Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Courland or Kurland, a government of Russia, capital Mittau, one of the Baltic provinces. It occupies an area of 10,535 square miles, and is bounded on the W. by the Baltic, on the N. by the Gulf of Riga, and on the N.E. by the river Dwina. The coast is flat and the surface undulating, with numerous lakes and marshes. Agriculture is the chief pursuit. Courland was incorporated with Russia in 1795. The original inhabitants of Courland were the Kurs, a Finnish people akin to the Esthonians, but now extinct or absorbed in the surrounding populations. They are not to be confounded with the Kurs (Kuren) who still occupy the shores of the Kurische Nehrung, but who are Aryans speaking a Lithuanian dialect. At present the great bulk of the people are Letts, also a branch of the Lithuanian family, numbering about half a million. The other elements are Russians (50,000), Germans (60,000), Jews (30,000), Poles (12,000), Livonians, Gypsies, and sundries (10,000).