Duke Jacobus Kettler launched his colony on the island of Tobago in 1654. Numerous factors were involved, personal, economic and political. The Duke was widely travelled and had a keen interest in Mercantilism. His wife had connections with the Dutch West India Company. Courland was a maritime nation with a strong tradition in shipping and ship-building. Courland had contacts and treaties of friendship with most of the maritime countries of Northern Europe: Britain, The Netherlands, France, Sweden and others. All these countries were beginning to be involved in the colonial rivalries to secure trade and territories in the Caribbean. The Courland Colony was a small but important part of this process.
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