Vidzeme (Livonian: Vidumō (Literally meaning "the Middle Land") German:Livland or Livländisches) is a historical and cultural region in Latvia and is situated in Latvia north of the Daugava River. It comprises only a small part of Medieval Old Livonia and the southern half of the former Swedish Livonia.
Vidzemes guberņa (Livland Governorate) is also bigger than Vidzeme region, since it's area roughly corresponds to that of Swedish Livonia.
The land had been inhabited by Baltic and Finnic peoples for thousands of years. In ancient times it inhabitated by Latgalians and Livs living near the coast of the Gulf of Riga and along the lower reaches of the Daugava River and Gauja Rives).
The Prussian (German) conquest of the lands on the the Daugava River in the 13th century set it as Vidzeme's south-east border. It was also the boundary between the lands of the Livs and Latgalians on the right river bank and those of the Semigallians and Selonians on the left river. The most notable Latgalian historic region in today’s Vidzeme was Tālava.
The ending of the Livonian War between the Livonian Confederation and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the section of the Livonian Confederation on the right bank of the Daugava river and the Patrimony of Riga was given to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Duchy of Livonia, on the left bank, formed the Duchy of Courland and Semigalia).
After the Polish-Swedish War had been concluded by the Truce of Altmark in 1629, the Swedish Empire set up the province of Swedish Livonia in western part of the Duchy of Livonia which went up to an area near the Aiviekste River, which has over the years become Vidzeme's eastern border.
In time, Swedish Livonia and Swedish Estonia were conquered by the Russian Empire during the Great Northern War. It was ceded to Russia at the Treaty of Nystad in 1721. it became the Riga Governorate (1721-1796), but in 1796 the Riga Governorate was renamed the Governorate of Livonia (Latvian: Vidzemes guberņa, German: Livländisches Gouvernement, Russian: Лифляндская губерния / Liflyandskaya guberniya, Estonian: Liivimaa kubermang).