Couronian colonization

Couronian colonization refers to the colonization efforts of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, a vassal of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Small but wealthy, it took a modest part in the European domination and settlement of West Africa and the Caribbean.

Kurzemes un Zemgales hercogiste 1740 locator
Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
Courland colonization Gambia
Couronian settlements in Africa
Trinidad and Tobago-CIA WFB Map
Couronian settlements in Americas (New Courland on Tobago)


Like Brandenburg, that had far larger German colonizing power before the formation of the German Empire, the Polish-Lithuanian fief of Courland had a European crusading, hence expansionist, past. The colonies were established under Jakob, Duke of Courland and Semigallia, and were indirect colonies of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. During his reign, the duchy established trading relations with all of the major European powers. Jakob established one of the largest merchant fleets in Europe, with its main harbors in Windau (today Ventspils), and Libau (today Liepāja). His fleet made voyages to the West Indies as early as 1637 when the settlers established the first colony on Tobago. The first colony was a failure, but it was refounded in 1639.

In 1651, the Duchy gained a colony in Africa on St. Andrew's Island at the Gambia River and established the Jacob Fort there. The Duchy also took other local land including St. Mary Island (modern day Banjul) and Fort Jillifree. The Duchy's colonies exported sugar, tobacco, coffee, cotton, ginger, indigo, rum, cocoa, tortoise shells, tropical birds and their feathers. The Courlanders retained control of these lands for less than a decade and they were formally ceded to England in 1664.

The colonies were lost when neighboring nations took advantage of Courland during the Northern Wars, when Jakob was held captive by the Swedish army (1658–60). Tobago was returned to Courland, but the Duchy abandoned it in 1666. In 1668, a Courish ship attempted to reoccupy Fort Jacob but was driven off by the Dutch. The Courland Monument near Great Courland Bay commemorates the Duchy's settlements.

A final Courish attempt to establish a Caribbean colony involved a settlement near modern Toco on Trinidad.[1]

Former colonies

See also


  1. ^ Kołodziejczyk, Dariusz. Mówią wieki. "CZY RZECZPOSPOLITA MIAŁA KOLONIE W AFRYCE I AMERYCE? Archived 2012-02-24 at the Wayback Machine". (in Polish)

External links

1981 Gambian coup d'état attempt

The 1981 Gambian coup d'état attempt was executed at the end of July 1981 and lasted until early August when it was defeated by Senegalese soldiers. It was carried out by Marxist rebels in The Gambia while the President, Dawda Jawara, was attending the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in London.

1st Saeima

1st Saeima was the parliament of Latvia from November 7, 1922 until November 2, 1925. It was the first Saeima to be elected after the Constitutional Assembly of Latvia had created the Constitution of Latvia and the Elections law.

Social Democrat Frīdrihs Vesmanis was Speaker of the Saeima until March 17, 1925 followed by Social Democrat Pauls Kalniņš.

1st Saeima gave confidence to the 1st cabinet of Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics (July 20, 1922 – January 26, 1923), cabinet of Jānis Pauļuks (January 27, 1923 – June 27, 1923), 2nd cabinet of Meierovics (28 June 1923 – 26 January 1924), cabinet of Voldemārs Zāmuēls (January 25, 1924 – December 17, 1924) and the 1st cabinet of Hugo Celmiņš (December 19, 1924 – December 23, 1925).

2014 Gambian coup d'état attempt

The 2014 Gambian coup d'état attempt broke out during the night of 30 December 2014, when gunfire erupted in the Gambian capital of Banjul.


Albreda is a historic settlement in the Gambia on the north bank of the Gambia River, variously described as a 'trading post' or a 'slave fort'. It is located near Jufureh in the North Bank Division and an arch stands on the beach connecting the two places. As of 2008, it has an estimated population of 1,776.

Bishopric of Courland

The Bishopric of Courland (Latin: Episcopatus Curoniensis, Low German: Bisdom Curland) was the second smallest (4500 km2) ecclesiastical state in the Livonian Confederation founded in the aftermath of the Livonian Crusade. During the Livonian War in 1559 the bishopric became a possession of Denmark, and in 1585 sold by Denmark to Poland-Lithuania.

Colonial empire

A colonial empire is a collective of territories (often called colonies), mostly overseas, settled by the population of a certain state and governed by that state.

Colonial empires first emerged with a race of exploration between the then most advanced European maritime powers, Portugal and Spain, during the 15th century. The initial impulse behind these dispersed maritime empires and those that followed was trade, driven by the new ideas and the capitalism that grew out of the European Renaissance. Agreements were also made to divide the world up between them in 1479, 1493, and 1494. European imperialism was born out of competition between European Christians and Ottoman Muslims, the latter of which rose up quickly in the 14th century and forced the Spanish and Portuguese to seek new trade routes to India, and to a lesser extent, China.

