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or Kurland Courland

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COURLAND, or KURLAND, Russia, a province on the Baltic, bounded north by Livo nia and the Gulf of Riga, west by the Baltic, south by Kovno and east by Vitebsk; area, 10,535 square miles. In the neighborhood of Mitau, the capital, the surface is diversified by hills of very moderate height; but elsewhere, and particularly, toward the coast, it is flat and contains extensive sandy tracts. About two fifths of the whole province is occupied by forests; and there are many small lakes. The principal rivers are the Aa and the Windau; the latter is connected with the Niemen by a canal. Agriculture and cattle-raising form the chief occupations of the inhabitants, but many are engaged in fishing. The industrial establisa ments include distilleries, breweries and fac tories for tobacco, metals, wool and Letts form the largest constituent element in the population, there being also Russians and Poles. The climate is moist, and the winters very cold. The prevailing religion' is Lutheran. Courland was anciently a part of Livonia, and, like the latter, was conquered in the 13th century by the knights of the order. It was subsequently united with Sem gall, and, under the name of the Duchy of Courland, the two provinces became a fief of Poland. The duchy, however, was governed by its hereditary dukes till 1737. The 6th duke, Frederick William, espoused in 1710 Anna Ivanowana, Princess of Russia, who, after his death, maintained possession of the duchy; but the government of it was entrusted to Prince Ferdinand, brother of the deceased duke. On

the death of Ferdinand in 1737 the Estates, in consequence of the influence of the Empress of Russia, elected to succeed him her favorite and grand chamberlain, Ernest John Biren, who was exiled to Siberia in 1740. In 1762 the Emperor Peter of Russia recalled Biren, who, after some contention with Prince Charles, son of the king of Poland, who had been placed over the duchy in his absence, was declared by the Estates the only legitimate duke. In 1769 he transferred the duchy to his son, at whose death the Estates of Courland solicited a union with the Russian Empire. Catharine consented, and, by an edict of April 1795, secured to the inhabitants all the privileges which they had enjoyed under their princes and all the rights of her other subjects. In 1818 the Emperor Alexander confirmed the charter of the nobility of Courland, which declared the peasants free, and regulated their relations to their former lords. Libau is the chief commercial city. During the Great European War, a large part of the province was in German occupation, and was the base of attacks against Riga. Pop. 749,100.