SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Courland

Courland, is one of the historical and cultural regions in western Latvia. The largest city is the third largest city in Latvia; the regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland as they were held by the same duke. Situated in western Latvia, Courland corresponds to the former Latvian districts of Kuldīga, Liepāja, Talsi and Ventspils; when combined with Semigallia and Selonia, Courland's northeastern boundary is the river Daugava, which separates it from the regions of Latgale and Vidzeme. To the north, Courland's coast lies along the Gulf of Riga. On the west it is bordered by the Baltic Sea, on the south by Lithuania, it lies between 21 ° and 27 ° East. The area comprises 27,286 km ²; the landscape has a low and undulating character, with flat and marshy coastlands. The interior features wooded dunes, covered with pine, spruce and oak, with swamps and lakes, fertile patches between. Courland's elevation never rises more than 213 m above sea level; the Jelgava plain divides Courland into two parts, the western side, fertile and densely inhabited, except in the north, the eastern side, less fertile and thinly inhabited.

Nearly one hundred rivers drain Courland, but only three of these rivers – the Daugava, the Lielupe and the Venta – are navigable. They all flow discharge into the Baltic Sea. Owing to its numerous lakes and marshes, Courland has a damp foggy, changeable climate. In ancient times the Curonians, a pagan tribe, inhabited Courland; the Brethren of the Sword, a German military order, subdued the Curonians and converted them to Christianity in the first quarter of the 13th century. Thus in 1230 the Curonian king Lammekinus made peace directly with the papal legate, he accepted baptism, became a vassal of the pope. In 1237 the area passed into the rule of the Teutonic Knights owing to the amalgamation of this order with that of the Brethren of the Sword; the Livonian Confederation was a loosely organized confederation formed by the German-led Livonian Order and various bishoprics that encompassed much of present-day Estonia and Latvia. It existed from 1228 to the 1560s; the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia was a semi-independent duchy that existed from 1561 until 1795, encompassing the areas of Courland and Semigallia.

Although nominally a vassal state of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the dukes operated autonomously. In the 18th century Russia acquired great influence over the Duchy; the Duchy was one of the smallest European nations to colonize overseas territories, establishing short-lived outposts on the Caribbean islands of Tobago and Trinidad and at the mouth of the Gambia River in Africa on what was known as James Island. In 1795, the last Duke, Peter von Biron, ceded the Duchy to the Russian Empire; the former Bishopric of Courland was directly incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as the District of Pilten of the Wenden and Inflanty Voivodeship. After annexation by the Russian Empire, the territory of the former Duchy formed the Courland Governorate. From the time of the Northern Crusades in the early 13th century, most land was owned by nobles descended from the German invaders. In 1863, the Russian authorities issued laws to enable Latvians, who formed the bulk of the population, to acquire the farms which they held, special banks were founded to help them.

By this means, some occupants bought their farms, but the great mass of the population remained landless, lived as hired labourers, occupying a low position in the social scale. Agriculture was the chief occupation, with the principal crops being rye, oats, wheat and potatoes; the large estates conducted agriculture with scientific knowledge. Fruit grew well. Excellent breeds of cattle and pigs were kept. Liepāja and Jelgava operated as the principal industrial centres, with ironworks, agricultural machinery works, tanneries and soap works. Flax spinning took place as a domestic industry. Iron and limestone were the chief minerals; the only seaports were Liepāja, Ventspils and Palanga, there being none on the Courland coast of the Gulf of Riga. In 1870 the population was 619,154. Of the whole, 79% were Latvians, 8.4% Baltic Germans, about 8% Jews, 1.4% Russians, 1% Lithuanians, 1% Poles, some Livonians. The chief towns of the ten districts were Courland's capital. 75 % of the population belonged to Lutheranism.

There was a vigorous Jewish population. During World War I, Courland formed part of the Eastern Front theatre of operations that saw fighting between forces of the Russian and German Empires. Following Russia's Great Retreat of 1915, Courland came under control of the German Army's Ober Ost commander in the person of Paul von Hindenburg, a Prussian military hero. With large terr

Petrograd Metropolis electoral district (Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917)

The Petrograd Metropolis electoral district was a constituency created for the 1917 Russian Constituent Assembly election. Petrograd city constituted an electoral district of its own, separate from the rest of the Petrograd Governorate. Voter turnout in the capital was estimated at between 69.7% and 72%. The Petrograd SR branch was dominated by centrist elements; the Kadet list was headed by Pavel Milyukov, followed by Maxim Vinaver, Nikolai Kutler, F. I. Rodichev, Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov, Andrei Ivanovich Shingarev, Countess Sofia Panina, Aleksandr Kornilov, D. D. Grimm, D. S. Zernov, Vladimir Vernadsky, A. N. Kolosov, A. D. Protopopov, Prince V. A. Obolensky, Sergey Oldenburg, L. A. Velikhov, K. N. Sokolov and V. M. Hessen; the Bolshevik Bolsheviks headed by Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, followed by Evsei Aronovich Radomyslsky, Lev Davydovich Bronstein, Lev Borisovich Rosenfeld, Alexandra Kollontai, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, Matvei Muranov, Mikhail Kalinin, Józef Unszlicht, Sergei Alexandrovich Cherepanov, Grigorii Eremeevich Evdokimov, Klavdia Ivanovna Nikolaeva and others.

There was List 13, the Women's Union for the Motherland. This organization had been formed in Petrograd in June 1917, had called Russian women to form "Death Battalions" and join the soldiers at the front

Rim Ju-song

Rim Ju-song is a North Korean swimmer. He was selected to be North Korea's sole representative for the country's first participation in the Paralympic Games, at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. At the time when he was selected, he was living in Beijing. By the time North Korea received clearance to compete in London, it was "too late to qualify for most events, but swimming was an exception", thus North Korea's representative would have to be a swimmer. Rim, who did not know how to swim, began to learn the crawl stroke in April 2012 with great difficulty at first, the breaststroke in May. Rim is a left arm and left leg amputee, suffers disability to his right leg and right foot, following "an accident on a construction site" at the age of five, he was able to make the Games upon receiving a wildcard invitation from the International Paralympic Committee, with financial support from the British embassy in Pyongyang. He competed in freestyle swimming in the S6 disability category, his time in qualifying prior to the Games was 1:10.00, i.e. 35.3 seconds slower than the slowest actual qualifier