Although colonies existed in classical antiquity, especially amongst the Phoenicians and the Ancient Greeks who settled many islands and coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, these colonies were politically independent from the city-states they originated from, and thus did not constitute a colonial empire.

Constitutional Assembly of Latvia

Constitutional Assembly of Latvia (Latvian: Satversmes sapulce) was independent Latvia's first elected legislative body. Its main task was creating the constitution of Latvia - Satversme, which is still in effect to this day. The speaker of Assembly was Jānis Čakste, who later became the first President of Latvia. The assembly functioned from May 1, 1920 until November 7, 1922 when the 1st Saeima convened.

Cornelius Caroon

Cornelius Caroon was the Governor of New Courland, on Tobago from 1643 to 1650.

In 1642, Captain Caroon arrived on the north coast of Tobago with 300 Couronian colonists. This was not Courland's first attempt to colonize Tobago, but all previous efforts had been cut short by the Spanish.

In 1650, Caroon and the colonists abandoned New Courland and evacuated to Tortuga, and later Jamaica due to an outbreak of disease on Tobago that drastically reduced the number of men able to defend from the Caribs.

Couronian colonization of the Americas

The Couronian colonisation of the Americas was performed by the Duchy of Courland, which was the second smallest state to colonise the Americas (after the Knights of Malta), with a colony on the island of Tobago from 1654 to 1659, and intermittently from 1660 to 1689.

Gambia Independence Act 1964

The Gambia Independence Act 1964 (1964 c. 93) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that gave independence to the Gambia with effect from 18 February 1965. The Act also provided for the continued right of appeal from the Gambian courts to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which was abolished in 1998 when Yahya Jammeh decided to reorganise the Gambian judiciary under the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia, which replaced the 1970 Constitution of The Gambia that had been suspended after the 1994 Gambian coup d'état on 22 July 1994.

History of the Gambia

The first written records of the region come from Arab traders in the 9th and 10th centuries. In medieval times, the region was dominated by the Trans-Saharan trade and was ruled by the Mali Empire. In the 16th century, the region came to be ruled by the Songhai Empire. The first Europeans to visit the Gambia River were the Portuguese in the 15th century, who attempted to settle on the river banks, but no settlement of significant size was established. Descendants of the Portuguese settlers remained until the 18th century. In the late 16th century, English merchants attempted to begin a trade with the Gambia, reporting that it was "a river of secret trade and riches concealed by the Portuguese."

In the early 17th century, the French attempted to settle the Gambia but failed. Further English expeditions from 1618 to 1621, including under Richard Jobson, were attempted but resulted in huge losses. Merchants of the Commonwealth of England sent expeditions to the Gambia in 1651, but their ships were captured by Prince Rupert the following year. In 1651, the Couronian colonization of the Gambia had also begun, with forts and outposts being erected on several islands. The Courlanders remained dominant until 1659 when their possessions were handed over to the Dutch West India Company. In 1660, the Courlanders resumed possession, but the next year was expelled by the newly formed Royal Adventurers in Africa Company.

In 1667, the rights of the Royal Adventurers to the Gambia were sublet to the Gambia Adventurers but later reverted to the new Royal African Company. 1677 saw the beginning of a century-and-a-half-long struggle between the English and French for supremacy over the Gambia and Senegal. The English possessions were captured several times by the French, but in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, the British rights to the region were recognized by the French. In the mid-18th century, the Royal African Company began having serious financial problems and in 1750, Parliament divested the company of its rights in the region. In 1766, the Crown gained possession of the territory, and it formed part of the Senegambia colony. In 1783, Senegambia ceased existing as a British colony.

Following the cessation of Senegambia, the colony was in effect abandoned. The only Europeans were traders who existed in a few settlements on the river banks, such as Pisania. Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Alexander Grant was sent to re-establish a presence in the Gambia. He established Bathurst and the British possessions continued to grow in size through a series of treaties. It was administered from Sierra Leone until 1843 when it was given its own Governor, but in 1866 merged again with Sierra Leone. The cession of the Gambia to France was proposed in the late 19th century but was met with considerable protest in both the Gambia and in England. In 1888, the colony regained its own government structure, and in 1894 the Gambia Colony, and Protectorate was properly established along the lines it would continue to hold until independence.

