What is the legacy?

The Legacy of the Courland Colony

The Courland Colony, like Courland itself, was largely forgotten after the 18th century.

A few descendants of the early colonists continued to live in Tobago and passed down memories and mementos to later generations.

In 1957, Edgars Andersons, a professor of history at San Jose State University in California, who had been born in Latvia and spent his childhood in Riga, began his lengthy researches into the history of the Duchy of Courland and Duke Jacobus’s Tobago colony. In 1959 Andersons assisted in the making of a film about Tobago; in 1970 his book recounting the history of Courland, the Tobago colony and its legacy was published in Stockholm.

In the late 1980s, there was a surge of national feeling in Latvia and the other Baltic States, culminating in the re-creation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as independent nations. This led to an intense focus on the history of Latvia and a search for great heroes in Latvia’s past. So Duke Jacobus and his Courland colony came back to a prominent place in the national consciousness, both in history books and in popular memory.   


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