The international scientific conference ‘THE TIME OF DUCHY OF COURLAND AND SEMIGALLIA: A UNIQUE PERIOD IN WORLD HISTORY’ took place on 2020 17 and 18 September at the Kuldīga Cultural Center. Complying with security measures during the spread of Covid 19, the number of on-site seats was limited, therefore Kuldīga District Museum invited to watch the international scientific conference online.
Seventeen academics from five European countries took part in this conference. Foreign lecturers reports were read remotely. Papers covered lesser-known aspects of the history and culture of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia and 16th–18th century Kuldīga in the European and global contexts, and presented a fresh approach to previously analysed issues.
Conference languages were Latvian and English. The simultaneous translation was provided. As the number of on-site seats was limited and registration for the face-to-face conference had already been completed, the conference was available online on the museum's website www.kuldigasmuzejs.lv.
The conference was organized by the Kuldīga District Museum in collaboration with the Kuldīga District Municipality, University of Latvia, and the Institute for Heritage Management (Germany). The purpose of the event was to foster research in the history and culture of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia and 16th–18th century Kuldīga and popularize its results, as well as to promote the nomination of Kuldīga for the UNESCO World Heritage list. The conference was a part of a wider set of events related to promoting the nomination of Kuldīga for the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The unique situation that had formed in the Baltic Sea region in the 16th century contributed to the creation of a new member of international relations – Duchy of Courland and Semigallia. From 1561 to 1795, this small country (national arrangement) occupied the area from the coast of the Baltic Sea to Daugava and bordered with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Polish Livonia, the Kingdom of Sweden and later the Russian Empire. Thanks to well-considered administration, diplomacy and trade, the Duchy was not only able to exist and to maintain its independence for more than two hundred years between mutually hostile powers, but also left its legacy in a wider geopolitical area.
Kuldīga (Goldingen), which for centuries was located in the crossroads of trade routes, was one of the most important administrative centres of the Duchy. Kuldīga provides a unique testimony to an era when the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia flourished, to international trade relationships, and cultural exchanges. It is also the best-preserved urban testimony of this period in history.