Introduction of Ventspils
City and port on the Baltic Sea, in Latvia, 100 mi WNW of Riga. Occupied by Wends in the 10th century, it grew up around a castle founded in 1290 by the Livonian Order. In the 17th century, under Jacob, duke of Kurland , it was an important port engaged in trade with the West Indies and West Africa. It suffered during the Swedish-Polish Wars but again enjoyed considerable prosperity in the 20th century when it was linked by rail to Moscow.