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The Kursenieki are also known as Curonians.




The Curonians or Kurs (Curonian: Kursi; ; ; ; ; ) were a people living on the Eastern shores of the Baltic who were eventually absorbed by the expansion of the Latvian and Lithuanian nations. They gave their name to the region of Courland (Kurzeme). They spoke the Curonian language. The Curonians lived in what is now Latviamarker and parts of Lithuaniamarker from the 5th to the 16th centuries.

The Curonians were known as fierce warriors, excellent sailors and pirates. They were involved in several wars and alliances with Swedishmarker, Danishmarker, and Icelandicmarker Vikings. Grobinmarker was their main center during the Vendel Age. Chapter 46 of Egils Saga describes one Viking expedition by the Vikings Thorolf and Egill Skallagrímsson in Courland. They took part with the Oeselians in attacking Sweden's main city Sigtunamarker in 1187. Curonians established temporary settlements in overseas regions including eastern Swedenmarker and the islands of Gotlandmarker and Bornholmmarker.

The Curonians were an especially religious people, worshipping pagan gods and their sacred animal, the horse. Some of the most important writing sources about the Curonians are the Rimbert's Vita Ansgarii, the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, the Livländische Reimchronik, Egils Saga, and Saxo Grammaticus's Gesta Danorum.

The Curonians were conquered by the Livonian Order in 1266 and eventually merged with other tribes. Descendents of the Curonians include the Kursenieki of the Curonian Spitmarker and the so-called Curonian Kings of Courland.

Administrative division

230 px
Bishop Rimbert of Bremen (lived before 888 AD) in his life of St. Ansgar, Vita Ansgarii described the territory inhabited by the Curonians (Cori) and gave the names of the administrative districts or lands (civitates):



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