrabota gaisma (A Silvery Light), Mēness meitiņa (Moon Girl), Zelta sietiņš (The Gold Strainer), and others;
  • memoirs — Kastaņjola (Castagnola).

Rainis had the ambition of becoming Latvia's president and became less prominent in politics when this ambition was not fulfilled.

During the 1920s, Rainis was among the candidates considered for a Nobel Prize in Literature. His journals from these years exhibit both his great longing for this international recognition, as well as his bitter disappointment at never receiving the award.

He died in Majori in 1929.

Legacy and commemoration

A number of Rainis' poetry collections were published posthumously: Sirds devējs, Dvēseles Dziesma, Lielās līnijas, and Aizas ziedi.

Rainis' statue at the Esplanāde in Riga is a gathering-place that highlights the complex way his multi-faceted career and works are interpreted. It is the focal point for the national poetry festival, always held on his birthday, as well as a focus for the left wing, from the Social Democrats to the radical opposition to Latvia's education reform (in part because of Rainis' support for minority schools; he was instrumental to the founding of Belarusian schools in Latvia). Similarly, criticism of his work has often been strongly affected by politics; while the Soviets emphasized his socialism (his image even appeared on a commemorative Soviet ruble coin; being buried next to Rainis' grave in Rainis' Cemetery in Riga was an honor reserved for senior Soviet military), Daugava and other patriotic works were omitted from editions of Rainis' texts prior to the Third Latvian National Awakening.


  • Tālas noskaņas zilā vakarā (1903)
  • Vētras sēja (1905)
  • Zelta zirgs (1909)
  • Klusā grāmata (1909)
  • Ave sol! (1910)
  • Tie, kas neaizmirst (1911)
  • Indulis un Ārija (1911)
  • Pūt, vējiņ! (1913)
  • Jāzeps un viņa brāļi (1919)
  • Daugava (1919)
  • Spēlēju, dancoju (1919)
  • Iļja Muromietis (1922)

Source: wikipedia.org, news.lv


Images Title Relation type From To Description Languages
1Raiņa vasarnīca PumpurosRaiņa vasarnīca Pumpurosresidedlv
2Koka ēka Rīgā, Brīvības ielā 41Koka ēka Rīgā, Brīvības ielā 41lv
3Rīgas Valsts 1. ģimnāzijaRīgas Valsts 1. ģimnāzijalv, ru



        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1Krišjānis PliekšānsKrišjānis PliekšānsFather00.00.182504.02.1891
        Dārta PliekšāneMother00.00.182800.00.1899
        3Miervaldis OzoliņšMiervaldis OzoliņšSon17.03.192208.05.1999
        Fricis PliekšānsBrother00.00.185700.00.1860
        Kārlis PliekšānsBrother00.00.186200.00.1862
        6Līze PliekšāneLīze PliekšāneSister00.00.185400.00.1897
        7Dora StučkaDora StučkaSister27.08.187009.05.1950
        Jēkabs PliekšānsUncle00.00.182700.00.1829
        Lība PliekšāneAunt00.00.1833
        Dāvis RozenbergsFather in-law00.00.183220.03.1901
        12Margrieta RozenbergaMargrieta RozenbergaMother in-law00.00.184029.04.1912
        Nellija OzoliņaDaughter in-law00.00.192500.00.2000
        14Doroteja Albertīne RozenbergaDoroteja Albertīne RozenbergaSister in-law12.04.187707.07.1925
        15Kristaps Roberts RozenbergsKristaps Roberts RozenbergsBrother in-law26.04.187422.06.1911
        16Pēteris StučkaPēteris StučkaBrother in-law, Coworker, Studymate, Partymate26.07.186525.01.1932

