About the Exhibition

This virtual exhibition is a web version of the traveling exhibition „From Duke Gotthard till Duke James” which opened for first time in the Latvian State Historical Archives in Riga on December 16, 2011. In 2012 the exhibition was displayed in
Jaunjelgava, Ventspils
un Jaunpils.

The documents displayed in the exhibition demonstrate, on the one hand, the rich and diverse collections of documents held by the Latvian State Historical Archives (Latvijas Valsts vēstures Arhīvs, LVVA), and on the other hand give an insight into the most important historical events in the Duchy of Courland, revealing that much of what is regarded as having been introduced by Duke James actually existed in Courland even before he acceded to the throne. The most important collections of the LVVA utilised in the exhibition are: the Archive of the Dukes of Courland (Collection 554), the Archive of the Courland Nobility (Collection 640), the Archives of the Noble Families (Collection 1100), the Collection of the Courland Society for Literature and Art (Collection 5759) and the Parchment Collection (Collection 5561). Documents of the Duchy of Courland are also kept in several other collections of the archives. The exhibition is augmented with visual material: maps, plans, portraits and other images from the collections of the LVVA and Rundāle Palace Museum, as well as internet resources and material from the personal collections of the creators of the exhibition.

Thematic Groups within the Exhibition:

• Establishment of the Duchy
• Duke Gotthard (1517–1587)
• Duchess Anna (1533–1602)
• The Territory of the Duchy
• The Church
• Duke Frederick (Friedrich; 1569–1642)
• Duke William (Wilhelm; 1574–1640) and Duchess Sophie (1582–1610)
• The Knights
• Duke James (Jakob, 1610–1681): the Path to the Throne
• Duchess Elisabeth Magdalena (1580–1649)
• The Peasantry
• The Polish-Swedish War (1600–1629/1635)
• The Duke’s Court
• The Towns of the Duchy

Viewing images.

1. Previous 4. Shift
2. Slide show 5. Zoom
3. Next 6. Close

Materials and excerpts from the virtual exhibit may be used and quoted with proper credit given to the source.

Comments about the virtual exhibit can be sent to the State Archives of Latvia (address: Bezdelīgu iela 1, Rīga, LV-1048; e-mail: lva@arhivi.gov.lv) or Latvian State Historical Archives (address: Slokas iela 16, Rīga, LV-1048, e-mail: vestures.arhivs@arhivi.gov.lv).