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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(called the kors’ in Russian chronicles), an ancient Latvian people who lived along the southwestern coast of the Baltic Sea, primarily on the territory of modern West Latvia.

The Curonians were first mentioned in written sources at the end of the ninth century. The primitive communal structure of their society broke down, and feudal relations appeared during the eighth through tenth centuries. The Curonians’ principal occupations were agriculture and animal husbandry, but they also engaged in fishing, hunting, crafts, and trade.

During the seventh and eighth centuries, they struggled against the Scandinavians, who had seized part of the coastal strip of their territory. They liberated the territory and began their own attacks on Sweden and Denmark. Despite their heroic struggle, which lasted from 1210 to 1267, the Curonians were subdued by German conquerors. By the beginning of the 17th century, they were merged with the Latgallians and Zemgalians into a single Latvian people.


Istoriia Latviiskoi SSR, vol. 1. Riga, 1952.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Old Prussians belonged to the Western Baltic group of tribes, which also included the Curonians, Samogitians, Skalvians, Galindians, and Yotvingians.
The Samogitians received some help during the battle only from the Curonians, who joined their side.
A similar attitude can be observed among Finns and Livs, to a lesser degree also Karelians and Curonians, while the position of ethnic Baltic groups was probably much more opposing.
Judging by the information gained from 12th and 13th century written sources, some kind of an occasional alliance in the relations between Estonians and Curonians, Livs and Curonians, as well as Saaremaa and Gotland seems to have occurred (Estonians and Curonians-Saxo Grammaticus XIV: 40.3, Estonians and Thoreyda Livs HCL XIII (5), Livs and Curonians HCL XIV (5), Osilians and Gotlanders HCL XXX).
Theutones 'Germans', Saxones 'Saxonians', Lettones ~ Letthones 'Lithuanians', Curones 'Curonians', Selones 'Selonians', Estones 'Estonians'.
Lithuanian lietus, Latvian lietus, Curonian liets, which is derived from the Balto-Slavic verbal root * lei- > li- 'to pour', it is possible that the name for Livonia and the name for Livonians may be connected either with the East Slavic stem for rainstorm, cf.
By the end of the 13th century, the Baltic pagan tribes--the Lettgallians (letgali), Semigallians (zemgali), Curonians (kursi), and Selonians (seli) were completely subjugated under German rule.
According to Saxo (8) he was constantly on the offensive against Pagan peoples in Eastern Baltic--the Estonians, the Curonians and the Sambians--before and after he won the throne of Denmark.
The most extensive and vivid episode from the historical part of Saxo's work is the one of an Estonian and Curonian naval expedition to the easternmost parts of the Danish kingdom.
Barbarians fought dirty, employing tricks and deceptions, breaking their word, and disregarding rules and conventions: the Curonians, a pagan Baltic people, were for one German crusading chronicler 'cheats' by nature.
"The Osilians are wicked Pagans, they are the neighbours of the Curonians. Their land is surrounded by sea, They are never afraid of large armies; In summer time, we know that They plunder surrounding lands, Which can be reached by sea...
The southwestern line ran from the Curonian Lagoon (Lith.