In 1901, legislative and executive councils were established for the Gambia, as well as the Gambia Company of the RWAFF. Gambian soldiers fought in World War I, and in the 1920s Edward Francis Small led the push for emancipation, founding the Bathurst Trade Union and the Rate Payers' Association. During World War II, the Gambia Company was raised to a regiment, and notably fought in the Burma Campaign in the latter years of the war. Franklin D. Roosevelt's visit to the Gambia in 1943 was the first visit by a sitting US President to the African continent. Following the war, the pace of reform increased, with an economic focus on the production of the '''Peanut''' and a failed programme called the Gambia Poultry Scheme by the Colonial Development Corporation. The push towards self-government increased its pace, and the House of Representatives was established in 1960. Pierre Sarr N'Jie served as Chief Minister from 1961 to 1962, though following the 1962 election Dawda Jawara became Prime Minister, beginning the People's Progressive Party's dominance of Gambian politics for the next thirty years. Full internal self-government was achieved in 1963, and following extensive negotiations, the Gambia declared independence in 1965.

The Gambia gained independence as a constitutional monarchy that remained part of the Commonwealth, but in 1970 became a presidential republic. Jawara was elected the first President and remained in this position until 1994. A coup, led by Kukoi Sanyang, was attempted in 1981 but failed after Senegalese intervention. From 1981 to 1989, the Gambia entered into the Senegambia Confederation, which collapsed. In 1994, Jawara was overthrown in a coup d'état led by Yahya Jammeh, who ruled as a military dictator for two years through the AFPRC. He was elected President in 1996 and continued in this role until 2017. During this time, Jammeh's party, the APRC, dominated Gambian politics. the Gambia left the Commonwealth of Nations in 2013 and suffered an unsuccessful coup attempt in 2014. In the 2016 election, Adama Barrow was elected President, backed by a coalition of opposition parties. Jammeh's refusal to step down led to a constitutional crisis and the intervention of ECOWAS forces.


Jufureh, Juffureh or Juffure is a town in the Gambia, 30 kilometers inland on the north bank of the River Gambia in the North Bank Division near James Island. The town is home to a museum and Fort Jillifree.

Jufureh is best known for its appearance in Alex Haley's 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, as the birthplace of Haley's ancestor Kunta Kinte. After the publication of Roots, Juffure became a significant tourist destination. This led to economic benefits for the town, including the construction of an elementary school, a new market aimed at tourists, and improved roads.In 1651 a small plot of land from the village was leased by Jacob Kettler, the Duke of Courland from the king of Kombo, as part of the Couronian colonization of Africa.Demographically, the predominant religion in the village is Islam. In 1999, a mosque and school, The Alex Haley Mosque and School Complex, was opened in Juffure, where Haley traced back his ancestry through genealogical research.


Latgalians, sometimes also Ancient Latvians (Latin: Lethi, Letthigalli, Low German: Letti, Lethi, modern Latvian: latgaļi, letgaļi, leti; variant translations also include Latgallians, Lettigalls or Lettigallians), were an ancient Baltic tribe.

They likely spoke the Latvian language, which probably became the lingua franca in present-day Latvia during the Northern Crusades due to their alliance with the crusaders. Latgalians later assimilated the neighbouring tribes, forming the core of modern Latvians.

Latvian National Awakening

The Latvian National Awakening (Latvian: latviešu [or latvju] tautas atmoda) refers to three distinct but ideologically related National revival movements:

the First Awakening refers to the national revival led by the Young Latvians from the 1850s to the 1880s,

the Second Awakening or "New Current" was the movement that led to the proclamation of Latvian independence in 1918, and

the Third Awakening was the movement that led to the restoration of Latvia's independence in the "Singing Revolution" of 1987–1991.

Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic

The Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic (Latvian: Latvijas Sociālistiskā Padomju Republika, LSPR) was a short-lived socialist republic formed during the Latvian War of Independence. It was proclaimed on 17 December 1918 with the political, economic, and military backing of Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik government in the Russian SFSR. The head of government was Pēteris Stučka.

Livonian Order

The Livonian Order was an autonomous branch of the Teutonic Order, formed in 1237. It was later a member of the Livonian Confederation, from 1435 to 1561.

New Current

The New Current (Latvian: Jaunā strāva) in the history of Latvia was a broad leftist social and political movement that followed the First Latvian National Awakening (led by the Young Latvians from the 1850s to the 1880s) and culminated in the 1905 Revolution. Participants in the movement were called jaunstrāvnieki.

Poland–Venezuela relations

Poland–Venezuela relations refers to the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Poland and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Principality of Koknese

The Principality of Koknese (Russian: Кукейнос (Kukeinos), German: Kokenhusen, Latin:Kukonouyes) was a small vassal state of the Principality of Polotsk on the right bank of the Daugava River in ancient Livonia (modern Latvia) during the Middle Ages.


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