        17Zāmuels Jūlijs RozenbergsZāmuels Jūlijs RozenbergsBrother in-law12.04.187729.06.1909
        Jēkabs GrikovskisGrandfather
        Andrejs PliekšānsGrandfather00.00.1788
        Lība PliekšānsGrandmother00.00.1796
        Trīne GrikovskaGrandmother
        Eduards OzoliņšGrandson
        23Olga KliģereOlga KliģerePartner26.06.189821.09.1990
        Juris GrašosGreat grandfather00.00.1800
        Jēkabs PliekšānsGreat grandfather00.00.175100.00.1814
        Krists ĶēkutuGreat grandfather
        Miķelis LangeGreat grandfather00.00.175100.00.1811
        Ilze PliekšānsGreat grandmother00.00.1767
        Alma Birģele PaegleCousin21.08.187707.08.1949

        05.01.1822 | Iznāk latviešu laikraksta "Latviešu Avīzes" pirmais numurs

        Laikraksts pastāv līdz 1915. gadam, kad Kurzemē Krievijas okupāciju nomaina iebrukusī Vācijas armija

        Submit memories

        31.05.1897 | — Paņevēžā arestē Jāni Pliekšānu

        Submit memories

        13.01.1905 | 1905. gads 13. janvāra demonstrācija

        Nemieri jeb 1905. gada revolūcija Latvijā 1905. gadā sākās ar 13. janvāra manifestāciju Rīgā, kuru, kā reakciju uz demonstrantu apšaušanu Sanktpēterburgā 9. janvārī, organizēja LSDP.

        Submit memories

        19.02.1905 | Labdarības pasākums Kārļa Skalbes atbalstam

        Submit memories

        03.12.1905 | Latvia was among first countries, where voting rights for women were introduced

        Submit memories

        17.04.1920 | Satversmes sapulces vēlēšanas

        Submit memories

        01.05.1920 | Satversmes sapulces 1. sēde - Latvijas Parlamenta "dzimšanas diena"

        Submit memories

        06.05.1920 | Latvijā atgriežas dzejnieki Aspazija un Rainis

        Submit memories

        19.11.1920 | Nodibināts Dailes Teātris

        Submit memories

        15.02.1922 | Pieņemta Latvijas Republikas Satversme

        Submit memories

        07.10.1922 | Latvijas Republikas 1. Saeimas vēlēšanas

        Submit memories

        14.11.1922 | Latvijas Republikas 1. Prezidents. Jānis Čakste tiek ievēlēts par pirmo LR Prezidentu

        Jau 1920. gada 1. maijā Čakste atklāja Satversmes sapulces pirmo sēdi. Tika izvirzīti divi Satversmes sapulces priekšsēdētāja amata kandidāti - Jānis Čakste no pilsoniskajām partijām un Jānis Rainis kā sociāldemokrātu pārstāvis. Satversmes sapulce ar 83 balsīm par savu priekšsēdētāju ievēlēja Čaksti, Rainim iegūstot tikai 48 balsis. Šajā amatā viņš atradās visu Satversmes sapulces darbības laiku.

        Submit memories

        14.03.1923 | Krišjāņa Barona bēres

        Submit memories

        06.11.1925 | Latvijas Republikas Valsts Prezidents. Jānis Čakste tiek atkārtoti ievēlēts par LR Prezidentu

        Submit memories

        25.11.1925 | Latvijas Republikas 2. Saeimas vēlēšanas

        Submit memories

        19.12.1926 | Latvijas 10. Ministru kabinets. M. Skujenieka 1. valdība

        Marģera Skujenieka vadībā Latvijas Republikas Ministru kabinets darbojās laika posmā no 1926. gada 19. decembra līdz 1928. gada 23. janvārim. To galvenokārt veidoja sociāldemokrātu partijas. Tā kā valdības veidošanā un atbalsta sarunāšanā aktīvi piedalījās Mordehajs Nuroks, to mēdz saukt arī par Nuroka valdību.

        Submit memories

        25.11.1928 | Latvijas Republikas 3. Saeimas vēlēšanas

        Submit memories

        11.09.1965 | Esplanādē atklāj Raiņa pieminekli

        Piemineklis veltīts Raiņa simtgadei. Okupācijas laikā- Esplanāde bija pārdēvēta par "Komunāru laukumu"

        Submit memories

        13.09.2018 | Raiņa "Pūt, Vējiņi" pirmizrāde Nacionālajā teātrī

        Submit memories