in German but VENTSPILS was the Russian
name from the time of the Russian Empire,
ВУНДАЕА, ВУНДАЙ although ВЕНТСПИЛС,
a transliteration of VENTSPILS has been used since WW II.
other names for the city include Livonian VANTA and Polish WINDAVA.
Ventspils is a city in North Western Latvia in the
historical Courland region of Latvia, and is the sixth largest city in the
country. It is situated on the Venta River and the Baltic Sea, and has an
The city's name means "castle on the Venta",
referring to the Livonian Order's castle built on the Venta River.
Ventspils was devastated by 18th-century wars and plague, its importance
dwindled until it was annexed by Russia in 1795. The Russians saw little use
for Ventspils port for a long time and by 1863 Ventspils had merely
4000 inhabitants, some 50% of them the descendants of
Courland-Semigallia’s German elite. The tides of fortune turned again in
the 1890s, as the railway from Riga reached Ventspils, allowing the port
to be used to export goods from the entire Russian Empire. An era of rapid
expansion followed, during which the city grew to 29000 inhabitants as it
needed to staff the swiftly growing port.
The port played an important role in the export of flax and
hemp products to the UK in the 18th/19th centuries .. and today is an
important oil terminal.